Using buying personas? The concept itself may need a little introduction. Simply put, a buying persona is a detailed, individual profile of a typical customer. Buying personas are a tool that allows content strategists to understand a website’s target demographic. In using a buying persona, it is easier to understand and predict an individual’s reaction to a site, certain content or simply understand their buying preferences than it is to simply think of a wide, faceless demographic. Using buying personas focuses your understanding of who, why and how your site is being used by the people that it has been designed to serve. If you are struggling to accurately target your customers, using buying personas can help.
Understanding your customers is vital in creating a successful content strategy online. Website analytics are a hugely powerful tool in telling you what your key demographic is, though you will be intrinsically aware of this already. The art of using buying personas is to truly understand the individual, as part of a certain demographic, rather than as an inhuman statistic. By asking yourself questions about their lifestyles, their skills, their professional interests, their concerns, their aspirations, you will begin to understand what drives a customer to use your products and services, and what objections individuals might have to your site or message. Understanding the journey to purchase, as well as the customer engagement experience with your site, will help with all aspects of e-commerce, from marketing to sales, abandoned basket solutions to post-sales support.
How to Create a Buying Persona
To create a good buying persona, you must really step into the shoes of a potential customer. Having built a business, you will inherently know who your target market is. This can be the first of your buying personas, the imagined ‘stereotypical’ customer. When creating a buying persona, the questions you need to ask about your fictional customer are vital in being able to create a buying persona that will provide you with valuable insights.
Before you start asking the obvious product related questions about the individual, you must first create the individual. This involves thinking about the age, sex and other common demographics, their employment, their worries, their ambitions, their families and even their online habits.
Once the sense of ‘person’ has been created, it is time to look at their interaction with your site itself. What is their requirement for your product or service? How good are they with technology? How do they react to the intricacies of your website? What aspects of your product are appealing, and which are not? And finally, what has drawn them to you above the competition?
You have now created a buying persona for you site. Create another! The most important trends are found by comparing and contrasting multiple buying personas, usually around 5. Now that the ‘stereotypical’ buying persona has been created, it may be wise to look to website analytics and demographic data, as well as speaking directly to the sales department. This is because, more often than not, the sales and analytical data collated shows that there are some surprising demographical trends that may be a large portion of your sales. These surprises can be enormously useful in adding complimentary buying personas, which may provide huge insight to some misunderstood trends, or enable you to open up new, lucrative areas.
How to use Buyer Personas
In comparing four or five buying personas, you can start to see common trends, or at least a common path to the decision to buy. Or to walk away from the purchase. In understanding what problems that your service is being used to solve, and how easy and enjoyable the path to purchase is for a particular set of buying personas, you will be able to adjust your messaging and site mapping to ease their journey, and to build trust and loyalty to your brand. A successful website design and marketing strategy can be created much more accurately with the use of good quality, insightful buying personas.