These past couple of days I’ve spent most of my time thinking through the sales page for our new product at Living for Monday, which will serve as the core of our business model. It was a big project on my to-do list, and it made my brain hurt when I thought about it as a whole.
Usually when my brain starts hurting in response to thinking through a project, it’s because I don’t have a good understanding of the steps to completion OR I don’t have the skills/knowledge/expertise necessary to complete certain steps.
In this case, when I sat down to start writing copy, I realized that I hadn’t done enough thinking about the people who would be reading the page. Instead of pressing forward, I took some time to whiteboard my thoughts on our four different user personas. Here are some of the questions I asked myself as I did the exercise:
- What is she feeling on her best day at work?
- What is he feeling on his worst day at work?
- What does she do day-to-day?
- How does he think about what he wants from work?
- What questions are they asking about their careers?
Here’s what the whiteboard looked like at the end of the exercise (Yes, there is foul language in a couple of places. It was a personal exercise, please forgive me):
I based this exercise on four key personas that we’re serving with our new product offering (this is some of the copy that will appear on our new sales page):
The Fortune 500 Mover and Shaker — you found a job at a household brand name, and you’re proud of. Now you’re trying to find your way through the maze that is a massive organization. We know what it’s like and we’re here to help.
The Professional Services Pro — Accountants, consultants, and bankers, oh my. The world of professional services can be political, competitive, and stressful. We build courses to help you handle it with generosity, gratitude, and growth.
The Agency Life Addict — Account managers and junior designers know that agency life can be downright crazy, and that’s why they love it, and hate it. Our courses will help you manage your career while building the lifestyle you want as well.
- The Startup Enthusiast — Startups are all the buzz these days. Salespeople, developers, and generalists know that startup life can be uncertain, but exciting. We’ll help you use your late nights and ambiguous responsibilities to your advantage.
Thinking about specific people in each of these roles allowed me to get into their mindset and thought process much more than I would have if I had gone straight into writing copy. I probably didn’t get everything right, but we’ll be able to leverage this initial process to conduct user interviews as we gather feedback about the product from our target audience.
I missed some key elements of a truly great persona exercise — I didn’t have pictures of the people or names for them. I didn’t fuel my insights with trends from multiple conversations with real people who represent each persona. Finally, I did not validate these insights with objective opinions from mentors, colleagues, or third-party observers.
Have you ever conducted a user persona exercise? What did you learn from it? Was it helpful? Did you make any assumptions that you ended up proving wrong?