Creating Member Personas

The first step to starting any business is understanding your target customer and their needs. Your paid group is no different!

You may have a broad range of potential group members, but there will no doubt be a common goal or need that unites them. Creating personas can help you to describe these goals and target members, in order to improve your service and grow your business. But what is a member persona anyway, and how do you go about creating one?

Enter the word ‘personas’ into Google and you may be overwhelmed by the various definitions and the amount of work it appears to take to define them. Research interviews, reporting and metrics - it can all seem a bit overwhelming, especially for smaller businesses or those just starting out. This Quorum guide walks you through persona creation in a simpler, more achievable manner.

What is a persona? 🤔

Personas – often referred to as customer personas, user or buyer personas - are representations of your target customers that outline their needs, goals, and what motivates their decision-making. They’re semi-fictional characters that broadly represent the different groups that you might cater to, based on factors like age, interests, profession, problems and goals. They help to drive your business strategy and are useful for guiding projects, like developing your website for example.

Try to do it at the start 🏁

Ideally persona development should be undertaken before you begin launching your first group. But don’t fret if you’ve skipped it, it can be done at any time to discover new opportunities and ideas on how to improve your group or service.

Stick to two or three 👥

There may be a variety of personas for potential clients and group members, but we recommend limiting yourself to two or three. Remember personas are supposed to represent a flavour of your members and your most important client groups, not each and every individual.

Getting Started

Define purpose and core benefit 👩‍🏫

Think back to the idea that inspired you to create your business or group in the first place. What is the purpose of the group you're creating? What benefit do members get by joining? Your group description and core value proposition will provide the basis of the personas you create. Here are some examples of groups and their purpose:

  • Romy’s Leadership Group Provides management and leadership resources, insights and group discussions to help you develop your leadership skills.

  • Adele’s Styling Group Provides one-on-one advice, tailored to the individual, to help you refine your personal style and build a practical yet unique wardrobe.

  • Michael’s Self-Improvement Group Provides life coaching advice to help you optimize your life in a variety of ways, from building confidence to adopting healthier habits.

Describe it as a 'job to be done' 💼

What are your group members trying to achieve by subscribing to your group or service? This can later be broken down into sub-goals to provide a more detailed picture of your target members - but there will alway be one key 'job' they're trying to accomplish.

  • Romy’s Leadership Group Develop leadership skills to perform better at work.

  • Adele’s Styling Group Develop personal style that’s wearable yet unique.

  • Michael’s Self-Improvement Group Improve life and lifestyle across a variety of factors.

Gather information 📝

Research can provide you with lots of valuable information about your target group members. Sites like SurveyMonkey and Typeform are great for building short, user-friendly surveys. You can incentivise people to complete these surveys by offering a small discount on group membership. Surveys can be completed by existing clients that you hope will join your group, or group members that have already subscribed.

Here's are some example questions that Romy included in her leadership group survey:

  • What is your job title?

  • What industry do you work in?

  • What kind of organisation do you work for?

  • How old are you?

  • How many years of work experience do you have?

  • Do you currently lead a team? If yes, a team of how many?

  • Are you hoping to get promoted in the next year?

  • What are your main tasks and responsibilities?

  • What is the biggest stress you experience in your role?

  • What is the biggest problem you experience on a daily basis in your role?

  • Which areas do you feel you could improve on most in your professional life?

  • What resources do you currently use to help you perform in your role?

  • What are you hoping to achieve by using these resources/joining this group?

No surveys, no problem! Use what you've got 🕵️‍♀️

If you don't want to trouble your clients or group with surveys - or they just don't want to complete them - use any information that's already been made available to you to create your personas.

Do you have existing clients that you work with? Describe them to find common characteristics that they share. Maybe you have a list of contacts that you’re planning to invite to your group? See what information they’ve already shared with you to help build their profiles. If you're connected on social networking sites for example, or have exchanged a lot of emails, this is a great place to start.

Consolidate the information 📦

Once you’ve got some information at your fingertips, it’s time to consolidate it to find commonalities and ways you can organise it into categories. These categories will form your different personas.

In the example of Romy’s Leadership Group, she found she could broadly categorise her perspective group members into the three following categories.

  • New managers

  • Junior employees aiming for promotion

  • Team leaders looking to improve

These categories were formed based on the answers to these questions in her questionnaire:

  • What is your job title?

  • How many years of work experience do you have?

  • Do you currently lead a team? If yes, a team of how many?

  • Are you hoping to get promoted in the next year?

Note that within each of these personas there will be common goals or problems that unite them, like managing deadlines and prioritising workload.

Drafting your persona 👤

Personas can be adapted to suit what’s relevant for the service you provide, but here is some of the information you may wish to include:

  • Persona group (e.g. new managers)

  • Fictional name

  • Job titles and major responsibilities

  • Demographics such as age, education

  • What they're trying to achieve by availing of your service (the 'job to be done')

  • Problems they experience

  • A quote that sums up what matters to the persona

  • Casual pictures representing that persona

Take a look at the example of the 'New Manager' persona created for Romy's Leadership Group, to give you an idea of what the end product will look like. Here Romy has created a fictional character based on real data from her survey.

Example "New Manager" persona
Example "New Manager" persona
Emily Jones - New manager

Fictional name: Emily Jones Job title: Engineering Team Lead Job to be done: Develop leadership skills to perform better at work.

Demographics:

  • 33 years

  • Lives in Dublin, Ireland

  • MSc in Web Development

Responsibilities:

  • Leading a team of eight engineers in a tech start-up

  • Managing the development of a new home-sharing app

  • Reporting on key metrics to senior leadership

  • Managing team’s workload on a daily basis

Goals and context:

Emily has recently been made Team Lead on a software engineering team in a fast growing technology start-up. This is her first time leading a team and running regular meetings.

She is hoping to develop her leaderships skillset to ensure she’s not just managing the project well, but she’s also getting the most out of her team and creating a positive working environment.

She is focused and goal-oriented but has only every had to worry about her own deadlines before. Here are some of her goals and tasks:

  • Meet milestones in the project pipeline in a timely manner, without over-working colleagues.

  • Continually find new ways to improve the efficiency of the team and manage workflow in an effective manner.

Quote: “Don't worry guys, we can get this new feature built in time without having to be work late every evening!”

We hope you found this persona guide useful. If you'd like some help to drafting yours, or assistance in compiling your data, we'd be happy to help. Email us at [email protected] to set up a session.