In the following article I will tell you what the persona is, why it is so important, how you do it, what problems you can encounter even when you already have a persona.
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” — Hubspot
The buyer persona helps you understand the goals, motivations and behaviors of the people who will use your product.
Why is persona important?
From the Strategist’s point of view:
- give a clear picture of the user expectation (content, UX, features, functionality);
- they allow you to simplify vast amounts of information and can save you time;
- you can have a clearer vision and you know what you have to do.
From the UX point of view:
- they help team members share a consistent understanding of the final user;
- you know how to resolve your customer’s problems;
- better product development;
- you have a deeper understanding of customer needs, interests and pains;
- personas offer a “face” to the user story which creates stronger empathy and deeper understanding.
From the Marketing & Content point of view:
- you can get right audience insights and you know how to write (tone of voice) and what to write;
- personas can tell you where your demographics spend time online, what resources they trust (so you can make a perfect channels strategy);
- they provide high quality leads;
- they can help you develop a coherent marketing strategy.
SEO & Online Advertising
- they help you write adverts that speak directly to your audience;
- they help you understand the person behind the search.
How do you develop a persona?
A. For existing users:
1. Interviews — you already have an idea about your customer so all you have to do is write down your audience’s age, gender and interests and find some people in this target. Talk to them!
2. Analytics Data — go with the numbers and analyze all your data:
- Google Analytics;
- Social Media analytics;
- email marketing analytics.
3. Review help desk calls and website feedback — what are the main problems that you have, what are people saying?
4. Analyze your own documentation:
- marketing materials (newsletters, landing pages, flyers);
- business strategy materials (vision, company culture);
B. For non-existing users:
- Use the product goals;
- Interview the stakeholders;
- Check out trends in the industry;
- Research the market.
After all the research, you can finally create your persona, but what do you write in your persona profile?
- Name — only first name. Try to play with the words and make an alliteration like ”Hannah the housewife”.
- Short Quote — a short sentence that provides a quick overview of the persona. For instance, the quote for Hannah could be ”My family is first in my heart. I want what is best for them.”
- Job Title — what industry do your customers work in and what types of job titles do they have?
- Location — where do people from this persona live (big city or suburb)?
- Age —what is the age range of this persona?
- Relationship — what is the relationship status of this persona (married, single, engaged)?
- Education —what is the education level of this persona (college, master’s degree)?
- Income — what is the income range of this persona (per year or per month)?
- Interests — what are the interests of people in this persona (does he/she like to run, to paint or to read)?
- How does a day of his life look like? — when interacting with your product and why?
- Behavior — is the persona funny or serious, is career or family oriented, is he in learning mode or in party mode, alpha or delta?
- Motivation — what are this persona’s reasons for buying your product or service?
- Goals & Challenges — what are their primary and secondary goals? What challenges do they face and how can you solve them?
- Pains — what are the elements hurting your persona when it comes to the competition or your old products? What problem could you solve?
- What does the persona value most — and you can offer that?
- What kind of feeling do they wish to have when visiting your product/website?
- Influencers & brands — what brands does this persona use, wear, relate to, what blogs do they read?
When we build persona we only use Google Documents, no other fancy tools even though we tried a few of them. We have our own template that looks similar to this:
Problems you might have when you have persona
- you or your team can forget about personas;
- you can find them less useful when your target audience is very large;
- you can take them too literally;
- can actually prevent empathy;
- they are difficult to make;
- they can be time consuming;
- there can be no budget for constructing personas;
- personas are not a stand-alone artifact: you also need to create user scenarios, experience maps, content.
So meet your target audience, talk to them and keep them in mind all the time. Make your own persona and then make the features, content, UX, marketing strategy or Facebook ads. Persona should be the first building block of your product’s core. Keep that in mind.