How to build a persona
A persona is a stereotypical profile that can reliably segment realistic groups of your audience. Usually personas are based on data in web analytics combined with user research. Accurate personas can represent key user groups, and the purpose of using personas in your marketing strategy is that you can best tailor your content to both reach and engage them.
Useful web analytics platforms for small businesses are Google Analytics, Facebook (Audience Insights for your company page), Google Ads, Bing Ads and many other social media platforms. By analysing data from these platforms it’s possible to find trends in activity, for example, age ranges, when your audience is online, what devices your audience use, how long they browse the site. Facebook also handily categorises audience ‘Lifestyle’ demographics and provides us with a brief description about the type of lifestyle they may lead from which we can extract relevant information to filter our audience further.
When conducting your user research consider questions, such as:
- Who are your users?
- Why are they using your website?
- How do they behave on the site? Is there any assumptions or expectations that I can learn from?
- What are their motivations for using your website?
Also, reflect on your own business to help work out user motivations:
- What is the purpose of the website?
- What are the goals? The really important metrics to measure the site’s performance.
Benefits of personas
- Help to focus decisions surrounding website improvements
- Quick and inexpensive way to use audience experiments within your campaign targeting
- Help steer design decisions
- Help developers with their approach to user experience
- Content is written to appeal to specific personas for greater impact
General advice for creating a persona
- Try and limit yourself to three to five personas
- Focus on the major needs of the most important segments of your audience
- Conduct regular user research
Here’s an example of a persona I’ve just made up for a children’s nursery website client, Bluebell Nurseries:
Name: Mummy Michelle
Relationship Status: In a relationship
Education Level: University
Employment: Part-time receptionist
Estimate Household Income: £90,000
- Food and recipes, TV shows and books
- Health and wellness
- Clothing boutiques
- Romance novels
- Reality TV (The Hills and Keeping Up with the Kardashians)
- Home improvement
Device usage: Her primary device is the mobile phone and she is more likely to be using an iPhone
Browser: Safari IOS
Time spent online (per day): 4 hours
Audience insights (a tool you can use at https://business.facebook.com) handily categorises one lifestyle that fits best with children’s nurseries:
Lifestyle: Tots and Toys
Definition: Affluent, well-educated working couples, with preschool-aged children. They are homeowners, mainly in single-family houses.