Tagged: Buyer Personas
- by Lauren Wagn
Chances are you’ve been part of an eCommerce sales funnel.
You see a new brand on Instagram. Their product catches your eye as you scroll your feed and soon you’re looking at a post on their page from 52 weeks ago. They’ve convinced you! Next thing you know you’ve ordered from their website and are eagerly awaiting the package in the mail.
Does this sound familiar? This isn’t by accident. That brand probably had a killer eCommerce content strategy.
The most successful businesses don’t just post on the fly. Everything they do is perfectly curated to help consumers along their sales funnel and one step closer to purchasing their product.
Want to learn how to do it, too? Well then keep reading!
Why is content strategy important for eCommerce?
With an estimated 12 million to 24 million eCommerce businesses on the internet, setting yourself apart from the pack is crucial. While your brand may be unique, you need to convey this to consumers.
Luckily, you’re marketing in the same space you’re selling in.
This is where content creation and strategy comes in.
Posting consistently just isn’t enough. You need a good strategy to guide your decisions and get the results you want. This is where content strategy comes in.
By auditing your process, you can see where exactly you need to improve. This isn’t a one-time action, however. To keep reaching your goals, you’ll need to continue to edit and improve your strategy.
What are your brand’s goals?
The first step is looking at where your business is currently and where you would like it to be in the future. This will vary from organization to organization.
What would you like your business to achieve?
Here are some potential goals to consider:
- Higher conversion rate
- Better return on investment (ROI)
- Increased sales
- More engagement on social media
Take this time to compile data on your brand’s current position. Without knowing where you are, it’s hard to determine where you’re going. This will also act as your starting point when comparing future data.
Once you understand where you’d like to see your business it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get there.
Who is your ideal audience?
Your ideal audience is who is going to help you reach your goals. But first, you need to figure out who they are and how to reach them.
They’re also known as buyer personas. Don’t limit yourself to a single buyer persona as this can constrict your growth. Get creative and determine an array of people that can be helped by your product.
These personas are made up of several components:
- Demographic: This is quantitative information about your ideal audiences such as age, location, income, and gender.
- Psychographic: As the name implies, this focuses more on the psychological characteristics of your clientele. Personality, interests, attitudes, and views are all covered under this.
- Buying habits: This is a reflection of both the product you sell and the audience’s psychographics. Will they need a lot of information and time before making a purchase or will they impulsively buy?
- Pain points and goals: Look at what problem your potential customers may be having or, alternatively, look at where your customer aspires to be and how you can help them get there.
Now write it down!
Create profiles of who may be consuming your content. Give them names, backgrounds, behaviours, and desires. This will help you formulate how you’re going to address them through your content strategy.
We have a whole guide on creating these buyer personas in case you get stuck!
How does your audience consume content?
Once you know who you’re making content for, you’ll need to determine where they’ll be most likely to consume it. Otherwise, all your hard work copywriting is for naught.
Your buyer persona profiles will come in handy here. With the information you’ve gathered on who you want to be your audience, you can research where this particular audience is.
If you’ve determined that your ideal customer is a Baby Boomer, then TikTok probably isn’t the channel to reach them as only 5% of Boomers have a TikTok account.
That doesn’t mean using a single channel, however. While one channel may be the most successful based on your research, it is still important to spread your content strategy across multiple channels to increase its reach.
This is also the time to consider what hashtags will help land your content in front of your ideal customers.
For example, if your ideal audience is health-conscious, the hashtag #friesbeforeguys will not be the best route to their Explore page.
What kind of content will help move your customers through the sales funnel?
This is where the “strategy” in content strategy starts to shine.
If your marketing terminology is a little rusty, a sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey that the customer takes that begins with awareness of the brand and ends in a sale. (P.S. we have a blog post with 20+ useful marketing terms here.)
Each step of the funnel requires different content to keep the momentum moving.
The steps are:
- Awareness: This is when the consumer first hears about your brand. Types of content that can help you hit this first step are promoted or hashtagged social media posts, evergreen content like blogs that have ended up on their search engine results page (SERP), or easy to produce content such as quizzes.
- Interest: This is when potential customers begin to look into how to solve their pain points. Content that promotes what you offer and the benefits of your product can help facilitate this step.
