Customer confidential: Creating buyer personas can help you draw specific shoppers to your store
BY CARLOS ARNAVAT 4
Truly knowing and understanding the customers you want to serve play a major role in the success of any mattress retailer, whether you’re a furniture or department store, specialty sleep shop or online seller.
Creating buyer personas—fictional representations of your ideal customers—is especially helpful. Such personas are based on real data about customer demographics and shopping behavior, along with educated speculation about their questions, motivations and concerns. Buyer personas help you better understand your shoppers and allow you to craft messages that resonate with key groups of consumers.
Why buyer personas are important
If return on investment is a primary concern of yours (and I suspect it most likely is), then the process of building buyer personas is exceedingly important. And in performance-driven marketing—which measures everything—collecting metrics that detail ROI for every type of marketing campaign you launch is essential to your sales performance. Metrics tell you whether you are achieving the intended results and allow for a quick course correction if numbers begin drifting in the wrong direction. All this, of course, leads to growth and reaching your business goals.
Relationships are at the core of any retailer’s success. In fact, many marketing tactics stem from two simple, yet powerful ideas:
1. Meet people where they are, not where you want them to be.
2. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
Keeping these two principles in mind, let’s get started creating a buying persona for your business. Start by asking yourself a few key questions:
O Who do I want buying our products?
O What are her daily activities?
O What kind of problems does she have?
O How can I help her solve her problems?
O How do I stand apart from my competitors to provide the ultimate solution?
Key elements, in detail
The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better you’ll be at driving the right type of traffic to your store. There are a number of factors to determine:
O Gender: Are they male or female?
O Demographics: Age? Salary? Marital status? Home?
O Values: What are their morals, ethics, goals and worldview?
O Desired experience: Are they looking for the best-priced mattress? Do they prefer luxury or economy? What do they look for in the mattress-buying experience?
O Problems: Do they have back pain or other health issues? Are they empty-nesters needing to fill a newly vacant room? Does one partner have sleep apnea while the other dreams of getting a good night’s rest?
O Role: What is their role in their business, family and community? What level of buying power do they have?
O Habits and activities: How do they spend their day? Where does shopping for a mattress fit in?
O Research: How do they perform research before making a purchasing decision? Do they scour the Internet or wait until they get to a store? Remember our concept about relations—“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care”? Ask yourself, “Is my website equipped to meet people where they are?”
O Objections: Why are they reluctant to shop for or buy a new mattress? What prevents them from shopping your store and then buying from your competitor down the street?
How to use your buyer persona
Once you have created a desired buyer persona—or several—it’s time to put it into action. I recommend you start by taking it to the Web. Why? Because that’s where today’s consumer is.
- By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. (Gartner research)
- 61% of global Internet users research products online. (“Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance” report from Ipsos Global @dvisor, 2012)
- 27% of consumers will leave a website if it’s not optimized for mobile. (“2014 Mobile Behavior Report” from SalesForce.com’s ExactTarget Marketing Cloud)
There are literally hundreds of statistics like these I could share but one thing is certain: Marketing is heading online. This must be taken into account when building your buyer persona.
So, where do you go from here? Begin by taking steps to define your personas and then start creating website content, as well as online ads and offers, that will appeal to those groups. Don’t forget organic search, pay-per-click advertising, social media and more.
Through it all, remember that the key is to meet your customers where they are, not where you want them to be. Because, after all, consumers don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
Meet Jan: The married mother of two
Jan’s not the sole decision-maker in the family, but she holds the most influence when it comes to household items like a new mattress. She is research-oriented, budget-conscious and always searching for ways to improve her family’s quality of life.
Jan and John have had the same mattress since they got married a decade ago. They know they need a new one, but are unsure about how much money to spend and whether a high-end mattress is worth the investment. Also, they don’t completely agree on how pressing a mattress purchase is. Jan slowly is becoming convinced through online research that buying a mattress that fits their needs is a necessary investment that should be made sooner rather than later. She, however, remains budget-conscious and intends on getting the best mattress for the best price. John is not quite swayed that they need to take money out of the family budget right now. The way he still sees it, “It’s just a mattress.”
How you can help Jan
With so much of consumer research—including Jan’s—happening online, your website needs to offer ample education and information to meet your buyer persona exactly where she is in the buying process. Through educational content, you should emphasize the importance of finding a mattress that provides her with the best night’s sleep. Benefits of buying a new mattress from you specifically include a better night’s rest overall, a solution to her specific problems (back pain, snoring, etc.) and improved quality of life. Through your messaging, both online and elsewhere, Jan will learn all about the importance of investing in the right bed and discover just how different your store is from your competitors. You can show her it’s not about the best deal but the best value.
Carlos Arnavat 4 is chief servant at Studio C5, a St. Louis-based inbound marketing agency that specializes in helping mattress retailers, wholesal-ers and manufacturers succeed online through a combination of storytell-ing, strategic educational content and 360-marketing automation. Arnavat also is an advocate and contributor to Sleep-Geek.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-549-5053.