How (and Why) You Should Create User Personas

When you are trying to build a business or a brand, it's important to think about who is going to be using that brand. After all, they are the people you have to convince to become your paying customer -- and they are the ones who you need to keep happy post-purchase.

In order to get your messaging and branding tailored so that it appeals to the right audience, it can be very helpful to create user personas. User personas are essentially fictional people you create in order to get a better understanding of the people who may buy from you: what drives them, what they're afraid of, what their biases are and more.

By creating user personas for your company, you can reap a myriad of benefits -- including the ability to feel more empathy for your customers and the ability to create better connections. Here's how you can do it effectively.

How to Create User Personas

To start, think about the type of person who will be interacting with your company or brand. Then, give that person a name. After you've named the persona, consider in-depth personal details about them. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • What do they do for work?
  • What do they do for fun?
  • How old are they?
  • How much money do they make?
  • What education level have they reached?
  • What are their ultimate goals?
  • What roadblocks stand in their way?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What do they value?

Look at your answers, then determine what aspect of your product or service really speaks to them. Different consumers always buy from you for different reasons. Once you've determined the main selling points for the persona, craft a short pitch or value proposition that explains how you can improve their life.

For example, if you're offering a calendar app called Callie and your persona is a busy mom with lots of kids who have activities, you might say that you offer the ability to keep all of your appointments straight in a way that's accessible on the go. Your pitch might be something like: "Use Callie to keep all of your daily appointments and activities straight -- even when you're on-the-go. We'll help you feel less stressed and chaotic, so you can actually enjoy all of life's busy moments."

Tips for Creating Effective User Personas

If you want to create personas for your business to better tailor your branding, here are some helpful tips.

  • Don't create too many personas. Create one core persona, flesh it out, then work from there. Buffer recommends that companies have between three and five personas.
  • Create personas about the people actually buying from you -- not who you aspire to sell to. User personas are only helpful if they get at whose needs you really serve right now.
  • Check your website analytics to guide your persona-creation process. You can see where people found you, what they looked at and what keywords they were searching. This can help you better understand who's interested in you.

Resources

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/08/a-closer-look-at-personas-part-1/
https://blog.bufferapp.com/marketing-personas-beginners-guide
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/rookie-mistakes-buyer-personas

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