Online stores and companies use buyer personas to specifically narrow down their target audience. They serve as so-called archetypes and describe an ideal customer for the offered products and services. Existing data, interviews and surveys serve as the basis for a detailed description of customer personas. It is not necessary to limit yourself to one single persona, as different buyer personas help to put a human face on your target customers and to optimally map the path of their buyer's journey.
Table of contents
A buyer persona describes a typical customer (fictional person) who serves as a more precise definition of a company's target audience. It focuses on the individual person rather than the total number of people, and sheds more light on the ideal customers. It also makes the target group seem more human by analyzing the person's behavior (needs, wants, goals, etc.). This way, companies gain deep insights into the emotional world of the individual.
With the right approach, companies can attract the perfect clients or customers for their products or services. Before prospects make a buying decision, research is essential in both B2B and B2C. If only other companies can answer buyers' questions, they'll choose to buy from the competition. Initially, a company's focus is often on its own processes rather than its customers – product information is paramount, while customer questions are secondary.
In the ecommerce sector in particular, the right degree of sensitivity towards potential customers is required. Without successful marketing and communication, your brand will quickly get lost in the crowd of competitors. But attracting the attention of the ideal group of buyers is crucial for future success.
Before starting your own marketing activities, it is important to internalize the Buyer's Journey. An intuitive way of thinking usually does not lead to the desired goal. It is better to take a closer look at the stages that lead to the purchase decision:
Awareness Stage: Awareness is created → “I am always freezing on the way to work.”
Consideration Stage: Consideration: “What can I do to stop freezing?”
Decision Stage: Decision to buy gloves or a hat.
Depending on the product or service, the buyer's journey varies. If companies do not understand their customers and put a certain level of effort and understanding in their strategy, they will lose significant leads and sales.
By defining a target audience, companies can perfectly align their marketing campaigns. This includes all potential customers and leads to narrowing the market. Marketing segmentation helps with this.
Social demographics (age, generation, gender, education).
Actions (new customer vs. regular customer)
Psychographic characteristics (early vs. late adopter)
Media adoption (Which social media channels does the target audience use?).
Facebook campaigns, for example, work on a similar principle. Business owners select the audience they want to play with a few clicks and a selection of criteria. However, compared to the buyer persona, the target group is faceless and covers a wide range of customers. This group is heterogeneous to a certain degree, but imprecise in the specific representation of the buyers.
One thing every business owner should keep in mind: A buyer persona is a work in progress. Once it is created, it needs to be adjusted again and again. Information from your own customer data and market research flow together to form the big picture.
Demographics (background): What is the persona's name? How old is she? What is her gender, and where does she live? Does she have a family?
Cause: Why is she a customer? Why does she buy from your company? Why is the customer looking for a solution?
Benefits: What benefits does the customer derive from his own company? How does the brand help achieve goals and overcome problems? What benefits are important to the customer?
Problems/objections: Why don't customers buy from you? Why are competitors better?
Customer/Buyer's Journey: What is the customer's buying journey? Which influencers do they trust? How do they decide at each stage?
Product features: What is essential to the customer? What do alternatives offer?
The number of buyer personas created varies greatly by industry, company, and even products and services. The profile is completed with an appropriate photo.
At the beginning is the business idea: What product or service is the focus? Based on this, a buyer persona can be developed. A list of questions helps to narrow things down:
What contacts does the sales department have?
Where does decision-making authority lie in purchasing?
Who has significant influence over products and services?
What are the influencers in the area?
Too many buyer personas cannot be served at once. Therefore, it is advisable to create one at the beginning and then test which marketing measures work with two or three fixed personas. Since a strategy is required for each buyer persona, the company saves a lot of effort.
To better align the buyer persona with the right customer base, interviews with existing customers, leads, or competitors are useful. These five topics serve as a guide for an informative conversation:
Triggers: Why did the buyer purchase your products or services?
Success Factors: What personal and business success does the buyer expect?
Perceived barriers: What obstacles are in the buyer's way?
Customer journey: What does the buying decision depend on? What influences it?
Decision criteria: How do buyers feel about competitors' products and what are their expectations?
It does not make sense to conduct more than eight interviews, otherwise the answers will be repetitive. The interviewee should be interviewed for about 30 minutes, in a relaxed atmosphere and with a friendly undertone. This also strengthens existing relationships.
Now that the interviews have been successfully conducted, it is time to analyze them. All meaningful answers should be collected in one document. It is a good idea to assign these quotes to the five topic areas mentioned above (triggers to decision criteria) in order to create a buyer persona and keep track of everything.
A buyer persona is developed in a team of several people, for example in a workshop. A short presentation of the results should be included at the beginning. The data collected is a good basis for creating a profile.
Important: The persona should have a name and all information of the profile should be filled in. Brainstorming sessions and a lively exchange in the team make sure to achieve this.
What are the goals?
Where are there problems?
How can my company help?
To avoid stagnation, it is important to constantly update your buyer personas. A new interview is also a good way to find out how your audience is changing. Once a buyer persona is defined, additional personas can be created.
Buyer personas help companies to better understand their target audience and to view their offerings from their perspective. Once the data is collected, it can be used to create new personas.
Content Marketing Strategy
Developing a content strategy is significant to meet all customers at the right place along the customer journey.
To help users find the right content, the website path must be intuitive.
With the right marketing strategy, such as campaigns in social networks (social commerce, etc.), companies can reach the desired target group. This also reduces marketing costs.
The production and development of offers can be precisely tailored to personas. What design is appealing? What products does the target group want?
The sales team knows what is important and understands the pain points of the buyer personas. The likes and dislikes of potential buyers are known and can be better analyzed.
As a customer, you have high expectations for support from your company. Everyone wants to be understood, and having a personal customer service representative increases the value of the customer experience.
A negative persona helps to exclude people from the buyer's journey who do not qualify as customers. Companies do not need to go into as much detail here as when developing personas. However, it is useful to note which people fall outside the scope of the dream customer.
A buyer persona is a fictional character that helps companies target their marketing strategy. It provides a human, close-up picture of a specific person from the entire target audience.
While a target group represents the big picture and is a more impersonal group of people, a buyer persona is a specific person based on data from interviews and experiences with a company.
Interviews with existing customers or leads are the best way to determine a buyer persona. In addition, a team of people should come together to define it.