How well do you really know your customers? You probably know their ages, their general locations, and perhaps even a little bit about their shopping habits.
But if someone were to ask you what your customers valued most, what they enjoyed doing in their free time or what their most common frustrations were at work, you might not be so sure.
If you’re a savvy business owner (which, if you’re here learning about how to boost your business, you probably are) you already know the importance of data. It’s important to things like age, location and shopping habits in order to market to your customers effectively.
But your customers are human beings — human beings which can’t be simplified into numbers and statistics. Truly knowing your customers means understanding who they are as people — something ordinary data doesn’t help you do in a meaningful way.
In order to effectively communicate and anticipate the needs and wants of your customers, you need to go one step further and create customer personas.
What is are customer personas, and why do they matter?
Customer personas are representations of your ideal customer that are created using real customer data, demographics and market research. They look and act a little bit like profiles — while they are semi-fictional, they’re based on very real insights and information you get from customer data.
Unlike customer segments that highlight broader information like gender, age range and location, customer personas focus instead on the deeper motivations, frustrations, goals and experiences of your customers. Personas help build an emotional story about your customers rather than treating them like numbers on a spreadsheet.
So why does creating an emotional story matter to subscription box marketing? Simply put, while single-sale merchants can tailor their data, messaging and marketing to support a very focused conversion or sale, subscription box merchants have to play the long game.
It’s on-going moments of delight that keep customers engaged and more likely to stick around — and consistently delivering those types of brand experiences comes down to thinking beyond the numbers and data points so many traditional eCommerce merchants rely on.
Personas are an important tool for your marketing efforts. They can be used to:
- Prioritize projects and product features based on user needs and motivations
- Customize campaigns to better resonate with particular customer segments
- Target offers to customers that are most likely to want/need it
- Creating more engaging messaging that speak on a deeper emotional level
Utilizing customer personas effectively can have a major impact on the growth and sustainability of your business. Effectively using customer personas can:
- Reduce churn and cultivate a membership mindset
- Increase your customer lifetime value (CLTV) and, ultimately, your bottom line
- Reduce marketing overhead by more accurately targeting your campaigns
- Nail your brand positioning by understand what your customers are thinking and feeling
What goes into a customer persona?
Just like customer segments, personas use data collected about your existing and/or prospective customers — but they take it one step further.
Information in a customer persona could include:
- Marital and family status (single, married, kids etc)
- Hobbies and interests
- Frustrations and pain points (what they don’t like when they interact with a brand)
- Values and motivations (what they do like when they interact with a brand)
- Favorite publications or learning avenues
- Favorite methods of communication (email, social media, direct mail)
- Other influential brands (i.e. what other brands do they engage with and follow)
Of course, not all customer personas are created equal. Depending on your business and customers, you might need to prioritize certain insights over others. Don’t feel like you need to include everything listed above — pick out the elements you think will add value to your marketing efforts and run with those.
Customer data + clear segments + customer personas = the Subscription eCommerce marketing trifecta.
An important thing to remember in your marketing efforts is this: customer personas are not the end-all-be-all of your marketing. In reality, customer personas are only effective when you have the right customer data and the right segments of that data at your disposal.
Why? Because any small eCommerce business needs to be able to pivot their message and marketing — and if you’ve spend 100% of your time creating a persona without some well-organized data to back it up, you’ll find yourself reinventing the wheel every time your marketing strategy needs a refresh.
Flexibility in marketing is key — and having the right data, organized in a way that’s easy to understand, makes the iterative process of customer targeting much more efficient and effective.
Not sure where to get started? At LimeLight, we talk a lot about how data is the fuel for the relationship economy — and we’ve created a simple format for creating effective personas that foster relationships with your customers.
Download our worksheet and get started building customer personas that will breath life back into your marketing!
Creating Effective Customer Personas
Download the worksheet to create simple but effective customer personas.
– Questions to consider
– Information to include in your personas
– Simple template to organize data