As a business owner who has probably been keeping up with marketing trends in the past few years, you may already be familiar with the concept of buyer personas as well as buyer journeys.
But as a refresher, a buyer persona is an imagined representation of a customer. When done right, a well-thought-out buyer persona can give you accurate insights into what your customers are like and the reasons behind their purchases. That’s not as easy as it sounds, though. To make it easier for you to get the information that you need and then translate it into something actionable, you need to determine your buyer journey.
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
This marketing jargon is actually quite literal. It pertains to every step taken by a potential customer until they reach the final stage where they become actual customers – yes, their journey to becoming your customers from the ‘awareness’ stage to the ‘purchase’ stage.
Sounds simple enough? Not quite. The challenge lies not in determining the steps in the buyer journey but in ensuring that in every step, you are connected to your customer so you won’t lose them.
Adapting Your Buyer Journey
If you want to make the most of the buyer personas you created, you also need to make each of them a specific buyer journey. This is because every customer has their own goal and their own motive for wanting to buy a product. It would be a costly mistake to assume that all customers have the same buyer journeys. They may have some elements in common but there won’t be any two that are exactly alike.
For example, one persona could be Stella, a 35-year-old single parent from Bedok who works from home. She’s been in the tech field for over 10 years, enjoys traveling overseas, but faces the challenges of a house mortgage. Another example could be Alan, a 23-year-old who has spent the last few years dabbling with different jobs in the gig economy. He is looking to pursue a career in gaming design but hasn’t had the opportunities yet.
If you apply the same buyer journey to all your different buyer personas, the efforts you put into creating those personas will be put to waste. You should adapt the buyer journey to the specific traits and characteristics of the buyer persona to make it an effective tool for marketing.
General Phases of Buyer Journeys
As mentioned, buyer journeys should be tailored for the buyer personas. That said, all buyer journeys share the same general phases:
This is the point where potential customers become aware of your brand or product and get into your marketing funnel. For instance, when a potential customer sees your ad on Facebook or sees a friend’s post where your product is mentioned. It can also be from a quick Google search for “the best coffee beans in LA” for example, which could lead them to your e-commerce website.
Simply put, this phase is when your customer discovers that your brand has something that could potentially be what they’re looking for. This is an important stage because this will dictate whether or not you will be considered for the next phases of your journey.
Each buyer has their own goal or reason for buying and they commit to meeting those. This particular phase is all about the buyer weighing in the options available to them. From a marketer’s end, this stage requires presenting critical info that could entice the buyer to make a decision that’s favorable for your brand.
Some content examples that you can create to nail this phase are:
- Product comparisons
- Live interactions via video or podcast
- Expert guides
You don’t stop when your customers have just become aware of your brand and are still considering your product as a possible solution to their needs. You can tailor your approach to what you’re selling.
For example, if you’re appealing to impulse-buyers with a quick-fix product, you need to capture their attention and get them to buy before the excitement of finding a new product wears off. It means that you need to provide them all they want to know about your products right on that product page on your website.
On the other hand, if you are selling a luxury item or anything that is considered a big investment, you can expect your prospects to take some time before making a decision. They’re going to check not only if your product is worth spending on, but also if you’re a seller that they can trust. That means they’re going to look for reviews and ensure that you provide excellent customer service and outstanding fulfillment services.
Discussing the features of your product on your website won’t be enough. You need some reviews done by reputable influencers, some client testimonials, and more. You’d do well to be trending on social media as well.
This particular phase in the journey is when the customer has already decided on the type of solution that they need but they are still deciding on what specific product to buy or seller to buy from.
What you can do at this stage is come up with content focusing on product comparisons, pros and cons, reviews, and more. These types of content will help buyers with their decision and your content will be seen as a more helpful resource as opposed to a plain sales pitch.
No seller wants their product to be on a “trial” period but the truth is, the first few weeks or even months after a purchase is considered a trial phase. Your customers are expecting you to deliver on the claims you made in the first few stages of the customer journey.
It’s unlikely that a customer will actually return a product, but even so, you want to make sure that you are indeed delivering on your promise. Also, during this period, more than others, you should be present to answer any queries or comments about the purchase your customer had made to ensure that they are satisfied not only with the product but with your company overall.
6. Settle down
This face is when you’ve gone through the trial and proven your product is as good as you promised. If you think that you can start relaxing, though, you’re mistaken.
Your goal at this point is to keep that positive feeling your customer now has towards your brand. For instance, you can send your customers some helpful tips on how to make the most of the product they bought from you. One way you can do this, for example, is by regularly sending valuable content through email.
By this time, your customers are already impressed and are likely to recommend your brand to their loved ones. You can now build on this and maintain a good relationship with your customer.
Your customers are at a phase where they can consider being loyal to your brand, and you should take advantage of that. For instance, you can send them discount coupons for their next purchase (or for referrals) or even send them samples of upcoming products.
Ultimate Guide to Creating Buyer Personas and Market Segmentation
As discussed earlier, creating a buyer persona and market segmentation is essential for the success of any e-commerce business. In this article, we will look at tips for creating a buyer persona and market segmentation.
