Today’s topic is the continuation of the series on how to market a business from scratch. 

Basically, we’re making the assumption that you have a brand new business that has not opened. What I’m trying to do here for you is walking you through step by step by step over these series of episodes to show you how I would approach it. In order to make the situation and the example more realistic, we’re using the example that you’re opening up a preschool, child care, or daycare center as mentioned in yesterday’s topic.

In the first episode, the first thing that we had to do was go through and do all of the competitive research. You wanted to learn about your competitors, what are they doing, what are they not doing. And if you were daring enough, you could even cold call some of these and try to pull some market intelligence. 

HOW TO BUILD CUSTOMER PERSONA

The second step in the process is learning about your customers. Over the years, one of the biggest mistakes that I see business owners making day in day out is that they could have the greatest product or the greatest service, but if you’re trying to sell it to the wrong person, you’re never going to hit numbers—it’s just not going to happen. 

There’s a lot of different ways to phrase this. You can call them personas, avatars, or whatever phrase you’d like to use. But in the end, I need you to have a lot of really robust details about who you actually are planning on selling to. 

In our example of opening up a childcare center, you obviously know that you’re going to be marketing to parents. Okay, great. That’s one little piece of information. But you’ve got to go through a structured process and that’s what I want you to end up building out this customer avatar customer persona worksheet. 

You could call this worksheet the parent persona. Now you might think that you only have one. Well, what we’re aiming to do is not just zoom in on that one perfect parent or that one perfect family. What I’m looking for you to be able to do is pull from others as well, which means you would probably have three completely different personas that they’re all related in a way. 

PRESCHOOL CUSTOMER PERSONA

  1. Working Parents—while you need to create a persona for each, in most cases, this would be a joining decision.
  2. Single Mom
  3. Single Father
  4. LGBT Parents
  5. Really Large Family
  6. Non-Traditional Family (example, a grandparent)

The reason you need to create different personas for each set of family is because each will have different challenges and goals.

Now these personas are all of the different people that you believe are going to be your main customers. These are the people that you believe are going to be coming in and enrolling their kids in your preschool. So if you had those different personas, there are different attributes around them. And as we go through this process in the future episodes, you’re gonna want to be communicating differently and marketing differently to these different personas.

Now, you will need to compile the information you have gathered about each customer persona.

In the first example, you have both parents working, but let’s start with the mom. 

Mom Persona: Sarah, 35 years old, two kids, Rochester, New York

Now, there are four different boxes that you’re going to fill out. And then in each box, there’s going to be a couple of pieces of content.

BOX 1 — GOALS AND VALUES

In this case, you would want to be able to know what does Sarah want? Ideally, she would want to make sure her kids are taken care of. So, we start with goals. She still wants to be able to continue to work, show her boss that she can have a work-life balance and she can kind of keep her home life separate from work. She wants to continue to grow in her career. However, she also wants her kids taken care of. The next section in this is values. What are some of the values? What is Sarah committed to? Maybe, Sara’s committed to growing professionally in her career. Is she committed to being a good mom? List out all the other additional values you deem relevant. So that’s box number one—goals and values. 

BOX 2 — SOURCE OF INFORMATION

The next box is where she gets her information—where’s the source of information? What are some of the books or magazines that she’s reading? Are there any local parenting magazines? Are there certain blogs that she’s reading, like some of the local mom blogs in Rochester? Is she on some of those Facebook groups? Are there certain conferences or events that she goes to? Are there any “gurus” that she listens to? Is she a big fan of Tony Robbins, for example, in personal development, or there’s some people like that that she likes? So that’s the second box—where else is she getting her information

BOX 3 — CHALLENGE AND PAIN POINTS

The third box is about knowing what she is challenged with? Is she challenged with trying to maintain balance? Is she challenged with trying to afford high-quality child care because she’s got multiple kids and then an expensive house?

Next is, what are the pain points? What keeps her up at night? That’s always the way that I like to look at it. I mean, if she’s lying in bed, what are the things that she’s worrying about on a regular basis? Is she worrying about money? Is she worrying about feeling bad that she’s not able to be a stay-at-home Mom? Is she worried that her kids are being mistreated? I mean, what are those pain points? 

BOX 4 — OBJECTIONS AND ROLES

The final box is, what are some of the objections and roles? What are the objections that she’s going to give you before she enrolls in the preschool? Is she going to want to know, well, “what if I’m early, can I drop my kids off a little bit early? What if I’m running late? What if I want to pull my kids out for a month and take a vacation? Do I still have to pay? What kind of curriculum? Is this a good curriculum? What if another kid bites one of my kids? I hear that people get sick, often in preschool.” So you want to go through and think about all those different objections. 

And then the final piece of this box is, what’s her role in the purchasing process? Basically, in this example, we said that it probably would be that she’s a mom and she’s married. Both parents work, so you would do another avatar for the father and there’s going to be a lot of similarities and those two obviously would be related. However, what I’m interested to learn is, is she making the decision or is it the father? Now in knowing a fair amount about the preschool space more often than not, would be the working mother that would be making the decision on childcare. So while her husband would be coming along and learning about things, he’s going to be a little bit more silent. So if you know that she’s the decision-maker, you want to make sure that you’re adequately addressing that. 

So then the final piece to this, now you’ve got those four baskets. So goals and values as one, source of information is another, the third one is challenges and pain points and the fourth one is objections and roles

And then kind of in the middle of this worksheet, you have the kind of generic information, such as the name, age, gender, marital status, number of kids, and location. And then the section below that is what is the quote. Is there a quote that fits Sarah? So something like I’m a strong-willed mom and I can do anything. Her occupation—she works in an advertising agency with a job title of Director of Advertising or annual income of $75,000 and level of education of a College Graduate.

So now what you’ve done in this example is you’ve built a persona—you’ve built an avatar.

What you would do is you would rinse and repeat this process. So then you would build one for the father, the single mother or the single father, and then for the grandparents. 

So you might be thinking, why would you need to do all this stuff if you were to open a preschool? Shouldn’t you be doing a lot of other things first? The answer is no. You need to work on the strategic pieces and understand who you’re going to be marketing to before you just start to go and invest money.

Far too often I’ve seen businesses and in particular preschools, for example, they go out there and they just start spending money. They design their logo, before anything, before they even know they have a location, for example. And they start doing that stuff, then they build a website. And there’s no rhyme or reason in the process. 

Well, when you know more about the competition, and then you know more about who you’re actually selling to, all of that information is going to be leveraged to better craft everything as we continue to move forward in the process. 

So step two in opening a childcare center, is developing your various personas. Now usually, you don’t want to have more than five, because that’s just very, very challenging to be able to market to that many different people. Typically, you’re going to have one main persona/avatar, the perfect customer that maybe is going to make up 80% of your child care center, for example. Tune in tomorrow for the next episode and the next step in marketing a business from scratch. 

Get out there, make a change, and take some action.