“Amy is a 40-year old mother who loves to drink wine with her friends on weekends.” Now, this might sound like an excerpt from a dating profile, but it’s actually an example of a persona that can give event businesses insight into their customers. Learning to write user personas is an important part of running a business.

According to Wikipedia, personas are “fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.” User personas represent the different individuals in a target audience. These are the people who attend events, purchase products, interact on social media, and utilize your website.

Of course, your target audience won’t be comprised of the exact same person with the same goals. Businesses should approach their target audience from several different angles and come up with multiple user groups to truly understand customers.

We’ll go through why you should do this and steps to take when creating informative user personas.

Why Write User Personas?

You may be wondering why personas are important for event businesses. Can’t you just plan an event and market it to everyone? You can, but this won’t set the event up for success.

Successful event businesses know what their attendees want and design ways to satisfy those needs. They plan events that include features individual attendee groups find irresistible, rather than features that are “blah” to all potential attendees. If you aim for pleasing everyone at the same time, you’ll end up pleasing no one.

Knowing What Attendees Want

This is where user personas come in. Once you know what each group wants, it’s easier to plan and market events that appeal to possible attendees in each group. The process of writing user personas forces event businesses to thoroughly examine the best ways to reach customers.

Events planned with user personas in mind are more likely to engage and draw in attendees. User personas allow event businesses to align their registration, activities, location, and more, to closely fit the needs of attendees. The result is events that “wow” attendees and create loyal customers who keep coming back.

The Basics of Creating User Personas

Creating user personas involves a bit of research and thought. The good news is, once you do the work, you’ll have a clear picture of customers. Keeping these target audience snapshots on file is a good idea for any event business.

When creating user personas, don’t attempt to overdo it. It’s not necessary to create incredibly detailed user personas or create a user persona for every possible situation. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 2-4 user personas that include the most telling points.

Step #1: Get to know your users

The first and possibly most important step is to learn about users. This can be done by sending out electronic surveys and/or using reporting and analytics data. Your target audience is already interacting with your website or social media pages. If you are using analytics, use existing data to see how different customer segments behave.

You’ll want to gather information on basic demographics, technology use, behavior at events, what individuals want to gain from events, and anything else that might inform you. Create a spreadsheet to record the information.

Step #2: Identify common trends

All individuals in a target audience won’t be exactly the same, but it’s likely there will be groups of users with commonalities. The second step to creating a user persona involves finding themes in the data collected in the first step.

For example, you might find through analytics that 70% of attendees are using their mobile devices to interact with your website. Or you find a large group of middle-aged women frequently attend events. Both give insight into your customer base and are important trends to note in your user personas.

Step #3: Write a user persona for each group

Now that you’ve gathered data and found commonalities, it’s time to write the user personas. Here are some important questions to answer in each user persona:

  • What is this fictional character’s name or nickname?
  • Can you describe what the person looks like?
  • What is his/her age, gender, location, education, and job title?
  • Does the user interact with your event website through a desktop computer or a mobile device? Do they value mobile functionality?
  • What outcome does the user want when interacting with your business?

Answering these questions in each user persona will help assign a face and personality to individuals in your target audience, bringing home the idea that customers are real people with specific needs.

Once your target audience is broken down into specific user personas, you can begin to use these to inform event planning and marketing decisions.