Why create a buyer persona?
Creating a buyer persona capable of supercharging company growth is an essential step and something that can be done at any stage in your business. In fact, it is certainly encouraged for existing businesses that perhaps haven’t looked at their customer persona to keep it up to date and relevant to the current customer base and establish new personas when new segments or opportunities for growth arise.
Building a persona really starts with taking the time to look at any existing data you might have. In the digital world, we can speed up our research and increase our accuracy by using digital tools to test and support what we know. Tools such as Google Trends, Ask the Public and regular primary market research will help you look at changes in markets and changes in the way consumers think, search and buy.
A customer persona is a semi-fictional identity that represents your target audience, your ideal customer. The more vibrant and vivid you can make this ‘person’ the easier it is to design a website and write content that really speaks to the people you are trying to help.
Who are you selling your products to?
This is a great place to start if you are looking to build up your website traffic and increase your current website sales. You may already have been selling for some time and are looking for that next major upturn in sales volume. If so, creating a buyer persona to boost your eCommerce growth is going to be a crucial first step towards this.
If you are currently selling your products to that it is worth starting here. Who are they? Get specific! If you can add details such as age, gender, job role, their disposable income, it helps you to place your products and services by describing their value in ways that resonate. If you can speak to people in your brand voice that connects with a person and speaks to their frustration and needs – it’s easier to identify and help solve their problems. People can buy with confidence from you because you can talk to them in a way they understand.
Even start with yourself as an example – think of yourself as a consumer. What do you like about visiting certain restaurants, shops or websites – what do you enjoy about the experience, what do you look for to know whether a product or service is likely to be good or not? People are looking for signals all the time to help understand the world around them, connecting with people online is no different. If you like being greeted as you enter a shop, being asked if you need any help with your visit today or if you have a question that the information is easy to find and straightforward to read? If these things make sense to you then great! Identify the group that you would can serve best with your products and services and make a list of all the things that they may find frustrating about a specific process, where they might need help from you to make a decision, what they might look for in a brand to help that understand how you are the right choice.
Add detail and richness to your ideal customer
Give your fictional customer a name, create the details around them. You may find that you start to see them or interact with them in the real world, use this opportunity to ask them questions – what do they like/dislike, what do they read, what are they interested in. Finding common ground and connecting with your potential customer base is an essential part of forming brand awareness, trust and long-term relationships between your brand and your customers.
Have you ever had a frustrating customer service experience? What happened? Ever dealt with a company that made you think ‘they just don’t get it’ – if we fail to find out everything we can about our target audience we fail to deliver a service or product that fully meets their needs or solves their problem – ask yourself if you want dissatisfied customers? Of course, we can’t rule this out completely! Yet by thinking about customer personas when building our digital presence, when creating our checkout processes, our customer services and even down to the product descriptions we can narrow the whole of the world web down to the people already on the internet looking for a solution to their problem, a product or service that will overcome their current challenges that have caused them to perform an internet search in the first place.
Seamless user experience is simplified by involving your team in creating the customer persona. Whether you have a team where each person has an individual role or if you are an entrepreneur that wears many hats – take each part of the relationship in turn and consider how your ideal customer may want to experience this.
Questions to ask your team:
What might they want to see on your home page – what’s the ‘need to know’ information?
What type of photos might they want to see of the product before they purchase – video? 360? Images of the products? People wearing or using the products?
Would your customer persona prefer to communicate with your company via a chatbot, an email or a phone call?
If we are able to find out what our ideal customer prefers, we can offer the options that suit them best, reducing the friction of interacting with us online, and building relationships with people in the way they best like their information.
Just like meeting a new person, you might ask their name and a little about them, the more you know the more the conversation flows, and conversation flows best the more you have in common with him/her/them. There is something great about building rapport with someone new, or developing relationships with people we already know and like. Your business is no different, you have a great product or service (or both!) and you want to share it with people it will help, with people that really love it too. Once you’ve created your ideal persona you can start creating those relationships and find customers that like, love and buy from you.
Building a buyer persona helps you make decisions about website design, management of your resources, creating a marketing and advertising strategy and create a buyer journey that makes sense. Easier for you, easier for the visitors that meet your brand online.
Review your personas
Don’t forget! A cornerstone for your early business strategy it cannot be overlooked further down your business journey. A recommended frequency would be reviewing your persona every 3-6 months – ask yourself – is this still an accurate representation of the people that buy my products? Are there other people who buy our products and services that we haven’t considered in our brand voice and website content or on social media? Are we still providing our ideal customer persona’s with the information they want and need to understand their problem, identify solutions and understand how you can do this in the right way for them.
Once you’ve updated or changed this, go back into your current processes or even your blogs to update the tone of voice and perspective. It can take some ongoing commitment to keep your website relevant but the good news is this also helps with your search engine optimisation and visibility within search, making it even easier for people to find you when they are looking you.