What is a Customer Persona?
A customer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal potential customer. It can be based on market research, developed by interviewing your current customers, and collecting feedback. Finding ways that your customers are similar allows you to see trends and group typical customers together.
Understanding your ideal customer means that you can tailor content to your visitors and create fantastic products and services that people will love. In an age of competition and choice overload businesses can put a lot of time and effort into trying to attract people to their digital space to view their products.
This isn’t an art form, you can take what you know, apply logic to it and put yourself and your brand in front of the many people online already looking for you.
Identifying your ‘niche’ is talked about a lot! Many entrepreneurs and budding startups are looking for that very specific problem to solve, to then capture the attention of an audience by creating a specific product to match. In reality, the best businesses put people first – it’s the audience being identified alongside the problem that helps businesses succeed in a given area.
A great example of this sentiment is Land Rover – a British car company that has been around since 1948. They were created out of the desire to offer safe transport over all terrains and have become known as a reliable and premium brand of all-terrain vehicles. Just because a brand is long-established doesn’t mean they don’t have to keep assessing who their buyer persona is; as a brand currently reinventing to deliver electric vehicles they have been able to monitor and review what people want and need from them and their vehicles. This sentiment harmonises with their mission “Our tireless commitment to offer vehicles customers love for life is at the core of everything we do”. This one summary sentence tells us they aren’t building cars for those who get a new one every 2-3 years, they have to work hard to design cars that are desirable and stay desirable – as there customer’s buy for the long term.
Land Rover clearly understands what it’s customers want and how they want it. Having a clear idea of your customer persona, a set of people who’s needs you really understand and want to meet, helps you connect more deeply and build a brand for success.
Download your guide to creating the ideal customer persona for your business!
Benefits of creating a buyer persona
When starting to sell online, or using a marketplace style eCommerce platform such as Amazon or Ebay everyone has the potential to be a customer. Building your own business online with a unique website requires us to take specific steps to be found by customers that need and love our services and products.
WHERE ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
Launching a new website, stepping away from marketplace’s such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy mean that new businesses, like yours, have to work hard to get a slice of the UK’s website traffic onto your site. To get attention over other sites and make sales that result in satisfied happy customers that turn into brand ambassadors we are duty bound to ensure our great products will be seen by the people who value what you do. Ask yourself, do you currently know who these people are?
By creating a clear buyer persona profile you can meet people where they are online, whether on marketplaces, during their searches or by using social media. When you begin to understand the types of people interested in what you do, you can better show them things they will find interesting on the platforms (online spaces) that they already use.
HOW DOES YOUR BUSINESS SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM?
There are many ways to clean a floor – I could use a mop, use floor wipes, buy a steam cleaner or hire a cleaner for the day. All of these options solve the problem: a dirty floor. The reasons I choose one option over the other may be vast and varied and it’s by understanding those reasons that someone selling me a steam cleaner with next day delivery might win over the business selling mops in a physical store. My motivation of convenience may be my highest value for this task which may mean by understanding that a company is able to upsell me to a home cleaning service for my entire house rather than just my kitchen floor.
Can you see how understanding the motivations behind a purchase can make that purchase easier for a customer to decide on?
Using buyer personas to drill down into the details of the problems and opportunities a person faces you are able to create meaningful value propositions so visitors to your website and store can see how your products solve with problems and offer them great value. By speaking in the customer’s language and from their perspective you begin to create relationships over transactions.
TRUST AND LONGEVITY
Being able to relate to visitors on your website creates trust – how much do you think your visitors currently trust your brand? You can begin to answer this question by taking a look at your website analytics or social media analytics to see how many people find you and how they interact with your brand online. Taking this one step further you can proactively create relationships with your website visitors to build trust so that it’s you they think of when they need to solve a problem.
Why should people trust a brand they may never have heard of? Because by creating an ideal buyer persona you aren’t just using your website to talk about your products and services, you have the opportunity to answer their questions.
Take a moment now and make a note of these things:
- What are the kinds of problems people looking for your product or service might have?
- What else might they want to know about dealing with this problem?
- What opportunities are there for you to be useful in this scenario?
If you have a good idea of the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to serve your visitors with meaningful information and as with my previous example, if you understand who you’re selling to, as well as why, it makes it easier for people to decide to become customers as they already have a strong impression of what your business is like.
Taking time to understand your current and future customers means you can create experiences that they will love. With your marketing, your website experience and your customer service you have an opportunity to deliver with excellence to people who may then write positive reviews, share your business on social media and become brand ambassadors – raving about your brand to their friends and family.
How to Create Your Ideal Customer Profile
How would you summarise all the details of your future customers if you don’t have any yet?
GETTING STARTED WITH A BUYER PERSONA
The terms buyer persona and customer persona can be used interchangeably at the start of your business journey and begin to differentiate as your business grows. You may also find when there are new markets you’d like to target online it helps to have a buyer persona in mind. A customer persona refers to those who are already customers or very likely to buy and become customers. We may ask ourselves slightly different questions about these people depending on where in the buying journey these people are on our website.
Let’s start with customers you already have:
- Why did they buy from you?
- What did they like or dislike about buying from you?
- What do your most satisfied customers have in common?
Picking up on general trends like this help to narrow the audience and add useful details that serve the development of your business model and website design to give the best service and experience to your customers.
