September 11, 2014 | Maria Talley

Using Buyer Personas to Drive Ecommerce Strategy

Let Your Buyer Personas Drive Your Ecommerce Strategy

"Enchantment changes skeptics and cynics into believers and the undecided into the loyal" - Guy Kawasaki Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Selling online can be tricky. As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in stimulating customer behavior right at the point of purchase, often disregarding how and why shoppers arrive there.

Consumers reach the point of purchase because they are interested in your product and because your product helps them solve a certain problem or fulfill a need.

As inbound marketers, we can guide our potential customers along the path to purchase by offering relevant content that sparks their interest in our brands.

An effective ecommerce strategy largely depends on 2 crucial elements: your buyer personas and the buyer’s journey. Buyer personas are your tool to accurately target your marketing to the customers who are looking for you. Understanding your buyer's journey, likewise, helps you engage with your ideal customers wherever they are in the buying process.

Who are your buyer personas?

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers. It summarizes their challenges, motivations, online behaviors, psychographics, and demographics.

We've written a lot about buyer personas, and you can get a head start on building your own with these posts:

When it comes to creating buyer personas to drive an ecommerce strategy, you have access to a few additional tools for gathering information about your customers' behavior, namely data from your ecommerce platform and marketing automation software (like our favorite, HubSpot).

Once you've taken the time to research and develop a buyer persona for each major customer group, you can use them to develop a comprehensive ecommerce strategy. The first step is to use them to segment your customer list and target your marketing efforts to your personas, including your ecommerce content and product promotions.

Engage your buyer personas at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

The buyer’s journey can generally be divided into 3 stages: awareness (the top of the funnel), consideration (the middle of the funnel), and decision (the bottom of the funnel).

By creating content that answers their questions at each stage, you can influence your customers' purchase decisions and ultimately drive conversions.

  • In the awareness stage, your buyer is identifying her wishes or pain points and begins searching for solutions. Present her with educational content in the form of blog posts, ebooks, and white papers, so she can easily find answers to her questions. This kind of content will also allow your buyer persona to find your brand organically, based on what she is searching for rather than direct advertising. When she gives you her contact information to subscribe to your blog or download a content offer, she becomes a lead, and gives you the opportunity to communicate with her again.
  • The consideration stage is your golden opportunity to further connect with your ideal buyer and build brand credibility. In this stage, a buyer has clearly identified her problem and she is committed to researching and comparing available solutions. Here, you could offer product comparison guides or videos about how your services stand out from your competitors that will help her make decisions among multiple options. You can also create a sense of urgency by sending short-term coupons and special offers via email that will guide her to the decision stage.
  • The decision stage is your moment of truth; this is when the actual purchase takes place. Address any concerns with case studies, product demos, support articles, and Q&A sheets. Answer any potential questions or barriers to purchase before they even arise. The goal in this stage is to make your customers feel confident about making the purchase.

There is no one-size-fits-all model for predicting your buyer’s behavior.
After they purchase, your customers may loop back to the awareness or the consideration stage instead of coming straight back to your ecommerce store to make another purchase.

Use this knowledge to create a repurchase strategy that will allow you to continuously move existing customers through the sales cycle.

If you concentrate solely on the moment of purchase, you can miss out on leads in the awareness stage or lose conversions in the consideration stage.

However, if you consistently give visitors, leads, and customers what they are looking for, they will become loyal. Ultimately, customer loyalty depends on how good you are at enchanting them with useful and engaging content at the right stage of the buyers journey - and your amazing product or service, of course.

Don't have buyer personas? Better get on that.

Crafting Effective Buyer Personas-Click Here to Download

Maria Talley

Maria Talley

Maria Chueva Talley is a long-time friend of VIEO and guest contributor to our blog. She was VIEO's Internet Marketing Manager for several years, and has recently moved on new internet and marketing adventures.

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