USING BUYER PERSONAS TO IMPROVE YOUR FRANCHISE BUSINESS
Understanding your audience is crucial for every type, size, and style of business, and a franchise company is no exception.
You want to have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is and then use that information to fuel the decisions you make about landing pages, the content you create, the promotions you advertise, etc. It takes some effort to look at your data and then map out all of your customers clients, but fortunately there are plenty of tools and strategies out there to help.
How buyer Personas Work:
A buyer persona is when you look at the habits and patterns of everyone in your audience and then group them together to create one fictional, generalized person. Many companies (especially franchises) will have a few different personas because it can be difficult to fit an entire audience into just one group. The goal is to have a smaller number of personas, but staying true to your audience is the most important thing. Some companies will have as few as two or three personas, while others will have as many as 10 to 15. In general, you usually find trends in terms of what they search before they buy, how long they search before they buy, and how they form their decision. Demographic and geographical considerations should also come into play when creating each persona (more on this later).
Why they’re so great for franchises:
Buyer personas are something that every type of company can benefit from and use, but they are particularly great for franchises for a few reasons. First, franchises typically have more complicated audiences because they cover different locations, all with different types of people in each. This makes understanding audience even more difficult. Second, and on that same note, franchises oftentimes will break their audience up by geographic location and ignore other factors, which can be a huge mistake. Creating buyer personas forces franchise companies to see their audience in ways that aren’t quite as obvious.
How to create buyer Personas:
The best way to create personas is to talk with your audience directly, but this doesn’t mean just your own customers. You want to talk with those who are in your target audience, and this can often times mean you need to branch outside of your contact database.
Below are a few different options to help you create these personas:
1. Interview customers about what they like about your product service. It is unrealistic to try and talk with every one of your customers in person, so “interviewing” online is a great option. There are several different ways you can make this happen:
• Have an option right there on your homepage to take a survey or answer questions so that visitors can get involved, and let your existing customers know they can visit your survey or questionnaire to help.
• Having a system where visitors can create a profile account can help give you a lot of information about each person.
• If possible, have a team of people call anyone who signs up for your service.
• Use Google Consumer Surveys to get answers directly from a targeted audience.
Remember that you want to not only ask questions about demographics and location, but also ask questions about their buying preferences. Ask how they like to shop, what is important to them about your industry, how long they shop, etc.
2. Look through your Google Analytics and marketing funnel to find trends about leads or how customers find your content.
This is of course a huge way to get information about your audience, but sometimes it can be tough to determine which personas fit into which aspects of the data you get from Google Analytics (GA). Therefore, the last point should be completed first. Once you have analyzed that data you can move to your GA data and marketing funnel and see where each type of person might fit. Once your information is segmented into your
marketing funnel, look for trends to see if you can create even more personas.
3. Ask for the information you need for your personas, on different forms on your website.
Once you’ve done a little bit of research with the first two suggestions, you might get a better idea about what you really need and want to know about your audience. Ask for this information on forms on your website. For example, if your personas are leaning toward the time spent searching for your products services, ask each lead for information about how long they spend online researching before buying, on your forms.
4. Always talk with your sales team. Your sales team talks with your customers and target audience on a daily basis. Although they may not be knee-deep in analytics, they have a lot of insight about trends happening and can probably segment different types of people fairly easily. Who are they interacting with the most? What questions are being asked together by each person?
5. consider using HubSpot’s create buyer Personas for your business guide. HubSpot offers a free and customizable template to help you answer questions about your audience and create different personas. I highly recommend using this tool in addition to the tips above to really get the full picture. Not only will the tool help you find your personas, but it will help you lay them out in an organized template to show the rest of your team.
Using buyer Personas to benefit your Franchise business:
Buyer personas help you understand your audience and the different groups they fall into, which can make it easier for you to create content, landing pages, advertisements, email marketing campaigns, etc. tailored to the specific needs and behaviors of each different group. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between audience members and you end up only catering to one group, so looking over your audience and market trends is a way to make sure you’re covering all your bases. Many buyer personas can also work directly with editorial calendar services and plugins so that you are showing the right content to the right persona. This will definitely be more work for you because you have to create more content, but because that content is personalized your results should skyrocket.
“Remember that you want to not only ask questions about demographics and location, but also ask questions about their buying preferences.”
Adam Heitzman is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Higher Visibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers a full range of Internet marketing services.
For more information, visit the website: www.highervisibility.com