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How to create a persona

13. June 2016

How to create a persona

This is a short guide on how to create and use personas.

P-E-R-S-O-N-a

So how many of these “fictional profiles” should you create? We always recommend to develop three to seven core personas; this number is big enough to cover the majority of your customers and small enough to still carry the value of specificity.

Personas are fictional profiles, often developed as a way of representing a particular group based on their shared interests. They represent a character with which client and design teams can engage.

This is Service Design Thinking

There exist multiple templates that guide you through the creation process. You can either use printable templates or start straightaway online and create a persona. We offer printable templates that make it easier for you to develop personas (within a group) before it comes to working online (in case you do create personas online).

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Research, research, research

If you now ask yourself where you get all the information you need to develop personas, start by preparing a list of questions you want to answer. E.g.:

  1. What is the customer’s role in the company?
  2. What type of company does the customer’s work for?
  3. What level of education has the customer’s achieved?
  4. What does the customer’s like to do for fun?
  5. What is the customer’s gender?
  6. What is the customer’s age?
  7. What is the customer’s household income?
  8. Who lives with the customer’s at home?
  9. Where does the customer live? 
  10. How does the customer spend his/her free time?
  11. What is important to your customer?
  12. What are his/her needs?
  13. What does the customer read for fun?
  14. How tech savvy is the buyer?
  15. Which social networks does the customer prefer?
  16. What are the customer’s biggest challenges at work?
  17. What are the customer’s career goals?
  18. How does the customer prefer to communicate?
  19. Who does your customer turn to for advice or information?
  20. How do they make decisions and how long does it take them? What influences their decisions?
  21. How does your customer respond to change?
  22. How does his/her buying behavior look like?

The next step is to choose from different types of data sources. Which data source you use depends on your personal preference and on the type of data you are looking for. 

Traditional market research – If you have the budget, investing in focus groups or one-on-one interviews with your target group can provide great data for your personas.

Surveys– You can also generate an enormous amount of information by sending surveys containing the questions listed above to your existing customer base. If possible, consider offering a small incentive (like a coupon or free sample product) to customers that complete your survey.

Check your website and social media analytics – Analytics programs (e.g. Google Analytics) can’t tell you who your target customers should be, but they can provide demographic data about the people who are currently interacting with your website and social profiles.

Ask your employees – The people that work for you generally know the most about your customers, because they made the most experiences with your target group.  Especially the sales or support departments occupy lots of customer based information. 

Guess based on past experiences – If you’re short on money, you can always answer the questions based on your own observations. However, keep in mind that this data won’t be completely objective and not enough to inform your future marketing initiatives.

How does a basic persona profile look like?

A basic persona profile usually contains the following key points:

  • Profile picture
  • Name of the Persona. Give the persona a name that matches your target group. This could be a real or fictional name. 
  • Quote. Marketing message, motto or attitude.
  • Demographics. Identify a personas job, role and other personal information.
    • Age 
    • Occupation: Where a Persona works/ what she does (status). Information about the company (e.g. size, type, etc.), Career/Career goals, 
    • Nationality
    • Marital Status
    • Income
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This is an example of a persona paper template.

An easy way to get demographical information is through Google Analytics or surveys. Google Analytics gives you insights on where your visitors live as well as age, gender, affinity, and technology. For elements that can’t be seen through Google Analytics, surveys are a simple way to collect customer data fast. Many tools like Survey Monkey offer suggestions for how to word certain demographic questions to ensure you get the most accurate responses and avoid any confusion.

Key Attributes

Write a story about your persona.

  • Hobbies
  • Magazines/blogs they read
  • education
  • interests
  • goals
  • challenges
  • motivations
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Tipps

#1 Personas need to be updated. You should always be conducting research, talking to your users and questioning your personas. As technology and trends tend to change from time time, your personas will to also!

#2 Spread it all. Personas should be shared with everybody in your company in order to make the best out of your data!

#3 Keep it short and simple. All information about your persona should be summarized on 1 page! Any member of your team should be able to look at this document and absorb all the main information in a few minutes. 

Katharina takes care of marketing and communications at More than Metrics. With her background in business and psychology she loves both logical as well as empathic thinking.
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