Personas are a way for companies to pinpoint who their customer base is and how they behave. Both the buyer persona (often also called the marketing persona) and the UX persona (or design persona) are important tools for content strategy.
Buyer personas focus on defining who your customers are, across certain segments, to inform marketing decisions. UX personas are created to examine how your customers behave when interacting with your website, to inform design and content decisions.
However, the 2017 Content Management and Strategy Survey, revealed that many marketers are still failing to put customer insights to proper use. Only 53% used customer personas to guide production. Fewer still are using customer behaviour to inform content creation, with just 33% employing customer journey mapping techniques.
We pit the buyer persona against the UX persona to see how they’re established and used, and explain how the two can work together to build a better customer picture.
Knowing who you’re writing for helps to steer your content creation in the right direction for maximum engagement. By researching the types of content your customers and potential customers consume, and topics of interest, you can begin to establish a semi-fictional customer profile, or buyer persona.
This allows you to pitch the tone, format and subject matter of your content just right. As well as enabling you to produce engaging and useful content, buyer personas also provide insight into potential obstacles that turn your customers off.
The information you need to create a buyer persona will come from market research surveys and focus groups where you interview people about their attitudes towards your brand or product. Both mediums should encourage open-ended discussion so you can determine the goals and frustrations of your customers and intended customers, as well as details like media consumption habits, so you know how best to reach them.
According to Hubspot: “A buyer persona will detail the characteristics, wants, needs and challenges of each unique segment of your audience.” You can use a template such as the one below from Xtensio, which allows you to give a fictional name and image to the profile, as well as other brands the customer likes.
It’s standard practice to start out with around three to four personas of well-researched, detailed characters. Depending on how complex your customer base is and how many segments it covers, it may be useful to categorise personas into primary, secondary and tertiary.
Be sure to factor in:
• Family set up. Are they single? Do they have children? Are they a homeowner?
• What are the persona’s personal motivations?
• How much do they know about your product and services and the field you operate in?
• Where and how do they consume content? Why?
Buyer personas allow you to create profiles for your customers that can be shared across your marketing team. They give an at-a-glance summary of who your customers are, and are the starting point for style guides and content strategies that focus on the persona’s key areas of interest and news feeds. They also help to achieve new customer buy-in through the targeting of similar job sectors and demographics.
For example, if you know your buyer primarily engages through social media and you find out from focus groups that they don’t understand a certain element of your business, you could offer a how-to guide through twitter. Similarly, if you’re targeting a time-poor persona, you can create quick to read and easy-to-digest content, with the offer of something longer form that can be downloaded and consumed later.
A UX (or user experience) persona is more concerned with user behaviour than interests and is a way of mapping the customer journey. The aim is to make your website as optimised as possible for your particular set of customers, so they convert.
Setting up a UX persona enables you to create content that edges people towards checkout or other defined business actions such as email sign-up or setting up a subscription.
Creating UX personas requires information on customers’ journeys across search engines and your website. UX personas are often story based to describe why people do what they do.
Some important data can be obtained via Google Analytics, such as what time of day customers visit and where from, as well as where visitors leave your website, that could be a potential sticking point in the buyer’s journey. You can also see how customers interact with your site and content through the use of heatmaps.
For more detailed information you’ll need to contact customers, in the same way as setting up buyer personas. Through questionnaires and one-on-one conversations with customers you can establish the factors below, as well as what they hope to achieve when on your website, what stage they are at in the buying process and anything they feel could be improved.
Be sure to factor in:
• Age and occupation
• Professional goals
• Education or technical level
• Leisure activities
• Favourite websites
• Requirements from a website
• Device usage
• A ‘day in the life’ section to show actions carried out regularly by that person
It’s only natural that website designers think mainly about how they would use your website or product. However, UX personas allow you to gain a better understanding of your user’s expectations and how they behave on your website.
This allows you to optimise your site and its content for maximum conversion by matching the information you provide with user’s requirements at different stages in the customer journey. You’ll be able to pitch concepts to them with more relevancy, whether it’s selling products and services or launching new features.
In the words of Econsultancy, “Relating content to a solid understanding of the customer journey through customer journey mapping can establish a firm foundation for success.”
There’s no need to choose one persona over the other. You can supercharge your strategy by using your buyer personas in combination with UX persona insights to tailor content offerings based on what visitors are interested in and how they behave.
By now it should be clear that cleverly executed content strategies use both buyer personas and UX personas in alignment to build trust, engage and edge customers towards your goal. Buyer personas are undoubtedly one of the building blocks of brand loyalty but factoring in UX personas online can help you meet and surpass customer expectations, creating more conversions.
To find out more about how to use personas in your content strategy get in touch today.