Most buyer personas focus on the demographic data of their ideal customers and then extrapolate behavior based on those data points. While this technique works, it doesn’t necessarily take into account online behaviors. Many extrapolations are rooted in ideas about people’s buying behavior back when television, radio, print, and word of mouth were the only means of gaining information.
Most people now use the internet in some fashion before they make a buying decision. Therefore, online behavior metrics must be factored into personas. Here are some online behavior metrics you can use to supercharge your current persona profiles.
What are your customer’s most frequently asked questions and complaints?
Getting this information used to be the domain of the salesperson and the customer service representative. Both of these roles can still get this data, but the chatbot, the social media page, and the review site are the modern ways to do it. People have no qualms about leaving feedback on social media, positive or negative. Tracking this feedback is an excellent way to keep your personas tuned to the current moods of the audience.
Which pages on your site receive the most impressions?
This is an easy metric to track thanks to web metrics software, but it’s still an important one. If some pages (with the exception of the main page) is getting a significantly higher proportion of clicks then there is something in there that is resonating with the audience. Whatever it is, it needs to be incorporated into the persona.
When do your customers use different social media channels?
You can have the perfect posts for social media but if they never see them then all that effort is lost. Social media channels have peak times of usage. Posting during those times maximize the chances that your audience will see your post. There are also applications that will automatically post things based on audience activity. Buffer is an example of this kind of application.
What sources or sites do your customers trust for information related to your niche?
The number of channels available for people to get information about a brand or a product continues to increase, but in every niche, there will be some sources that are trusted above all others. These could include a particular website, a special forum, a small group of influencers, a social media group, or some combination of the above. The culture and content of these spaces will influence how your persona will approach your sales pitches, and so these must also be folded into your personas. Be wary of generalizing behavior on large social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Reddit) because subgroups can have their own rules.
Where do your customers hang out online in general?
Far too many companies blast the same messages out to as many different channels as they can in the hopes of hitting the widest number of people they can. But a little basic research shows that different demographics prefer different online channels. For instance, many young people are ignoring Facebook in favor of Snapchat and Instagram. Stop hitting every channel and focus on the one(s) where most of your audience hangs out.
Online behavior cannot be ignored when creating buyer personas. The internet has completely revolutionized how we engage with businesses. If you’re not adding online behaviors to your personas then any predictions you make will be incomplete.
Getting this information may seem daunting or even invasive, but there are a lot of tools out there that can help you gather these kinds of metrics easily and in the background. For more information about this, check out our ebook on using Big Data To Create Successful Buyer Personas.