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Introducing the Community Personas and Community Engagement Matrix

We all know that general ecommerce customer personas exist. For years merchants have used personas to focus their marketing and segment their customer base. At LoyaltyLion, we know our merchants market to nine personas: the Browser, the New Subscriber, the Hesitant Buyer, the First Time Buyer, the Repeat Purchaser, the VIP, the Impulse Buyer, the Discount Chaser, and the Lapsed Customer. 

But not all of these personas bring your brand value in the long term. For example, the Browser or the Discount Chaser, are not really invested in your brand and may quickly lose interest. 

Instead, it’s the customers who make repeat purchases from you who have the potential to bring long-term value. This subsection of loyal customers who are more emotionally invested in your brand and community are the key to building a successful customer community. 

In our Community Matters report, we used research to identify four personas that exist in a value-driving customer community. In this post, we’re going to introduce you to these four community personas and explore how you can use them to improve your brand’s community. Let’s meet each member…

Want to see who makes up your customer community? Take our quiz to find out

The four Community Personas introduced

Our research made it clear that communities are made up of four different profiles: Drifter, Lurker, Supporter, Insider.  Each profile offers different levels of value to your brand (based on participation and interaction). They also need different levels of marketing effort to maintain relationships with them. 

⛵️ Drifters are the least engaged community members. They have purchased from you but they are not active within your community. They have no emotional relationship with your brand.

👀 Lurkers are passive community members. They see your marketing but need more value from your brand to complete more high-value community-based activities.

🎉 Supporters like to engage with your brand. They’ll share your brand via word-of-mouth but they need more incentives and attention to bring incremental gains back to your business.

💖 Insiders are your best friends. They advocate for your brand without being asked to and they complete the community-based activities that are most valuable to your brand.

Community persona: Drifter

Drifters make up 14% of a community base and they can be quite a difficult group to contend with. 

They don’t read your marketing copy or click on your email links. In fact, they don’t really want to engage with your brand in any meaningful way beyond purchases. They are very close to leaving or forgetting about you entirely. It requires some effort to try and get them invested. But they have potential. 

Transactional perks like discounts and savings can drive Drifters to get engaged. However, they often won’t want to complete community-based activities like sharing your brand with friends or family. 

Drifters aren’t fond of creating accounts with you either. You can try to lure them in with on-site notifications offering discounts or follow up their orders with engaging content that relates to their new purchases. 

Ultimately, Drifters are the least valuable of the four personas but with the right strategies, you can turn them into committed community members. 

Community persona: Lurker

Lurkers make up 17% of a community base. They are Drifters, with a glow-up. They engage with your brand but they are not ready to fully participate. 

83% of Lurkers log in to complete a purchase, meaning that they’re open to a relationship with your brand. But, they don’t complete many community-based activities and are primarily there to get a good deal on your product or service

They represent a difficult trade-off because they pay attention but they’re not convinced enough to become active in your community. They are motivated by financial incentives. For example, 78% of Lurkers – say access to discounts is a top priority in motivating them to complete more community-based actions. 

Community Persona Lurker

Lurkers are also a great group to focus on when you are running a retargeting campaign. The effort you put into working with Lurkers will be worth it once you push them into that all-important Supporter territory. 

Community persona: Supporter

Supporters make up 51% of your community base. By far the most populous community persona, Supporters engage with your marketing, spread the word about your brand, and feel emotionally connected. 

Community Persona Supporter

54% of Supporters will recommend you to friends and family, helping you acquire more customers who trust you from the get-go. They enjoy your product or service and get a kick out of letting others know about the brand. 

But, Supporters are not fully committed. It still takes some work to get them to do community-based actions such as commenting on your social media posts or UGC. Thankfully, they usually make up the largest section of your community and with a little effort, you’ll be able to turn them into Insiders.

Community persona: Insider

Insiders are the most valuable community members but they make up only 18% of your community base. They are your biggest cheerleaders and are always driving incremental gains for your brand with their community-wide advocacy. They’ve bought into your ethos and your product and they want to let everyone know. They will impact your acquisition and conversion metrics and drive enormous value for you across the board. 

Community Persona Insider

54%  of Insiders create original posts about stores they like on social media rather than just sharing or commenting as Supporters do. As well as spreading the word, Insiders will give you insightful feedback that may even end up driving your product direction. Their value is immense. The more Insiders you have the more your customer community will be able to thrive. 

Now you know the Community Personas that exist, why not take our quiz to find out who makes up the majority of yours?

Value exchange of a community of Insiders

A positive customer community is built on value exchange. A thriving community will help you get more out of your members and benefit your brand in the long term. By understanding how you can turn Lurkers into Insiders you’ll be able to run more successful and purposeful marketing campaigns and initiatives. 

In exchange, community members want transaction and experiential benefits. They also want opportunities to establish emotional connections with your brand. When you are able to offer this sort of value to customers they will be able to pay you back with feedback, reviews and referrals, community involvement, and increased purchases. 

The benefit of having a customer community is brand loyalty. As you begin to measure and understand your customer base you will be able to convert more members into Insiders and improve the value of your community to your brand. 

Using the community engagement matrix to your brand’s advantage

It’s time to turn your unengaged customers into committed insiders who can inspire and sustain your business. 

We’ve included a quiz that will enable you to diagnose the make-up of your community, so you can start devising strategies for each type of community persona. 

About the author

Mollie Woolnough-Rai

Mollie is a Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion, a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform for fast-growth ecommerce merchants. LoyaltyLion helps thousands of retailers worldwide to build fully customised loyalty programs, proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend. After graduating from UCL, she has worked both in-house and at marketing agencies providing expertise in content strategy and copywriting. At LoyaltyLion, Mollie manages our content, making sure our readers get the best quality resources.

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