A simple way to grasp this concept is to think of the cast of “Star Trek.” It is clear that each of the personas represented by the main characters approaches the world differently. So whether your site is visited by someone like Captain Kirk or someone like Spock, make it rock! Imagine the impulsive Captain Kirk surfing just the top of your site just looking for proof you are in the news, while the methodical and logical Mr. Spock visits every page, and even the bottom of every page, looking for charts and graphs.
If your site is really appealing to methodical engineers but unappealing to spontaneous moms, competitive CEO dads, and humanistic types who require knowing more about who you are and who you have served, you will have received conversions from only 25% of the potential audience. That means you’ve left 75% of the money you could have generated on the table!
Below are some personas our agency developed to help us think about what “supermarket aisles” we needed to create on our website and how to write specifically to the needs of different groups.
- Business Owner Bob (Older Type A, alpha, looking for proof, case studies, news, ROI)
- Marketing Sally (Marketing coordinator, intermediate knowledge, good with details)
- Enterprise Erin (Senior marketing director with advanced knowledge in traditional marketing)
- Small Biz Tim (DIY type)
- IT Scotty (Tech guy asked to review our site or looking for referrals, requires geek-level details)
- Ad Agency Jim (Not looking to hire us for himself but for his clients; appreciates or requires creativity, talent)
Another way to categorize potential visitors is by company size:
- Small Business (Looking for how to/DIY info, cheap price, free, extras)
- Large Business (Senior marketing director looking for budget calculator, trends)
You might also categorize them by job type:
- I work at an agency
- I am an in-house marketer
- I am a business owner
General website user personas are:
- Searcher (Looking for knowledge about a product or company, etc.)
- Doubter (Still forming an opinion)
- Knower (Wants to take an action)
- Customer (Looking for service/support or to login, etc.)
There are many ways to break visitors into groups.It takes creativity and brainstorming to do it well, but in the end your customers will enjoy your site more if they feel like some of the content is specifically for them. Many studies have shown significantly increased conversion rates when personas are considered when writing content for a website.
Example: Create a Persona
You can use a basic template like this to get the ball rolling when creating personas for your website.
Name: Business Owner Bob
Insert an image here to make it more visual (this helps writers to write to someone specific)
Job title: President
Daily routines: Numerous meetings, dealing with vendors, putting out fires, reviewing the numbers, travel.
Pain points: Never enough time in the day
Goals: Grow the business, keep customers and employees happy.
What they value: People who work hard and who are honest.
Favorite sources of info: Still may read the paper but more and more online. Traditional nightly news.
What experience are they looking for? Exceptional organization, professional, high ROI.
Site usage: In and out just to verify we are the real deal.
Content: Report on where Internet marketing is headed. News, case studies, testimonials.
Common objections to your product or service: Don’t want mindless reports but clear action steps. Need to prove ROI. Too time-consuming to work with us.
Level of technical knowledge: Reasonable but often think they know more than they do about sites. They think all users will like what they like and their pitch.
Brands they identify with: BMW, Mercedes
Photo credit: JD Hancock / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)