How Personas Shape Web Design
As we discuss in our previous post, “How to Define Your Marketing Personas,” a persona creates a three-dimensional picture of your ideal prospects. Personas help everyone on sales and marketing teams better understand customers’ needs, pain points, and goals. Without this critical information, making a product or service relevant, even necessary, to a consumer becomes far more difficult and time consuming.
Most businesses have several marketing personas. For instance, a software company may have opportunities to sell to an office manager, a CEO, or an IT specialist. While individuals in each category are distinct, they tend to have similar goals for their careers, as well as day-to-day challenges at their companies. Drawing some conclusions about each type of consumer can help marketers create messages and images with more power. It also helps sales people convey that they truly understand a prospect. This sense of understanding creates trust which leads to sales.
Empower Your Website Designer With Personas
As your always-available and accessible sales agent, your website must be ready to appeal to your various personas. For instance, a car dealer will talk to twenty-somethings about the appeal of the open road, including lots of images conveying adventure and excitement. Because these twenty-somethings are likely to turn to their parents for car advice, however, the dealership must also have messages and images of the safety and long-term value of the car. Each population responds to different motivators.
Website designers love personas because they enable them to focus on a limited target. Envisioning the needs of every website user is overwhelming if not impossible. No creative can appeal to every type in the American marketplace. When you flesh out your target audience into living and breathing characters through personas, that confusion recedes.
Real Prospect Research Creates Real Leads and Sales
While many website designers are thrilled when a client understands personas, they often push this forward-thinking client a bit further. They know that the biggest mistake a business owner or marketer can make is to guess or estimate significant details about their prospects’ lives.
Personas work best when they’re built from robust research. An outside market research firm will use primary research tactics (digital tracking, surveys, focus groups) and secondary methods (industry and organizational reports) to discover all kinds of demographics. Based on personas derived through research, your designer will adjust the website’s conversion goals, images, and tone to craft a highly-specific user experience.
Website designers know their work doesn’t exist to be placed in a museum, but to drive leads and sales. Therefore, professionals often start the design process by focusing on the conversion opportunity. The conversion occurs when a website visitor completes an action that connects him or her directly with the business. With typical user goals determined through research, the designer can choose between offering a white paper download in exchange for an email address, a contact form fill out, or an appointment time choice. Many service professionals simply need their phone numbers blaring all over the website. A B2B company with a longer sales process will most likely have lots of whitepapers and blog posts for the user to peruse.
The research conducted will make clear any obstacles the prospect has to buying. The images themselves, and interplay of text and images, too, help overcome those objections. For instance, online software platforms MailChimp and PicMonkey both use a cute monkey and a carefree tone to set users’ minds at ease about the simplicity of using their service. A business bank’s website will be full of images of successful people participating in high-end activities like golf or fine dining.
The website designer will most likely hire a copywriter to craft powerful, succinct messages that sell your product or service. Still, he or she has to determine how much text goes where as well as the tone of that text. Again, with the research to reveal your prospects’ ultimate goals, the tone of the content implies how the service or product helps consumers achieve those goals.
The tone must match the images to deliver a cohesive, one-two punch. MailChimp’s tone is light and fun, full of jokes and quips to drive home its accessibility and to match the mugging monkey. The tone on a fitness website, on the other hand, will be more matter-of-fact, with strong messages to inspire confidence and determination.