5 Steps To Build Buyer Personas For Effective E-commerce Marketing

This is a guest-post from Niraj Rout who is the founder of Hiver which is a software application that helps organizations collaborate from their email inboxes.

Are you having difficulty understanding your customers and what they like? Not seeing good results through PR and paid-advertising? Not understanding what your brand’s bottom line should be?

You can solve all these problems and more by using a more strategic approach when designing your marketing campaigns and your brand. What you need are clearly defined buyer personas which you can refer to when you approaching a specific group of buyers. It guides you as to how to approach them and persuade them to use your product.

So, let’s see a few pointers that can help you build helpful and solid buyer personas for your ecommerce business:

1. The first step is to brainstorm and think it out logically

Start with a rough idea of who you think is your ideal customer. Come up with an estimate of a buyer persona. Of course, you can have more than one ideal type of customers, so nothing to worry if you come up with a couple or more.

For instance, maybe your store has products that are gender-specific or age-specific or both. This creates a scope for multiple ideal customer types or buyer personas.

Take a look at your product and think about who is buying them and what is the purchasing motivation of each buyer.

Let’s say your product is often given as a gift to spouses; in such cases, it makes sense to build a buyer persona for the gift-giver and the gift-receiver, so you can target your marketing campaigns according to who is on the other end.

2. Pull out some internal data to further improve your buyer persona

The next logical step would be to dig into your own data to further understand who is actually interested in your products. You can do this using Google Analytics demographics and interest reports.

This can help you get useful data points about your customers and their interests, such as their age, demographics, sex etc.

You can also find out how people are discovering your website – what lead them to your business in the first place and this can give you a better idea of what they are looking for.

For instance, by understanding which social network is driving more traffic to your website, you can figure the favorite hangout platform of your potential prospects and ideal buyers.

At this step, you can get a much narrower and clearer view of your buyer personas.

Some of the important components of a buyer persona that you can gain from your customer database include:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Location of the buyer
  • Interested websites and social networks
  • Buying interests and concerns
  • Profession

And so much more. Of course, you have to understand that some criteria are relevant to you and others not so much. Understanding which one’s matter is also a big step in identifying and clarifying your buyer persona.

3. Look at your competitors

At this point you have a buyer persona, that is much more refined than your initial draft, but you should further perfect it. What else can you do? Scout your competitors.

You can use a tool like Similar web to analyze the customers or visitors to your competitor’s site. This will give you a good idea of what your competition is doing. You can check to see if you are missing any components in your buyer persona, or if you didn’t notice an entire group of potential buyers etc.

You can also just research their website and check out the type of content they are publishing. This can give you a fairly good idea of whom they are targeting.

Remember that whatever your competition does should only be your reference point or a general framework for your own strategy. Blindly following them is definitely not the smart thing to do.

4. Talk to your customers; use surveys

A much more reliable source of information and intel is your customer base. This has been very helpful in my personal experience while creating buyer personas for my startup Hiver. We often saw clear patterns and clusters of information in these surveys which helped us build keen and clear personas. A great way to gather information from customers is by sending surveys. There is nothing wrong or intrusive about asking them a few questions that could help you build a stronger buyer persona.

You can send them a survey or ask them questions during the buying process or question gate some types of content.

You can ask them a lot of useful questions. For example:

  • How did you find out about our website?
  • What caused you to decide to buy this product?
  • What are you looking to gain by using our products?
  • What do you like about us?
  • Were there any concerns when deciding to purchase the product? What were they?

As long as you make it an integral part of the customer experience, without taking too much of their time, this technique will fetch you extremely helpful insights.

The important thing to remember here is to pick the right questions to ask. If you end up asking too many irrelevant questions, you will end up wasting your and their time, both.

5. Gather all the intel together

The last step is pretty straightforward. It’s now time to put all the data and intel you collected from users and your own research, into buyer personas.

You are going to come up with multiple personas and you can give each one a specific name to refer to when customizing your marketing campaign for that group.

Finally, how to use your buyer persona for marketing?

Now that you have a complete idea about a particular type of buyer, say ‘Young men’, you know what their concern points are and what they care about. You can use insights like these to compose the content for your marketing campaigns or when creating your marketing/sales pitch. Understanding your buyer persona will also help you to build your paid marketing budget.

For instance, one buyer persona of yours may care about trust and reliability of your services, and another persona might care about the exclusivity and the luxury aspect of your services. Knowing this key information can help you touch the sweet spots of your prospects and once you do that, your brand/business will automatically stand out amongst the rest of the players on the field.

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