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Posted by Brett Romero - 28 August, 2019

How to Create Marketing Personas for Your Ecommerce Site

“Talk to everyone and sell to no one.” 

In ecommerce, this translates to targeting anyone and everyone to bring in more sales profits. The problem with this thinking is that casting a wide net is a hit-or-miss strategy and can blow a big chunk of your marketing budget in a snap.  

While the wide-net approach definitely has its uses, such as buying a Google AdWords ad for a list-building campaign, a more targeted marketing campaign yields better results by as much as a 32% increase in revenue and a marked decrease in lead generation and conversion costs

So how do you get started with targeted marketing? 

By first creating marketing personas.

Persona marketers and marketing personas

Marketing personas (also known as buyer personas) are fictional characters that best represent who your target market is. They’re essential to virtually all segments of your company - from the product team to the marketing department, from sales to customer service. 

Think about it: How are you supposed to build connections, offer value, and engage if you’re unsure of WHO?

So before launching a marketing campaign, you should already have taken care of your marketing personas. This way, everything you do - i.e., blog posts, white papers, social media campaigns, online and offline promotional strategies, etc. - is geared towards the people who matter to your business. 

For content marketers, a solid understanding of the challenges your target market struggles with allows you to create more useful, relatable, and shareable content. For sales teams, awareness of your customers’ pain points can help you better communicate your product’s value proposition. And for product teams, knowledge of your target consumers lets you create new products (or tweak already existing products) to better serve their needs.

Let’s take a look at the buyer persona example below: B2B marketing persona

Image source: Buyer Persona Institute 

As you can see, the image is a detailed representation of a fictional persona named Amanda, a digital marketing manager and agency owner. The screenshot already carries a good bit of data, such as Amanda’s responsibilities, how she’s evaluated for her performance, and the resources she relies on to help her better do her job. But if you follow the source link to further understand who Amanda is, you’ll find that each tab contains even more in-depth information. 

Now, a caveat: Creating that level of detail will require some work. However, don’t be pressured into thinking that your customer personas should be as detailed right at the outset. It’s perfectly okay to start with just the basic information, and then continue to iterate until you have all the details you need.

The same way the marketing landscape is a dynamic one, buyers’ personas will change over time.  

How to create buyer personas

Creating marketing personas is no easy feat. They’re the product of strategic researching and analysis. In other words, you’ll need to roll your sleeves up and do some data digging. The good thing is, once you have your personas figured out, you can start crafting campaigns and messaging that produce better results.  

So let’s get started with your marketing personas.

#1. Brainstorm with your team

Gather your team together and picture who your ideal customer is. Answer questions such as:

  • How old is he/she?
  • Where is he/she from?
  • What’s his/her role in the company?
  • Which company or industry type does he/she work for?
  • How does his/her typical work day look like?
  • What are the difficulties he/she struggles to overcome?

#2. Analyze the data you already have

If you have a business website, you can look into Google Analytics to gain an insight into your visitor base.

eCommerce analytics

Especially suited for small to medium-sized eCommerce sites, Google Analytics, which is a free tool that tracks website data, provides a number of visualization tools to help you make sense of visitor activity on your retail site:

  • Dashboard
  • Graphs
  • Customized reports
  • Real-time data tracking
  • Mobile apps for on-the-go monitoring

The data Google Analytics tracks include

  • Traffic source data (organic and paid search, referral, or direct traffic)
  • Landing page data
  • Content data (URLs visitors view and how they interact with your site’s content)
  • Goals and conversion data
  • In-page analytics
  • Mobile devices data
  • Location data

Aside from Google Analytics, here are other resources and tools you can use for a holistic view into your site statistics:

  • Clicky
  • Mixpanel
  • Kissmetrics
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Crazy Egg for heat maps

#3. Interview your customers

If you already have existing customers, call them. If speaking to them by phone isn’t possible, schedule a video chat with them. You may also direct them to a survey link. 

Use tools such as SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo to build a questionnaire and then quantify the results. The questions would depend on the nature of your business and the type of information you’re looking for. The key here is to make the survey easy to complete.

When done crafting your survey, send it to your email list or publish it on your social media channels. It’s also a good idea to offer freebies or rewards points to entice them to participate, such as gated content, discounts, and vouchers.

#4. Learn from your competitors

There’s this concept called “audience jacking,” which involves looking at competitor pages and gathering information on the people who leave comments on their blogs or social media pages. You can adopt a similar strategy, plus tools such as Similarweb, Quantcast, and Compete.com to gain valuable knowledge into the type of people visiting your competitor’s web pages.

#5. Categorize and analyze your data, and start building personas

Once you’ve gathered enough data, you’re ready to create your personas.For example, if you’re a gift-giving company, create a persona for the gifter and then another for the receiver. 

Here’s a cheat sheet from the Content Marketing Institute to get you started. b2B eCommerce Persona Template

Here’s another from Xtensio

Full persona bio

One thing worth reiterating: Creating a custom persona is an iterative process. Add more info as you learn more about your target audiences. Alter them as their needs evolve.

Final word

In a crowded and competitive eCommerce marketplace where people are bombarded with tons of marketing messages, strategic targeting is key to attracting the right people and standing out from the crowd. Using buyer personas, you’re, in a sense, putting yourself in your target consumer’s shoes. By doing so, you’re better able to create impactful and meaningful campaigns.

Check out more eCommerce trends that drive revenue.

B2B eCommerce Marketing

Topics: B2B eCommerce

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