The time has come for another Conversion Optimization post! In today’s edition of Conversion Optimization Blog Posts I’m going to discuss User Personas. You can find the other Conversion posts here.
Having a website allows you to reach people all over the world at any hour of the day. However, not having a face-to-face relationship with your customers can be difficult and companies can often lose sight of who their customers actually are. Enter user personas! User personas are model individuals that are created based on marketing data of the people who use your website. They’re the marketing team’s attempt at relating to customers as individuals and humans.
In case you’re not following along, they’re made up people that companies use for planning purposes. You take data from your website, surveys, customer feedback, market segments, purchasing habits, zip code demographic analysis, design testing and everywhere in between. Once you have this information you break it down into segments and track user habits and characteristics within the segments. Then it gets even more granular, take these habits and characteristics and them into a persona. For instance, we have a persona here at name.com for Eman Moc, a developer who loves to get his domain on.
Name: Eman Moc
Location: Sunny Denver, CO ~1 mile from downtown. Bikes often, drives a Suburu
Education: CU Boulder, Computer Science
Occupation: Front end developer at Start-Up, OnSwipe.com (convert your website to tablet or mobile in 3 minutes)
Family: Comes from a very large family, is still single (dating but no children).
Technical profile: Deep technical understanding. While at work Eman strives to bridge the gap and put the average joe at ease but on his own time he is relentlessly pursuing new technology and trends. He often feels like he is the “wizard behind the curtain” because he helps to build pages that are extremely technical on the backend yet easy to use for the customer.
Hobbies: Biking, skiing, hiking, yoga, cooking, drinking with friends, hanging out at fun dive bars, chilling in the mountains, photography, dabbles in picking up the guitar, visiting farmers markets
Favorite sites: Mashable, TechCrunch, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Gawker, LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon, SteepNCheap
Favorite places to shop: Apple, thrift stores, Ikea, Zappos, tries to support small/ local when possible
Favorite material items: flannel shirts, nerdy tshirts (think StarWars), Patagonia jacket, iPhones/androids, iPods, mac books & skiis
So, what do we do with Eman? We think about him as we evaluate new designs. We ask “Does this page confuse Eman? Does he like the web elements? Can he find what he’s looking for on this page?” and if the answer to any of those questions is “No” then it means that the team needs to rethink the design. You should have between 4-7 personas depending on the diversity of your user base. While we have one for Eman we also have one for a baby boomer business owner who is totally unfamiliar with technology. The idea is to make sure that your entire user base is represented in your personas, and that you think of each of them when designing your website.
Designing your website to appeal to your user personas should help increase your conversion rates. If your users don’t understand or like new things on your website they are likely to fall out of the sales funnel. Keeping users in mind when making design choices and continuing to test these choices after the fact is the bread and butter of a good Conversion Optimization strategy.
Now, if you already have user personas for your website you are very, very lucky. Seriously, pat yourself on the back. Developing user personas is a painful process that takes a dedicated level of insight and willingness to sift through data, reports, and feedback to find trends. If you don’t have user personas for your website start digging, you might be surprised to find totally different trends than the ones you were expecting to see.