How To Create User Personas

One-size-fits-all marketing is a thing of the past; your customers expect a personalized experience everywhere they interact with your brand.

Your messages and incentives should be tailored to each individual: relevant to their needs, addressing their concerns, demonstrating your value, and persuading them to convert—all at an appropriate time in their individual purchase cycle.

It may seem impossible to cater to each customer’s individual needs, but one way to simplify this process is to develop user personas.

User personas are fictional characters representing different segments of your core audience, so you can engage individuals with the right approach, timing, and messaging to move them down the conversion path.

Getting your personas right and successfully personalizing the customer experience is a huge opportunity.

In fact, an Adobe survey found that “data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual is the single most exciting opportunity in 2019, and 55% of those working in marketing listed ‘better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting’ as their top priority.”

Our Persona Worksheet takes the complexity out of personalization by helping you plug in both qualitative and quantitative data to develop effective personas.

To get started, download our Persona Worksheet and follow the steps below to develop your own personas!

Building Effective Personas

Developing personas helps brands understand their customers, visualize their interactions with your brand, and identify opportunities to engage, influence, and motivate them to convert.

If you’re like most companies, you probably have more data than you know what to do with. Collect data from sales, returns, reviews, call centers, etc. – whatever you can get your hands on.

Review your website and marketing analytics and look for patterns on buying frequency, pain points, popular product categories, demographics, seasonal patterns, and more. (Read our tips on collecting persona data from Google Analytics.)

If you’re missing data, go directly to the source by sending customer surveys or reading industry reports. Remember, you’re looking for actionable data – data that suggests what action to take next.

Once you’ve compiled quantitative and qualitative data, start completing the worksheet. You’ll fill out a sheet for each persona and should expect to have anywhere from three to five personas representing 80% of your core audience. As you become more comfortable tailoring content, you can add on additional personas.

Step 1 – Demographic Data

Identify the basics of your persona: gender, age, occupation, location, relationship status, and income level.

Step 2 – Motivations & Concerns

Start by pinpointing their behaviors, like when and how they’re engaging with your website, what motivates their shopping decisions, who else is involved with their buying decisions, and anything that may impede their decision to purchase.

Step 3 – Preferences

Establish preferences, like shopping in-store vs. online, how they spend their time on the internet, what search terms are they likely to use, and what shopping experiences stand out to them.

Step 4 – Identifying the Persona

This is a big one! Identify the actions you expect this persona to take, so you can recognize and categorize them. Actionable behaviors like website and email actions, mobile and social engagement, referring sites, and survey data will help you bucket an anonymous website visitor into a specific persona.

Completed Persona Worksheet – Now What?

Use the persona worksheet data to guide your personalization and marketing strategy. Write targeted copy to ease concerns or play up motivating offers. Improve your website to bring important elements and impactful imagery front and center.

Understand the channel mix to best reach your audience and develop email, website, and social media campaigns to engage and convert them. Then, test, measure effectiveness, and tailor your approach!