Does your business need more target-audience focus? Creating a set of personas can help you to deliver more user-centred marketing. Although personas tend to divide opinion in the user experience world, they can be a really useful tool to give you a new perspective when planning marketing activity, as well as identifying what user needs to focus on when designing websites and user journeys.
What is a persona?
A persona is a profile of a fictional person created for marketing purposes, based on insight gathered from real customers and prospects. The idea is that by building up a picture of your customers, or the type of people that your business would like to attract, you can more closely target your communications towards them.
How to create personas
Ideally your personas should be created with insight from surveys or interviews with current customers and people that fit the demographic you’re keen to attract. Using this research, you can begin to piece together the common characteristics across each segment of your customer base, to form personas. Most businesses create more than one persona, with one for each different sub-segment of their audience.
The persona itself normally takes the form of a highly visual one page document, which provides an easy reference point for use in your day-to-day work. The characteristics included vary from business to business, and you’ll need to decide what aspects of the persona are relevant to you. Some elements you might want to include are:
- Interests and hobbies
- Devices they use
- Services they access
- Internet and media use
- Where they shop
- Social media habits
Most people choose to give each persona an identity, including a name, as this can make referring to them easier. Try assigning each of the following to your persona:
- Appearance (you could use a stock photo or even a cartoon figure for this).
Once you have the basics in place, you can add in additional details regarding their relationship with your business and their interactions with your products and services. Some aspects to consider:
- Their status – are they a customer or a prospect?
- Common frustrations at work or home related to your products or services
- Content that they would find interesting or useful
- Reasons they’d benefit from your products or services
- Quotes – what they might say about your business.
There are many great examples of personas online, here are a few to spark ideas for your own…
- Assisted Digital created eight personas to represent their users.
- Mailchimp made their personas into eye-catching posters displayed on the walls of their offices, making it hard for staff to forget who to address their marketing activity to.
- ONS defined different user types following an online survey.
- BBC Sport shared the process behind creating their audience personas. They even had a naming ceremony to bring their personas to life!
Putting your personas to use
Now that you’ve created personas, it’s time to put them into use. Refer to these ‘personalities’ whenever you’re designing marketing content, to ensure you’re creating campaigns that really resonate with your audience.