Persona = motivation (what the visitor needs, why they are on your site)
Personality = temperament (how they navigate, what they need to see or read to find what they want)
Using both personalities and personas is important when writing great content that is both user- and search-engine friendly.
Use personalities to give your visitors the content the need
Despite what we believe about some people, every person has a personality. That personality determines how searchers seek out information that interests them. It effects keywords, sites they click on, how they navigate and what their expectations are.
There are four basic personality types, and every person usually has one that is dominant over the others, while maintaining some attributes of them all. Understanding these personality types helps you create a site that provides visitors the information they need to make the best decision for them and for you.
- Competitive (aka Choleric or Lion)
- Spontaneous (aka Phlegmatic or Golden Retriever)
- Humanistic (aka Sanguine or Otter)
- Methodical (aka Melancholy or Beaver)
Mal is a competitive personality. He wants to see options before making a decision. Not just some of them; all of them. He will often look at every nuance possible to determine which iteration of a particular product or service is the best one. Because of this, Mal can become frustrated when he can’t find the “perfect” option.
Mal is driven and thrives on challenges, sometimes even volunteering when others avoid. Everything is measured in goals and achieving those goals. Leisurely (non-goal oriented) activity is difficult for Mal as he measures his self worth through success. Mal does not like inefficiency and constantly seeks ways to improve things. When looking for a product, the one and only concern is – will it help him achieve his goals. As such, he is also hard to sell to, as he isn’t easily swayed by fluffy marketing language.
- Spontaneous buyers – no time to “shop around”
- Curiosity driven – try to peak their interest
- Goal oriented – they are there for a purpose
- Appreciates honesty – no BS!
- Loyal customer – earn their business, they’ll be back
- Hard to sell – forget all the emotional fluff
- Dislikes inefficiency and disorganization – make your site EASY to use
- Impatient – tell them and tell them quick!
- Abandons page and sale easily – if they can’t find it they’re out
To sell to Mal, you must start with being upfront and honest. Creditability is important and you can establish that by saying what most people won’t–point out your own negatives along with your positives. Never make claims that cannot be substantiated and proven true. Do what you can to demonstrate the true value of your product without over-hyping it. Make sure all necessary information is readily available so they don’t have to dig just to find what they need. Use links and calls to action to get them to take the next step in the conversion process.
Kaylee is a follower of whatever happens to be the latest trends and places a high value on others opinions. For her, it’s not so much about finding the value herself, but seeing what other trusted sources have to say. This gives her assurance she is making the right purchasing decision. She also fears missing out on a good thing, which can cause her to buy based on the excitement factor alone. Immediate gratification is a primary motivation, so great customer service before and after the sale helps provide the comfort and justification needed to help her feel like she made a good decision.
- Follows trends – fads are a good thing
- Feeds on positive opinion – get testimonials and reviews
- Opinion-based buying – facts don’t matter so much
- Sold by word of mouth – social media is key
- Turned away by negative opinions – good products rule
- May suffer from buyer’s remorse – after-the-sale reinforcement is needed to get them back
To sell to Kaylee, your site must go beyond the bland corporate mumbo-jumbo. Content must be captivating and speak to her on an emotional level. Kaylee wants a lot of information but will likely skim until she finds what she needs. Be sure to clearly show your unique value proposition and that of your products and/or services. Provided they are good, having ready access to customer reviews and testimonials will be the final push for her purchasing decision.
Zoe wants to see your testimonials, but for a different reason. She is looking for anything that confirms that you are able to meet her needs, and the testimonials will either back that up or send up the red flags. Zoe looks at the bigger picture when making decisions and will often put the needs of others before herself. She wants to choose something that has broad acceptance, fearing any decision that may leave her hung out to dry on a planet full of Reavers. She doesn’t like getting “locked in,” so providing options for cancellation or returns can give her a sense of freedom to change her mind.
- Motivated by security – display guarantees, return and cancellation policies
- Repeat buyer – once comfortable, they’ll come back
- Scared of commitment – make buying (and changing mind) easy
- Needs constant reassurance – hold their hand through the sales process
- Relies too heavily on others’ opinions – build up positive reviews and testimonials
To reach Zoe, be sure to have ample links to the pages that reinforce your trust, commitment and quality. About us and testimonial pages are frequently visited so make sure yours is robust. Provide reassurances via guarantees, links to policy pages and iterate your site security. Be sure your content maintains a personal tone and often speaks of the bigger picture, as to Zoe, it’s not always about her.
Simon Tam will be the most likely to read every word on your page. In fact, he’s likely to read every page on your site. He’s not an impulse buyers but reviews and weighs all the evidence in order to make an informed decision. Dr. Tam is a logical person with an eye for detail. He is likely on your site looking to solve a problem of some kind. Before making a decision, he weighs everything to make sure it is a responsible decision in the end.
- Feature oriented – benefits are not warranted here
- Does not like fluff – be straight and honest
- Factual based buyer – back up your claims
- Engaged in content – more info is good info
- Skeptical – convincing may be tough
- Needs specific, detailed information – provide as much as you can
To reach Simon you need to present hard evidence in an organized fashion. He doesn’t care about a personal touch, but rather wants an authoritative voice. Simon likes graphs and tables, specs and any other detailed “proof” you can provide. State your facts with little fluff as that only raises the skeptical hairs on his head. Don’t say anything that sounds too good to be true, because it likely is and Simon will walk away.
Using information about these basic personalities helps SEOs and content writers to structure a website with the most appropriate content available on each page. Used in conjunction with established personas, the site content can be created to meet the specific needs of different individuals with different temperaments, different desires and different goals… but ultimately driving them to the final goal: the sale.
Addressing the right persona with the right temperament in the right place can be tricky. But these considerations are an important part of creating a website that will drive the most conversions possible