User personas for your startup

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User personas for your startup

What is a user persona?

A user persona is used in product development, design thinking, and marketing, to make a quick summary of your user's:

  • Context,
  • motivations,
  • needs,
  • and the ways they might use your products.

A persona is a fictional character that represents a typical group of users that might use your product in a similar way.

Having a persona helps you to focus on what matters most to your users and help put yourself in your customers' shoes when making decisions.

That's why you should always test if your assumptions are correct about the personas that you create.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to read the minds of your users? 🔮

Just enough so that you could always provide the most value to them.

Just at the right moment.

Every single time.

That would be amazing for both your users and your company.

The great thing about that is that you don't need to be able to read their minds though.

You can just ask. It surprises me every time how many great insights a conversation with a user provides.

So in this week's video, I show a step-by-step approach to create a persona.

Doing this will help you to get a better understanding of the assumptions you have about your user.

This way, the next time you talk to a user, you know what questions to ask.

And as result you will be able to deliver more value.

Having an idea of your personas helps you to focus on what matters most to your users and to help put yourself in the shoes of your users when making decisions.

And that's why it's super important to always test your assumptions and to see if you're correct about your assumptions when it comes to your persona.

In this video, I will show you the steps you can take to get from a generic customer to specific personas so that you can improve your product and the marketing of your product, and in this way, bring more value to your customers as a result.

You will end up with a persona that's based on your assumptions called a protopersona, and in this way you can start planning interviews with customers or potential customers to get to qualitative personas.

Because remember the customer is the one buying your product, so being able to see the world through their eyes will give you a clearer picture of how your product can bring value into their lives.

So let's move to, Miro again, our digital whiteboard where I created an overview of the steps you can take to get from a rough idea about your customer, to a specific persona, and also the next steps that you can take after that.

And the first step is to create a simple customer journey.

I've been talking about creating, simple customer journey maps already in a previous video.

Basically it comes down to this, create an overview of the actors involved with your product on the left side, in this case, the trainee and the decision maker.

Create the goal on the right side, in this case that they follow the future-proof training program, and then decide on the steps in between and to help with those steps, there are some labels above which you can use to generate ideas for those steps.

And of course, this is a great start but different trainees have different needs.

So let's zoom in on the trainee and see if we can make it more specific.

So let's move to step two to specify customer segments and in this way make the generic customer more specific already.

I will show you a couple of examples, so you can decide for yourself what customer segments work best for you.

So a way to segment a trainee into different groups is to divide them by preference of working.

The preference of working is a major part in the Future Proof training program.

So for me it's important to know what the needs are for trainees, and in this way, I will also provide them with different guidance on how to approach this.

For people who want to work fully at the office that has benefit in program, but it's not designed for them.

And then for hybrid and remote workers, it is.

So this could be a way to segment the trainees.

So I will show the second one in a bit because I wanna first move to the third one, and this is another way that we could segment the trainees is by household, because I know that this is an important thing also.

If people live by themselves, then most probably they have different needs when it comes to social interactions, when they are working remote.

And having a partner
or family in the house

gives completely different challenges,

for example, aligning
who's gonna work where.

So that's a way to segment,
and then the third example,

is to do by team type and function,

in this case, the training can be followed

by different types of teams, for example,

product development
teams, or marketing teams,

and within the team, you
have different functions,

or different roles.

And if we zoom in on the marketing team,

they can see that there are a
number of different functions,

and different functions
means different activities,

and based on those activities

they also might have different needs.

Some activities they
really need to do real time

with a colleague and some activities

are something you do by yourself

or something you can do asynchronously.

So having a clearer understanding
of what kind of people

are in the team and what
kind of activities they have

it becomes easier to give
guidance in that area.

Also for every function you can

maybe even make it more specific,

so people who are just
starting out on a job,

for trainee or a junior,

and then the more experienced people

they probably have different
tasks and activities.

So these are three ways how you
could segment your customers

for this example,

and of course it's different
for every industry.

So that's something you have
to figure out for yourself

what would be a nice way
to segment your customers.

But what you will notice
when doing this exercise

is that segmenting your customer
already forces you to think

about the different needs
that are for your customer.

So that's another step
in the right direction,

and then let's move to step three,

where are we gonna write
down the assumptions

about your persona?

There are multiple ways to do this,

there's no right or wrong.

I will show you three of my favorite ways,

but the main idea here is
to get a clear understanding

of the context, the motivation,

the needs and the goals of your users.

So let's have a look at the first one,

the Value Proposition Canvas,

and the Value Proposition Canvas helps you

to specify your customer
segment even more,

what are the gains, the
pains and the customer jobs

for that segment.

I would recommend to start on the right side of this Canvas, because then it helps you to really think through what your customer is thinking, and the left part of the Canvas is already solution mode.

So I would recommend to do that later but if you get a better understanding of your persona in this case, she's a female iOS developer, has two kids is a millennial, then you can also see better where the gains are for this persona, where she's struggling, maybe a little bit with the pains and also what she wants to achieve.

So these three areas, the gains, the pains, and the customer jobs, they force you to think through even more, what the benefits will be of your product for this specific persona.

And once you've done this for one persona, you can decide to focus fully on that persona, or that you focus on the next persona, and you create multiple personas.

And try to give your persona some identity by choosing an avatar and also a name for the persona.

You can find the avatars over here, if you click the dots in Miro and click IconFinder then you can type in avatar, and in this case I chose this one but of course there are many more to use.

Persona Canvas

Another favorite approach of defining a persona is by making use of the Persona Canvas from Design A Better Business.

So it's pretty clear that this persona canvas is more specific than the previous one which will maybe help you to come up with other ideas which you maybe didn't think of with the other compost.

But usually what you see is that there is a lot of overlap.

So the things that I wrote down here, they are similar to the paints, in the previous canvas the things on the right side are the gains, and then the need or the customer job could be seen in the middle.

So this is also a really nice way to visualize your persona and to make it more tangible.

Miro Personas Workshop

And then the last one this is actually from a workshop template, that's in Miro.

You can find it over here. if you click the icon over here on the left, search for Persona, then you can find the Personas Workshop over here.

And this workshop helps you in a couple of steps to reach to this part, which I copied over here where you can generate an overview of your persona again.

So this is also a really nice way.

So they have you it three ways to get from really generic users to specific personas, and the personas help you to get more idea about the context and motivations and the needs of your users.

Validate your persona assumptions

Now remember that these are just product personas.

So these are personas based on assumptions, and your next step is to facilitate those assumptions.

And at step four, talking with customers.

A great book recommendation is The Mom Test. A great book, if you want to learn more about doing customer interviews, and the steps from getting your idea to talking with customers, to an actual product.

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