Personas are a means of modelling the “buying behaviours” of your customers.
They help marketers understand how each type of customer approaches and engages with your website.
This understanding allows a company to maximize its product or page presentations to each customer type.
In other words, speak to the customer in language that they will respond to.
They are just one part of a “persuasive design” process.
They are based on the psychological profiling work of Myers Briggs which in turn is based on the work of Carl Jung, and goes even further back to the ancient Greeks. (IE They've been around a long time and have been thoroughly tested.)
Developing personas can become quite involved. The following pages provide an overview of how to start creating your own personas.
The Fundamental Personas
Myers Briggs segments personas into 16 basic types, but these can be grouped into four fundamental groups or behaviour profiles.
often competes and is primarily motivated by the thrill of the winning experience, the adrenaline rush. Why is your product the best for me?
Needs to feel they belong to something worthwhile and will look for information that represents that. Copy is important, and the expressive is more likely to be interested in networking opportunities and calls to action where they can participate in the industry. EG: Polls, feedback etc.
often competes and is primarily motivated by big-picture status, the trophy on the shelf. What's in it for me?
Is results orientated and wants to move quickly to the end page. Intuitive navigation, clear heading and calls to action are the key here.
often competes and is primarily motivated by the success of the team, one for all. Who else uses your product?
Is looking for honesty and acceptance and will look for words and actions that cater to their needs. Copy that addresses their concerns is the key.
often competes and is primarily motivated by the satisfaction of a job well done, winning is its own reward. How will your product solve my problem/ fulfil my need?
Wants accuracy, and will look for details, results, real case studies etc. Therefore content should provide links to case studies and reports.
(Find out your type here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp)
Why You Should Use Personas
If you don't design a website for at least these four personality types, then your website will typically only cater to one group. That is, it will miss properly targeting the other 75% of your potential customers.
Typically what happens is that websites reflect either the world view of the lead designer or the business owner/marketing director in charge of the project.
Personas also provide a disciplined framework for any redesign/redevelopment, rather than redesigning for design sake or because you feel the site needs a lift.
The Value of Personas
They provide a discipline for all decisions relating to your online presence.
• For the creative's they provide a guide to who they are designing for.
• For the technical team they provide a guide as to what type of functionality each type will require (or not require)
• For the marketing team it provides a guide to what marketing strategies, messages, landing pages, emails etc to use for each type.
The bottom line is that they allow you to either sell to or engage with more customers.