- Discovery: This happens when your potential customer is aware of your brand and begin seeing it as a solution to their pain points. Use content that helps finalize your product as the solution to their problems such as guides and pros and con lists.
- Action: This is when the decision is made and your potential customer converts to an actual customer. Even though they have purchased your product, there is still content strategy at play. Reinforce their decision through FAQ pages and testimonials to ensure they are repeat customers.
A content calendar can help you organize your strategy to make sure you’re posting everything you need to for customers at every stage of the sales funnel. This will help you to create consistent and high-quality content.
Start developing your eCommerce content strategy today! Click here to drop us a line and let's chat.
How well is your content working?
Content strategy is never over! Trends and algorithms are always changing and to stay at the top of your game, you need to continuously evaluate your strategy.
Create a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitor how your strategy aligns with your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase traffic to your website, what types of posts have the best clickthrough rate (CTR)?
You can also look for blockages in your sales funnel. If customers are making it to your website and stopping short of purchasing, consider what type of content you can make to address this. Maybe grabbing the attention of consumers is your strong suit but you need to work on converting them. Add this to your list of goals and audit your content.
This can also be a time to compare yourself to the competition. Research your competitor’s strategy and results and see how yours lines up. If you’ve reached your first round of goals, try using other brands as a benchmark and heighten your aspirations.
A brand is only as good as its customers think it is. Having an amazing product is only the first step. With a strong eCommerce content strategy, your brand can increase its reach and get its products in the right hands.
By knowing who your audience is and why they need your product, you can tailor your approach specifically to them. Set goals, research your ideal audience, and continuously audit your strategy to grow your business.
If you’re ready to find out why we say process equals success, then reach out and let’s chat!
- by Alyson Shane
How well do you really know your customers?
Understanding who your customers are is critical to understanding how to sell your products to them. After all: if you don't understand your customers' motivations, backgrounds, goals, and challenges, you can't show them how your product or service solves their problems.
If you're not sure, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I know what my customers' challenges are?
- What are their interests and needs?
- How old are they?
- How many years of education do they have?
- Where do they consume news and media?
These are just some of the questions you should be able to answer when it comes to your customers, and well-developed buyer personas are your key to gaining that knowledge.
In this post we'll explore buyer personas in detail, including:
- What are buyer personas?
- How to create buyer personas.
- Examples of buyer personas.
- Plus a FREE buyer persona cheat sheet!
What Are Buyer Personas?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real and researched data about your existing customers.
Buyer personas are a way of organizing and making sense of customer data and demographics, including motivations, behavior patterns, pain points, goals, and more. By grouping people into persona types its easier for businesses to understand who is buying from them, and for sales and marketing teams to develop campaigns and strategies that showcase how a business' product or service solves their problems.
However: buyer personas aren't just for sales and marketing. These should be documents that your business refers to regularly, and which are used when developing every part of your sales and marketing funnel strategy.
The number of buyer personas you'll wind up developing depends largely on your business, but generally we find that our clients tend to have at least 6-8 buyer personas each.
What Are "Negative Personas"?
If buyer personas are representations of our ideal customers, then negative personas are the opposite: they're the representations of the people we don't want as customers. After all, not every lead is going to be the right fit for your business.
Not sure why you wouldn't want to target someone? Here's a list of a few reasons:
- They don't have the budget.
- They're too advanced for what you're selling.
- They're likely to have a high churn rate (they'll stop subscribing quickly).
- The cost of acquisition (how much you spent to acquire the lead) was too high.
- They're only engaging with your content for research or knowledge.
To identify and understand these groups of people, you need to create negative or exclusionary personas.
While it may seem counterproductive to spend time getting to know the people you don't want to sell to, understanding the people you don't want to target can saver your sales and marketing teams time and money in the long run.
Bonus: Interview Your Negative Personas
If you're not sure how to build negative buyer personas, start by interviewing a sample of customers who closed but had a low average sale price, or customers who had low customer satisfaction scores, as a low score may mean they weren't the right fit for your business.
How Can You Use Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas allow you to personalize and target your marketing copy based on different segments within your audience.
