Creating User Profiles for Business Success
How well do you know your customers? It’s an important question to ask because it’s a crucial first step before we start figuring out how to market, advertise, or engage with them.
In the past, we’ve talked about finding out who our users are and how we talk to them, but these techniques are certainly used best when we know who we’re talking to. Taking the time to think about who your ideal customers are to can be an invaluable exercise.
Designing the Profile
We have two options. We can think about who we want our customers to be, or we can think about who they already are. Both of these goals can be covered with this simple technique.
Ask yourself some of the following questions:
- How old are they?
- What kind of work do they do for a living?
- What websites do they visit on a regular basis?
- What kind cellphone do they have?
- What do they do for fun?
- What does your customer want for their birthday?
- Are they in a relationship?
- What kind of work do they do? Do they work outdoors or in an office?
- Who on your staff would enjoy a conversation with this person? Why?
If we think about people that we know, our family, our friends, our colleagues, these questions are very simple answer. Thinking of those people, people that we know, it can be easier to design an ideal user.
Here’s an example:
Jessica Juniper is a 30 year old mother. She owns a MacBook Pro and has a keen interest in photography. Last year for Christmas she was given an iPod touch that she uses at coffee shops and wifi hotspots to respond to email and check in with friends on Facebook. Often, she shoots video of her 3 year old son that she sends it to her parents and in-laws. She is currently working as an assistant paralegal. She spends her free time with her husband, Mark and their son, Elijah. They enjoy going to the movies and shopping for toys. For the last 3-years she’s been an active runner, using an iPod+ to keep track of her training.
Jessica Juniper is not a real person. That image of her is a stock photo, but she feels real. There’s an image in my head of who Jessica is and how I think she would react to marketing or advertising that she comes across.
It’s worth noting that we are not creating or crafting something for one individual user, instead we’re crafting and designing something for a group of users that can be described in simple, but detailed brushstrokes.
The Value of the Profile
It can be lots of fun creating a profile of our ideal customer that can lead a business toward real profits and sustainable gains. Once we can successfully see our customers and potential clients, we can understand what keywords they’re likely to search for, what other products they might be interested in; if we know or can infer what they already own we can tailor experiences around that.
For example, if our site analytics tell us that they’re using an iPhone, we can invest time in designing a mobile site that looks the best on their device. With our profile in hand we can sketch an image of what our users want.
Creating one user profile is valuable, but for maximum results it’s good to think about a few, but no more than 5 as anything more than that can be unwieldy. The user profile is not set in stone either, it can change as more data about the customer or client enters the picture.
Remember, the goal of creating a profile is have a broad understanding of your customer base. This information leads us toward our goal of creating uniquely satisfying experiences for all of our customers.