Having an ecommerce marketing persona or few in place offers an excellent way to connect to your customers – future and present. Buyer personas allow you to create highly personalised ecommerce marketing campaigns that are designed to speak to your target customer groups. Rather than taking a generic approach and trying to please everyone, you are reaching the type of customer who is more likely to make a purchase.

With that said, there are still many assumptions about buyer personas. Many ecommerce marketers treat personas as something made-up – an after-thought rather than a useful selling tool. The problem with this is that you can end up missing out on the many benefits that personas can offer to your campaign growth.

Ecommerce Marketing Persona Mistakes to Avoid

How exactly can these mistakes put your ecommerce marketing results at risk? Let’s take a look.

Basing personas on assumptions

You likely know who your ideal customer is, but that does not mean you should use assumptions to create your personas. This is one of the most common mistakes made by many companies. Rather than creating a persona based on the actual people who interact with your business, you could, for example, come up with something completely make-believe, based on the customer you wish you had. Although personas are semi-fictional, they represent your ideal customer. They are not based on who you assume or wish they were, but rather the type of customer that would buy services or products from a business in your industry.

With that in mind, ecommerce marketing personas need to be based off solid data, demographics and behaviours that you learn about the type of people who use your products or services. You gain this type of data by doing a fair amount of research and by making use of tools that simplify the process. You also speak to people in your industry – the types of customers that would naturally be attracted to your offering. You also speak to your sales team, your customer service teams and anyone else who frequently interacts with prospective customers.

Using irrelevant data

Just as it is never a good idea to risk making up any data or going off the grid and trying to ‘wing it’ with your personas, using data that is not relevant to your campaigns is also a waste of time. For lead generation, all this does is take up time that you don’t want to waste. Ideally, you want to get data from a few different areas – behaviour and demographic especially. When you start to add too much data that is not important, your profiles soon start to lose focus. This, in turn, ends up losing out any benefit that the profiles are able to offer.

Some of the ways that you can ensure that your data is not veering off track include the following:

  • Determine up to five projects that your buyer persona would consider in regards to time, budget and needs.
  • Determine successful factors such as tangible rewards or metrics that your buyer might relate to success.
  • Determine the factors that would turn a browser into a paying purchaser within your company.
  • Determine the process your customer follows to overcome purchase barriers and become a customer.
  • Determine the products the buyer will consider during their decision.

Using only qualitative data

It is very easy to collect qualitative data. For example, you could interview your happy customers or do a social media survey. The problem with this approach is that it is often subjective. Most customers who are already fans on social media are likely to sing your praises. Most new customers have only recently joined and may not have had time to form loyalties. Another way to get qualitative data is to use session replays that correlate to behavioural data on how the lead has used your website. If you have a large mailing list, you could also look at doing customer surveys. You could even put up a poll.

The good thing about this data is that you get plenty of insight into your lead’s beliefs, fears, motivations, and attitudes. On the downside, you don’t always get the most accurate idea of what people truly think. It’s easy for people to say how they feel – this is not always backed by actions such as purchases, however. There are a number of different consumer research methods out there – some more accurate than others. Marketing automation tools and other lead generation strategies offer one of the most effective ways to get accurate data.

One of the best ways to build solid personas is to focus first on finding valuable customer groups that meet your demographic and behavioural targets, and then work from there. You can then start to segment your lists, analyse behaviours and separate the high value ‘dream’ customers from lower value customers. You can then begin to get more data on purchasing preferences, focusing on questions that trigger useful answers and information. This will make it far easier to begin working on getting genuine data-driven personas that are based on cold hard data rather than assumptions.

Overlooking negative personas

Then there are the negative personas. Do you really need these for your lead nurturing campaigns? Negative personas can offer surprising benefits. Just as you know who you want as your ideal customer, you should also be aware of the type of customer you certainly don’t want to see in your business. It is impossible to avoid dealing with bad customers entirely. Knowing what to look out for can save you plenty of stress down the line, while also helping you have a better approach for your team in dealing with these types of customers.

It is best to look at the negative persona once you have already established your personas. You could think of this as the final touch on your personas. You would create this by looking at common qualities in leads that did not become customers or customers who did not do well for some other reason. They may have made your sales team’s lives miserable, not paid on time, caused low revenue, cause high acquisition costs or simply been difficult. When you have a clear persona, it becomes easier for your team to know how to look out for customers who are not a good fit for your business.

Having too few or too many personas

Don’t think that you should have a massive number of personas. With that said, don’t think just one or two is enough, either. Ideally, you want a small handful that suits the type of customers you have in your business. Depending on the size of your company and even the nature of your business, you may find that your needs differ if you service more than one market or industry. In this case, you will need personas for each market. Likewise, if you serve more than one niche, you would need tailored personas for each niche. You can also think about your best customers at the moment to see if there are specific groupings within these ecommerce marketing customers. You could create a persona for your top-performing customers.

If you are finding it hard to organise your ecommerce marketing personas, you will know you have too many. If can end up being distracting having too many buyer personas. Instead, start with three buyer personas, flesh these out properly and go from there.

Start putting some thought and effort into your buyer personas and you should start to see long term growth in your ecommerce marketing results.

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