For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing email to everyone in your database, you can segment your list based on buyer personas and tailor your messaging based on what you know about their different goals, motivations, and problems.
If you've taken the time to create negative personas, you'll have the advantage of being able to segment out the people you don't want to target (like friends who sign up for your newsletter, for example) which can help you earn a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer in your sales.
Other ways you can use buyer personas in your marketing copy include:
- Blog content speaking to pain points felt by different buyer persona types.
- Gated Content targeted at specific buyer persona types.
- Targeted landing pages for different customer types.
- ...and more!
How Do You Create Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas are created by doing research, interviews, and surveys of your target audience, including your customers and prospects.
Below are a few ways to gather the information you'll need to develop your buyer personas:
Conduct interviews with customers and potential customers to determine what they like about your product or service.
Ask questions about their job role, title, what a typical "day in the life" looks like (both in and outside of work), the tools they use to do their job, what their challenges are, how they acquire new information and news, etc.
Optimize Your Forms
When creating forms to use on your website, use form field to capture the important buyer persona details you need.
For example, if your buyer personas vary based on company size, include a question in a form asking prospects how many people work at their company.
Ask Your Sales Team
One of the easiest ways to build buyer personas is to talk to your sales reps and ask them about the demographics of the people they interact with day-to-day.
If you don't have a dedicated sales team, take a look at the customers or clients your business has acquired to date and see what kinds of generalizations and conclusions you can make about them.
Ask yourself: who are the people buying your products and services? How long is your sales cycle? What are some of the objections they may have before buying?
All these questions, and more, can go a long way to developing useful buyer personas.
Bonus: Start With One and Build Out
It's normal for businesses to have multiple buyer persona types, and to have several for customers in the same industry or similar purchasing positions.
Once you start to analyze the data based on your successful customers, you'll start to see where one persona ends and where another begins. This is normal: as you iterate on your personas it's normal (good, even) for more persona types to emerge.
But be careful: if you don't have enough information to completely fill a buyer persona, remove it. In fact, don't be afraid to add and remove buyer personas over time as you learn more about your target customers.
Are you ready to start creating buyer personas for your business? Click here to download your FREE buyer persona cheat sheet to get started.
Buyer Persona Examples
Use these templates below to make the process of building your buyer personas as simple and streamlined as possible:
Let's start out by looking at a quick example of a buyer persona:
Debbie Blank is a manager in a large insurance firm, and is looking for products and services that can help her with her recruiting, onboarding, and being an effective manager. As someone interested in change management training, she's a forward-thinking manager in her industry. As the Director of HR she likely has at least some degree of purchasing power within the organization.
Do you see how much information we can pull from this super-simple buyer persona?
That's the power of buyer personas: the more time we spend developing them, and the more granular we get with our data, the more vividly we can paint a portrait of our ideal customers.
The first section of your buyer persona should be dedicated to your persona's demographics, background, and key identifiers like communication preferences, education, and responsibilities.
Some examples include:
- Company size
- Job title
- Income (personal)
We want to use our buyer personas understand the situations that make customers want to buy our products or services.
This means you'll want to know the following about each buyer persona type:
- Recent changes
- Pain points
Habits refers to the information we can learn about our buyer persona types that relates to their personal habits and behaviors. Understanding who our buyers are as people (not just as consumers) helps us understand their buying patterns and how far along they may be in our sales funnel.
Some of the things we'll want to know include:
- Media consumption
- Likes / dislikes
- Research methods
- Trusted sources
Most purchases don't happen in a vacuum. In fact, within a business most purchasing decisions are only made after a the product or service has been pitched and reviewed, a budget is approved, and key stakeholders or decision makers have been involved and granted approval.
Understanding these areas of your buyer persona's life will help you identify potential objections to the sale, which you can address in your sales and marketing copy.
Some things to include are:
- Who they report to
- Buying power
- Key stakeholders
Build Your Buyer Personas Today
Investing the time to create complete, detailed buyer personas isn't just about marketing to them; it's also about developing a deep understanding of your ideal customer, and how you can keep building a business that continues to solve their problems.
Get started by downloading our free buyer persona cheat sheet now.
Are you struggling to build a digital marketing plan that gets results? Drop us a line.