User Personas In Digital Marketing

Improving the way you solve problems for your customers.

By Graeme Watt, 09 November 2016


The idea of user personas were first introduced around 30 years ago and since then have been widely adopted as a way of representing users in design, development and marketing.

A persona is essentially a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer. They help us picture the ideal user that we are trying to attract and help us relate to our audience as real humans.

Essentially they ensure the user remains at the forefront of our minds when we are making decisions.

A persona is created through user research and will typically include information such as demographics, user goals, motivations and frustrations.

At Zen we look to implement personas wherever we can, this includes in our web builds, content creation and fully fledged marketing strategies. They play a huge part in helping us bridge the gap between our clients and their users.

There are plenty of great walkthroughs and templates available online which can help in the creation of personas so we thought it would be more helpful to provide you with some tips that will make sure the personas you create are of the highest quality.

 

Tip 1 – Give the persona a name

Rather than calling your personas “persona 1”, “persona 2” etc choose to give them a real name. This is a simple step but will help make the persona feel like a real human rather than a fictional creation.

 

Tip 2 – Gather as much research as you can

The research you conduct will ultimately reflect the quality of your persona. Information can be gathered from a vairety of sources including analytical data, customer interviews and internal staff.

Demographics  Overview   Google Analytics.png

 Your sales staff are on the front line of the business and so should know more about your customers than anyone else. They will listen to customer’s needs, concerns and priorities on a daily basis. Their input can be vital and it’s always great to get different perspectives in the creation of user personas.

This stage is critical to the persona creation process and should not be rushed. 

 

Tip 3 – Ensure quality over quantity

There is no magic number for how many personas you should create. Your business will likely have a great deal of customers who could all represent different personas. It is not a good use of time to try and create a persona for all of them.  Try to focus on creating personas where there are clear differentiators from each other and distinct user journeys.

If you find you are struggling to create a personas due to lack of information then bin it. Personas can always be revisited or added to at a later date. As mentioned there is no magic number but we generally find a handful is enough.

 

Tip 4 – Don’t go into too much detail

Creating a persona shouldn’t be a monumental task and there is no need to go into great detail when you are starting out. Your persona should be a snapshot of a person that represents one of your audiences.  A good rule to follow is ensuring your persona is under 2 pages in length and includes a picture of the persona. Stick to what the essential information is and skip any filler.

Make My Persona is a great free tool from Hubspot which is a step by step wizard that will guide you through the process of creating personas and will ensure only relevant information is included.

MakeMyPersona.png

 

Tip 5 – Revisit your personas often

Always remember your personas will never be perfect and like your customer’s motivations and goals will change over time. Updating your personas should be an ongoing process. Things such as technological changes, additional research conducted or an introduction of new products or services can all change personas.  It would be a mistake to make decisions based on an out of date persona so ensure you have a plan in place for revisiting and updating them often.

 

Conclusion

Persona creation will help you identify with your audience and will focus you on solving the problems which they may be encountering.

After you create your personas they must drive your decision making when it comes to design, content and any other marketing which is taking place.

If you would like to find out more about our persona creation process or have another project in mind then please get in touch as we would love to have a chat with you.

 

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