In today’s super-competitive business climate, effective marketing comes out of a 1:1 relationship. So how do you personalize your message to attract the right prospect? How do you know what to say that will excite their interest and keep them coming back for more? Buyer personas, of course!
A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal prospect. Most senior care companies – whether you are a senior living community, a home health care provider, a medical products retailer or another flavor of senior care – will have more than one buyer persona. But you won’t have more than 3 to 5 personas. Getting too far down in the weeds with irrelevant details can fracture your marketing efforts.
Develop the Right Buyer Personas for YOUR Business
Let’s consider a senior living facility that provides continuous care from completely independent to assisted living to round-the-clock nursing. One persona might be active seniors, perhaps baby boomers or the youngest of the Silent Generation, who no longer want the responsibilities of single-family homeownership, but are nowhere near ready to give up their independence. Another important persona is the adult children and grandchildren of older seniors who must seek care for their health-challenged senior parents and grandparents. Still another persona might be the professionals who counsel seniors and their families – medical practitioners, financial advisors, mental health counselors, etc.
Obviously, these three sample personas are different enough that the marketing messages that speak to one persona don’t necessarily work for the other two. A single generic marketing campaign would have limited success, since it could not possibly provide that 1:1 relationship that is essential to reaching your audience.
To develop a buyer persona that truly represents an ideal prospect, you need more than a collection of demographic information, although demographics are important to consider when assembling a buyer persona. Some of the more relevant aspects of your persona to consider are:
- Motivations – What makes them tick, what’s important to them and why? See our post about promoting lifestyle choices in your community, rather than the services you offer. For Boomers, this approach to marketing works well, but to the Gen X adult child of a man with Alzheimer’s, they might be more interested in the level of care you provide and what activities you have to keep him engaged in his world as long as possible.
- Goals – How do they define success, and what would it look like? The goals of a Baby Boomer who is considering selling their home so they don’t have to mow the lawn anymore might include a comfortable, easy-care environment, but still a lot of lifestyle choices around activities and socializing. The adult child of the man with Alzheimer’s is more likely to consider success as knowing that Dad is safe and there is someone there to care for him, no matter what his needs.
- Challenges – What are the challenges they face, what keeps them up at night? Gen X has trouble sleeping because he worries about Dad wandering off in the night and getting lost. Active Boomer knows she can do anything she wants today, but doesn’t want to become a burden to her children as she ages.
- Objections they have – What objections do they have to the products and services you offer? Active seniors may not feel ready to move into retirement housing (I know I’m not). The children of seniors who need more care than the family can give them don’t want to spend all of Dad’s money, but they are also unwilling to compromise his care just to save a few dollars.
- Buying habits – What kind of process does your persona go through to decide what and when to buy? Most consumers research potential purchases on the internet long before they are ready to buy. How does your persona find you?
- Hang-outs – Where does your buyer persona spend time on the internet? You need to show up where your buyers are. The adult children of seniors might spend a lot of time on Facebook; nowadays, even seniors themselves might be on Facebook to keep up with the grandkids. There are lots of opportunities for local internet marketing in any community.
Once you know your buyer persona like a friend, you can tailor your communication to them. It’s more than just using their name, although that is a good way to personalize an email subject line, or place a smart call-to-action on your website. Truly personalized marketing speaks to the prospect with authenticity and genuine concern for their values, needs, and desires. If you can achieve that level of integrity in your marketing, your prospects will be naturally attracted to your business because you have earned their trust.
Creating buyer personas is not for wimps. It’s a lot of work, but well worth the time in what it gives to your marketing efforts.