As a website copywriter, the more I know about the intended audience, and the more specific the information, the better. Sure, it helps to know the basic demographic profile of the audience, but in order to make the content relevant, engaging, and persuasive, I need to know what makes customers tick.
- Why do they need the product/service you want them to buy in the first place?
- What information do they consider when shopping for this product/service?
- What potential or real obstacles might be deal breakers?
- What criteria do they use to distinguish one candidate from another?
- How will they measure the success of the purchase?
Once I know this information, I can write directly to the customer with the ultimate goal of generating more leads and customers.
In an effort to learn more about customers who buy sustainability services, I recently conducted interviews with five buyers of solar photovoltaic systems and two customers of LEED Certified green building projects (one commercial, one residential). The results surprised me, as they might you.
To find my interviewees, I asked for volunteers. One was a friend, one was referred by an architect, one by a copywriter colleague, and four by Facebook friends. Until we spoke, I knew little or nothing about their projects and absolutely nothing about their decision-making processes.
They came from very different walks of life:
- Prominent Tampa Bay politician’s family
- Icons of the St. Petersburg, FL music scene
- Non-profit organization
- Telecommunications executives
- Retired expat from the UK
- Designer of recumbent bicycles
- College academic coach
While these differences are interesting, they are not particularly informative to marketers of solar and green building services. The meaningful differences (and similarities) had to do with each buyers unique approach to their own project and their feelings about that project after its completion.
My findings are detailed in a new white paper, 7 Solar and Green Building Customer Stories that Will Make You Rethink Your Website, which you can download here.
Key takeaways from the white paper include:
- Insights into the real factors that drove their buying decisions
- The differences between and similarities among these seven buyers and why they matter
- Specific changes you should make to your website starting today
Please note that these customer stories span a wide range of time and several types of services. No attempt was made to create specific, in-depth buyer personas from the interviews. Rather, the true value of the paper is in pointing out where so many websites in the sustainability sector fall short and in suggesting specific measures marketers can implement to improve their own websites.
I hope your reading of the paper is as eye-opening as my writing of it was, and I invite you to share your comments and criticisms in the comments below or via email.