Building your Brand's User Personas

What is a User Persona?

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Before jumping into developing a site or a new app, consider taking a step backward and evaluating who will truly be using your platform.

It's important to know the types of users you're aiming to solve a problem for, and how.

This is where creating user personas comes into play to help you discover the best means of executing your marketing strategies and final UX (User Experience).

So, what is a user persona and why are they becoming more commonly implemented?

Defining user personas is not as complex as it might seem. In simple terms, user personas are fictitious, yet realistic portrayals of users who benefit from using your product or service.

They exemplify the ideal patrons of your value proposition.

Later, we will outline a user persona example to shape a better perspective of a prospective customer.

Why Bother Creating User Personas?

Sharpies, sticky notes and tape for creating user persona ideas

Building your brand's buyer personas allows for a more meaningful and insightful perspective of the customers you'll be servicing.

Your customers are real people, and real people appreciate a sense of personalization when it comes to being marketed towards.

And that's exactly what groups of users personas deliver — personalization.

I say groups of user personas because more likely than not, your audience can be divided into smaller segments from the whole.

Not all people who will be using your product or service share similar purchase patterns, behavioral tendencies, or technological preferences.

So, why invest time in developing these silhouette representations of your audience?

Because creating diverse pools of personas allows you to learn the best approach for concentrating your marketing efforts in a manner that's both interesting and personalized for your customers — an advantage that will drive more awareness, traffic, and conversions.

What Embodies a Typical Persona?

A colorful wheel focusing on the text 'consumer & users' Just like a person, your user persona groups will be constructed from real-life human traits and important demographic information from analyzing the audience research you've performed.

With adequate user research, you can construct your user personas based on their general demographics, unique qualities, pain points, and desired use of your products or services.

After looking over your audience characteristics and similarities, you can begin to assemble the identical features together to form a persona group.

We'll walk you through the design process of developing personas by forming a name and title to identify the user profile.

For example, let's say we're inventing an innovative new app that keeps track of all your online purchases to ensure you stay on budget for the month.

The Profile

A silhouette of a man's side profile representing a potential user persona First, start by defining user personas with an artificial name and a brief title description that quickly distinguishes them from the rest of your persona groups.

Giving your personas a name makes the entire process more tangible, approachable, and personally tailored toward your target audiences. It's also important to give your persona group a profile image that fits the mold of your persona group.

Secondly, you'll also want to identify the age, what role they might have in their career, and what they value first when making purchases.

Maybe we find that we have a customer segment who often spend their money on impulse buys.

Let's call this user persona "Isabelle the Impulse Buyer" who may possess the following attributes:

  • She is 22 years old
  • She lives in Detroit, Michigan
  • She is a full time student pursuing Physical Therapy
  • She earns ~$20,000/yr. working part time at a rehabilitation clinic
  • She enjoys shopping when financially able

Key Behaviors

A user persona who is interested in biking and the outdoors

These are the main attributes that further bring your user persona to life and define their central tendencies.

"Isabelle the Impulse Buyer" may exhibit the following key behaviors:

  • Chooses economical, yet healthy food options
  • Believes shopping to be relaxing and cathartic
  • Plans and optimizes daily schedule
  • Participates in rewards programs
  • Actively monitors disposable income
  • Highly regular route at work

Customer Pain Points & Challenges Faced

Stacked pile of rocks that represent user persona challenges

Your business exists to alleviate the everyday burdens and issues your customers face.

It's important to establish what obstacles and overall frustrations your customers experience that prevent them from thriving.

Learning their pain points teaches you how to morph dissatisfaction into benevolence.

Don't let this task be constrained to just the Marketing team; try communicating with client services representatives who might have direct insight and evidence of your customers' challenges.

The questions client services receive can be turned into worthy content to build your persona around.

"Isabelle the Impulse Buyer" may have pain points resembling the following:

  • Average technical usage
  • Worried about data privacy
  • Wary of complex technology
  • Learning curve with new technology
  • Manages money well, but struggles resisting impulse buys
  • Little-to-no down time
  • Pressure of paying bills and still having money to save
  • Busy lifestyle impacts buying decisions and wellness

Customer Goals and Desires

A bullseye on a dartboard representing user persona goals

Here is where you evaluate what your customers' aspirations, desires, and goals are. Understand which of them can be feasibly fulfilled through your business' expertise.

While customer aspirations and desires can absolutely be relating to your products or services, it's not mandatory.

This persona layer is focusing more on acclimating yourself with your customer segment than it is tying in every aspect to your company value.

Just like before, client services may have a lot to offer in this field. As they talk with clients on a daily basis, they accumulate a sense of buyer goals and desires.

Communicate with various departments in your business, like Operations and Sales, to uncover the information they hear when conversing with prospects and current customers.

Realizing customer goals ahead of time lets you optimize your marketing strategy by crafting a specialized approach with a specific voice, appeal, and articulation.

"Isabelle the Impulse Buyer" may have the following goals and aspirations:

  • Finish school, become full time Physical Therapist
  • Better use of extra money
  • Find a way to keep herself on budget
  • Become a smart shopper with rebates, coupons, weekly deals, etc.

Other Priorities / Orientations

These are differentiated from key behaviors and goals, but still provide relevance for important everyday aspects of their lives.

Included, are special priorities or activities to reserve time.

"Isabelle the Impulse Buyer" might have the following priorities/orientations:

  • Saving Time
  • Health & Exercise
  • Social Media Downtime
  • Outdoors
  • Socialization

Competitors to Consider

As the saying goes in the business world, always keep an eye on your competition. It's extremely important that you identify all your competition here based on your user persona.

Whether it is for convenience, price, or an impulse buy, the odds of your user persona benefitting from your competition cannot be overlooked.

"Isabelle the Impulse Buyer" may attract the following competition:

The Win Statement

Now that you have identified a user persona and molded your ideal user for that persona, it's time to think deeper.

How can you systematically deliver your product or service to that user persona, based on their attributes?

To better resolve the pain points and challenges "Isabelle the Impulse Buyer" faces, a win statement like the following should be addressed:

"How can we give Isabelle greater insight into the budgeting value of our products and how adjusting impulsive purchasing habits can be solved through simple solutions?"

Putting the Pieces Together

Hand putting an important piece of the puzzle in place

Combine these persona elements and form a basic prototype for one of your persona groups.

Whenever you're planning on launching a new marketing initiative or technology platform, it goes without saying that your user personas will be considered in every aspect.

From the general idea, to the tone and aesthetic, to the overarching delivery of the message

Here's where you'll make your mark. Capitalize on your audience research by impressing your customers and showing consideration toward their personalities, values, and interests.

By creating personas, you'll be able to have a deeper understanding of your audience's defining attributes and can confidently tackle your real customers' pain points and aspirations.

Through this, you'll be able to provide the perfect blend and balance of your marketing endeavors, all while conveying the utmost customer satisfaction.