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How to Create Personas

Published by Papa Whale Webmaster

Figure out more about your targeted user by determining what he “wants” and expects when visiting your site. This, my friends, is what personas are all about.

You know your traffic and your average user… or, at least, you like to think that you do.

However, just as humans have a tendency to be taken by surprise when our other halves tell us they’re leaving─the same can be said about our users, and what happens after we’ve found out that they’ve left.

But this makes us wonder: do we really know WHO is clicking, engaging, and browsing content on each of our respective sites? In other words, who are our users, and what do they really want?

It’s impossible to know each and every user that frequents your site personally (there’s just no way─not unless you’re dealing with extremely low traffic).  But what you can do to figure out more about this targeted user of yours, is determine what he “wants” and comes to expect when visiting your site.

We’re talking: define your typical user and then try to please him. This, my friends, is what personas are all about.

Today, we’re covering how to create personas and why they’re so useful.

Hi, My Name Is Persona

Personas are representations of your visitors. They’re made by you, and based on the data you have on your traffic.

When you start thinking about your user, you want to begin by thinking of all the universal characteristics he or she has that makes him or her human (i.e., how your visitor’s brain works) and how all of this can influence their behavior while on your site. Thankfully, we covered some of them here in our past post on Web Ergonomics.

However, there will always be more characteristics that are specific to your users than you’d like to believe – and your persona will help personify these.

Never assume that your visitor is necessarily “Mr. Average” because he’s probably not, and thinking this way could only bite you in the butt, depending on what you’re actually doing with your site. In fact, the more you cater your site to Mr Average’s needs─ the more likely it is your focus will shift to the newbies… and away from the more experienced users (which is a great recipe for discouraging this group of users).

Now, this is where “Personas” come in handy: they help you focus on the needs of targeted users… rather than the needs of your own.

In other words: you need to understand the goals of your personas in order to achieve your own. Because─whatever you’ve been thinking until now─it’s wrong to believe that Mr. Average is on your site because he “wants to sign up” or help you generate a lead.

Yeah, the real reason he’s on your site is not always that glamorous. More likely than not, your visitor was probably just looking for that sexy brunette he saw in one of your banner ads.

Creating your Personas

There are 3 questions that are paramount that one should ask one’s self in order to define a targeted persona.  To answer these questions efficiently, it’s best to make good use of your Google Analytics data and finish this data off with a little checklist or survey.

Who is he?

Since most of us work in the adult industry, we know that there’s a good chance the vast majority of our visitors are male.  That aside, there’s still other questions you need to ask yourself as well:

  • Where is he from?
  • What’s his annual income?
  • What’s his level of education?
  • Is he the type to use the Internet to access website’s such as yours every day?
  • Does he purchase things on the web?

Why is he on your website?

Once again, on the surface, this looks like an easy question… but is it?

Depending on the type of website you operate, sure, your user may be there to watch porn or maybe he’s looking for a friend to hook up with.

However, by analyzing your traffic in depth by taking a look at your

  • most visited pages
  • most commonly searched keywords
  • most clicked spots / elements

…You might just discover that your avg. visitor is attracted by the same common denominator; i.e., latinas or blondes, for instance.

In addition to this, by assessing which hour of the day you receive the most traffic (and by location at the user’s location), you can get a feel for if your user is bored at his desk at work looking for a sexy distraction — or maybe just surfing the Interweb at home.

What’s his deal?

Actually, in adult affiliate marketing, your ideal persona would probably have one hand on his wallet and the other one on his….. (yeah.. we don’t need to say it, you get it.).

But that’s not what we’re talking about here.  In fact, we’re talking about the whole picture, the whole enchilada.

  • What type of device is he using?
  • What’s his OS?
  • What’s the size of his screen?
  • What’s the speed of his connection? (is he on dial up?)

And so on…

How To Put Your Personas to Work

Now that you have your data, it’s time to use your personas in a positive concrete way. First of all, you’ll need to decide which one of them will represent your primary user. This user is the the one you’ll want to cater to at first.

Then, as you go along, you’ll be able to create a second and a third persona that will represent different needs and situations (different groups of people that consist of your visitors).

The goal of the game here is to try to “please” all of your personas. Whether that’s working on new features or a new design — you ought to think of your personas as clients — clients whom you want to satisfy on all levels so you have nothing short of a rewarding long term relationship (because you’ll be making money hand over fist for knowing them so well!).

It’s ALIVE!

Now comes the time to personify your 3 personas with some social elements.

By this, we mean giving them a name, a job and character traits.

There’s even some good “persona creation” programs out there, such as MakeMyPersona.com.

However, we think the MakeMyPersona tool could be a little more flexible with regards to the features it puts under the spotlight if you asked us. At CrakRevenue, we actually prefer and lean more towards a “homemade” approach.

Here are some examples created by MailChimp:

Once your personas have a face, a name, and a clear understanding as to why he or she’s on your website— your web life gets easier.

And Then They Lived Happily Ever After

Put it this way: if you’ve mastered relevant personas for your website and you manage to please all groups of visitors, it means your site is nothing short of a hit!

What do people do when they find a website that they can easily use and where they have all the content they need? THEY TRUST IT, stay on it, and even return to it. This means more traffic, and happier traffic. And what does that lead to?  Higher conversions.

Indeed, the return on investment of this method has been proven many times before and – as you saw earlier – some huge companies like MailChimp has even made posters out of their personas to ensure that every employee understands their target base and users once and for all.

So if you haven’t thought about your users as of late, try your best to put a name and a face to the hit and see where it takes you.

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