Types Of Market Segmentation
Market segmentation is divided into four main types, as discussed below.
Demographic segmentation is one of the simplest and commonly used methods of market segmentation. It refers to dividing the market based on visible characteristics.
The primary assumption in demographic segmentation is that customers with the same demographic attributes are likely to have the same purchasing habits. For instance, consumers in the age group of 30-35 are likely to have similar purchasing habits compared to those within the age bracket of 20-24.
When it comes to demographic market segmentation, it depends on whether you are running a B2B or B2C business. If you are operating a B2C business, you will segment your market according to the following characteristics.
- Level of education
- Marital status
On the other hand, if you are running a B2B business, you will divide your market based on the following traits.
- Industry type
- Company size
- The role played within the company
- Time in position
There are numerous methods for gathering demographic information. One method of the methods is by asking your consumers directly. Even though it may be time-consuming, collecting information directly from your consumers ensures accuracy. If you decide to ask your consumers directly, provide them with enough answering alternatives to obtain accurate data.
At times, it may be possible to get demographic data directly from consumers by looking at their social media accounts. Some consumers provide information on themselves on these social media platforms.
You can also obtain demographic data from second and third-party sources such as credit bureaus and marketing service providers.
Psychological segmentation is almost similar to demographic segmentation, but it focuses on each category’s mental and emotional traits. Such characteristics include:
- Life goals
- Personality traits
If you choose to segment your market according to psychological behavior, you must conduct thorough research. This is because defining demographics based on one’s attributes is subjective.
If you discover your target audience prioritizes energy efficiency and quality, you may need to adjust your marketing strategy to reflect these principles.
For instance, a luxury automobile manufacturer can target clients who place a premium on quality and prestige. On the other hand, a B2B corporate marketing platform may focus on marketing managers who want to boost productivity and demonstrate value to their executive board.
When developing your marketing strategy, it’s advisable to include at least a few psychographic features. Therefore, you will not overlook any potential perspectives from your target audience.
Although this market segmentation is tough to implement, many businesses feel it can result in significant yields. If you customize your marketing to suit a person’s personality, they will become loyal to your business.
Geographic segmentation is essentially dividing your market depending on their geographical location. It is a simple yet effective segmentation method.
The location of a consumer can assist you in understanding clients’ needs better. As a result, you can send out location-specific advertisements.
Examples of geographical market segmentation include:
- Postal code
This segmentation method is common because many businesses believe that most consumers’ purchasing behaviour is influenced by the places they live. For example, people living in colder continents like Europe prefer buying warm clothes and heating equipment. However, people living in hotter continents like Australia are mostly interested in lighter clothes and air conditioning equipment.
Geographical segmentation is essential for small businesses since it is cost-effective. It is also beneficial if you are aiming to expand your business to a broader region.
This type of segmentation allows you to customize your adverts since different regions speak different languages and have different beliefs.
Behavioural segmentation is regarded as the most effective segmentation method in e-commerce. It divides your audience into groups depending on their prior interactions with your business.
As opposed to psychological segmentation, behavioural segmentation needs little data to be effective. It is also easy to obtain data on your consumers’ behaviour since you can get most of it from your website.
Here are examples of characteristics used in behavioural segmentation.
- Browsing patterns
- Purchasing patterns
- Loyalty to your brand
- Product ratings
- Spending habits
Behavioural segmentation is essential when it comes to making decisions regarding sales and marketing. This is because it shows you a clear picture of how customers engage with your brand directly. Therefore, you will know the practices that increase your sales and focus on improving them to increase your conversion rates.
An excellent example of a business that can use behavioural segmentation is a cloth line business. The business owners can track the purchasing behaviour to know their most popular item and improve on it. They can also use the data to improve on the items that people don’t like.
Advantages of Buyer Persona and Market Segmentation
Buyer persona and market segmentation have numerous advantages. Some of them include;
- A better understanding of your target audience
- It leads to higher conversion rates
- Helps in better allocation of resources
- Assist in new market penetration
- Improvement of customer service
- Reveals sections of your business that need improvement
- Improves the overall focus of your business
How To Create a Buyer Persona and Market Segmentation
The following tips will help you in creating a buyer persona and market segmentation.
Get More Information About Your Customers
If you want to create a successful buyer persona, you need to gather important information on them. Gathering such type of information is essential because the needs of each group vary. Such information includes:
- Their gender
- Level of income
- Level of education
- Area of residence
- Their most preferred method of communication
To get important information about your consumers, use the following guidelines.
Interview your existing customers– Your existing customers are an essential asset to your business since their answers will be helpful in your persona research. Send them questionnaires through their emails and ask them what they like most about your business. You can also ask them about the improvements they would like to see in your business. To entice them to answer your questionnaires, you can offer them incentives.
Interview your employees– Your employees are likely to have more intel on your customers since they usually have one-on-one interactions. Ask them about the common trends they observe among your customers and consider adding them to your buyer persona.
