Persona research is the process of identifying the correct audience (user persona) for your business and then crafting a message that aligns to their values and solves their pain points. With user personas in hand, your business will possess critical insights that can guide every aspect of your branding and marketing.

What is a user persona?

A user persona is a realistic, fictional person with well-defined interests and motivations. This person represents your audience, the type of person most likely to engage with and benefit from your offering. If you serve multiple categories of people, then your business should define a user persona for each category.

Example of a user persona.

Meet Cathy. She is a 35 year old, single Mom who lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and dog. She is a self employed paralegal with a degree in finance and a paralegal studies certification. She works with several law firms on retainer across upstate New York and Vermont, and she travels regularly between them. She loves to hike in the fall, she skis regularly in the winter, and she enjoys the occasional jaunt up to Montreal. Her business is thriving and she is constantly on the hunt for time-saving solutions to improve the efficiency of her business so that she can spend more time with her kids.

Effective brands thoroughly “get” their audience and they lean on data, research and surveying to ensure they continue to understand their audience.

Persona research for a new business.

For brands early in their inception, a discovery phase to understand your audience is a critical first step. It’s easy to get distracted with the many other tasks that come with building a business, but knowing the motivations of your audience early can guide much of your decision making and save ton of time and money.

Persona research for established businesses.

It’s always the right time to do an audit to confirm your audience is who you think they are. Every year, (atleast) your business should take stock of the assumptions you have about your audience and confirm your messaging and solutions still serve them. Audiences are in constant flux and will quickly jump ship if your brand no longer aligns to their needs.

How to survey your audience.

At qwerkal, we deploy a variety of methods to build a user persona, and there is no right or wrong approach. The key is to arrive at the most accurate conclusions. Try one these approaches to get started:

  1. Online survey. Create a predetermined set of questions and plug them into a service like Typeform or Google Forms.
  2. Social media poll. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all offer built-in poll tools for a quick response from your followers.
  3. In-person or phone interview: Speak to 10 people who you believe are closely aligned to your ideal audience.
  4. Email list: Send a survey or questionnaire to your subscribers.
  5. Social feedback: Pose a question to your followers and study the aggregate of thumbs up, thumbs down, comments, shares, tags, and/or ratings.

Wrapping up

Your audience holds the answers to the success of your business. By surveying them, you will uncover their truths and can then orient your brand and business towards their values and interests. Without these insights, your business is flying in the dark.

Take action

Let’s chat about your business and branding objectives. Book a free 60-minute consultation with me.

This post is part of “Your Best 2019” guidebook presented by qwerkal.