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Not everyone is your customer. So, before spending thousands of dollars on your marketing campaigns, it’s important to know who you are trying to reach.
Creating customer personas should be the first step to any marketing campaign.
What you will learn:
- How to increase sales using customer personas
- How to create customer personas without breaking the bank?
- Case studies on popular brands’ success and failure.
- How to use your customer persona to 10X revenues?
To learn more, keep reading.
Susan, David, Matt, Monica, or John – one of these personas can be your customer. Consider them hypothetical representations of your target audience’s fears, favorite places online, and motivation to purchase your product.
If you’re like many small business owners who don’t have the means to hire a full-blown marketing team, it’s up to you to identify what makes your customers tick. Here is what we have done for our customer personas at Wooassist.
According to eMarketer’s latest forecasts, e-commerce sales worldwide will reach $22.492 trillion this year. The forecast includes a breakdown of total retail, and retail e-commerce sales in 22 countries.
With many ecommerce stores found on the web today, coming up with an effective marketing campaign can help a company get ahead of the competition.
Why Do Some Marketing Campaigns Succeed And Others Fail?
It’s very important for marketers to put themselves into the shoes of their target audience. Companies that know how to think like, feel like and behave like their potential customers have the definite advantage.
It’s not a new technique.
Think of your favorite book author or screenwriter. When working on a new character, they write about every possible detail, from that character’s life, background and thought process.
Why Creating Customer Personas are Important?
Customer personas are becoming increasingly useful not only for large companies, but also for smaller online retailers. It’s now possible to have ultra-targeted ads and communications.
Take a look at Facebook’s advanced targeting when it comes to their advertising:
One can target a very specific audience. You can base it on a customer’s location, age, language spoken, education level and interests. To do this effectively, a company needs to define their customer personas.
Case Study 1: Subway’s Jared
Subway, a popular fast-food franchise for sandwiches, named their fictional persona Jared. He is an overweight American who wants an easy-to-follow, affordable diet plan with lots of choices and familiar foods.
When Subway has to make a marketing decision, they first ask, “Would Jared want this?”
This buyer persona helped Subway redefine itself as a healthy place to eat, and they reorganized its menu to highlight its low-calorie meal options.
So, are you ready to revamp your advertising?
If you’re planning to start an e-commerce business, or already have an existing one, it’s time to discover the concept of Customer Persona, and how it can help you grow success.
Personas are fictional, generalized characters built from the real words of real consumers. They incorporate the various goals, needs, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers.
It is not merely a description.
More than a one-dimensional profile, it delves more on the specific attitudes, concerns and criteria that drive prospective customers to choose you, or your competitor. When you have these insights, you have the knowledge to align your marketing decisions.
SUSAN is one example of a customer persona.
Watch the video below:
Before going through the basic customer persona template, it’s important to know where to get all the information you need – sources to help your persona take shape.
Take a look on these three places:
- Site analytics.
Take advantage of your site’s analytics. It’ll allow you to see what led your audience to your site, and even the device they used. Take note of where they came from, the keywords they’ve used, and how long they’ve spent on your site.
- Social Media.
They call it ‘social media listening’. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. – explore on the different social media platforms to find your potential customers and get to know them. What are their questions, or common problems? How can your products or services be the solution?
- Surveys and interviews.
Personas will become more useful if they’re based on interviews, or surveys, gathered from the buyers themselves, customer service interactions, and even sales people. These data can reveal a deeper insight into a customer’s goals and values.
Components of a Customer Persona
When creating your persona, you need to address include several of its components. Take a closer look at your customer base. Identify both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ customers to get a more rounded understanding.
Let’s go through the ABCs of creating your customer personas:
It may seem unnecessary, but giving the persona a name is essential. It makes the persona closer to resembling a real person. It will also be easier to refer to your persona, instead of having to refer to it as a broad idea.
This includes the basic background information, including demographics and psychographics. Age, gender, location, family life, likes and dislikes, and location – these data will help you understand the motivations of your audience when it comes to navigating.
Remember SUSAN – what was her goal when looking for a product? It’s to get the best price. Setting goals for your persona helps in identifying the results they want. Do they shop by price? Do they want to find a vendor they can work with quickly?
How comfortable is your character online? Understanding their technical skills lets a business build its website in a way that customers can navigate with ease. It tells you how your audience interacts with your brand.
What platforms are they using to get to your website? Your website should have a responsive design, so it can render correctly in any device. Including this in your persona ensures that your website is optimized.
Once you really get to know your customers, you will be able to make a more meaningful connection. Using a combination of raw data and educated guesses, which can include demographics and behavior, you will be able to create a client persona that portrays your model customer.
Give Your Persona a Name
It can be whatever you choose. Humanize it – give it a real name and even a photo. This psychological detail allows a marketer to see his products from the persona’s perspective.
