Creating personas – Identifying your customer


Example of a user persona.

Figure 1 – example of a user/customer persona. Click for larger image.
I found this image at http://asinthecity.com/2011/05/13/explaining-personas-used-in-ux-design-%E2%80%93-part-2/

To thine own customer be true! Building a successful website or social media platform begins with understanding who your customer is.

This requires deeper thinking than “Our customer is people ages 18-65.” It requires a detailed understanding of your customers’ demographics and – more importantly – their needs.

One place to start is by looking at the keyword searches in your Google Analytics – these are the words people are putting into search engines that lead them to your site.  This is a good opportunity to reflect – what kind of customers would these search terms apply to?

Also, take a good look, if you can, at who is buying.  Who is coming into the store?  Are there any similarities you are noticing about customers? Are they high-income? How old are they? Is it primarily men or women?

Personas

Think about your biggest target market groups, then set about creating  persona for each of these groups.

In this article, Tina Calabria notes that “Personas enable intranet and website teams to stand in their users’ shoes. They focus the design effort on supporting user goals, rather than being driven by the ideas of team members or senior executives.”

Personas identify the user motivations, expectations and goals responsible for driving online behavior, and bring users to life by giving them names, personalities and often a photo.

This process is spelled out further in this posting, from which I obtained the sample persona which you see in figure 1.

The payoff

Creating personas is a much less expensive and time-consuming way to define your ideal clients. As Beth Hayden notes in this article, 5 Ways Brands Use Pinterest To Authentically Connect.  She notes:

“Oreck (@oreck), maker of vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and other small appliances, focuses on women as their ideal clients. Oreck marketers could potentially create a detailed ideal-client profile called “Suzy Homemaker,” and fill it in with details about where Suzy lives, whether she has kids or pets, and what her hobbies are. The U.S. Army (@usarmy) might have a few different profiles, including the young men and women they are looking to recruit, and members of the general public who are looking to support our troops.

“This exercise may seem silly to you, but don’t underestimate its importance. The more you know about the customers you’re trying to reach on Pinterest, the more successful you’ll be in connecting with them via your marketing efforts.”

What are your thoughts on using personas to get to know your target audience?

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