Common eCommerce Mistakes | Don't talk to real buyers – Part #4


Hopefully by now you've researched your customer from a demographic basis and created your ultimate buyer persona. Afterall, creating a buyer persona has been used by marketing firms for decades and has been an effective digital marketing tactic for many years. A customer avatar helps you develop products and services your targeted market needs, which sites you compete with and the technologies they use among many other factors.
In our Viral solutions digital marketing blog we've written many articles about how to design and create content that is tailored to your target audience and in your ecommerce platform write product descriptions that appeal to the same. We hope you have at least three such buyer persona's on file – but not more 😉 .
However, we must remember that a buyer persona is a fictional character that is mostly used for segmentation advertising and website user experience during key touchpoints. This fictitious character is of little value if we do not understand their decisions and choices.

A common mistake we see within businesses, with an ecommerce presence make, is not talking to actual buyers so that we understand that buyer's decision. 

Knowing what a buyer persona is and how to build a buyer persona is a task worthy of your time. Do not stop there! Buyers are not just a list of attributes, demographics and statistics. They make decisions and choices based upon emotion and other behaviors.

You must determine what causes that fake person to make real decisions, to take action. What criteria do they use? What defines and determines their attitude? How can we anticipate their response to a given solution to their problem? What’s their lifestyle like? What are their daily habits or hobbies? What kind of values and opinions do they have?

Here are the most common mistakes ecommerce websites make with buyer personas. 

buyer persona data

You simply describe the buyer data you bought!

Often times a buyer persona is obvious.
Profiling a persona is only part of the process. You need actionable information. You must be able to change the perceptions of real people. Change minds and present your solution in a orderly manner that makes sense. Your offer must be in alignment with their values, their budget and most importantly makes them feel good about their choice. Afterall, they do have alternatives and you have to let them know what you think of those alternatives and how your offer better appeals to them. You cannot know that with just a piece of paper that list their common statistics!
“There should be clear differentiators between each persona — the whole idea of creating personas is to create an experience that resonates with each of them.” ~ HubSpot

You inject your personal opinion and belief over fact.

Most buyer personas are derived from discussions with the top sales representative, the customer service goddess or the product design experts. They are actually a list of who they personally enjoy working with and not necessarily who the buyers are and how they made decisions. Name a sales person that will exclude themselves from the brilliant close made that obtained a new customer? Exactly!
True buyer personas are built by talking to real buyers. What you learn in that interview is critical. Great interviews with buyers result in understanding their thought process and perceived choices – not just a list of age ranges and occupations. More importantly, your salespeople will not hear the truth from your buyer if they perform the interview. The buyer fears the information they share will be manipulated.
You need information that cannot be gathered from within your company.

You have a dozen buyer personas.

Marketers often think they are smarter than others because they design over a dozen buyer personas, when in fact you do not need a crowded house. Attitudes, beliefs, actions, choices and personality are more important to understand than census data. Your buyer persona needs to be manageable.
When was the last time you sold anything to a company building without a human being making a decision? Yes, demographics are important, They are important for segmentation. But they do not make buying decisions.
What you want and need to know is how many ways do your buyers make decisions. Then you need to know what it takes to persuade them to buy. Do you have different versions of your story? Often times too many layers of company size, age, geographic region – only muddy the message. Example, all companies must be competitive and efficient to survive, no matter what industry, no matter where their physical plant is. What they have in common is that they worry about implementation cost!
customer survey

You deflect their questions.

Buyers are people and people love to talk. You need to listen more. You do this by asking questions before you offer a solution. Even in the online e-commerce world you can gain insight into your buyers feelings, THEN present your offer that fits them best.
Too many ecommerce businesses spend too much time and money talking and pitching rather than asking questions. You will impress more buyers and retain more customers if you answer their questions which in turn will persuade them to do business with you.
Bring your fake buyer persona to life. Ask them questions before they ask you.

You didn't create a negative buyer persona.

More than likely your buyer persona is used for targeting advertising. However, within that persona you worked so hard to create are prospective customers that may click on your expensive link but will not do business with you. To help limit this type of activity you need to create a negative buyer persona. These are people who you won’t want to target. They may fit your wonderful demographic but they may not have a need for your service. It may appear counterproductive to spend time getting to know people who will never be your customers, but, it will save you and your team time and money in the long run.

How do you get started?

First dig into your customer database (CRM) and find the contact information on both new buyers and long-term customers. Present that list to a team of outsiders who may even know very little, if anything about your business. Contact your customer and present them with the names of the people and purpose for a survey. Yes you will get rejected and that is fine, you really do not need very many to accept. You want one answer to one question. Why did you buy from this organization? That is it. Believe me, the conversation will expand especially if they trust the questioner and know they can remain anonymously tied to a set of answers.
Knowing your buyer persona is critical when it comes to delivering leads that are qualified. Knowing how they make decisions, the resources they use and why they chose you is even more important. Once you utilize this process you will find it much easier to design an ecommerce business because you will know the customer journey path. That is the key moment where business design takes over for guessing.
Next week we will discuss your value proposition and unique differentiator.
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Filed Under: E-Commerce & Sales