Using a buyer persona is a great way to understand your target customers, identify their unique pain points, and establish meaningful methods to create a genuine connection is paramount in generating new clients and catering to and maintaining existing customers.
One of the crucial elements of operating a successful eCommerce business is knowing precisely who your target audience is and developing a comprehensive profile of this particular buyer persona.
Tapping into your ideal customer demographic and generating a profit will be that much more challenging if you don’t have at least a basic idea of who, specifically, you want to sell to.
This article will cover:
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a research-based profile that encapsulates and defines your target audience. You may also see or hear it described as a customer or marketing persona or profile.
In simpler terms, buyer personas are archetypes or models of real customers that allow companies to craft calculated marketing strategies promoting their products and services to the people they want to purchase them.
Buyer personas consist of several key demographics and custom indicators. Such examples might include who the business’s ideal customers are, where they spend time online, what resources they trust, the pain points they might face, and how they make various decisions.
With so many different factors falling under the same umbrella, it isn’t uncommon for companies to have more than one buyer persona.
For instance, if someone requires approval before purchasing your product or service, each person involved in that process represents a separate, distinct buyer persona.
Each individual will also have a unique canon for evaluating the product in question. You would need to create separate unique strategies to address the needs of every person on the ladder.
However, this scenario may not present itself for small to medium-sized businesses right away. Buyer personas can develop and change over time – they’re not static.
Why are Buyer Personas Important?
Buyer personas help you better understand your customers and relate to your target audience. They provide valuable insight into how your product or service can target your customers’ pain points or improve their quality of life.
The concept of a buyer persona does not necessarily only extend to a business’s existing customers or clients.
A buyer persona can also be used to gain insight into the target audience to develop more advantageous marketing, sales, and product development strategies. They allow businesses to carry out more informed decisions that will be more likely to generate profit and drive sales.
With this understanding, buyer personas are just as much about the bigger picture as they are about the specifics of each separate initiative within the business.
In other words, generating an informed buyer persona can help determine precisely where companies should invest the most time, money and effort to see the highest return.
Ultimately, outlining a buyer persona should be at the heart of creating your overall business strategy. The way companies find this crucial information is through conducting rigorous market research.
As we said, the information resulting from these inquiries helps fuel everything from top to bottom, including product development, marketing initiatives, and more. It all comes down to gaining a comprehensive understanding of your target audience to motivate customers to travel through your sales funnel.
Essentially, this crucial data is used across the business to develop strategies surrounding:
- How to position and guide product development
- What types of content your target customers find the most interesting or engaging in terms of social media, website, and blog content
- How to follow up on inbound leads
- How to best address and conduct customer acquisition and retention efforts
Without the relevant, contextual knowledge to help form the above strategies, it will be difficult for your business to create a genuine and authentic connection with your various types of customers.
This lack of connection may lead your company to experience a loss of customer trust and interest, resulting in decreased engagement and brand loyalty.
If this happens, there isn’t much keeping your customers from venturing to the next company, namely one of your competitors, to have these needs met.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
The best buyer personas will be the result of both internal and external research. Small to medium-sized eCommerce businesses should start small as buyer personas are likely to change and evolve as your business scales over time.
Arguably the most straightforward method for developing a buyer persona is creating a buyer persona template. A buyer persona template is a framework that outlines the various characteristics of your ideal customers.
There are multiple avenues to pursue to create a well-rounded, comprehensive buyer persona template, including but not limited to:
Conducting Research into Target Demographics
Buyer personas consist of real-world data gathered through meticulous market research. The most basic level of data a company should include in its buyer persona template should consist of various demographics such as:
- Level of income (including annual income)
- Purchasing behaviours
- Pain points
- Family status/stage of life (this is particularly pertinent for B2C – business to consumer – brands)
- Education level (this is particularly crucial for content marketing teams)
Age and gender are particularly significant and should be as precise as possible. These insights directly correlate to creating the tone and style for various copywriting and digital content creation, design elements and how your social media and sales team communicate with your target customers.
Companies can gain insights into most of the above demographics through digging through social media analytics, Google Analytics, and their dedicated customer database.
In the eCommerce space, it pays – figuratively and literally – to conduct further research into the specific social media platforms your target customers use. This data serves to demonstrate where your customers spend the most time online and how to best reach and engage with them.
Identifying Customer Pain Points
This information is where your business’s marketing staff and sales team should pay the closest attention. By learning the specific problems your ideal customer base is facing, your company can strategically place itself and its products as a plausible and accessible solution.
You can begin by asking the following questions:
- What are the issues your ideal customer base is looking to solve?
- What are the obstacles inhibiting their success or decreasing their quality of life?
