Gone are the days when the only place a person could find what they’re looking for was the mall or department store. With the explosion of e-commerce in the past decade, it’s easier and more convenient than ever to shop. This has also opened opportunities for tech-savvy entrepreneurs to try their hand on different business models of e-commerce like Amazon dropshipping.
However, e-commerce isn’t just about opening an online store. It’s also about effective messaging that caters to your business’s target market. Often, brands create profiles called buyer personas that represent or mimic the behavior of their ideal customer.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
Buyer or consumer personas represent archetypes of the core customer of the business, which are developed using real-world data and market research. Each kind of customer who will most likely buy from your business is represented.
Different metrics, such as demographics, financial capability, preferences, and psychographics, are often cross-sectioned to create a detailed profile. Companies often make important marketing decisions with buyer personas in mind. Businesses use buyer personas to understand how their customers behave and interact with their brands to cater to their target markets’ needs.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
Much of the work involving the creation of a buyer persona is doing constant research. Real people are never static, so your buyer personas should be ever-changing. Follow these steps if this is the first time you’re doing one for your business.
Gather Target Audience Data
Start by deciding what information to collect. The data you’ll need will largely depend on the industry you’re in, but the basics often include your customer’s demographics, hobbies, pain points, and buying patterns. Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights are good resources to collect this relevant information. You can look up consumer reports for your industry, follow key influencers, or join active online communities for data specific to your niche.
Reach Out to Your Customers
Just as necessary is conducting customer research through interviews, surveys, and focus groups. You will have a more in-depth understanding of your consumer base when you hear directly from them. Reach out to both current and prospective customers. Be as specific and intentional as you can with your line of questioning. If you’re struggling to pull subjects, you may offer incentives for those who volunteer to be part of your research. Incentives could be discount vouchers, gift cards, gift items, reward points, or cash.
Segment Your Market
There is no hard and fast rule for segmenting your market. What is more important is that you can narrow down your research into relevant groups of individuals. Look for something that ties people together, such as age, gender, marital status, income, and occupation. These commonalities and trends will help you build accurate buyer personas. Different qualities can coexist in a single persona, which is fine; just make sure that one persona is distinct.
Complete Buyer Persona
Now that you’ve done the legwork, complete your buyer persona by consolidating all relevant information you’ve gathered into a template. It helps if you give an intuitive name to your personas to bring them to life. Joe the Student could represent the younger end of your market looking for great deals that fit their budget, while Jane the Professional could depict those already working and have more money to splurge.
Types of Buyer Persona
There is no clearly defined list of buyer personas. The personas you create will be specific to your industry and unique to your business. But here are some customer archetypes that might help you come up with your own.
- The value hunter is always on the lookout for the best prices and deals on your website. This type of customer is often unwilling to purchase until they are sure that an item or service is worth every penny. To entice the value hunter, create a sense of urgency on your site through flash sales, discount coupons, and exclusive online promos.
- The researcher takes time to learn about your products or services. They often don’t rely just on the information you put on your website. Appealing to these customers requires leveraging testimonials and reviews on your offerings. You can also make good use of Google Ads, so your products or website turn up in their research.
- The mobile shopper prefers to do her shopping on their mobile phone. Convenience is their priority, so they expect a fast and seamless transaction from start to finish on your e-commerce platform. A responsive mobile experience, quick checkout process, and an option for local pick-up will keep this type of customer coming back for more.
- The brand devotee regularly promotes your business to their family and friends. They know your products or services by heart and willingly endorse them since they have built an emotional connection with your brand. It doesn’t take much convincing to lure a brand devotee into buying from your business again, but it is vital to keep their trust and patronage. You can do this through a loyalty program that rewards loyal customers.
- The social media influencer has a large following on social media who can help create buzz for your business. Having an influencer who genuinely likes your products and services will instantly boost visits and inquiries to your e-commerce site. A brand image and identity that position your business as young and energetic are necessary to appeal to young influencers.
- The gift-giver is fond of purchasing items not necessarily for themselves but for other people. They usually go all out on special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Focus your marketing efforts on emphasizing the value of your items and how they would be the perfect gift for your customers’ loved ones.
How Are Buyer Personas Used in Business and Marketing?
Buyer personas are used in various ways and are an essential resource for your sales and marketing team. They help your business align with your core customers. Sometimes, company priorities are not the same as customer priorities. Focusing on the latter allows you to craft better marketing strategies that will resonate more with your target market’s needs, concerns, and preferences.
If you’re a small business owner with limited resources for marketing, you can’t possibly advertise to every type of person. That’ll quickly deplete your budget. Buyer personas help you target specific segments of the market so that you can maximize your money and effort to reach the ones most likely to buy from you. Your social media presence, blog content, and other marketing materials will be geared toward informing and activating your consumer base.
Marketing is more personalized with the aid of buyer personas. Today’s consumers constantly look for experiences that fit their wants and needs. When they feel emotionally connected with a brand, they are most likely to pay for its products or services. It is easier to establish a bond with your customers since buyer personas are built on relevant information like pain points and motivations.
Buyer personas are not an end in themselves. They’re merely a jumping point to help steer your business toward better communication with your target market. The next step in your business strategy is choosing the right marketing channels.