All Users Are Not Created Equal
When you think about who your users are – your visitors – to your website, you probably have an idea of who your ideal customer is – what they look like, their lifestyle, the things they are interested in and mostly, what they are visiting your site for. You’d like to assume that your website does a pretty good job connecting with your ideal customer, however, not all customers – or users for that matter – are created equal. For instance, your ideal customer may be visiting your site with the intent to make a purchase, right then and there, while someone else – someone who’s at a different point in the sales funnel – may be just doing some research, gathering information or comparison shopping. How does your site do connecting with them? My guess is that your site is geared more for your ideal customer and what you think they are interested in rather than your actual customer’s wants and needs. Here’s where we talk about personas.
What’s a persona? A persona is basically the way you talk, act and behave with people you interact with that causes them to see you as a particular kind of person. For instance, if you are selling timeshares, one of your personas would be a mother of young children, in her thirties, married, with the ability to take vacations. Other appealing characteristics about this person would be the desire to travel to kid friendly destinations, affordably priced and good quality for the money. See where I’m going with this? To really understand the differences in personas, and where people are in the buying process, you need to understand what the Awareness Ladder is and how it works.
You may be saying, “That’s great, but I’m not a sales person. I don’t need to know how an awareness ladder works.” Au contraire – if you are running any kind of business – selling any kind of product – marketing any kind of service, you really ought to know what and how the awareness ladder works. It’s really important to be aware of, especially when marketing to your potential customers.
In the Awareness Ladder, there are 6 steps: No Problem, Problem, Solutions Exist, Your Solution, Benefits and Convinced.
The Awareness Ladder steps represent your approach to marketing your products or services to your potential customers, specifically with personas in mind. For example, the No Problem step on the Awareness Ladder represents a persona that doesn’t have a problem that your product or service can solve – how do you market to them?
The second step indicates that the problem exists with a particular persona and that marketing to them should indicate that you have the solution to their problem. Essentially, without analyzing and considering each one, there are six different personas at work here and while we hope that wherever a potential customer falls into one of those personas, or is at one of those steps on the Awareness Ladder, that they move to the next step toward being convinced and converting, they may not.
Each step on the ladder provides opportunities to reach people who are potential customers – no matter where they are in the buying process, hence the importance of personas.
How to Design Your Website Using Personas
There is some debate over how many persona’s you should have for one website; some say many, some say a few. Depending on your products and services, 2-3 personas may be too few, while 6 may be bordering on too many. You should really hunker down and think about who your ideal customers are as well as your current customers. From there, it’s about thinking about the specific needs or problems that your products and services solve – that right there may help you develop even more personas.
Once you have the basics about each persona, it’s time to flesh them out more – right down to what they’ve eaten for breakfast that day – which, if your product is breakfast food, you want to know that stuff. After being completely thorough developing your customer’s persona, it’s time to put that information to good use and start building a landing page that speaks to that persona. For more on landing pages read our article on landing pages.
Here’s where the information you’ve gathered in your personas is vital: you must now build your landing page based on what motivates, inspires and prompts your potential customer to move to the next rung on the Awareness Ladder. What? Yes, I said the next rung. Rarely does someone go from the bottom or first step of the Awareness Ladder (not having an issue that your product or service solves or having the issue but not knowing that solution exists) straight to Convinced and ready to purchase. So, your best method is to secure a microconversion by helping move them along to the next step, whatever that may be.
Your language and demeanor on your landing page should be commensurate with that of your desired persona; that is, if your persona is that of a twenty-something female, you shouldn’t attempt to connect with them by using a forty-something year old male’s language. Persona’s brush the surface on the psychology of buying which is a 6-week course all on its own.
Once you’ve got a landing page geared for each persona that you’re trying to reach, test it. Get a second opinion. Test some more. Make sure all links are working, all grammar and spelling are correct and for God’s sake, make sure the page is visible.
By using personas, you can really optimize your site for conversion and connect with people on a personal level. Remember, not everyone is at the same stage of the game and rarely anyone goes out on Google looking to buy the first thing that comes up in search. It can take several touches to get a potential customer to buy from you, so you want to do your absolute best to market directly to those folks.
For more questions about personas and the Awareness Ladder, check out Ben Hunt’s book, “Convert!” – he’s got great tips on how to make your site convert more visitors into customers.
As always, for questions about us or to get a quote on a project, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.