CRO Series: Developing Buyer Personas for Your Business
Last week, we began a five-part series about conversion rate optimization (CRO) by providing a general outline of what exactly CRO is and its history and evolution in the world of marketing. We also provided some examples of strategies associated with CRO.
Today, we are going to begin discussing some of these strategies in depth, beginning with the very first step to any excellent CRO campaign: buyer persona research.
What are buyer personas?
A buyer persona is a general characterization of your ideal customer. Creating a concrete, tangible representation of your ideal customer helps you to better understand the kinds of messages that will resonate with them the most. By understanding your buyer personas, you are more likely to create successful products, share interesting and engaging content, and perform well in your customer service and retention. This makes the development of buyer personas the first step in successful CRO.
Creating a buyer persona takes a bit of research. You need to survey the right people about their interests, feelings, problems and pain points, while collecting demographic information as well. The amount of buyer personas you have will vary depending on the size of your company and the range of products or services you sell. You might just have one or two, or you could have a dozen or more.
Almost as important as the standard buyer persona is the “negative” persona. This is a representation of everything you do not want in a customer. Perhaps your negative persona falls outside of the demographic you want to target. Maybe they are too expensive to acquire, or already has advanced knowledge in a field in which you are targeting beginners.
How do I create buyer personas?
You can use surveys, interviews and other forms of research to get in touch with your taret audience to see who is more likely to be interested in your brand, product or service. Here are a few tactics you can use to gather the information needed to create accurate and effective buyer personas:
- Discover trends: Analyze your entire contacts list you have compiled for your business, and see if there are any trends present regarding how people found your website or the types of content they like to consume on it. These trends can give you an initial indication as to which types of people are your ideal customers.
- Collect information: When you develop contact forms or other types of forms to use on your website, require them to enter important demographic information into your form fields. This will make collecting information significantly easier; they are giving it to you, rather than you having to actively go out and search for the information yourself. Plus, the information you get will be of higher quality than the digital equivalent of cold calling, as anyone who is giving you this information already has shown an interest in your brand.
- User outside data resource: Resources exist online that allow you to upload what you do know, such as an email address, so that a report can be generated which contains intelligence. Data returned can include age, gender, income, marital status, occupation, education, home owner status and interests.
- Analyze sales team feedback: Consider the kind of feedback your sales team is getting during their interactions with leads. Can they form any generalizations based on these interactions about which type of customers are most likely to lead to sales?
- Interview customers or targets: Any existing customers you have are a great place to start with your research. These are people who have already purchased your service or product, which means they are significantly more likely to exemplify the buyer persona you wish to attract. However, you should also reach out to prospects and referrals who have not yet purchased from your company and, based on the data you have about them, show they at least have the potential to fit your target buyer persona. When conducting interviews, make sure you are clear the interview is not being performed with the intention of selling them something. You can even offer them some sort of incentive, such as a discount or free sample, for participating.
- Know what data to collect: Regardless of how you collect data to form your buyer personas, it is important you collect the right This includes current employment information, general demographic information, educational information, the types of challenges or problems they face, the kinds of publications they like to read, the social media networks on which they are active, how they use the internet to either research or purchase products and services, recent purchases they’ve made, etc.
You cannot have outstanding conversion rate optimization without choosing the perfect customers to whom you gear your marketing. Begin by developing a buyer persona, and every step that follows will become significantly easier.
Contact us today at Viral Solutions for more information about creating buyer personas. Next week, we continue to discuss the best strategies for improving your CRO.
Thomas von Ahn
Chief Elephant Slayer for Viral Solutions LLC
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