Beginner’s Guide to Developing Ecommerce Buyer Personas
Buyer personas – detailed representations of a business’s ideal customers – used to be developed by large companies alone.
These days however, practically every small to medium business is developing their own customer personas and reaping the benefits.
Because these fictional profiles so closely resemble target consumers and possess qualities that make them seem real and relatable, it’s easier to make tailored and more effective marketing strategies for them.
Creating personas is relatively easy, but if you’re still a newbie at the task, it can seem intimidating. How on earth are you supposed to create a detailed, accurate, fictional customer profile?
To help you get started, here are four simple steps:
Begin with the Broad Strokes.
First, start with the general type of customer you think your business is most likely targeting.
If you already have existing customers, you can base this general grouping on them. Identify what they are.
Are they end consumers? Are they resellers? Are they all men, women, or a mix of both? Who are the most frequent customers and who are the least frequent?
From here, you can already start to see how many personas you can develop. Most experts recommend making three to five personas as these numbers are big enough to represent variety, yet small enough to maintain specificity.
Fill in the Profile.
Once you’ve figured out your general personas, it’s time to fill in the details. These include:
- Age range
- Job title
- Income level
- Relationship status
- Educational attainment
Depending on the type of business you have and your target consumers, you may need many other basic details, or need a different set altogether. Always consider what consumer specifics are pertinent to your business.
You’ll need to find more information on your ideal buyer. To do this, you’ll need to do a bit of research. Thankfully, there are plenty of reliable online sources where you’ll find the information you need.
To make an even more detailed persona, you need to determine your customers’ fears, hopes, values, hobbies, the places they frequent, and many other details. You also need to determine where they get their news, and whether or not they are computer literate.
So where do you get all these information? If you already have an existing business with a Facebook page, you can refer to Facebook Insights, a tool that already comes with your page and is chock-full of information about your page visitors. You can also check your other social media sites, like Twitter and Pinterest to know more about your consumers’ interests.
If you have a website, you can check out Google Analytics Audience Reports, which has robust information regarding your site visitors. If you already have existing customers, you could also have them fill out surveys and questionnaires, or talk to them personally. Find out what their biggest concerns are, what motivates them to make a purchase, what keeps them loyal to a business and why they chose your business in particular. You want to get as much input from them as you can since these are your actual customers and you want to attract more of them.
Don’t have an established business or online presence? Not to worry. Check out your biggest competitors online. Check their blogs and social media sites and find out more about the people that comment and interact with them.
Humanize your personas.
Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to “humanize” your personas, or make them seem like real people.
Why do this, you ask?
Giving your personas more personal traits helps you look at them as real people, not just a set of dry statistics and information. So when the time comes that you have to come up with an effective marketing strategy, instead of asking, “Will this work with this demographic?” you ask, “Is Lisa going to like this?” By doing so you are able to empathize more with your consumers, and consequently create more personalized, targeted and effective marketing strategies.
So how do you “humanize” your personas? Give them fictional names, pictures, and attach real quotes (if you have them) from actual customers to their profiles. You can use a name generator and grab images online so long as these profiles are only used internally.
Voila! Now you have your buyer personas completed and ready to use. You now have all the information about your consumer to ensure the greatest level of success for your marketing efforts. But remember, as your business grows and evolves, so will your ideal consumers. You may also learn more about your consumers through more interactions with them. Make sure that as you evolve and learn new information about your consumers, you also update your buyer personas to keep them relevant and effective.