Persona maps are incredibly helpful for teams or individuals trying to define their target market or their ideal customer. These diagrams, however, differ based on the specific assumptions of the consumers and the goals of your team. To best target user solutions, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of using a persona map and which specific templates to use to get the best outcomes.
In this article, we will guide you through what persona maps are, how to effectively engage in persona mapping and some of Fresco’s diverse persona diagrams. If you are interested in learning about our other template definitions, check out our guides on Kanbans, SWOTs, and Customer Journey Maps.
Persona Map Definition
What is a Persona Map?
Persona maps are abstract portfolios that represent your principal user. While they are fictional, they embody very realistic attributes that personify your consumers. They usually entail users’ assumptions, attitudes, association with your product/service, and even their personal life.
Persona Mapping is simply the use of a persona map, and these terms can be used interchangeably for the most part.
Why is using a Persona Map important?
Persona mapping enables you to take a deeper dive into the experience of your customers and their specific pain points. You can highlight their struggles, favorite features, needs, and every detail along the way.
Most importantly, however, you are using a persona map to create empathy. Creating empathy with your principal user is the most important factor in being able to understand their journey and create solutions that target their pain points. At the end of the day, the entire point of persona mapping is to locate the bottlenecks in a customer’s journey and create user-friendly solutions that enhance their experience, and creating empathy is at the heart of that process.
How to use Persona Maps
Once you understand exactly what a persona map is, the next step is to start learning how to use them. There are many different kinds of persona maps, some of which we will talk about later, but in order to use them effectively they share some common collaboration strategies. We recommend using these boards on online whiteboards or other visual collaboration tools.
Identify Demographics and Personal Details
The first step in locating the demographics and details of your principal users is either reaching out or researching them to better understand their perspective. This means learning things like their age, the city they live in, their job title, and other things of that nature.
These surface-level details can actually have a lot of impact on the decisions they make and will often tell you a lot about why they are interacting with your product/service. While the pieces of information obtained may factor into their pain points and overall perspective, they won’t be enough to conclude about their assumptions or create any solutions just yet. They mainly serve as context.
Further than helping establish user information, this helps humanize your persona and is a key factor in creating empathy for them. As previously stated, creating empathy is a critical goal when creating personas, and this step is vital in establishing an empathetic connection.
A great way to learn more about your users and their demographic details is by asking them through a poll or survey. This is made incredibly easy with applications like QuestionPro and should not be a barrier in persona mapping.
Surveys are not the only method to gather data, and you can gain valuable insights from people’s profiles, social media, and even through email connections. You can check out our post on the Lander Blog to learn more about how to build an effective email list.
Identifying demographics and details is really about doing adequate research so you are properly and healthily informed about your users. If your research is not accurate or extensive enough then it will be very hard to gain an accurate picture of who they are.
Use Information to Ask Questions
After you’ve completed doing your research about your users, the next step is to apply this knowledge to some questions about their intentions, goals, and assumptions. Ask yourself:
- What motivates them to use your product/service?
- What information are they looking to gain through your product/service?
- If I was in this customer’s shoes, what would I be looking for?
- What are your users biggest needs? How are they met?
These questions are helpful to apply the knowledge taken from your research and other funnels and use them to think about the important questions pertaining to your customer’s journey. Thinking about the needs and motivations behind your customer’s actions allows you to dig into the “why” of their interaction rather than simply dealing with the “what”.
These questions will differ based on the specific persona map you’re developing, and should not be generic. Every question will be targeted at a different aspect of the customer’s journey or its optimization, whether that centers around their goals, personal details, pain points, or their direct feedback.
Be Product Minded
The ideal persona you’re creating will inevitably be a paying customer. When thinking about users as consumers it’s important to pivot and think about your specific product/service and why they are using it. We already focused on asking questions about why they are using your business, but think further than their needs for a product in general, and think about why they need your product in particular.
- What makes your product/service special to your principal user?
- How does your unique value proposition convince them to use your specific product/service?
- How is your experience personalized for users, and how can that experience be further optimized?
Creating a persona map would be incomplete without also focusing on how your project uniquely interacts with your principal user. Focusing on these details allows you to see past not only the motivations of the users but also how your product/service is uniquely positined to meet their specific needs.
In order to effectively create a persona diagram, you cannot simply complete it from a singular perspective. Persona Maps are intertwined activities that succeed when the viewpoints and perspectives of different people are accommodated for.
This is briefly thought of when you consider the research and perspective of the users because that is another perspective that is critical to the mix, but it’s also vital to consider the perspectives of other team members and even other teams.
The people you consult when creating a persona map will all have different perspectives on how they interact with products in their own lives, and their specific needs and goals related to those products. This experience is invaluable and something impossible to represent with a small team of individuals. For this reason, collaboration on persona maps is critical to their sustainable success.
Persona Map Examples
Our persona grid functions very similar to a traditional persona map and begins with the identification of a potential user’s name and identity. This step is all about creating empathy with the user and doing your best to put yourself in their shoes.
After that, you begin to detail the demographics and actions that fit your user. These will mainly consist of things that didn’t fit into the identity section, and the behaviors that your user engages in while they interact with your product/service. The behaviors could be the buttons they click, the pages they read, or the things they purchase.
Finally, you will diagram the needs and pain points of the user. Think about these questions to understand their needs and pain points:
- What are the core needs that motivate your principal user to interact with your product/service?
- What are the things that make using your product/service difficult?
- What specific needs drive them to use your specific product versus another similar one?
These needs and pain points will ultimately be the places that your team will need to take action to improve the experience of the user.
The persona diagram is slightly different than the persona grid and functions less like a traditional persona map and focuses more on understanding the feedback and attitudes that your users express.
You begin collaborating on this board like any other: by creating a description of the principal user. This is followed by diagramming their goals and attitudes. These should be expressed directly or inferred by their demographics and intended use of the product/service.
Diagramming attitudes is important because it demonstrates how they feel about their actions and needs while using your product/service. This opens the door to reveal what their customer experience is and helps illuminate how they feel about using your product/service.
Diagramming attitudes is unique, and the next step of the persona diagram is unique as well. Following their attitudes, you diagram the actual feedback you receive from your current customers. This feedback will be vital to bringing a quality experience to your users and will be the key piece in informing the solutions you create.
Persona mapping is critical to understanding the needs of your customers and creating uniquely positioned solutions based on their specific needs. If you are looking to implement persona maps into your next project I hope this guide helped out and check out the persona maps listed above to try them out for free on Fresco!