“What do your customers want?” This question is common for all businesses, regardless of their industries. And this question is gaining more momentum in the past years due to the fierce competition among brands.
Several brands have achieved success and customer satisfaction by incorporating a simple and effective solution in their marketing strategies: user persona.
With user persona, brands have been able to create and sell products that are tailored to fulfill their customer’s needs.
So, what is a user persona? How do they benefit your business? This article gives you an in-depth look into user personas and how you can create one for your business.
What is a user persona?
User personas are a semi-fictional representation of your target audience who use your products.
They are created using information collected from customers by researching their needs, goals, demographics, behavioral traits, etc.
User personas help you get inside the minds of your users and know what they feel about your products. You can get insights into what they like or dislike about your products and make user-centric marketing decisions.
User personas are usually created in a one or two-page document with the user’s personal information like name, age, location, education, goals, etc.
Even though the persona is just an imaginary representation of an ideal user, brands can add some personal info to the persona and make it more realistic. This way, it will be easier for marketers to target users with similar characteristics.
Only when you have an in-depth understanding of your customer’s needs can you create products that satisfy them.
User personas give you answers to the most fundamental question while creating a product. “Who are you creating this product for?”
Benefits of user personas
User personas are very important to craft for any growth marketing strategies. They help you know how your customers search, buy and use your products. Some benefits you can get by creating user persians are as follows.
Understand user behavior
By gathering information on user backgrounds, you can understand where they obtain information, what they search for, and which social media platforms they frequent.
You can use this data to better target your users and promote your products and services in places where your users will notice them.
You might spend a lot of time developing products that you believe will be useful to your users. But what if the products are not wanter or in demand for the users?
Creating user personas prevent you from wasting your time and resources by giving you clear ideas of what your users need.
Create consistency across the business
User personas give your whole company a shared knowledge of your users, bringing everyone together.
Personas offer a consistent and detailed understanding of each segment of the target customer inside your company.
Improve workflow in design and development
Having a user persona not only helps you create consistency in your company.
It also helps design and development teams create and design products that can suit the users’ needs.
Know when and where to position your products for better reach
Since you have done the relevant research on your customer journey, you get to know the exact channels of promotion for respective persona.
User personas will help you face the challenges that comes with product promotions.
What can be included in a user persona?
There is no definite answer to what details can be included while creating your user persona. The simple answer would be: whatever details are helpful to your company.
User personas come in different styles and sizes, just like the actual user they represent. For example, suppose you are creating a user persona for a tech company.
In that case, you might want to include details about the users’ skills in technology, i.e., relevant information that can help you devise strategies to reach your customers.
However, there are some characteristics that are common to all user personas, irrespective of the industry.
There are the details that give life to your personas and help you visualize them as real people. The characteristics are as follows.
Name: You can use a real name taken from an existing customer or quirky names like ‘Sally, the Spendthrift.’
These names should represent a specific segment of your user persona.
Photo: It makes it easier for you to visualize the person if you have a face to the name.
Personal quote or motto: Just like a photo, this makes the persona seem more realistic.
Demographics: Incorporate the data you collected from real customers into your persona.
You can include details like name, age, gender, location, occupation, income, marital status, etc.
Biography: Create a backstory to make your persona more relatable. You can talk about their childhood, current job, hobbies, etc.
These details can influence your future marketing strategies.
Behavioral traits: What does your persona like? Is he an impulsive buyer?
Understanding your customer’s behavior can make it easier for you to create marketing strategies accordingly.
Motivations: Learn what motivates your customer to buy your products or services.
Goals and frustrations: Note down your personas’ goals and pain points about your products.
How to create a user persona?
Before creating a user persona, you should know that even though they are imaginary, they are the representation of real people who interact with you and buy your products.
While the individuals in the user persona are hypothetical conjectures, the data should not be hypothetical. They should be based on in-depth, extensive research done on your user base.
Follow the below steps to create your user persona.
Collect information about your users
This is the first and most important step to creating an effective user persona. To create a user persona and give your customers the best services, you should first understand their mindsets, behaviors, and motivations.
You can create the most accurate user personas by conducting interviews, online surveys and observing your customer’s data on their profiles.
You can collect similar characteristics among these people and use them to create your user persona.
The more research you do on your users, the more accurate the personas will be.
In case you can’t collect much information about your users through research and interviews, you can create a persona based on what you know about your users.
You can use web analytics or customer support logs to create your personas. These personas are called provisional personas. You can use it till you create a real persona based on customer research.
Identify behavioral patterns
The next step to creating your user persona is to analyze the data you collected on your users.
Through this process, you can identify users who have similar characteristics and group them together as a single persona. Here are some easy steps to do this.
- Once you have collected all data, list all the behavioral variables, i.e., how the user’s behaviors differ from each other.
- Map down the attributes of each user against the relevant set of variables.
- Identify the variables with the maximum number of users. These variables will become the basis for creating your user persona’s behavioral patterns.
Create personas and prioritize them
Once you have collected the behavioral patterns of your users, the next step would be to assemble the persona’s descriptions around the behavioral patterns.
Note that the descriptions you provide for these personas should make it easier for your teams to understand the users’ personalities.
Common mistakes to avoid while creating user personas
The quality of your persona depends upon your research and the data you collected.
Here are some factors that can influence the quality of your user persona.
Making stuff up about personas
Sometimes, you might not get enough information for your personas. Don’t just fill these holes with incorrect information. Dig a little deeper and collect more information on your users.
Adding too many details
Creating a user persona with too much irrelevant data can do you more harm than good.
Don’t add too many personal details. One or two descriptions of the persona will be enough to make the persona realistic.
Too many details can make the persona confusing and seem artificial (less credible).
Developing too many user personas
More often than not, brands create more than one persona for their product. While most businesses have more than one user segment, having too many personas can blur things and confuse you.
In most cases, it is better to minimize the number of user personas for better understanding and maximum reach. Having three to four user personas will be enough for most projects.
User persona is not same as buyer persona. User persona describes the ideal customers who can buy your product, whereas, buyer persona describes the behavior of your target customer.
Customers only buy products that can satisfy their needs and makes their job easier. So when creating a product, always have your end-user in mind. Never stop trying to understand your target users.
Collecting information on customers and creating a fictitious representation can seem tiresome. But the benefits you get from it are huge. So get started on your user personas and create products that satisfy your user’s needs and pain points.
Frequently Asked Questions
User personas are used to create a summarized version of information collected on a customer segment that can help provide customized products and marketing services to the customers. This semi-fictional representation helps brands create products that focus on the user’s needs.
A UX persona is a semi-fictional character that serves to represent your target audience.
Personas are very useful UX tools that help you better understand your target audience and adjust your design choices accordingly.
Follow the below steps while creating your user personas.
- Collect information about your users
- Identify similar behavioral patterns
- Create personas and prioritize them