One of the ways that successful ecommerce sites convert sales is by tailoring their content marketing to the needs of specific buyer personas. The process can be automated and powerful. So what is a buyer persona?
Strategy consultant Jon Simpson, explains that a buyer persona is a "semi-fictional character that personifies your ideal customer." If you write content for multiple buyer personas, you're showing consideration for the needs of those individuals. They feel inclined to read specific types of content based on broadly shared characteristics.
The Outdoor Adventure Ecommerce Store
Take the following example. An online store markets kayaks, outerwear, and camping gear among other outdoor adventure products. There's some overlap between what one ecommerce store sells and what other online retailers sell to people who will engage in oceanfront water sports and whitewater rafting. All of these retailers cater to buyers who need gear for the water, such as swimsuits, wetsuits, and lifejackets, as well as gear for storing supplies while they are in the outdoors. The customer could be looking for everything from mosquito repellent and waterproof sunblock to insulated lunchboxes and canteens. Within the range of watersports, the writer should factor the customer's intent into the content they create. Based on the user's age, location, income and the number of children in their home, a writer can predict intent by assigning the shopper a persona based on a set of characteristics.
Buyer Personas Broaden Your Content Development
While shopper personas describe likely buyers, perhaps even existing customers, they don't need to limit your content development. Segmenting shoppers based on personas along with other personalization opens up new ecommerce marketing opportunities. Consider that the outdoor adventurer may or may not have children. This speaks to the level of experience they will be shopping for on their next visit to the store. An independent series of content should be developed for shoppers with or without small children. Is kayaking a one-time adventure or a lifestyle? Do shoppers travel far for their outdoor activities or take advantage of local areas? Do kayak shoppers correlate to other adventure sports like surfing or mountain biking? Content writers and curators could develop a whole series of content for each scenario.
Merchandising and Allocation
The development and tracking of buyer personas can influence the types of inventory that a store maintains. As personas become more defined, they can differentiate one store from another, making customers more likely to buy from the store that best speaks to their needs. The more personalized the overall experience is, from content to product allocation, the better the ecommerce site will convert. For example, the outdoor adventure retailer could create a stream of content for customers with mobility challenges or other special needs.
The amount of content developed for each persona should be based on a number of factors. The first consideration should be the volume and quality of traffic that audience could generate. Use search engine optimization (SEO) keyword tools to measure current search volume by category, the level of competition for that keyword and your current search engine ranking for broad and longtail search terms. This, along with your profitability within a given product line helps you determine the revenue opportunity should you invest in content for that audience.
The Benefits of Strong Content Marketing
Creating content for buyer personas helps an ecommerce site improve its search engine page rankings around targeted keywords. The phrase "take the family on a kayak trip" could deliver a result from REI.com, which sells to a broad audience of interests. While this retailer has a huge inventory to fit the needs of multiple audiences within the "outdoor adventurer" persona, they may or may not have content that makes a specific niche of buyers feel like their individual needs are important.
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