Buyer personas are a must for any business – but did you know you can also use them to create your customer-centric website?
The truth is, if you don’t know what a buyer persona is, your website definitely isn’t performing as well as it could be. Buyer personas are key to your website’s success, and a customer-centric web design is essential to turning website visitors into buying customers.
Below, I’m going to tell you how you can apply your buyer personas when creating a customer-centric website your customers will love.
What are buyer personas?
*(If you already know this part, you can skip it) *
To put it simply, buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal buyer, and are ideally put together from surveying and researching your previous and best customers. Who are they? What’s their age? What do they do for a living? What are their main interests or concerns?
I’d say most businesses have more than one buyer persona, and I’d personally recommend having at least two or three to accurately represent the various groups who are interested in your products and services.
Now, let’s look at a couple of examples of buyer personas, which I’m then going to use throughout the rest of this blog.
Age: 45 – 50
Job title: Small business owner
Richard runs a moderately successful small business he’s worked hard to get off the ground, but knows that he needs to get on-board with inbound marketing in order move his business forward and away from its current plateau. For business growth, he really needs an entire website redesign that’s more focused on his customers, with a blog that he can then use to create helpful, valuable twice-weekly content. His competitors are already ahead of the game, but Richard isn’t sure whether throwing money at a solution is going to bring him the results he needs. What he really wants to see is a stream of steady leads he can then use to bring sales, and assurance that inbound marketing and a customer-centric web design is going to bring him exactly that.
**Richard’s challenges: **
- He’s heard of inbound, but doesn’t know where to start
- His old, outdated website needs a complete redesign
- He doesn’t have a large budget and wants a good return on his investment
The takeaway: Richard is faced with some tough decisions, and he’s the one that will be signing off on the expensive of a new customer-centric design and inbound marketing strategy. He’s concerned about ROI and wants to know he’ll get tangible results for his money.
Age: 35 – 40
Job title: Marketing director
Jennifer studied hard for her MBA in marketing, and her hard work paid off as she’s now the marketing director of a large firm. She likes to use her tablet on the go, to keep up-to-date with her business communications and research. She’s recently adapted her marketing strategy to an inbound one, and so far the results have been impressive, despite the sluggish and outdated web design the firm currently uses. She has to convince the other directors of any big decisions she makes, and has recently been making her case for a customer-centric website redesign, with the hopes of doubling the amount of leads it currently generates. She wants a sharp, effective design and has a sizeable budget, so now she’s looking for a company to deliver a customer-centric design around the firm’s already well-researched buyer personas.
**Jennifer’s challenges: **
- Her firm’s current website is outdated, sluggish and not performing as well as it could
- She needs to get her firm ahead of the competition
- She needs to convince the other directors that they’ll get a good return on their investment
The takeaway: Jennifer has the power to make decisions – with the other directors’ approval – and she wants a customer-centric design that will not only be effective at generating leads, but also have great visual appeal.
Using buyer personas to design your customer-centric website
Now it’s time to apply your buyer personas to judge how effective your website is throughout the entire buyer’s journey. Taking the time to do this could mean all the different between your potential customers getting distracted and clicking away, and a well-performing site that helps guide your personas all the way through their buyer journeys.
Below are nine questions you should ask yourself, from the perspective of your buyer personas:
1. Is the design effective?
Appearance is by no means the be-all and end-all of a customer-centric website, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Ask yourself: Is your streamlined design and clear delivery of information enough to impress Jennifer? Will the image you project make Richard feel comfortable investing his hard-earned money on your solution?
2. Is your unique value proposition (UVP) clear?
Your UVP should be displayed prominently on your website. Does it promise a good ROI for Richard? Will Jennifer be encouraged by the promise of the marketing results her firm needs to stay ahead of the competition?
3. Are your calls-to-action (CTAs) relevant?
Your CTAs should be placed strategically around your site – for example, at the end of a relevant blog post. Are your CTAs relevant and clear enough to demonstrate the value Richard will get from clicking on them? Do they offer Jennifer the helpful information she needs to click on your landing page and become a lead?
4. Are you talking their language?
Your website’s content should be well thought-out and written solely with your buyer personas in mind. Will Richard be able to read through any technical jargon to discover what you’re really offering his business? Do you acknowledge Jennifer’s current marketing dilemmas?
5. Does your blog include helpful, quality content?
Does your blog answer the questions Richard has about where to start with inbound marketing techniques, and what makes a good customer-centric web design? Have you also addressed Jennifer’s concerns about how to pick the right web design company?
6. Are the features and navigation easy-to-use?
You could have some amazing content, but your personas have to be able to find it. Did Richard manage to find and download the ebook on customer-centric website ROI? Was Jennifer impressed with your web design costs calculation tool? Was she inclined to subscribe to your newsletter?
7. What about the overall user experience?
Was Richard able to successfully find what he was looking for within the first couple of minutes of browsing your website? Did Jennifer find your website informational and a joy to use? Or was she annoyed at having to fill in too much information before she was able to download her guide?
8. Is it a responsive design?
Almost half of mobile searches are now conducted on a mobile device, and 70% of mobile searches lead to action within one hour (statistics courtesy of iAcquire and Survey Monkey). We already know that Jennifer likes to use her tablet on the move to keep track of her business communications and research, but will your site be able to deliver a user experience that’s just as good as a desktop? Will Jennifer still be able to download and view the ebook on customer-centric website ROI on her tablet?
9. Have you made the most of social media?
It’s important to try and engage your users beyond your website, which is where social media integration comes in. Does Richard feel encouraged to ‘like’ your page on Facebook? Do the social sharing buttons encourage him to share your content with his friends and colleagues? Would Jennifer want to connect with your company on LinkedIn?
Your buyer personas are absolutely essential when it comes to creating your customer-centric website, and they should be well-researched, based on your existing and previous best customers. Once you detailed buyer personas, you should use them to look at your website from their perspective.
Ask yourself questions about their user experience and whether key features were easy enough to find. Is the UVP in a prominent place and make them want to know more? Are your CTAs clear and do they demonstrate the value your personas will get from clicking on them? Does your blog answer their questions? Think about these, and more, to create an effective, customer-centric website your customers will love.