You’ve invested time and money to get your all-singing, all-dancing online store live. You’ve purchased your stock, added your products and content, and spent a small fortune on marketing. Job did; you can now sit back and watch the cash roll in! If only it were that simple…
Obviously, there are many facets to building a successful ecommerce business, but none are as important as knowing who your buyers are. Yes, you may have done your market research and know roughly who you are targeting, but do you really know your buyers, and do you know exactly what makes them tick? This is where buyer personas come into play.
What Are Buyer Personas?
A buyer persona is a detailed characterization of your ideal customer based on market research, industry data, and real-life behavior patterns. In fact, there are numerous ways of gathering buyer persona data from industry research, website analytics, online surveys, or good old-fashioned question-and-answer sessions. The more creative you can be when gathering this data, the more valuable your insights will be.
Creating buyer personas will help you get to know your customers better, understand their likes and dislikes, and learn their unique habits. These valuable insights will allow you to customize content specifically for your customers, which can reap dividends for your business.
How Do I Create A Buyer Persona?
Creating your buyer personas is actually pretty straightforward. You can make a start by brainstorming your ideal customers, and at this stage, it helps to be as broad as possible. For example, if your online store sells smoke alarms then your buyer personas could be:
- Homeowner (male or female)
This is obviously very broad but gives us a platform to drill down into specifics for each persona. Gender, age, location, education level, and job title are all elements that you can look at. It will also help to ask yourself the following questions:
How Well Does My Buyer Know My Products?
This will depend on whether you are selling a tried and tested product, or something brand
new to the market. You may decide that this needs to be split into two buyer personas; one
who knows your product well, and one who does not.
What Content And Media Does My Buyer Like To Consume?
Does your buyer like to hang out on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? Or, do they tend to stay away from social media and prefer TV or radio? Age, demographics, and income level (amongst other things) will have a large effect on this.
For example, Facebook tends to be occupied by the younger, lower-income demographic, whereas LinkedIn is more popular amongst the older, higher earners.
How Important Is My Product To The Buyer?
This can be difficult to quantify but is an essential question to ask. The more impact your product has on the buyers’ lives, the more emotionally invested they will be in your product.
For example, if you’re selling a life-saving product such as smoke alarms, this has an obvious impact on their lives, and you can customize your marketing message accordingly.
What Sets You Apart From Your Competitors?
Unless you are selling a unique product, there are always going to be other companies competing for your market share. So how are you going to set yourself apart from them? What can you offer your buyer, that they can’t? This will become a crucial part of your marketing message, so you need to be on top of your game here!
Your unique selling point (UPS) will also dictate to a large degree, which buyers you end up targeting. For example, if you sell budget smoke alarms, you may be better placed to target the low to middle-income demographic, rather than the high earners.
How Do Your Buyers Respond To Different Offers And Stimuli?
What influences your different buyers to make decisions, is it logic or emotion? Is high-end branding the key, or is it reputation, or five-star customer service? Maybe fast delivery is the thing that floats their boat? This is a tricky nut to crack, but if you can get this right, you could hit the jackpot!
How Do Your Buyers Like To Be Contacted?
Different buyer personas may use different communication means. This needs to be considered when constructing your marketing and remarketing methods. There’s no point investing in a state-of-the-art mailshot system if your primary buyers don’t use email.
Likewise, if you are sending out content to social media channels, make sure the channels are relevant to your target buyers.
Integrating Your Buyer Personas Into Your Digital Strategy
Once you have created your buyer personas, you will be able to tailor your content and your marketing messages to achieve the greatest possible success. It is important to note that your buyer personas will influence all areas of your ecommerce website strategy, and therefore should be one of the first things you do.
Your website design, marketing strategy, social media channels, and even the style of writing you use, will be dependent on your buyer personas. Don’t make the mistake of treating your buyer personas as an afterthought, or you could end up with an ecommerce site that’s not fit for purpose.
Developing buyer personas can seem daunting at first, but it should be seen as a long-term process. Sure, you may not get it exactly right the first time. But by analyzing your live data, you can adjust the personas as you go along.
As you discover more information about your customers, you can develop your buyer personas into life-like characters. The more you define these personas, the better chance you will have of achieving a thriving, successful, ecommerce business.