A buyer or customer persona is something we use to narrow down and target our products, service, website and content to the people that will be best served by them. In other words, a semi-fictionalised representation of your ideal customer (if you’re not doing business yet), or a ‘stereotype’ or grouping of the current customers that already buy from you. There may be common trends among the people or companies that buy from you, and if you have lots of satisfied customers you can create a more accurate picture of what they love about your business, about what they might improve or change, whether they would recommend you to others or not.
Questions to ask yourself about current customers
- What are you doing well for these customers?
- How do you meet their needs?
- What would our ideal customer say about this change, your product, your new webpage?
Your buyer persona can be a constant decision-making tool for your business growth by taking on a customer perspective, simply by asking the question – what would my target audience think of this?
So firstly, start with getting as many heads together as you can – could you bring together members of your team, could you meet your friends for a coffee and bring ideas together (or have them give a different perspective). Having as many insights as you can collect will make this process easier to get started. Think about why you are creating a customer persona – what’s your business goal?
What do you already know about your ideal customer?
By the time you come to develop your customer persona, it’s likely you already have a product developed or service to deliver. Take a look next at where to start.
- Are there products or services like yours that already exist?
- What can you learn from the competition – what are they doing that works well?
- What could you do differently to meet the needs of a different group?
- Do you have any data on any customer’s you’ve already done business with?
Current customer interviews
If you already have customers, ask 2-3 a few open-ended questions to get some deeper insights.
- Why did they buy from you?
- What did they like or dislike about the product or checkout/purchasing process?
- How did they build trust in your brand?
- Would they recommend you to others and why?
Questions like this give us a more rounded understanding of why someone buys from us, it’s rarely a case of “the price was right” or “I needed a new drill bit” – the reasons we buy from one eCommerce store over another, in a vast sea of choice, comes down to the brand understanding a person’s needs and offering them the solution in a way that resonates with them. As consumers, if we feel someone understands our current dilemma and challenges, we build up trust in the brand, that they have really thought through and considered solutions that work for us, so when they offer us a solution we already feel like we have a relationship with the company and they serve to meet our needs.
Once you’ve done your early research, looked at the competition and even spoken to existing customers, it’s time to write your buyer persona down.
Mapping your buyer persona
Name: Example Ellen
Give your buyer persona a name!
Once you’ve named them they become more real, when you write content on your online store you can speak directly to Ellen and give her information that is relevant to her current experience.
Demographics for your customer persona include: gender, age, job title, family status.
These features are important for framing the basics of the person or people you are talking to. Are the people that you are speaking to those who can actually afford your product – in actual fact the emphasis really is – are you packing your product or service in a way that delivers the right value to those who you expect to buy it?
Understanding these details about how your potential customers are able to relate to the brands they currently buy, what they might expect from a product or service like yours and what might boost (or hinder) their level of satisfaction after they have bought from you.
These leads us on to what is known as psychographics – likes, dislikes, motivations, challenges, how they spend there time, things they are influenced by.
When we identify as many of these in our ideal buyer then we can avoid any risk that visitors to your website will experience friction with processes or feel jarred on their buyer’s journey. Equally, if we understand our buyer persona likes we can speak directly to these and contextualise our products and service in a way they can relate to.
You have the opportunity to really speak directly to your ideal potential customer and find more unique ways to connect with them.
|Smartphone Sam||18-25 |
Lives with her parents
Drives a car
Convenience, using a smartphone, creating unique selfies, keeping up to date with trends.
Has the latest iPhone, used her first paycheck to buy it for the camera features.
|Recently started to work after graduating, spends time socialising||Dislikes:|
Tech jargon, information overload (had enough at school/college)
Socialising, Social Media (Instagram user). Likes to find unique places in her city to visit before any of her friends and records it all on Instagram.
How persona’s change our products
Smartphone Pop Socket before buyer persona (example):
Product Description with Smartphone Sam in mind (example):
I think you’ll probably be able to pick up the difference immediately! It has to be said that by speaking directly in the customer’s voice you are more likely to be seen by those who are destined to love your brand, increase value perception as it’s easier to use your value propositions to help visitors going through the consideration phase of the buyers journey – this will lead to improved conversion rates, improved customer experience, positive reviews and increased likelihood of positive word of mouth.
Time to take a look at your current content and update anything that better matches your customer persona.
You’ve created your first customer persona!
Regular Persona Reviews
Now you’ve done this, don’t forget to visit to regularly every 3-6 months and use what you continue to discover about your customers and all those people you are able to serve with your product and services. You may find your audience can benefit by being further segmented over time as you find more unique ways to help people and get lots of feedback from customers about your products, website and customer experience.
Congratulations – you now have a great base to build your content, website experience and buyer journey from!