Before you can put together any type of marketing strategy, you need to firmly know all the details about who you’re marketing to; and that always starts with defining your target audience before you do anything else.
Without knowing specifically who you’re marketing to, you won’t be able to put together a successful marketing strategy that gets results.
But in some cases, it might make sense to be more specific and drill-down a bit further than just defining a general target audience, and that’s where creating buyer personas comes in.
Buyer personas are a detailed look at the people within your target audience as more descriptive, semi-fictional representations. As a real estate agent, you’re likely to have multiple types of clients that have different characteristics fit within your umbrella of your general target audience; and buyer personas can help you break that down further.
★ As an agent, don’t confuse the ‘buyer’ in buyer personas as someone that wants to buy a house. Instead, think of it as someone that wants to buy your services, whether they’re buying, selling, leasing, etc.
For example, your target audience might include both upsizers and downsizers, and each of those people may be really different with alternating issues that resonate with and are important to them, and you’ll need to know that when you plan your marketing efforts to attract both of them.
To build out a buyer persona, take the information that you’ve developed as part of your target audience development, and determine if there are segments of people that you might need to break out further, like in the upsizer and downsizer example above.
Then, you should build out buyer personas for each of those segments by writing out actual semi-fictional representations of them. And while there’s no clear rules around exactly what you must include in a buyer persona, here’s what it might look like for someone that is downsizing:
- Name: Danny Noland
- Age: 61
- Occupation: VP of Sales
- Location: Phoenix, Arizona
- Income: 150K/year
- Situation: Danny and his wife are new empty-nesters and no longer have the need for a large home with a lot space and general maintenance.
- To sell the family home for maximum profit and capitalize on many years of built up home equity.
- To purchase a smaller house or condo and reduce the amount of day to day home maintenance work.
- He is busy and wants to make sure the agent he hires can take care of all of the details for the sale and the home search.
To further establish a real identity, you should also include a picture of them, as well as include some additional information. Keep in mind, you can go into as much detail as you need to give you a clear direction around who they are. For example, you could also include what brands appeal to them (and which don’t), what restaurants they like, what stores they’re most likely to frequent, and more. You can break it down as far as you need to so you can get a clear picture of who this person is.
Remember that as far as defining your audience goes, it always makes to include who you don’t want to work with as much as who you do want to work with.
Buyer personas don’t have to stop at who you want to work with; depending on your business, you may also want to create negative buyer personas to further define the type of person you don’t want to work with.
For example, who are some of the bad clients you’ve had over the years, and what do they have in common? You likely don’t want to work with someone that’s cheap that will demand you lower your hard-earned commission; and identifying the characteristics of those types of people can help you plan better to avoid them.
So how do buyer personas actually help you and your business? In short, they help give you direction around what you should be doing by outlining who you’re doing it for.
As part of your marketing plan:
Whether you’re planning your overall marketing strategy or your individual marketing campaigns and initiatives, you should always do so with your particular buyer personas in mind.
Ask yourself: will my general marketing strategy appeal to our overall target audience and buyer personas as a whole, and will our new marketing initiative designed to bring in downsizing leads appeal to Danny Noland specifically (and by default, people like him).
Because you’re planning your marketing for specific people with specific needs and characteristics, doing so will make it more effective, more targeted, and ultimately, more successful.
As part of your team’s day-to-day activities:
The people on your team should be deeply familiar with your buyer personas, and your new team members should be introduced to your buyer personas when they get onboarded. Everything that your team does day to day should be inline with: would this appeal to our buyer personas as a whole, and will this particular thing I’m doing appeal to this particular buyer persona.
Buyer Personas Help Provide Clarity
Creating buyer personas that clearly outline the characteristics of the people you want to work with, and perhaps, even the people you don’t want to work with, will give you clear direction around not just your marketing strategy and initiatives, but also, can help strengthen your day to day business operations and processes.
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