- Where, specifically, are your target customer populations expressing or posting these grievances?
More often than not, in the digital world that we live in, it’s simple to find this information via social media or other similar digital forums.
Additionally, setting up notifications to monitor any mentions of your brand, products, and competitors provides key insights into what consumers are saying about your company online.
It’s also beneficial to keep a close eye on any frequently asked questions posed to your customer service team to comprehend further the potential barriers or adverse factors hindering your customers’ experience.
Establishing Your Product or Service as a Helpful Solution
By identifying any recurring patterns or pain points your customers may be experiencing, you can accurately establish and set into motion the necessary steps to generate plausible, lasting solutions.
To get into the headspace to conquer this task objectively, you’ll need to venture beyond your brand’s features and delve deeper into examining what your business offers. In other words, your value proposition.
This isn’t necessarily an easy task, and it may difficult to transition from a marketing or sales mindset to placing yourself in your customers’ shoes.
To phrase it simply, a feature is the intended purpose of your product and what it does.
A benefit is how this item helps improve the lives of its user or make things easier.
Essentially, there are a few fundamental questions to pose for any pain points you’ve uncovered:
- How can our business help rectify this concern?
- What is our target persona’s main hindrance that’s keeping them from making a purchase? How can we help customers overcome them?
- What stage are potential customers at in the sales funnel? Are they only aware of our product or service, or are they ready to take action and make a purchase?
As we mentioned, keeping track of how users discuss your business online, frequently screening social media, and remaining in close contact with your customer service team are effective methods for learning any potential grievances.
From there, you can more accurately implement actionable goals to generate solutions.
Examples of Buyer Persona
The general content of buyer personas may seem generic and applicable across the board.
However, some circumstantial differences are worth highlighting as they can make a significant difference in how you go about creating a specific buyer persona template.
Below, we will highlight two buyer persona scenarios in a buyer-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) context.
B2C Buyer Persona
In the instance of buyer-to-consumer buyer persona examples, the business relationship is in the name. Your company is selling directly to the individual consumer. This person is deciding whether to purchase from you with their own funds and unique purchasing behaviours.
B2B buyer personas should focus on the person’s day-to-day lifestyle and how they make purchasing decisions. Often, in an eCommerce context, you don’t need lengthy descriptors to create a buyer persona template.
In this scenario, the strategic approach would be to hone in on who these buyers are by understanding their background demographic, lifestyle, where they go for reliable and trustworthy information, and potential challenges and pain points they may face.
To collect more in-depth insights, your company may want to interview actual clients and customers as well as potential customers in focus groups. From there, you may choose to integrate real, authentic quotes to provide a healthy dose of reality to the fictional buyer persona template.
B2B Buyer Persona
B2C buyer persona examples like B2C marketing persona examples should also focus on individual customers.
However, these examples incorporate more distinct details surrounding where these ideal customers work, their specific position or role, and how they interact with their professional organization.
In this particular scenario, the customer may not have full autonomy over the purchase-making decisions.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, if someone requires approval before buying your product or using your service, each person involved in that decision-making process acts as a separate, unique buyer persona. As such, their details should be integrated into your overall description.
A buyer persona template can still be short and to the point so long as it includes all of the necessary details, including who the client is, their job position and their level of autonomy regarding making decisions at the organization.
You can opt to delve into greater detail by exploring the specific purchasing decisions and the various internal and external influences that may impact these choices.
In terms of structure for the buyer persona template, it can vary.
That said, it’s still crucial to include similar factors to the B2C buyer persona, such as pain points.
However, for B2B buyer persona examples, it also helps to integrate other relevant data such as specific organizational priorities, goals and objectives, perceived barriers, and decision-making criteria.
As you can likely tell, these buyer persona templates contain a lot of information. As such, it’s easier to break it down into bullet points, tabs or separate sections to make it easier to reference.
There are several methods to approach creating buyer personas. Ultimately, it comes down to finding which strategy will work best for your particular business.
That said, before even attempting to create a buyer persona template, it’s best to take a step back and evaluate your company’s various needs, goals, and objectives to create the optimal jumping-off point.
From there, you will be in the ideal position to align these ambitions and targets and logistically generate a reliable and accurate buyer persona. This foresight allows you to create a comprehensive profile of your ideal customer.
Buyer personas allow your company to understand its target consumer base better and create captivating content that serves not only as a practical revenue-generating tool but as a reliable resource that customers will return to time and time again, as well.
These key insights are crucial in developing fine-tuned marketing strategies that drive sales and generate profits while also keeping your customers engaged and satisfied. In this way, it literally pays to know your customers!