March 20, 2020 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
How well do you know your content users? Not your buyers and not your leads, but your users. These are the people who spend time on your website or viewing your content online. Your users and your buyers aren’t always the same people. But if you can understand why someone visits your website, even if they have no intention of making a purchase. You can use that information to capture their interest and turn them into clients or customers in the future. Today we’re discovering how to create a UX persona to get more information about your users with topics like:
UX personas are fictional representations of the primary users who visit your website or interact with your content online. UX stands for user experience, which includes all the ways someone interacts with the materials your brand puts online. Things like the readability of your written content, page load speeds, and logical flow through any online process all fall under user experience design.
Most UX personas look like social media profiles, resumes, or document lists that include information like user behavior, goals, and backgrounds. To make them seem more realistic, marketers or designers may include details you can’t grab from your data, such as fake names and stock photos meant to represent who your users could be if they really existed. Then, they blend these fictional elements with the things you know about your users and audience, such as actual quotes from current users or data from market research and other studies.
You may already use buyer personas to make decisions about your marketing strategy. Are you wondering how a UX persona differs from a buyer persona? The biggest discrepancy between the two is that a user isn’t always a buyer, and a buyer isn’t always a user. Someone who visits your website to read articles isn’t always going to buy a product or service from your company. In turn, your customers aren’t always going to use your website, content, or channels to their full extent if they’re already paying for your services.
For these reasons, buyer personas focus more closely on how to move people through the sales funnel. In contrast, UX personas care more about getting people to navigate your website and content. While there may be some crossover in behaviors and audience segments, the business goals you pair with each one are different.
The benefit of a user persona, even if that user isn’t a buyer, is that you can still focus on how to convert those people into paying customers. You’re just doing it through the ease of interacting with your website and content rather than because they have a direct need for which you can provide a solution.
Image via UXPressia
User personas answer the question, “Who are we designing this for?” This question takes into consideration more than just your buyer’s need for products and services to ease pain points. Addressing pain points is still part of the user experience because if you don’t provide solutions to meet those needs, that’s going to make people navigate away from your site or content. But the bigger side of UX is thinking about how people are going to access and move across your online spaces.
You might think this sounds more like a job for web designers or IT personnel, but it matters to marketers, too. The wording, layout, and design of a page or piece of content have just as much influence on whether someone becomes a paying customer as any other aspect of marketing. Here are a few reasons creating UX personas helps your team meet their marketing goals:
When you develop UX personas, your team is no longer marketing to a nameless, faceless group represented by stats and figures. Instead, they’re designing for Paula, who uses a screen reader to browse your website. Or they’re doing a layout for Andre, who reads your content on his phone. Creating a personal connection with your users makes it easier to understand their perspectives. UX personas help your team recognize the needs and expectations of people outside the brand and outside of their own ideas of what the audience needs.
Increased empathy also encourages motivation to provide the best experience possible. When your team feels like they know your users inside and out, they want to please them. Your team wants to make sure those users feel welcome and comfortable in your online spaces. The more you care about the audience, and the more it shows, the higher your chances of converting users into leads, and later customers.
User personas can actually shape your marketing strategy. When you know how your users behave online, you can choose content topics and types that align with what they’re looking for. Think of this example: if you find your users enjoy taking online quizzes in their free time, you may find ways to incorporate that type of interactive content into your designs.
Personas also make it easier to pin down your target audience, so you know exactly who you’re creating content for. This helps better guide your strategy and can help you see bigger returns down the road. CopyPress can help you get a head start with content decisions. Request your free content marketing analysis report from our strategy team. This report shows topics and content areas you may miss that your users will love.
Aside from helping you choose content types and topics, UX personas also influence how you lay out content on your site or on a page. Incorporating feedback from real users into the personas helps you prioritize feature requests from your audience. For example, if you get many comments that your buttons should be bigger on the mobile layout, you can add this feedback to your personas. It provides a wealth of real-world information that shows not only do you have people visiting your site on mobile but there’s an issue they’d like you to fix.
As an alternative to charts and graphs, you can use UX personas to display your data and research findings. Personas allow you to tell a data story more like a traditional story. That makes facts and figures easier to read and understand for every person involved with a user experience project. These may include people like stakeholders, designers, and marketers.
Include information like how people navigate and interact with unique features on your website. Include things you learn from auditing your competition and real-team feedback from your sales and customer service teams. Personas allow you to merge findings from all departments and put them into one accessible document that everyone can use.
