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How to Create a User Persona: Tips and Examples

Explore these user personas examples to see how to create your own. A well‑crafted persona is key to elevating your marketing and advertising.

Marketing professionals and businesses must continuously update strategies and find new ways to promote products and services. User personas are a tool to help marketers and UX designers build brands and create products and service offerings. User personas help marketers understand their audience and think about them as real people with pain points their product or service must address.

User personas are typically developed before you create a product or service to help guide those offerings. However, you can create user personas at any point to help marketers understand the end user. In addition, properly used user personas can help elevate your brand by allowing you to target different segments along the customer journey.

Developing user personas can help you better market products or services in your conversion or lead nurturing strategy to improve your marketing efforts and boost your ROI.

What are user personas?

User personas in UX represent your end user. These personas are based on market research and user research. They put marketers in the user's shoes by asking questions about their needs, goals, and behaviors. Their characteristics represent those of your larger target audience. User personas are developed and presented in a one-page document describing behaviors, goals, pain points, skills, and attitudes.

Ultimately, user personas are semi-fictional; they're not guesses created by marketers making assumptions. Instead, they use real data from real people to help marketers identify their audience and segment them to market to groups more effectively.

User personas boost and improve marketing strategies by helping businesses discover ways people use the products. Once businesses understand who they're marketing to, they can uncover new ways to target specific users to increase leads or sales.

User personas are not to be mistaken for buyer personas. While user personas provide a roadmap for the marketers about who will use the product, a buyer person provides information about the buyers of the product. Of course, a buyer and a user can be the same person. However, a buyer isn't always a user and vice versa. For example, a parent might buy their child a toy. In this case, the user is the child, and the buyer is the parent.

Buyer personas are the decision-makers who determine what will be bought, while users are the product users. They can be the same person or completely different. This distinction may seem minor, but when you're creating user personas, you must not forget that not every user will be a buyer.

Instead, when developing a product, you'll need to focus on the product's user. User personas for UX help you narrow down your target audience by putting a face to them and helping marketers understand their needs.

User personas help throughout the entire customer journey and beforehand, including during product development. To create products your users will love, you'll need to consider their pain points and problems before developing your problem. Essentially, your product should serve as the solution to their problems.

Unfortunately, many businesses forget to create user personas until they've developed their offerings and have already started marketing products.

Building user personas

Every user persona must consist of a few key components. First, your personas should answer a few questions about your product users, including:

  • Who are they? Each user persona should sum up who the user is. For example, you might say someone purchasing a new computer is a remote office worker.
  • What are their main goals? The user's goals will be based on the reason why they're using the product. For example, our remote office worker may use the computer to send emails or draft reports.
  • What are their pain points or problems? Pain points are barriers or problems consumers face when trying to accomplish their goals. For example, the remote office worker might need special software that's only compatible with a few types of desktops.

Remember, even though users may use the same product, they might use it to solve different problems. For example, a consumer can purchase a new computer for personal work or use, giving them different motivations for buying the product.

It's also important to note that user personas aren't guesses and shouldn't be completely fictional. You might have to use some fictional information to fill in the gaps, but you should also have data to back up your hypotheses.

You can create user personas in several ways, depending on your projects and the available data. Here are steps to help you create user personas.

1. Gather data

Before you can start drafting your personas, you must do market research or user research by gathering data you may already have on your customers. Data can help you understand user motivations and pain points along with demographics. Accurate user personas use data from user interviews, surveys, and market research. Collect as much information as possible about your target users to help you create a solution to their problems, making for better product UX and product marketing.

If you don't have the time or budget to interview real people, you can still create personas based on data you've already collected from real users and information your marketing and customer service team know about the users. For example, check customer support tickets to see what problems individuals are having with the product and review your website analytics to learn more about its users.

2. Analyze data

Now that you've collected all the data you have on your users, you must analyze it. Analyzing your data can take time, so don't try to rush the process. Instead, look for similarities you can identify between your users. You can start with a few small personas based on these similarities and create more as you get more comfortable defining them.

3. Create your personas

Once you've sorted your users by similarities in their data, you can begin building your personas. You can use a user persona template for each to ensure you include the correct information. Start by naming each persona and adding an icon or image to represent how they might look in real life.

4. Add categories

With a basic user persona created, start to think about a specific user's interests, motivations, and goals. For example, if you discover many of your users are pet parents, you can categorize them based on the types of products they're likely to purchase. For example, new pet parents might purchase training treats.

If you performed interviews, you could include answers you received during those sessions to your user persona to make them more personalized and accurate.

5. Continue to update personas

User personas will change over the years, especially as consumer behaviors change and your business grows and finds new customers. Adding new customer personas and updating old ones can help you stay on track with your marketing goals, especially if you're expanding your business into other sectors, launching new products, or changing anything about your business strategy that can impact consumers.

User persona examples

User personas differ from business to business because of the different information they might find valuable. Here are a few examples to help you understand how a user persona should look.

Persona: Toby, a pet parent

Name: Toby Johnson

Occupation: Novelist

Age: 45

Location: Chicago, IL

Interests: pets, baseball, writing

Family: Single with one new dog

Who is Toby? Toby is a novelist who lives in the city. He recently became a proud new pet parent but doesn't know how to manage his puppy's high energy. Toby must focus while trying to write his next novel, but his puppy is constantly begging him to play.

What are Toby's pain points? Toby's puppy has high energy, and although well trained, he requires tons of attention. The biggest problem Toby faces as a busy new pet parent is finding out how to entertain his dog without having to be hands-on.

What is Toby's solution? Toby needs a product for his dog that his dog can play with on its own without requiring much effort or time from Toby during working hours. He's looking for an easy way to keep his dog entertained, happy, and healthy.

Persona: Elizabeth, social media manager

Name: Elizabeth Taylor

Occupation: Social media manager

Age: 28

Location: Detroit, MI

Interests: social media, shopping

Family: Lives with boyfriend

Who is Elizabeth? Elizabeth is a social media manager working for a Michigan corporate business. She must manage multiple social media accounts for the business, often losing valuable time scheduling posts for hours instead of being able to respond to followers' comments and messages. She has been in this role for two years.

What are Elizabeth's pain points? Elizabeth finds it difficult to complete all the tasks she must do to be a successful social media manager at a busy corporate company. Instead of being able to engage with followers, she must continue to create and publish content throughout the day to keep up with the company's posting schedule. Unfortunately, Elizabeth knows she must find time to engage with followers to build the following and help build trust among consumers.

What is Elizabeth's solution? Elizabeth needs a social media marketing automation tool that allows her to schedule posts in advance, reply to customer comments and messages, and measure the effectiveness of her organic social media strategy.

Reach your target customers

Defining user personas improves your marketing efforts by allowing you to reach your target customers. It also enables you to create better products that customers will love based on their pain points and behaviors. You must always consider the customers' goals and barriers when developing and marketing a product. Persona UX uses real data and information to inform marketing decisions, enabling better performance and increased ROI.

Reach your target customers with Mailchimp's marketing automation tools, designed to help you segment your audience by different factors and put your user personas to good use.

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