Everyone who has been involved in conversion optimization exercises, knows what personas are. Traditionally, in conversion marketing, we don’t look at the same kind of personas as, for instance, in web development projects.
In usability and web design, we create personas depending on the potential visitor profiles and scenarios, and we build our websites around the tasks these visitors want to perform. We also look at the different kinds of personalities, based on their online behavior traits, dividing them into typologies such as the rational personas, the more intuitive ones, etc.
For conversion marketing purposes, we use these methods as well. However, we focus more on prospects and customers or buyer personas.
Personas, those prototypes we create to represent our customers, in function of conversion optimization exercises, are not the same as target groups or segments. Nevertheless, segmenting is one of the most common ways to improve conversion in cross-channel and multi-step marketing tactics.
In practice, we often see that the way conversion optimization is done, largely depends on the specific channel such as email, social media, content marketing, etc., And often buyer personas are even not used since they traditionally tend to be defined in quite a broad way.
In a cross-channel and customer-centric marketing reality, it is a necessity to have common goals, metrics, key performance indicators and conversion optimization approaches that don’t depend on our marketing tactics but on the customer and our business goals. Personas matter, just like segmenting does, but ultimately, we are getting increasingly personal in our customer interactions and thus also conversion tactics.
An existing way to improve conversion that comes to mind here is customer journey analysis. Generally speaking it's about having a global way of looking at all the steps that prospects take before and when arriving on websites, blogs, etc. in the various stages of their “journey”.
Although customer journey analysis is the most widely used method for improving conversion, according to an Econsultancy report (almost half of respondents), it is also a challenging job.
Relatively few respondents feel they do customer journey analysis well while most of the say it is valuable.
In practice, conversion optimization is still all too often an exercise that lacks integration, coordination, strategy and someone who is responsible for the overall conversion optimization approach and results in function of the customer journey.
With all the techniques and platforms that exist to measure and improve conversion, and all the different online media and interaction channels people and marketers use, integration and customer journey based conversion seems the way to go.
Companies that approach their conversion efforts in such an integrated way do report better overall conversion rates.
One of the main challenges might be corporate culture: a customer-centric and cross-channel mindset.
Communication channels depend on the consumer and marketing is about engaging the cross-channel customer and prospect throughout integrated dialogues that are driven by his/her buying journey, preferences, triggers, signals and behaviour.
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