We’ve all heard the adage that the customer is always right. It’s been the mantra for small businesses for decades, if not centuries. The recent trend toward customer experience in the online world is only an extension of the idea.
By striving for superior customer experience, brands seek to meet or exceed consumer expectations. To do so, though, they must first understand what those expectations are. That’s where buyer personas come in.
A buyer persona is a characterization of a brand’s typical customer. Unless your company is very small or niche, you’re likely to have a range of buyer personas. These set out critical information about your target consumers. The information included within buyer personas includes:
Demographics - gender, age, income, etc. of typical customers.
Objectives - what are members of your audience hoping to achieve? What problems do they need to solve?
Behavior - how do these customers interact with your brand? Do they visit your online store many times before making a purchase? Is there a particular channel they use most for communication?
Budget - What are your target audience able or prepared to spend?
Say, for instance, you’re a VoIP provider. Your buyer persona will reveal lots about a potential purchaser. It’s likely to tell you that your target customer is a manager or decision-maker at a small business. They’ll probably be male and over 30 years of age. Such individuals, too, will do a lot of research before making their purchase decision.
How, though, does having this information help your business?
Customer-centric businesses tend to enjoy greater success. Buyer personas help brands keep the focus on their customers, across multiple departments.
Generic or scattershot marketing campaigns don’t work. Everything your marketing department puts out must get tailored to its audience. A buyer persona provides all the insights required to make that a reality.
Empathy is a vital part of sales. It’s much easier to empathize with a customer if you know the challenges they’re facing. Your buyer persona has that information. What’s more, you’ll also know more about your customers’ typical behavior. That allows your sales team to tailor their activities accordingly. They can tweak the content they use and channels by which they contact customers to suit.
Even the best sales and marketing will fail to offload products that consumers don’t want. Buyer personas help you pinpoint the solutions that your audience genuinely desire. Those are the tools or products that solve the problems identified in the personas.
Every brand wants to deliver world class customer service. That increasingly means offering a seamless and personalized experience to each consumer. The insights provided by buyer personas make it simpler to give that kind of service.
You can ensure, for instance, to offer the support channels that a target audience prefers. You can also build excellent guides or product descriptions that answer the questions you know customers will have about your product.
Building buyer personas takes time and effort. In essence, however, it’s a fairly simple three-step process.
The first stage of creating a persona is all about business intelligence. You must gather all the data you can on previous, current, and prospective customers. There are loads of sources from which to collect these insights:
Direct customer feedback.
Reports from platforms like Google Analytics.
Information contained on your CRM platform or sales management software.
With as much data as you can muster at your fingertips, you can ID patterns. Comb the information to locate the traits and characteristics that your typical buyers share. The more data, the clearer patterns become, and the more accurate the conclusions you can draw.
The final step of the process is to build your personas. That final ‘s’ is crucial to remember. You don’t need to fit all your characteristics into one persona. You may find that you have three, five, or even more ‘typical’ customers. That’s essential information to have. It will help you segment your sales, marketing, and other activities more effectively.
Building a buyer persona is vital to any brand, regardless of their niche. It’s perhaps most critical to ecommerce companies. That’s because they never interact with their customers face-to-face. With accurate personas, they can close the gap between what consumers want and what they offer.