Understanding your audience through customer personas

Do you have a clear understanding of your target audience and their customer journey from exposure of your product or service through to discovery, consideration, conversion and then ultimately retention?

If not, it can highly beneficial to take the time to create a customer persona for each key segment of your audience.

Customer personas are essentially fictional profiles that bring your customers to life based on data from your existing customer base, campaign results, qualitative or quantitative research and even information from your competition. They may be based on information such as age, gender identity, education, income, lifecycle stage, home ownership status, interests, hobbies and personal life.

By telling your persona’s story, you are able to identify their needs, pain points, challenges and desires so that you can get a greater understanding of the messaging you need to deliver to them at each stage of their customer journey.

It can be useful to define three main types of personas in relation to people who are engaging with your business: user personas for the people the product is designed to serve, buyer personas to target those who will actually purchase your product and website personas to deliver the online experience that will gain search visibility and nurture a user through to checkout or contact.

In terms of website personas, it can be useful to segment your customers into behaviour profiles such as:

  • Bouncers – those who aren’t serious purchasers and will jump off your website within 1 or 2 seconds.
  • Passive Browsers – these people who haven’t yet even started active shopping so may need a lot of nurturing to get them through to conversion. For these personas, it would be worthwhile trying to collect their email address through tactics such pop up subscription offers and downloads so that you can continue to market to them until they are ready to buy.
  • Cart Abandoners – these potential purchasers have not yet decided if they want to buy from you so it could be beneficial to deliver further information and options, provide additional incentives to buy such as a discount or free shipping offer or to use social proof to build trust using product reviews, ratings and testimonials.

In addition, you may want to define personas for first time buyers, repeat buyers, discount buyers, impulse buyers and more. These different types of personas would have different customer journeys and would therefore benefit from a segmented marketing strategy to deliver the right messaging to drive them along the buying process.

Importantly, research today says that 75% of consumers use multiple channels before purchasing so you need to take an omnichannel approach to delivering messaging as your prospects move from being passive browsers through to being hunters who are ready to purchase.

You may, for example, first engage with a prospect on a Google search campaign that drives them to your website. But they may still be browsing and may not be ready to buy.

So you next meet them on social media where they are reminded of the product they viewed on your website as you’ve tracked their website behaviours and served them a social media ad.

But perhaps they’re still not ready to buy so you send them some display ads on other websites they visit through the Google Display Network or you offer them a download or a promo code that they receive by providing their email address.

And now that you have their email address, you can of course send further information and incentives via emarketing until at last, they are ready to buy.

At this point, if you have a bricks and mortar store, they may even drop in to touch and feel the product and enjoy the interaction with a sales assistant as they finalise their purchase.

If this sounds complex and expensive, it’s actually not when compared to the return on investment it delivers because this can largely be set up as an automated omnichannel program. Large businesses do omnichannel marketing well of course because they have greater resources but smaller business can also deliver these programs cost-effectively.

Research has shown that businesses that have a robust omnichannel strategy retain 89% of their customers compared to only 33% retention for businesses that have a weak omnichannel presence. If you’d like more information on how to develop a well-profiled, customer-centric omnichannel marketing strategy, please give us a call to arrange a meeting or consultation.