How to Figure Out Exactly Who Your Customers Are (Guide on Creating Buyer Personas)

The biggest e-commerce marketing mistake entrepreneurs make is failing to understand their customers beforehand.

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

I heard that SEO is great, we should do some SEO

I heard content marketing is the new thing, we should start blogging

I saw FAB ran this Pinterest contest and they got lots of engagement, we should do it too!

If so, then you need to read this article

Implementing tactics other companies have already successfully executed can be a great idea, but only if they are adapted to your target customer.

This guide will teach you to identify your ideal customers, which allows you to build your marketing campaign around them

1. Interact with your customers

In order to understand your customers, you need to start talking to people.

  • Customers: Talk to both your happy and unhappy customers, so you can understand what factors influenced their perception of your company. (This will help you understand which customers your marketing efforts should be directed to.)
  • Prospects: Prospects are potential customers, so understanding their point of view is crucial. Any emails you’ve collected on your site were sent by potential prospects, so it is a good idea to read through them.
  • Your network: Reach out to friends and family members who may benefit from your products. Reach to your many “friends” on your Facebook. You co-workers. Also, ask all your contacts to refer other prospects.

This sounds easy, but how do I get them to take the time out of their busy day to speak with me?

Tips on getting them to work with you.

  1. Offer incentives such as coupons, free products and other giveaways. It’s worth the investment to gather valuable information from prospects. Of course, friends, family and happy customers will be happy to help without any incentives..
  2. Address objections off the bat. Most people are reluctant to speak on the phone. The first thing that comes to their mind is that you are trying to sell them something and will take a long time. Put their mind at easy by letting them know you will be brief and only want feedback.

Other resources to gather information:

Usertesting.com – This site allows you to reach your target demographic and ask for feedback about your store

Yahoo answers & Quora – Look for questions a potential customer would ask and review their responses.

Niche Forums – Post questions on forums in your market. If you are selling pet products, go to pet owner forums. If you are selling supplements, go to health and bodybuilding forums. Almost every niche has forums built around it.

What to ask interviewees?

Here are the questions you need ask to understand your interviewee. Questions should be modified to your niche.

Role

1) What is your job title and description?

2) How is your job performance measured?

3) What is a typical day in your job like?

4) What knowledge and tools do you use to complete your job?

 

Company

5) Which industries does your company serve?

Goals

6) What problems do you expect our product to solve?

Challenges

7) What are the biggest struggles you face in your industry?

Watering Holes

8) How do you gather new information about your industry and customers?

9) Which publications or blogs do you read, if any?

10) What industry associations and social networks do you belong to?

Personal Background

11) Describe personal demographics (if appropriate, ask their age, whether they’re married, if they have children).

12) Describe your educational background. (ask questions about level of education completed, schools they attended, and subjects they studied)

13) Describe your career path. (ask how they ended up where they are today).

Shopping Preferences

14) How do you prefer to interact with vendors (email, phone, in person, social media)?

15) Do you use the internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you find new information?

16) Describe a recent purchase. Why did you consider a purchase, what was the evaluation process, and how did you decide to purchase that product or service?

Note: Keep questions open-ended and let the person talk. Often time they will reveal things to you they wouldn’t normally do if your questions are too specific.

 

Create your buyer personas

A persona is is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers and potential customers.

Creating a detailed persona will really help you walk into your customer’s shoes.

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When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, goals, objections, and challenges. The more detailed you are, the better.

Time to get started!

P.S. I love to get your thoughts on creating buyer personas, please shoot me a comment below.