GardenWare does a good job of identifying their customer persona by creating two distinct profiles of their customers.
Job, role, and company.
The best resource for these data is from surveys or interview results. Build surveys that include a field for job title, or type of business.
For this section of your template, don’t just rely on your best educated guesses. You can get some insight from Google Analytics and survey results.
Five dimensions available include Age, Gender, Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments, and Other Categories.
Affinity Categories identifies users in terms of lifestyle. In-Market Segments identifies users in terms of their product-purchase interests. On the other hand, ‘Other Categories’ provides a more specific, focused view.
Google Analytics can also reveal the interests of your site’s visitors. Once you know their interests, you can come up with more customer-oriented posts and ads, in any platform.
For data which are not found on your analytics, you can check on your survey or interview results. Make sure to ask the right questions to get the most accurate responses.
Goals, Obstacles, Values and Fears.
To determine objectives, customer interviews will be of great help. As you identify these data, also come up with your solutions in order to help them meet their goals and overcome their challenges.
After creating your fictional buyer, tailor your marketing message by identifying words that are likely to gain their attention. Make an effort to find out what triggers them to make a purchase. Common buzz words may include coupon, bargain, and sale.
How Many Do You Need?
You don’t have to minimize a thousand clients into just one representative. Ideally, there should be about 3 to 5 buyer personas for each business. These personas will be changing along with the growth of your store. You’ll have to review them from time to time.
Modern consumers are smarter. They know when they’re being manipulated.
With a poorly-written content that’s all ‘sales talk’, that’s exactly what you’re making them feel. Be strategic and relate to them more as ‘human beings’. You’ll need a persona template, which you could apply in your marketing campaigns.
Case Study 2: MailChimp Persona Research
Let’s take a look at MailChimp’s persona research. Their objective was to ‘find out who really uses MailChimp’. They believed that what they needed was a clear idea of their current users, to better empathize with them.
Here’s the process of their research:
- They interviewed stakeholders in order to identify who uses MailChimp. They were given the same characteristics – smart, self-reliant, and techie. Thus, they came up with the customer persona ‘Fred’.
- As for their next step, they ranked their pool of active users by industry. It was found that a huge number of MailChimp customers were represented by the nonprofits, education, and the arts.
- Subjects from popular industries were identified and interviewed. Customers were met at their workplaces, in different locations of North America and Europe. Data gathered also included the workplace’s environment, the customer’s emotional state, etc.
- Findings were organized and analyzed, and MailChimp discovered a lot of similarities across different roles or types of customers.
- MailChimp ended up with five archetypical personas, which they used as guides in developing MailChimp. The last step was sharing the outcome with the team. So, they created posters that now adorn the walls of their HQ.
Done with your customer persona? Great!
Now, it’s time to put those personas to work. Here are ways for you to start using them in order to make smarter marketing decisions.
Post Social Updates in Their Language.
When you post social updates, use the language your buyer persona uses. Is your persona a stay-at-home mom, or the head of the human resources? Speak like how you’d talk to someone in real life. Doing so can make your brand relatable.
Create Their Favorite How-To Blogs.
Even Google reminds online marketers to create relevant, educational content. With customer personas, you will be able to create content that makes a more meaningful connection. Write about the solution to their problems.
Customize Your Keyword Strategy.
Part of creating your persona is knowing their challenges. What’s the phrasing they’ll most likely use to search for solutions? Take this opportunity to customize your SEO, optimize content, and target keywords your buyer persona uses.
Create Offers That Can Solve Their Problems.
What does your target audience want help with? Since you have identified your customer persona’s fears and common obstacles, you will be able to offer effective solutions. This will mean more leads!
Align Campaigns With Your Persona’s Lifestyle
Is your buyer persona a night owl, or more of a morning person? What’s his or her daily lifestyle nuances? Let’s say your target audience goes on a vacation every summer. You can align your campaigns during that month.
Apply Technology They Know How to Use.
Asking your customers to use a technology type that they aren’t comfortable using is not really a smart move. Take for example – making them download a mobile app when they don’t have a smartphone. Again, the platform they’re using is an important component to consider.
Mold Sales to Your Persona’s Decision-Making.
Is your buyer persona the budget conscious type? During the buying cycle, what information does he or she need to go through with the sale? This is a crucial information which can help your sales.
Case Study 3: JC Penney’s Big Mistake
JC Penney Corp. is a well-known chain of American mid-range department stores based in Texas. In June 2011, the company announced that they’ve hired Ron Johnson as CEO. He was the man in charge of Apple’s profitable retail stores, dubbed as Steve Jobs’ acolyte.
In just a month of his being CEO, Johnson suggested a radical rebranding.
The plan was to create a more youth-oriented Penney, getting rid of its addiction to price promotions. The outcome was disastrous. JC Penney totally abandoned their existing customer personas. They have alienated traditional customers, without attracting new ones.
