Before you can begin to make conversions on your website — from collecting email sign ups to closing a sale — you first need to know who you are selling to.
Now, you might say, of course I already know who I’m selling to. I know my product and I know who needs it.
Most business owners do a have a general idea of who they are selling to. But a general idea isn’t nearly as valuable as a drilled-down, clearly identified vision of your customer.
Having a precise, specific description of your customer is a key element in maximizing your marketing efforts, building relationships and trust, and increasing your conversions and sales.
So, if you have a general idea about your customers but haven’t created clear, detailed depictions of them in the form of buyer personas, now is the time to start.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
In its most basic form, a buyer persona is a character you create.
This fictional person has all of the characteristics of a someone who would be one of your primary, target customers. That fictional person has wants, needs, and challenges. They also have a background story and perhaps even a name that makes them real to you.
Here is an example.
An online business that sells designer handbags would create a buyer persona like Jessica.
Jessica is a professional, twenty-something that lives and works in an urban area. She dresses in professional attire every day because she is an attorney. Jessica frequently goes out for dinner or drinks after work, so she likes her clothing and style to be interchangeable between day and night. Jessica is always looking for accessories that match her work and professional life. She hates bags that are too big and heavy to carry, but she also needs a bag that is large enough to carry everything she needs for the day. Jessica likes to shop online but also window shops when she walks through the city.
Can you see Jessica?
If you can, good. That is the whole point of a buyer persona. It helps you create a mental picture of a specific customer so you can better understand and speak to them.
How to Create Characters for Your Buyer Personas
Creating a buyer persona isn’t as hard or time-consuming as you think.
You can use what you know to create them. Or you can use Google Analytics data or perform interviews or surveys with your potential customers to gather information.
Either way, to create your personas find answers to these basic questions about your target customer:
Who are they? (i.e. demographic questions such as how old are they, where do they live, are they male or female, etc.)
Where and how do they spend their time (for both work and play)?
What are their goals?
What are their challenges?
How can you help them?
Use that information to create a small blurb about your persona similar to the example above. It doesn’t need to be written like a bio. You can just list bullet points if that is easier for you.
Every business will be able to create multiple buyer personas. But don’t go overboard and create too many.
Focus on your TARGET audience — the people most likely to become a customer and benefit from what you are selling.
But also don’t make so few personas that you feel boxed in. You want to have some variety.
So create three to five unique characters with different background stories, needs, and wants.
Sending a Persona on a Buyer’s Journey
Now that you have a clear idea of exactly who your target audience is, you can more accurately predict what motivates them and how they will act in certain situations.
A buyer’s journey is the process that a customer goes through before making a purchase. It includes three major stages:
Awareness Stage – customer knows that they have a problem but doesn’t know how to fix it
Consideration Stage – customers is looking for solutions or products that will give them what they need
Decision Stage – customer knows what they need but hasn’t decided where to get it or who to get it from
Take what you know about your customer and put them in the stages of that buyer’s journey.
In Jessica’s case:
In the Awareness Stage, Jessica is annoyed that the day bag she has is too big to take with her at night, and that her evening bag is too small to fit everything she needs for the day.
In the Consideration Stage, Jessica is window shopping and online shopping to see what types of handbags work for both night and day.
In the Decision Stage, Jessica knows what style bag she wants and is looking for the best deal on price, shipping cost, and quality.
See how much easier it is to image your customer on their path to your product when you put a persona through the buyer’s journey?
Pulling It All Together to Create More Conversions
Now, to increase the number of conversions on your website…
Consider what the persona is doing and thinking during each phase and create information and conversion points that attract, educate, and guide them through each step.
The online designer handbag business could:
Connect with Jessica in the Awareness Stage by:
creating a Pinterest board of purses for professionals
publishing a series of interviews with stylish, professional woman about their work and fashion
publishing a complete style guide about how to dress for a day of work and play (BONUS: Require an email to download the guide.)
Connect with Jessica in the Consideration Stage by:
creating a video that shows someone dressed for work and how they transition the look into night
publishing a blog post about how to organize purses to get the most out of the space
sending coupons to their email list (compiled from the opt-in for the complete style guide)
Connect with Jessica in the Decision Stage by:
publishing customer reviews of their purses
publishing up-close videos that shows the inside and outside of their bags in detail
showing feature and quality comparisons of similar bags from their competitors
creating a landing page with a list of where to find their bags at brick-and-mortar locations
offering free shipping and satisfaction guaranty
By providing information that directly speaks to the persona during each phase of their buyer journey, the designer handbag is nudging them their toward the final conversion point — a sale.
There will be less resistance from the persona when she gets to the end of the journey because the company has provided solutions to her problems and answered her questions along the way. The company provided value, built trust, and will likely be rewarded with a new, loyal customer.
This is a brief introduction into how incorporating buyer personas and journeys into your marketing strategy can help you increase conversions on your website.
Use this information to get started and then let us know if you are interested in learning more about personas and how to use content to target them through their journey.