What are user personas?

Simply put, user personas are representations of user groups on your website. They describe real users with real needs and their expectations when interacting with your site. Crafting personas should be one of your first steps prior to starting a new project or launching a campaign. Your company will undoubtedly have different personas to take into consideration.

This may sound similar to a target audience, and it is. However, target audiences refer to a general group of people with similar attributes that will be interacting with your product or website. They are usually defined by age, gender, race, income, interests, attitudes and location.

User personas drill down to specific people within that target audience, making them much more focused on a single person in the general crowd. In addition to general demographic information, here are a few more bits of information to take into consideration:

  • Detailed personal information (family, children, career paths)
  • Personality traits
  • Hobbies
  • Demeanor
  • Values
  • Fears
  • Communication methods
  • Goals and how they achieve them (as well as what their challenges are in meeting those goals)
  • Common challenges or questions when comparing your offering to a competitor

How do you create a persona?

These personas should be developed using both qualitative and quantitative data. It’s important to take the time to gather both when creating personas, even if you have existing information on only one side or the other. The best way to start is to mine the quantitative data from web analytics. The data doesn’t lie, and it should be at the tip of your fingers through Google Analytics and established social channels.

We find it helpful to interview the sales and account teams as part of this process as well. Analytics is a great start, but nobody knows your audiences better than those who interact with them every day.

Qualitative data can be gathered through focus groups, general surveys, interviews with actual users and making informed assumptions based on your past experiences. Chances are you’re pretty familiar with your product and can glean information from previous interactions.

I have a persona. Now what?

Personas are incredibly valuable in depersonalizing content and design decisions. They shift the conversation from what appeals to your company (or agency) team to what appeals to your users or customers.

Give that persona a name and use it to your marketing advantage! Maybe it’s Sammy Snail (because they take a long time to make a decision) or Indecisive Ida (because they bounce in and out of your site several times before making a decision).

Having these personas allow you to modify your messaging and advertising techniques to help sell your product or service to meet their specific needs. You can pinpoint their specific challenge and be the solution for them to overcome it. You can also go back to people that may have dropped off in the sales funnel to customize your message and bring them closer to the purchase.

How can gravitate help?

Have more questions? Need help creating personas for your organization? Reach out any time!