What Are User Personas and Why They Are Important to Your Website
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a comprehensive representation of a user group’s demographics, psychographics, needs and irritants. Personas are used in marketing to answer questions about your customers. They guide your marketing efforts in the right direction by providing clear and consistent frames of reference for everyone on your marketing team.
Why Use Personas?
It is easier to think of a person, rather than a laundry list of demographics, psychographics, irritants, etc. Buyer personas encapsulate user types into more practical representations. To give you an analogy, authors who write for specific target audiences must know their market before they begin writing. For instance, they wouldn’t write a mushy love story for an 8-year-old just as they wouldn’t write a book about teddy bears for middle-aged men. You need to know the target market you are catering to before beginning the process of writing a book or redesigning a website. If you are ready to create your buyer personas, download our buyer persona template and examples. If you still think you don’t need them, keep on reading.
How Well Do You Really Know Your Customers?
Maybe you think you don’t need buyer personas because you already know everything there is to know about your customers. Well…you really don’t. You are not your customer and this assumption can cost you. According to the research below, marketers who rely on their intuition underperform compared to their colleagues who create and use buyer personas.
Why Are Buyer Personas Important to Your Website?
Creating buyer personas requires you to interview your customers and study their needs, behavior and expectations. Once you gain insight into your customers, you can better engage them with a more effective website experience. All components of the website including design, messages, content, offers and calls to action will be optimized specifically for the customers you target.
1. Make Objective Decisions on Website Redesign
It can be difficult to separate opinions from facts when working on a website redesign. But opinions can lead to websites designed to please yourself and other stakeholders instead of your target market. Do not run the risk of confusing the needs of your users with your or your company’s preferences. Be especially careful with the content incorporated into your new website. Utilizing buyer personas is pivotal at this point in the process. The targeted messages throughout the website will be different if the buyer persona being targeted is a teenager versus an older businessman.
2. Attain More Targeted Marketing
Creating buyer personas allows you to get to know your customers better. You’ll learn things you didn’t know about your customers, gain insight into your customers’ perception of your company and so much more. Knowing your customers is important because you'll need to produce marketing assets using language that resonates with your readers in order to convert them into customers. You can deliver more effective marketing that visitors understand and relate to. Tell your readers what they want to hear!
3. Empathize with Your Customers
When you give your ideal customer a human face and characteristics, employees will be able to better empathize, visualize and understand what it is they should be looking for and thinking about with real customers. In order to sell to anyone, you must be able to connect with them. You must understand what the buyer is going through, their pain points, their needs, etc. With empathy, you can connect with the buyer which, in turn, gets the buyer to connect with you. That’s how you close the sale. Most of the time, buyers don’t know exactly what they want, so you have to ask the right questions. Without clearly defined buyer personas, it is difficult to make that connection.
4. Guide Customers through the Customer Journey
Buyer personas ultimately help you develop a customer journey map. HubSpot describes a customer journey as “the active research process a buyer goes through leading up to a purchase.” By using buyer personas, you are able to better understand user behaviors throughout the journey, which ultimately helps you to create a strategy to guide them. A documented customer journey provides a strategy to guide customers throughout all stages of their journey - from the awareness stage through the consideration stage and, ultimately, selecting your company in the decision stage.
5. Gain a Competitive Advantage
By using marketing targeted at your buyer personas, you are primed to outperform your competitors. Websites created with your personas in mind will always outperform generic ones. By knowing your customers, your website will be more appealing than competitors’ sites that use the same generic messaging for everyone. Evaluate both your and your competitors’ websites through the eyes of your buyer personas to develop an objective understanding of your competitive positioning. Read more on how to do an online competitive analysis for your website.
6. Realize a Return on Investment
Investing relatively little time, money and effort into the buyer persona development process results in an all-around enhanced user experience, increasing relevance and connection with your users. ROI (Results on Internet) are achieved when an organization stops thinking they already know their users, and actually gets to know them with user personas! Consumers are more demanding these days, and having defined personas helps you understand what they are looking for and why. Give users what they want and they are more likely to purchase your product or service, resulting in more revenue.
7. Attain Company-Wide Consistency
A business, small or large, has many moving parts. Just because there are numerous departments and stakeholders, doesn’t mean there should be disagreement about who your highest value customers are. Having set buyer personas ensures consistency; all departments should think of the same characteristics when a persona is mentioned. The buyer persona is a universal tool; it serves as a frame of reference not only for marketing and sales, but for all departments of your organization. Each user that comes in contact with your company should get a consistent experience across all departments based on the persona type they fit. Company-wide consistency, therefore, ensures your company is speaking to users as they need to be spoken to.
8. Attract Better Quality Leads
Leads are great. Quality leads are better. You don’t want just any lead. Not all leads are the same. You need the right type of leads to sell your product or service. Buyer personas can help improve your website’s marketing efforts to target High Value Customers (HVC). When you build a more strategic and personalized nurturing plan for each persona, your HVCs will flow in. In summary, effective buyer personas for your website create the Results on Internet that you have been searching for. Now that you know all of the benefits of buyer personas, you can develop personas for your own website.