Use these steps to create a user persona for your brand channels:
A persona is a fictional representation of a data collection about your users. But just because it’s fictional doesn’t mean it’s all made up. In this sense, fictional means you take verifiable facts and data and attribute them to a made-up person who could be part of your target audience if they were real. To make sure you’re creating a helpful, data-driven persona, make sure each final document has the following characteristics:
You need data to create the best possible personas. That starts with a deep dive into your user research. The goal is to understand your audience’s motivations and behaviors when visiting your channels and encountering content. Make sure you collect both qualitative and quantitative data to get as much information as possible. Quantitative data is the kind you get from analytics reports. It includes numbers, charts, and graphs that speak to content performance and audience behavior. Examples of helpful quantitative data for UX personas include bounce rate and time on page.
Qualitative data is the kind you get from talking to your users and asking for their feedback. You may interview select users or include a pop-up survey on your channels to ask for feedback. You can also talk to your sales and customer service representatives. These team members talk with users and buyers regularly and can provide insights about what people like and don’t like about your channels and content. Comment sections, online reviews, and engaging in social listening for brand mentions are other places to collect qualitative data from users.
Data is just a bunch of numbers and sentences until you analyze it and put it into context. Without analysis, the data itself is actually useless. The goal of analyzing your qualitative and quantitative user data is to determine patterns that occur among groups of people who visit your channels. This step should help you segment your audience based on the content they visit and the actions they take on your site. Each segment becomes a group for which you can make a persona. To help analyze your data, consider creating groups by:
Once you’ve identified the audience segments that need a persona, document the characteristics that make each one unique. Start with the data you found during your analysis. Then branch out into adding more personal details that will help you craft a fictional persona backed up by that data.
For example, if you find that one of your audience segments includes women ages 25 to 35 who access your content from their phones, what additional characteristics can you assign to them? Maybe they’re accessing your content from their phones because they take public transportation to work. How does that detail influence the type of persona you can build? The way you answer that question guides what other personal details you include.
Just like data is useless without analysis, a persona is actually useless without a scenario. A UX persona should do more than just list facts about people who use your site. If that’s all this was about, you would have finished your persona in step there. This document doesn’t just tell who visits your site or what they do. A user persona also answers questions like, “why is this person using our site?” or “Why is this user interacting with our content?” The why questions frame the scenario and story behind the persona.
You should always pair a persona with a goal you’re trying to achieve for your marketing team or brand. The scenario shows a guided path to tell how the fictional person works through a situation and helps your brand reach a goal. Write the scenario from the persona’s perspective and the steps that fictional character takes when they’re interacting with your website or content.
You can create one template to use for every persona you develop. The first time you make one, though, you won’t have that guide yet. To develop your template, consider including information like:
Avoid using real names and photos of your users, even if you have that information. Personas should be fictional and objective. They shouldn’t reflect the individual views of any one person. Instead, they represent the entire group that shares similar characteristics.
Once you know what pieces of information to use, fill in the template and make it look nice. You may get some help from your graphic designers to get the layout just right. There is no right or wrong way to design your persona documents as long as they include all the important information. You may create one print version of the persona to share in meetings and with stakeholders, and a digital version for quick editing or reference.
Use this template as a guide to prepare to create a UX persona document:
User Persona Type [Name] [Photo]
Demographic Information [Gender Identity & Pronouns] [Age] [Location] [Marital status] [Job title] [Income level] [Skills]
User Biography [Summary of the persona’s background]
Motivations and Goals
Frustrations and Pain Points
Brands & Competitors of Interest
Preferred Marketing Channels
Use this example to see how a rough draft of your UX persona may look before developing an eye-catching design for the document:
Image via Unsplash by @jmason
Male – He/Him 35 years Tampa, Florida Single Small business owner $80,000/year Intelligent, hardworking, business-oriented
Daryl is a hardworking small business owner who’s known he wanted to own his own company since middle school. He started a woodworking business seven years ago and has succeeded in his local market. Since then, Daryl has been looking to expand his offerings across the county with online ordering and consultations. He uses Web4You’s video content library and resource articles to learn how to take his brand national on the internet.
Although he’s enjoying the do-it-yourself content style the company provides, and currently doesn’t have plans to purchase any services from Web4You, Daryl wonders if he’ll need a partner solution to help with his website once his online store takes off. Currently, Daryl is a very hands-on user who enjoys browsing the Web4You content library in the evenings, sometimes for hours at a time. He takes advantage of the website’s bookmark feature so he can return to content he loves, and he’s a regular in the comment section where he likes to ask questions from other users and experts.
Once you know who uses your content and channels and how you want to target them, leave the content creation to CopyPress. We help with both content strategy and development to turn your users into clients. Schedule your first call with us today to learn how we work as both an enterprise business solution and an extension of other marketing agencies to develop the right strategies to boost traffic and increase conversions.
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