Around 16 months later, Johnson was out. Penney lost $1 billion during his one full year as CEO. After Johnson was gone, the company restored its past philosophy.
Ron Johnson admitted that he didn’t understand what his customers wanted. He didn’t take into account what drove JC Penney customers to shop.
How to Use Customer Personas
Don’t make the same mistake as Ron Johnson did. By clearly defining your buyer personas, you’ll have a much better idea of who, how, and where you should be marketing to achieve the greatest level of success.
Demographic data can help you target your ads, and psychographic information can help you create more engaging campaigns.
Google always reminds us to keep our content fresh. One of the best ways to do that is keeping your customer personas on target.
How to keep your customer personas on target?
This means that you have to always keep their problems and concerns top of mind. You need to write directly to and for your buyer personas. Use them to modify and improve your marketing strategies.
Re-examine and Refresh.
It’s a competitive world out there. Make sure that your customer personas accurately reflect your target audience’s current life situation and purchasing needs. Do this on a regular basis. Put it in your calendar as necessary.
Prioritize Conversations with Customers.
It wouldn’t hurt to browse your blog and social media accounts and read customer comments. Include both positive and negative feedback. Doing so will provide your business with some fresh insights.
Use the Best Data Resources.
Google Consumer Surveys, Quora, Mechanical Turk, and other similar sources can help supplement your current data. Put them to good use in order to keep your personas fresh, and on target.
Add and Delete Personas.
The marketplace is ever evolving. In the months to come, there may be a need to add new personas and delete those who can no longer help. Personas are working tools that should be aligned to the present and the foreseeable future.
Visualize Your Audience.
You can either assign a photo to your customer persona, or keep photos of actual customers where you can see them. They’ll represent your target personas and remind you that you’re creating content for real people.
Popular Brands That Totally Get Their Buyer Personas
Do you ever buy products from the same brand, and stopped to think, ‘They totally get me’? It’s obviously a company that gets their target audience. Let’s take a look at some companies that totally “get” their buyer personas!
Believe it or not, Seventeen started shaping their customer personas back in the 1950s. The first buyer persona they’ve made was named Teena. They’ve based it on survey data from teenage girls and their mothers.
Seventeen Mag described Teena as the ‘High School Girl who has a peck of problems’.
“She’s what older folks call an awkward adolescent — too tall, too plump, too shy — a little too much of a lot of little things. But they’re big things to Teena. She writes her favorite magazine for the tip-off on the clothes she wears, the food she eats, the lipstick she wields, the room she bunks in, the budget she keeps, the boy she has a crush on.”
Seventeen may have adjusted to the modern world, but its content still caters to girls like Teena, who have problems with their diet, boys, and dating. We can say that Seventeen has successfully channeled what was going on in high school girls’ minds.
Apple’s iPad 2
When Apple launched its iPad2, the campaign was no longer geared towards consumers in general. Instead, Apple identified their customer persona as the on-the-go business professional who needs access at stock options, investment portfolios, etc.
They’ve promoted their iPad 2 into a device for a business professional who wants to make their job more effective and efficient.
JetBlue finally took advantage of social media to reach a younger group of audience. The company’s buyer persona is now the low-budget traveler, who wants a comfortable yet affordable solution to flying.
They even tweeted their campaign ‘Fly like a BOSS’, and as expected, quick responses from their target audience were achieved.
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is known for the thousands of products they provide for households. And, one of their personas is the one who’s in charge of shopping for these items – moms!
One of their most unforgettable campaigns happened in 2012, which showed an ad dedicated to the Olympics. They called it ‘Raising an Olympian’, wherein the company focused on a mother’s role in her child’s success. Who can resist such a heart-moving story?
At the end of the day, you want to increase conversion rates and make more sales for your online store. And, creating buyer personas is an essential part of building a successful marketing strategy. You just have to know where, when and how to use it.
For your website.
Because of your customer persona, you will be able to craft a better user experience on your online store. You will be able to generate content that speaks directly to each persona, giving them solutions, instead of just generic content.
For your sales.
Your sales pitch is an important factor to your ecommerce conversion rate. It’s the last thing a customer reads before hitting the ‘buy now’ button. Customer personas can give ideas regarding the motivation, and psychology, behind the purchase.
For your content marketing.
You already know what type of articles your customer persona reads. Thus, you can create blog posts for your target audience. This makes your content relevant. It’ll attract more leads since you’re offering information they want, and they can actually use.
For your advertisements.
You may even use personas to optimize your PPC campaigns. Apply the same keywords your customer persona uses to make your ads more relevant. You can place banner ads on websites that your customers frequent. This will definitely improve your CTR.
Now that you have this information, you have the chance to make your marketing campaigns more effective. Don’t be afraid to meet your customers. The next time you launch a promotion, you can ask yourself the question…
‘Would Susan or Matt be interested in this news?’