How to create a persona and an end user for your startup

Nigel Tsopo
28 November 2022
9 min read

Creating user personas of your product's potential customers is crucial for determining your relevant market segment.

This may seem pretty straightforward. However, having worked with multiple founders at Startup House to build their product ideas, we've learned that simply narrowing down your potential customer definition is not enough to achieve this.

Founders and entrepreneurs can easily lose focus and cast their nets in the wrong market segment, resulting in a loss of resources. What's needed is an awareness of what may cause this loss of focus in the first place.

To help minimize the risk of pursuing potential such dead-ends then, here's a guide to creating personas and end users for startups, where we'll focus on why we create them and what you should consider for doing so successfully.

 How to create an end-user profile

1. What problem are you solving?

To create an end-user profile, you should start by defining the problem that your product or service will solve.

Keep in mind that a problem is not simply the lack of a solution but rather a pain point that affects a significant number of people.

Once you have identified the problem, you can then develop solutions that address it.

It is important to keep the customer at the center of your business rather than the solution itself, as doing so will help you create a more tailored product or service.

2. Who shares the problem?

Your startup team should brainstorm all potential customers for your idea or technology. Try to be as specific as possible when mapping out these ideas. This will help you better understand who your target audience is.

For example, if you're creating an AI-based restaurant recommendation app that uses cryptocurrencies, your target audience might be something like a "24–30-year-old male who is online making over $75K per year and living in an urban environment."

This is much more specific than simply saying "consumers" and will help you better understand who your app is for.

3. Initial targets 

The next step is to analyze each market segment in detail and base your analysis on a few key elements:

  • The number of potential customers in the segment

  • Their willingness to buy your solution

  • The level of difficulty they are experiencing

  • Their capacity to afford your solution

  • Their ease of accessibility

  • Their potential to spread the word to others like them

This is where the fear of focusing on the wrong segment begins to develop. However, it is riskier to chase too many segments or choose the wrong one.

Therefore, it is important to identify the right market segment that will guide the development of a product that these potential customers will actually buy and use.

4. Building an end-user profile

An end-user profile helps to identify common behavior patterns, shared pain points, goals, and challenges that potential customers have. This allows businesses to better understand their target market and cater to their product or service offerings accordingly.

Creating a profile involves coming up with a list of questions related to the customer demographics, behavior patterns, and motivations that will help to identify the ideal customer.

Demographics

To create an end-user profile, you will need to consider their demographics.

This will involve such factors as gender, age range, income range, geographic location, level of education, and work experience.

Although this data can be easy to obtain, it is not enough on its own to give a complete picture of the buyer persona.

Psychographics

  • What motivates them?

  • What do they fear?

  • What do they value?

  • What are their goals?

What psychological variables will help you understand your end user? To determine these, focus on what motivates them and what their goals are.

For example, if you're working on a meal scheduling and preparation app, you'll want to know how many meals they eat per day and how much they spend on takeout.

This real customer data will help you hone in on your specific industry segment in an effective way. And it might reveal how to best meet your customer personas needs.

Proxy products

Products that the end user is currently buying can give insight into their motives and behaviors. Understanding why they choose certain products over others can help you create a profile that meets their needs.

Knowing how much they are willing to spend on a product can give you an idea of their budget and what they are looking for in terms of quality.

Watering holes

Your potential customers 'watering holes' are the channels or places where they congregate and exchange information. Proxy products and watering holes can help you corroborate your demographics and psychographics. This information can be useful when creating a business strategy.

For a detailed analysis of your product's end user persona, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We strongly believe in the power of creating personas, and we tailor all our case studies to your specific industry segment.

Creating user Personas: How it's done

A day in the life

To create an accurate end-user profile, it is important to view the process as a shadowing experiment. This means that you will need to try and come as close as possible to living a day in your user's shoes.

This day should be composed of multiple people's experiences to get a well-rounded view. The resulting story from this experiment will help you better understand your persona and what motivates them.

A list of facts alone will not be as helpful as a story that draws connections and emphasizes why people behave the way they do. Use the facts that you have gathered to weave together a story that paints a realistic picture of your persona.

Biggest fears and motivators of your user persona

 

You should prioritize the fears and motivators from the psychographics in order to find out what is most important to your persona. For example, this persona might be motivated by a desire to save money, or they might be afraid of making a purchase that they'll later regret.

Fears and motivators Persona Example

Here's an example of a user persona with their fears and motivations listed:

Name: Sarah

Age: 32

Occupation: stay-at-home mom

Motivations: saving money, convenience

Fears: making a purchase she'll regret; being scammed

Narrative

Sarah is a stay-at-home mom who looks for ways to save money. She's motivated by convenience and loves finding deals that will make her life easier.

However, she's also afraid of being scammed or making a purchase she'll later regret. This is why when Sarah sees marketing messages, she wants reassurance that the product is worth her time and money.

So, when you're marketing to Sarah, your messaging should focus on how your product or service can save her time and money. You should also include some guarantee or customer testimonials to help ease her fears about making a purchase.

Researching your persona and target audience

1. Interview your existing customers

Interviewing your current customers is the best way to learn more about your target market. By conducting qualitative interviews, you can gather much data that will help you create a complete profile of your ideal customer. This information can be used to improve your marketing strategy and attract more customers that fit your target market.

2. Use educated assumptions

If you don't yet have any customers, try to find people in your market segment who are similar to the type of customer you want. You can do this by searching online for questions they're asking on search engines, social networks, or key industry blogs and publications.

Use keywords and content tools to figure out as many answers to your questions as you can.

It's also a good idea to meet these people in person at conferences or events, or through your network of friends and connections to validate the answers you've found.

3. Find more people

The number of people you should talk to in order to create a persona varies depending on the project. Talk to as many as is necessary to start seeing patterns in their responses. This will give you a better idea of who your target users are and what they want or need from your product.

If you're not sure where to begin, we've got a bespoke user testing and user interview service that can help you better understand your personas. We'd love to tell you more about what possibilities are open to you.

Revisit your persona regularly

It can be difficult for founders to keep their persona in mind throughout the product development process as there may often be a tendency to get sidetracked or to cave to the fear of missing out on potential customers.

Startup founders may also fall for the 'shiny object syndrome,' which can lead to the deployment of resources to different market segments than to the one they initially mapped out their persona for. To avoid this pitfall, it's important to keep your persona development research updated every few months.

Summary

Creating a persona for your product can help you better understand your target market and create a more focused marketing strategy. It should therefore be treated as more than just a small part of your overall marketing strategy.

An end-user profile is a valuable tool that can help you determine what kind of product or service your target market is looking for. By creating these profiles, you'll be able to better focus your marketing efforts and connect with your target audience on a more personal level.

When you're first starting out, it's important to recognize that not all customers will be identical. You'll need to segment your market and create different personas for each group. Once you have a clearly identified market segment, you should know its key characteristics. This will help you know who you want to talk to and how best to reach them.

So, if you're ready to make the plunge and get more from your user engagement, contact us at Startup House. Not only will we give you the tools for learning more about your potential customers, we’ll also help you conduct swift user testing, within budget, to pinpoint exactly what your customers want.



 

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