If you don’t have any customers yet then start to think about the reasons people might buy your product or service. Start off with some gut-instincts and educated guesses, look at trends and evaluate competitors – but test these assumptions with real-life examples as soon as your business is able to.
Remember this is a typical customer, a semi-fictional stereotype. It’s there to guide the way to you speak, interact and solve your customer’s problems. Make it personal.
Remember what we said about solving people’s problems – the more context we have with a person the better we can contextualise our solution as the most suitable.
- Give your persona a name
- Identify demographics
- Detail psychographics
- Highlight internet preferences
- Brand Association
Give your buyer persona a name, we recommend an alliterative one that sticks in the mind, like Trendy Tracy – who visits eCommerce stores that sell customised t-shirt prints with next day delivery. Once your persona has a name we’ll move on to the detail.
Customer Persona Demographics
Customer demographics are the details of a person’s social or economic status.
Great! You have a name for your ideal customer, use that name to refer to them, make them as real as possible. Trendy Tracy can really come to life.
Include details such as:
- Job status
- Marriage/Family status
- Education level
- Interests and Hobbies
Starting with demographics immediately begins to fit Trendy Tracy (and your persona) into a stereotype that makes our website design, content and marketing easier to create.
Trendy Tracy is a 35 year old, single mom with 2 children 10 & 12. She works full time as a mid-level manager and drives to work. She takes 2 longer holidays a year, 1 over Christmas and another over the summer where she takes the boys abroad with their grandparents.
Straightaway, we know how to speak to Trendy Tracey, what perspective she is seeing the world from. We can create a journey on our website that suits a busy person like Trendy Tracy and may offer her the option to create an account so it’s easy for her to shop with us again.
You’re probably already looking at the details from your persona and thinking about your product or service through their eyes. Use these starting details to create a journey that suits how your persona already lives life.
Customer Persona Psychographics
Psychographics are the psychological aspects of a person we also need to consider when talking to potential customers.
These aspects of the customer may come to you more easily, as some of your pain points and frustrations may have led you to become a seller in the first place.
In this section, we place all those factors that might affect the buyer’s journey, how they might experience our site and how we might reduce any challenges and overcome any barriers with them.
Fill this section with:
- What frustrations and challenges do your customers have?
- What are the real pain points for them?
- What motivates them?
- What makes them satisfied with a service or product?
- What do they read or listen to?
- What do they say, do they have a motto they live by?
- What might they think or feel when visiting your website or buying your product online?
This is a really great opportunity to scrutinise your business from another perspective. By taking on the buyer persona’s point of view you may even begin to see your products differently and begin to understand that it’s not the wowing features that helps a person decide to be a customer, but the ways it benefits them personally.
Trendy Tracy sometimes feels guilty that she works so much, she can’t always be there to pick the kids up from school and she always looks forward to the time off she has with them. They don’t like shopping but do like the laptop so she really feels like she’s bonding with them when they do online shopping for their holidays. Easily selecting clothes in different sizes and colours means that Tracy can shop in fewer places online and she doesn’t have to be in the house with lots of packages arriving.
With this extra context about stresses, strains and motivations of your customers you are able to see the most obvious value points of your product for the customer – how will it ease their pain points (eg. with quick checkout?), how will using it make them feel (eg. I bought this to save time/ look great / workout harder).
Taking your online business to the next level means knowing where your customers are online and how to get their attention.
Look at Trendy Tracy and ask yourself where you think she spends her time online; now do the same with your persona.
- What devices do they use?
- Do they shop on their smartphone?
- Is their web browser important for viewing your website?
- Do they google things when they have a problem, what are they likely to say?
- Do they use social media?
Knowing this about your customers will help you meet them where they are, be useful to them when they are looking and support them to make great decisions. This will fuel your marketing efforts and allow you to target your efforts to the areas of biggest reward.
Trendy Tracy uses her laptop to make the purchases with the boys but often looks for inspiration on Instagram. Her sons watch youtube videos and tell her the names of gamers they watch, she finds them on Instagram and looks out for t-shirt styles like theirs.
With this in mind, we can tell we need social media to be part of our marketing strategy, perhaps there are opportunities to create relationships with online gamers and our printed t-shirts – maybe even create customised versions for gamers with big followings.
Download your guide for more details on creating your ideal buyer persona!
Your website is your company’s greatest salesperson, customise your website feel and look to suit your ideal customer. Present your brand online to build relationships, not just transactions.
Once you have completed your first buyer persona outline you will likely find that it shapes all the actions that come next. If you haven’t started yet then let it feature in the way you create your website navigation and the content on your site. Having an ideal customer persona will encourage your brand tone of voice even in your product descriptions, to align with their to their desires, needs and solutions.
To build a truly great online experience you build it with someone in mind. If you’re struggling to create a truly remarkable online experience for your visitors, why not book a call with us to discuss your current challenges.
Review and Revise
Your customer’s won’t stay the same forever!
Remember that your first buyer persona is just a starting point. As your audience grows and your products diversify you may find there are several personas that are suited to and will love your products. I recommend creating no more than 3 personas as a starting point to develop a strong brand voice and position in your industry.
Over time customers may change, trends will develop and internet usage will alter. Your customer personas need to be adjusted to reflect that. As your business grows it’s important to keep every member of your marketing, sales and service teams up to date with your buyer personas’ are so that visitors continue to discover your website and be delighted by your products.