Are you looking for new ways to connect with your audience in your Shopify online shop? Do you want to establish long-lasting relationships with your customers and benefit from higher sales and profits? One of the fundamental steps in getting your visitors engaged with your online store is to create detailed profiles for each segment of your target market. To help you with that, here is a comprehensive guide about how to create realistic buyer personas for your Shopify store.
What Are Buyer Personas and Why Do You Need Them for Your Shopify Marketing Campaigns?
Hubspot offers a great definition of buyer personas:
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
We can expand the concept by understanding that buyer personas are the structured manifestation of the information you have on current and potential customers. While taking a disjoint approach to analyzing your data might allow you to answer specific questions about your audience, integrating all the evidence you have collected and building a realistic image of how your customer looks like leads to much deeper insight into your market’s behavior.
Buyer Personas Help You Shape Your Marketing Strategies
With that in mind, the first and most important application of buyer personas is defining the best marketing strategies for each segment in your target markets. How will you promote your Shopify store on social media for an audience who is between 18 and 25 years old? How about those who are interested in home design and architecture? How will you adapt your ad copy to meet the desires of people who are managers in small and medium companies if those are your target audience?
Writing down representative profiles of your audience allows you to address these and other questions much more precisely and effectively.
Buyer Personas Provide Better Insights into Your Audience’s Profile
Creating buyer personas for your Shopify store is also essential for making the most out of your current customers. Having these profiles helps you to visualize how your audience is thinking, what they are doing, what they are searching online, what they expect to see when they visit your Shopify store, among many other insights into customer behavior.
Here is an example provided by the Buyer Persona Institute of how a buyer persona profile looks like:
As you can see, personas are very detailed, data-based constructs. They present not only demographic information such as age, location, education, and average income but also detailed psychologic and professional traits. They are not wild guesses of who is your audience, and they do not describe how you would like your ideal customer to be. Personas detail the actual profiles of customers, with both their strengths and weaknesses. It is up to your marketing strategy to identify how both dimensions can be positively combined to increase the success of your business.
Now that we are clear on what buyer personas are and on their fundamental role in your marketing campaigns, it is time to move to a 3-step actionable guide for building realistic personas for your Shopify store.
Step 1: Define the Segments of Your Target Market
Who is currently buying your products? Are your products or services targeting individuals or other companies? Are they aimed at younger or older people? Are your products more suitable for women or men?
Before you start sending surveys to collect data on your audience, you must define who you are actually targeting. We understand that is not easy to say “My company will not be targeting this segment of the market,” but your product or service simply cannot be sold to everyone. Although it might hurt to consciously forego a specific share of the population, this will allow you to better focus on those which will bring the highest return on your marketing investment.
Once you define which segments of the market you will be targeting, it is time to move to the next stage and carry customer surveys to collect detailed data on your current buyers.
Step 2: Collect Data from Previous Customers and Market Surveys
There is a wide range of information you can collect from your actual audience. This data can be collected passively – when you track the behavior of visitors on your Shopify e-commerce pages, for example – and actively – when, for instance, you spread surveys actively asking a series of questions about your customers.
There are three major categories of data you should collect about your audience. Let’s explore each one in more detail and go through several actual elements you may want to include in your market research surveys.
Demographic Information such as Age and Educational Background
Demographic information is any quantifiable trait of a population. Although very broad, this definition gives you the necessary flexibility to define which kind of data is relevant for your Shopify marketing campaigns. Here is a list of characteristics we consider essential for properly understanding the profile of your current and potential buyers:
- Gender: what is the gender of most of your customers? Is your product looking more attractive for men or for women? Is that in accordance with your marketing strategy?
- Age: is the tone of your marketing messages in accordance with the age of your audience?
- Marital status and family information: how can you create different marketing campaigns for single, married, divorced and separated people? Does the number of children define distinct target segments for your business?
- Education background: does your customer hold a higher education degree? Do they require more detailed, credible information?
- Average annual income: is the price you charge in accordance with what your customers can or are willing to pay?
Professional Information such as Job Position and Company Profile
Professional data helps you to understand the type of job of your target market and the organizational environment in which your customer is inserted. If your product or service is targeted at corporate clients or other businesses, this information is quite relevant.
What is the size of the company where your customer works? Which types of challenges does it face? How can your products or services help them overcome these drawbacks?
The weight of this information on your buyer persona’s profile will depend on your target market. However, the growing interaction between professional and personal life makes this data increasingly more important in defining the overall profile of your audience.
Psychological Information such as Goals, Values, Fears, and Challenges
What is your target customer looking for? What are the main values that drive his or her behavior? Do your marketing campaigns incorporate such values?
Understanding the goals, values, fears, and challenges of your target market can be one of the most efficient ways of emotionally connecting with your audience and enjoying the high returns that result from this connection. It has already been established that emotions weight much more than logic in people’s decisions, so focusing on them will result in a higher number of more loyal customers for your Shopify store.
Another primary dimension of your persona’s profile is the type of challenges it normally faces. One of the most effective ways of increasing your sales is by positioning your Shopify e-commerce store not as trying to sell something but as offering a solution to your customers’ problems. People don’t buy products, they buy solutions, and one of the clearest benefits of defining buyer personas is having better insights into what is currently bothering your clients.
Step 3: Compile the Data into Several Highly Realistic Buyer Personas
The final step to fully enjoy the various benefits of well-defined buyer personas is to organize the collected information in realistic physical and psychological profiles of your audience.
You will want to start by giving a name to each persona. Although not a mandatory requirement, this helps you approach it as a real person instead of an abstract construct based on data. After naming it, the next stage is to define its demographic and professional profiles. These two major categories are easier to define than the psychological traits because they rely mostly on hard data and are not very open to interpretation. Curate the information you collected through your surveys and distribute it among the relevant profiles of your target market.
Finally, it is time to move to the psychological evaluation of your customers. This might take a bit more time because the answers are usually not so clear and require subjective interpretation by your marketing strategists. This stage, however, is as important as the previous two ones and should never be given less attention or be entirely left behind.
Using Buyer Personas to Increase the Sales of Your Shopify E-commerce Store
You are now ready to use your highly effective buyer personas to increase the efficiency of your online marketing campaigns. Make sure to distribute the information across every department related to sales and marketing, and conduct follow-up surveys to guarantee that your personas are always up-to-date with the latest characteristics, needs, and desires of your target audience.