If you’re a business owner, then you know there is a massive difference between starting a business and building a business. And the gap between a great idea and a great business is a tough one to close. Because it’s not enough to create a product or service. No matter how innovative, beautiful or extraordinary, if it’s not marketed in the right way to the right person, it’s never going to get off the ground.

This is why “user personas” are so valuable.

User personas are detailed composites of your customers that allow you to understand them on a deeper, more meaningful level, and, in turn, design a clearer, more productive and more successful marketing strategy. In short, they allow you to reach your target audience in the most impactful way possible. This is why you should focus on creating your user should before you focus on creating content, designing your website – or on anything, really. Because how much sense does it make to try to appeal to everybody when you should be trying to target a specific somebody? It’s like writing your speech before you know who you are addressing. Or packing a suitcase without knowing your destination.

User personas give you the confidence and the direction you need to make the best decisions for your business. You will be able to strategize competently and comprehensively. You will be able to create compelling content that pulls at the heart strings of your customer. You will be able to shape what you want your buyers to believe about your organization. You will be able to show your customers why they need your product or service. And you will be able to connect with your audience on a more fundamental, more powerful level than ever before.

So now that you understand the importance of user personas, it’s time to get down to brass tacks: How do you go about creating user personas? How do you really get to know your audience? To help you better understand how to build your user personas, we break the process down into four key steps:

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