Creating Effective User Personas


 

Personas can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for a business when used effectively. They offer an in-depth look at individual customer characters that represent larger segments that have been previously defined. Creating carefully crafted personas allows your employees from all departments to have a clear understanding of the customer–not just a description of the target customer demographic, but more intimate details of a particular customer along with their goals, challenges, values, and fears. Knowing and understanding this information about your customers allows the entire company to work toward improving the way it solves the customer’s problems. The recipe for creating a persona that will offer value to the company includes basic demographic information combined with the more emotional details listed above. Here is a basic overview of things to consider when creating a persona:

 

Name / Picture / Job Title

 

When creating a persona, it is important to make your persona seem like a real person–without actually making it a real person. Using a made up name, paired with a picture and a job title that describes one of your customer targets, allows the company to imagine that this person actually exists somewhere in the world.

 

Demographics

 

Although this will seem contradictory to the purpose of a persona, it is still important to include the standard demographics that are typically collected including age, gender, education, salary, location and family details. These pieces of information add background to the imaginary person created by the name, picture, and job title.

 

Goals & Challenges

 

Identifying the goals and challenges of your customers as it pertains to your company and what your company offers can have a profound impact on not only how you market to them, but also how you develop your products. Initially these may start as assumptions, but over time they should evolve to reflect the actual goals and challenges of your customers, which can be captured using feedback they offer through interviews, and by observing their habits using data.

 

Values & Fears

 

Knowing the things that your customers value as well as the things they fear also can be very useful to your company when developing products for them and marketing to them. These two ideas influence how you communicate with them and how you design the experience of using your product. Ideally, you want to maximize the appeal to the customer’s values while also addressing their fears. Values and fears are generally captured by surveying target customers or current customers with a few questions. It’s important not to ask the customers too many questions–so that their answers are genuine, and not driven by their attempt to hasten the process of the survey. It’s key here to ask just the right questions to gain useful information while keeping your survey simple.

 

Additional Information

 

The parts of the persona listed above are more or less standard for all applications–but there is always other information that would be valuable to gather, taking your company’s product and industry into consideration. Some of these pieces of information might include technology most used by your customers (phones, tablets, etc.), hobbies, blogs they read, and where they go to find useful information that pertains to their lives. Those are just some examples of potentially useful information–you can add to that list if you think of something that might be beneficial for you company to capture. More information about your customer can only aid you in understanding them better.