Let’s face it. Content marketing for retail stores can be very difficult. It’s a bit like fighting a two-front war, as you try to appeal to customers both online and offline. Whether or not you’ve started the online shopping experience, content marketing for ecommerce should still be on your radar. A large part of the difficulty with inbound marketing for retail is your customer. You may know the individuals that visit your store but there’s more than a name, address and preferred furniture brands. Your business may even have broad labels that you apply to describe our demographics.
But do you really know the granular details of the customers who keep coming back? In most cases, the answer is no.
Creating buyer personas is a marketing idea that has taken the retail industry by storm over the last several years. With the steady increase in customers researching for furniture online, buyer personas are critical. However, many retailers are hesitant to create buyer personas.
What Are Buyer Personas?
A buyer persona is the logical extension of the oldest retail advice in the book. Know your audience.
Your buyer persona is an in-depth view of what your target buyer looks like. On its face, this may sound like demographics. Every business understands that they must know their demographic, but many of them are content to reduce their demographic to broad labels such as “Millennial” or “Baby Boomer.”
Buyer personas dive into the way your buyer shops, where they do research and so much more. Some of the basic elements of a good buyer persona include:
- Challenges: Think of how the challenges buyers have are solved by your product/service.
- Research methods: Where do they go when they want to educate about their challenges? Do they spend time on Facebook researching?
- Job title: This dips into the demographics but can tell you, especially as a B2B organization, what role this person has at the company you’re selling.
- Goals: If you’re a B2B company, you want to know how the goals of that individual so you can align your products to their goals.
- Influencers: Who does your target buyer listen to? Identify internal and external influencers of your target buyers, whether it’s mom or Ellen Degeneres.
- Motivation: What’s the thing that motivates your customers to buy?
You can start small or build very detailed buyer personas. In many cases, you may have multiple buyer personas for different areas of your business. For furniture retailers, you may have one buyer persona for your high-end furniture and a different persona for buyers that buy your design services.
Why Use Buyer Personas?
It takes a lot of time (and some technological help) to create extensive buyer personas for your own company. Once you do, though, there are a tremendous amount of benefits for your business.
Understanding the actual motivations of your shoppers, for instance, is going to dramatically shape how you approach marketing to your customers. And understanding things like the different income levels of your shoppers may influence how you personalize the shopping experience (including product recommendations) for all of your consumers.
Most of all, though, understanding buyer personas will help align all the disparate parts of your company towards a common goal. Instead of different managers and divisions trying to appeal to very different customers, you can create a business that is tailored from the top down to appeal to very specific customers.
As a business strategy, this starts out good and gets even better. Your existing customers will appreciate the added personal touch and end up shopping even more. And they will spread positive word of mouth about your company that can only help your business grow and expand!
Ready to learn more? Check out a fun example of what a buyer persona could sound like.
Our first buyer persona is someone that every retailer is familiar with. They are the shopper who never misses a discount and seeks to save money with every purchase.
Such a shopper is likely to be in their late twenties or early thirties, single, and they are likelier to be a woman than a man. Typically works at an entry-level job.
Motivations? They are primarily motivated by the need to save money. Brands don’t matter so much as price, and they are constantly on the lookout for the perfect balance between low price and high performance.
Reaching this buyer persona is relatively simple. They will be attracted to any prominent discounts or sales that you highlight in your marketing. Furthermore, they’ll enjoy any loyalty programs that you offer which result in their getting a discount on whatever they are shopping for.
How Can You Create Your Own Buyer Personas?
We’ve discussed how content marketing for retail becomes much easier once you have buyer personas of your own. However, that leaves a fundamental question. How can a business create its own buyer personas?
The first step is to do as much market research on your customers as possible. It really is that simple. If you want to find out who your customers are, you just need to ask them! This can range from individual interviews to social media polls to online surveys that you create and distribute to your customers.
The next step is to use as many analytics as you can. This lets you start narrowing down the behavior of your visitors, including which sites they visited, how long they stayed, and so on. This helps provide additional data to go along with the consumer responses you have already recorded.
Finally, you can begin creating buyer personas based on all available data. Don’t be afraid to tweak these over time as additional data comes in or as your demographics change. Think of it as an ongoing work in progress!
Final Thoughts On Content Marketing For Retail
Now you know how buyer personas can make content marketing for retail a breeze. Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it: nothing keeps you from starting the process to create your own personas today. And once you truly understand who your consumers are, the sky is the limit for your retail business!