Consider Conducting one-on-one interviews– Having a one-on-one interview is one of the best ways to gather information. It can help you determine if your consumers are telling the truth or not. However, this method is costly and time-consuming, but it is worth it.
Use analytics from your website- Your website contains data that can help you get information on your target audience. You can get crucial information about your target audience by looking at the frequently visited pages and the time spent on each site. Moreover, you’ll get to know about the sites that directed them to your page.
Utilize the Clearbit Enrichment Program– This software will help you gather information about your target audience by creating a persona with 85 points. This tool is can also be used to speed up the process of creating a buyer persona.
Identify Your Customers’ Main Points of Concern
If you want to create a successful buyer persona, try to identify your customers’ main points of concern. The best way to find out what your customers are interested in is through social media sentiments analytics or social listening.
Consider creating an exceptional team of employees to track any mentions of your brand in all social media channels. As a result, you will be able to save time.
Moreover, you can ask the support department for questions frequently asked by your customers. These questions will assist you in identifying the challenges most of your consumers commonly face. You can also ask them to gather client testimonials to assist you in creating detailed buyer personas.
Identify Ways to Help You Address Your Customers’ Main Points of Concern
After understanding your consumers’ concerns, you need to picture how your products or services can help solve these issues.
In this step, you need to stop focusing on the features of your products. Instead, analyse the benefits your goods or services offer consumers.
After identifying the issues affecting your customers, you need to ask yourself the following questions to solve them.
- What can we do to assist?
- What are the major obstacles your customers face during purchase? What can you do to assist them?
- What stage of the purchase process are your followers in? Are they trying to purchase, or are they researching? Are you looking for customer feedback?
Create a Buyer Persona Template of Your Own
After a detailed analysis of the information on your target audience, you’ll get a clear picture of your current customers. Use this data to create a buyer persona representing the specific type of consumer you wish to attract.
Identifying the type of people you’ll work with makes it easier to locate the proper market segment opportunities.
To make this process easier, create a buyer persona template that suits the needs of your business. If you can’t create one, you can download a free buyer persona template. All you have to do is fill in the characteristics of your ideal consumer, and it will give effective results.
Segment Your Buyer Personas
Once you have information about your customers, you need to segment them. Segmentation will help you understand the needs of each buyer persona.
The method of segmentation you select depends on your choice and the specific needs of your company.
Here are the two commonly used methods of segmentation.
Segmentation by industry– Some businesses work with clients from different sectors. Therefore, it is advisable to designate one buyer persona to each market you serve. This type of segmentation is essential if clients from these sectors have different interests and goals.
Segmentation by job title– Some businesses have the same sales procedures regardless of the industry they are working with.
Although the customers of each industry are significantly different, the process of searching for a marketing partner remains the same. As a result, most businesses segment their buyer personas to correspond to the job titles of their sales processes.
This type of segmentation works best for manufacturers. Most manufacturers deal with products that are useful to consumers from multiple industries. In such a case, it is pointless to create a buyer persona for these customers.
Assist Your Sales Staff in Getting Ready to Speak with Your Persona
Your sales team plays a significant role in collecting information for creating a buyer persona. Therefore, it is vital to assist them in getting ready for a conversation with your customers.
Assisting your sales staff to get ready will ensure they get accurate information. It will assist them in ensuring they don’t leave out important information.
During preparation, include statements from your customers that demonstrate their concerns, identities, and desires. You can also make a list of objectives that your sales team should achieve by the end of the conversation.
Create Messaging for Your Persona
You need to instruct people on how to communicate with your buyer persona about your products. This includes a sales speech that your buyer persona can relate with and any other essential language.
Creating a messaging for your buyer persona ensures everyone in your company speaks the same language when talking to potential customers.
Also, ensure you assign your buyer personas a name, for example, Finance Manager Margaret. This ensures all your staff members refer to them in a similar manner to avoid confusion.
Create Customised Digital Marketing and Sales Strategies Based on Your Buyer Personas
After identifying your buyer persona, you need to design sales and marketing strategies for them specifically. These strategies should be in line with the goals of your business.
Creating customised marketing strategies for your buyer personas is possible since you have essential information about them. Such information includes their most preferred social media channels. If you use such platforms for advertisements, you will begin seeing an improvement in your conversion rates.
Check out this video to learn more on how to create buyer personas in the current digital world of business.
Coming up with buyer personas will give you a good idea of how these phases in the buyer’s journey should go, depending on the traits and preferences of the personas you have come up with. Remember that no two personas have exactly the same buyer’s journey, so you should come up with one for every type of customer you can think of and use the phases discussed above as a guide.
The first few stages of the buyer journey have a lot to do with the content you post. Nailing the Awareness, Consideration, Knowledge, and Decision stage will also improve conversion rates and ultimately give your business the boost it needs.
|Vincent Sevilla is a professional web designer and inbound marketing strategist. His goal? To innovate ideas, create good art, and to travel all the best places in the Philippines. You can follow him on Twitter @easyvince|