Tell me, what is your intended audience? Who exactly are your users? – Big questions!
(Big questions that many businesses don’t have well defined answers to.) Businesses often have a product or service that people do need, buy and use but in increasingly competitive and saturated markets that’s just not enough.
Why are user personas important in creating good UX?
Customers have the luxury of choice when buying most products and services, and who wouldn’t buy into something that clearly resonates with them, aligns with their values and that also meets their needs perfectly?
If you don’t know your target audience or customer, how do you know what they need, what they want to see and what will resonate? How will you know how to make them happy and craft experiences that will keep them coming back? Equally, how will you avoid pain points and pitfalls specific to your users if they are an all inclusive, blurry entity.
Using user personas can help you to provide an offering that fits with your business goals and vision whilst also meeting the specific needs of your target audience with finesse – win win!
What is a user persona?
“A user persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
What benefits are there to creating user personas?
- Better lead generation and increased revenue. – When you know what type of people buy into your offering, you can further improve your appeal to those specific people.
- Minimise waste. – When advertising online, knowing your niche means you can make sure only relevant prospects see your advertisements.
- Clearer company direction and unity. – When any and all team members throughout a business have a better idea of how to make the end customer happy, customer satisfaction and retention improve.
- Improved product positioning and messaging. – Having a clear vision of exactly who your customer is means you can create stronger, more effective messaging.
- Potential product development. – Let personas guide you in how to tackle challenges not yet being well addressed and uncover additional opportunities.
- Overcome objections. – If you you can unearth common objections through user personas, you can work at overcoming them effectively.
- Knowing your customer inside out has the potential to provide exponential return on investment.
How to create an effective user persona:
Give your user a name, a gender, age, education, job role, list their values, challenges, fears etc. This humanises your ideal customer allowing you to be able to really hone your messaging to ignite interest within them. The finer points of the process? That’s one for another day, but here are some really interesting articles and tools to get you started on your user persona journey:
Link from HubSpot: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business
Link from UX Booth: Creating Personas
Link from ConversionXL: How To Create Customer Personas With Actual, Real Life Data
As with all things business strategy that require deep thinking, setting aside time to dive right in can sometimes feel like a waste of time, (or at least not a high priority when there is so much else going on right now.) I understand! But going through the process is an experience – it makes you realise just how much you do or don’t know about your target audience which is in itself invaluable, so get stuck in!
My user persona:
I wanted to share my user persona, who my services are aimed at and ideally suited to, but I’ll preface it with a disclaimer… Most tech company owners are male, (it’s not that I’m sexist!) and my user persona being male is because this is where my greatest return tends to lie.
- Male, Likely 30-40 years old.
- A founder / CEO of A fast growing SaaS, ecomms or a web app that is turning over solid revenue and that doesn’t have an in house UX-er.
- He realises their UX could be better and is actively looking to improve that.
- He has worked his way up in business and struck out on his own to do better.
- Likes his co-workers and what he does but it requires wearing many metaphorical hats.
- He wants to be able to help people and take early retirement.
- His salary is 40-80K and net worth 600K – 2Mil, he does have debt (houses/cars etc.)
- He is the financial decision maker at work, purchases for work are driven by need whereas at home by want.
- He stays fit and healthy, travels, likes adrenaline sports and meditation.
- He is a neat freak who checks his emails 1st thing. At the weekends he likes eating out, spending time with family, attending events and reading.
- He wishes he had more time off with family.
- He wants less stress and waste at work in addition to more focus.
- He is tech savvy and hangs out on twitter but is also a good presence on Linkedin.
- He is a practical optimist that challenges boundaries and takes calculated risks.
- He is an innovator motivated by his own achievements, he is not phased by others judgements.
- He wants to create something that genuinely helps people and would deem himself a failure if he hadn’t made a difference.
- He has high expectations, is keen to learn.
- He prefers to communicate via conference calls/slack and is happy to make online payments.
- My tailored bespoke service offering to increase revenue through bettering UX would help solve his issues.
- My service will enable him to make more money, be more successful and would relieve stress. Him and his team will be more focussed on their goals.
I learnt from creating my own user persona that my intended audience are quite hard to reach, intelligent individuals. The tone of the content on this site, my blog and social channels needs to trigger a positive reaction and to strongly to attract my ideal clients. This presented it’s own problems which have been addressed and that I will continue to need to address going forwards.
How can creating user personas benefit my business?
More like “How can creating user personas NOT benefit my business?!”
The focus and clarity that gained through creating user personas will have a profound, positive effect on how your users experience and interact with your product or service. You can only really create positive user experiences when you have that deep knowledge and understanding of your customer.
Casting the net wide and hoping anyone and everyone that might use your product or service actually will, has long been the downfall of many a business – you can do better! (Good fishing metaphor and article on Forbes.com about user personas here.
But how do you know which niche to hone in on? (Good question!) You might have many to choose from, so it takes time to validate. It involves strategic thinking, ask yourself; which users are the most valuable to us? Which audience has the brightest future? Which area has least competition? Who are the easiest to reach and market to?
It can seem like a bold step to drill down and find a niche market or customer persona to focus on, but only then can you reap the rewards of providing great UX. You can’t please all the people all the time so stop trying. Make the decision, to concentrate on a niche you can connect to. You’ll get more traction, faster. Commit to getting to know your user… Then you can get to wowing them!
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