• The power of personas: an introduction

    The power of personas: an introduction

    The power of personas: an introduction

    We’ve mentioned in our blogs the idea of personas and their importance and relevance when creating your website and structuring your copy. I wanted to explain what personas are, why you should put so much emphasis on them, and how they can actually help you increase your website conversion rate. But a single post will not do this topic justice. So, I’ve decided to launch a personas tutorial in order to shed some light on this vague topic. Although I will not be covering everything, it will give you a better idea of what they are, why you should have them, and how they are created. To complete the series, I will create sample personas for some popular sites; which will help you understand the process a little better.

    So what are personas? Simply put, they’re archetypal and hypothetical constructs that can be used for your user-interface, design, and web copy development. What does that mean? Well in plain English, a persona is a prototype of the many clients you have.

    Let’s say you own an ecommerece website that sells golf clubs online. How does your creative team design a website, come up with its copy in a way which appeals to your market? How can you make your site “relevant” to the prospective buyer? How can you lead the customer through the site persuading them to make a buying decision? The most important elements of selling online consist of anything that is going to lead your visitor to make a final buying decision. But the question remains, how do you make sure your words and overall site structure will engage visitors and move them through the conversion funnel?

    Before example:

    So you love to golf and you’re searching for some new clubs, eh? Look no further! Golf Mania’s has the largest selection of golf clubs. Shopping on-line for golf clubs is an easy and rewarding experience. Where else can you find the best selection and prices for clubs, all at your golf-happy fingertips?

    Golf Mania carries nearly every manufacturer out there. We carry:

    Acer, Adams, Advanced Golf Technology, Aldila, Alien, Alpha Clubs, Ashton, Aurora, Bag Boy, Bang, Beast, Ben Hogan, Billy Club, Brady Boy, Burrows, Butler, Callaway, Cleveland, Cobra, Confidence, Cooperstown, Cougar, CSG, Cyclone, Datrek Clubs, Dunlop, Dunnoy…..

    Now, let see how your copy and site will change when you start thinking about a specific client.

    Business ManagerLet’s take Greg, he is 32, is just starting to golf. He doesn’t really know what clubs he needs, and doesn’t know what the difference between the selections are. He has been promoted in his job to an executive level position. As a result he now is obligated to attend more social events with his co-workers, managers, and sometimes even the VP of his company; which include golf outings. He wants to appear like he knows what he is talking about when it comes to this sport. He also wants the right equipment. Greg feels like the future of his job, his position in the company, and his social status among his co-workers depends on this.

    Naturally, Greg searches for “golf-equipment.” He’s also hoping to get a few tips on which equipment is best, and what the functionality of each club is. Unfortunately, goflmania.com did not provide this information. They mentioned their expertise and the fact that they carry a wide selection of golf equipment. However, how can Greg find information, understand more about the equipment? Well, sorry to say, but this golfmania.com has confused Greg even more! It doesn’t offer any relevance to the Greg’s search. He needs a site that’s going to walk him through and help him understand which golf clubs to choose, reviews on the main manufacturers, and beginner golfing tips.

    Greg is out of there because all the manufacturers names confused him. How does he know which one to choose? He visits the site golfster.com:

    New copy: (underlined words are links on site)

    Golfster offers a wide selection of golf clubs for the novice and expert golfer. Our commitment to you is excellent expert advice on the right equipment for your level, gender, and age. Visit our expert tips for which clubs are right for you. If you already know what you need, search amongst the widest selections of golf equipment on the web. Need some tips on golfing and which equipment to select? Visit our blog and articles section for excellent information from leading experts.

    This is a quick example to give you some taste of the final result of the process of creating personas. Greg would search by golf level and receive tips, expert advice, and even reviews on which clubs are the best for his situation.

    In order to increase sale, the prototype of a male, 32, executive, wants to become an expert golfer must be targeted. True he might not be the only client, but he is one client that should be considered when building your website.

    Personas is not an entirely new concept. Although it has more recently been implemented on the web, many manufacturers and corporations have relied on this concept for years. Product designs and store set-ups have been geared towards specific “hypothetical” individuals that the marketing team has described as “the perfect” and ideal customer. Products that are successful are created with the perfect customer in mind; and that’s why they sell.

    FigPii Heatmaps

    Online, you don’t have the convenience of showing your products to your customers and physically trying to sell them. So you need to construct a site that’s going to lead your prospects through a “conversion funnel” to secure a sale. The problem many website suffer from is trying to appease too many people and too many visitors.

    Do you have personas created for your website? Do you believe it would actually make a difference?

Ayat Shukairy

My name is Ayat Shukairy, and I’m a co-founder and CCO at Invesp. Here’s a little more about me: At the very beginning of my career, I worked on countless high-profile e-commerce projects, helping diverse organizations optimize website copy. I realized, that although the copy was great and was generating more foot traffic, many of the sites performed poorly because of usability and design issues.

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14 thoughts on “The power of personas: an introduction”

  1. I’m already hooked Ayat and looking forward to the rest of the series.

    The usual advice when creating personas is to research your current customer base to understand who your customers are and then draw the personas from your research.

    Do you have any advice for a new business who doesn’t yet have a customer base from which to draw that research.

    My own thought is that you can begin with a little common sense (dangerous I know) about who your customers will likely be and create personas for who you think and want your customers to be.

    I’ve also thought you could create a persona to help expand your customer base.

    Using your golf example if the site hadn’t been appealing to people like Greg there would be little data to indicate him as a potential customer. But by creating Greg you can add content specifically for him as well as modifying your present content so as to both attract him to the site and convert him once there.

    I’ve been criticized in the past for this idea of creating personas without existing data, but do you think it can work?

  2. ayat ayat says:

    You bring up a great point Steven. We’ve actually dealt with clients before that created personas with no existing client base.

    The thing is, any business must come up with some market identification and structure. Start-ups begin marketing their ideas fully knowing that they are targeting specific industries and/or individuals, although they haven’t seen a dime from them yet. So, although you may not have a client base, you sure have some data that you can base the creation of personas on.

    Now, that being said, it does not mean that after two years or so that this same company should not re-evaluate their personas.

    I hope I answered your question 🙂

  3. Avatar julespaxton says:

    Very interesting. I teach yoga and bodywork but the idea of creating a profile site to reach the people I really want. For example I could be more bottom-line and target certian income groups but also, there is a strong ethical dimension to my work so the idea of attracting people from particular socio-economic groups with specific problems based on what they might be searching for…I really love this, i theory, as I understand it.

  4. Avatar charmaine says:

    Persona is a great concept which I can apply in all type of situation. For a start, I will look at m websites to improve my traffic.

  5. Avatar Sanjay says:

    This is a good concept but this whole circle of similar concept comes to the point that the companies should see what customers want how they want and of course what steps they would take to complete their need. so putting themselves in a customers shoes .. Customers like to buy what they want and the way they want rather than what companies have to offer.

  6. ayat ayat says:

    That’s true Sanjay. In order to market better to your clients you need to understand them and their motivations, fears and objections. But creating personas is even a step over that. It aids conversion optimization in that it is honing in on personality type, demographics, and other traits that may otherwise be overlooked when looking at a more general market. It gives copywriters and webdesigners the convenience of envisioning a person rather than a mass of people; that makes their jobs a whole lot easier.

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