Home Improvement Marketing: Your Ideal Customer
Today let’s focus on the DIY aspects of identifying your ideal home improvement customer. But before we do, let’s talk through why this is so important.
Why Identify Your Ideal Home Improvement Customer
Focus—We’ve previously discussed how the marketing/advertising paradigm has necessarily changed with the competition for, and cost of, home improvement leads rising so much in the past 5-10 years. Today, effective home improvement marketing focuses on a more narrow, but more qualified, reach so as to get a better return on each marketing dollar spent.
More Effective Messaging—Sure, TV, radio and newspapers reach a lot of people (though not nearly as many as they used to before DVR’s, podcasts and the internet!), but today we need a better understanding of where our potential customers are, and how they prefer to consume information. One of the great things about home improvement internet marketing is that we can provide information in so many different forms and have it available when our ideal customer is looking for it.
Better results—When we know our customer better we understand the issues and challenges that they face and we can explain our solutions to them in a more customer centric way. If you’re in front of the right customer with the right solution for THEIR problems, you maximize your ability to earn more of the right type of business.
That’s the why…let’s talk about the how.
Define Who Your Ideal Home Improvement Customer Is
First, you need to understand what your products and services do, from the customer’s standpoint. Ask yourself this question, “How does (product or service) improve my customer’s life?” Asking that question versus, say, “What problems does (product or service) fix?” goes a long way in helping to determine some of the emotional reasons that your customers buy.
Next, describe your ideal customer in as much detail as you can come up with. Things such as age, marital and family status, education level, and minimum desirable income, as well as the obvious age,ownership status, and geographical location of their home, will all be indispensable in helping you to craft your marketing message and format.
Understand The Journey Your Ideal Customer Takes
Once you’ve gotten a good handle on who that ideal home improvement customer is, it’s time to get serious and figure out how to get in front of them. Remember, we’re trying to be much more strategic here. It’s a recognition that you can’t be everything to everybody, but still attempting to maximize your opportunities.
So, how do we accomplish all of that…simply by understanding the steps that they take to get from point A to point B and figure out how to get the right message, in the right format, in front of them during each step.
You’ll find a great infographic that outlines the home improvement buyers journey here . In essence, there are five stages...
Issue Awareness—This is the point at which the customer makes an initial determination that there is an existing problem. They may or may not immediately take the next step based on their level of comfort with the issue as it stands. Often a good home improvement canvassing employee will identify these for a homeowner.
Research—Once that issue has percolated enough to incite action on the part of your ideal customer his next step is to begin to research alternatives for solving his issue. As alluded to during our last conversation, the internet is the “go to” medium for research, even among older customers. Being involved in a home improvement customers research affords you an opportunity to make a cold lead much warmer. One of the things you could do at this stage would be to have a short ebook like one that I wrote and offer it to customers in exchange for a first name and email address. The key here is to design something that is educational and informative, but definitely NOT a sales pitch about your product or company.
Assessing Alternatives—This part of the journey has two stages: the ideal home improvement customer gets more specific in their research parameters, then completes and collates all of the available research for the product or service that he or she needs. Then they invite one, or several, potential home improvement dealers out for an assessment and presentation. One of the best investments you can make here is a lead generating home improvement website. We’ll get into more specifics in a future visit, but for now this site must be up to date, solution based and offer several ways for the ideal customer to contact you and set an appointment.
Decision—While this is more based on sales and conversions as opposed to marketing, understand that everything that you’ve done up to this point, from a marketing standpoint, will factor into the decision making process. Managing your reputation on review sites such as Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. is a wise use of your time as it relates to this stage of your ideal customers journey.
Additional Purchases/Referrals—For many of the old guard, one call close companies, the journey for their ideal customer stopped at four stages. This had to do with some of their business practices, including high pressure, price gouging and substandard work. The smart home improvement owner recognizes this for the opportunity that it is. One of the largest home improvement companies in the Southeast does a huge amount of business in the two “slowest” months of the year with a previous customer marketing program. Do you have a previous home improvement customer marketing program or an effective referral program?
Next time, we’ll delve into the secret to supercharging your marketing effectiveness for each step of the ideal home improvement customers journey.