Digital Marketing Tactics

Developing User Personas

Developing User Personas
Develop effective user personas with this short 4-step guide and take a critical step towards a more informed marketing strategy.

The 30-Second Rundown

What? This is a short and sweet guide to developing ideal user personas for your business.

Why? Having a clear image of your ideal customer leads to more effective and accurate advertising.

Will This Affect Me? Yes. All types of businesses should take some time to paint the picture of their perfect customer to keep their marketing strategy aligned.

Here at Optily, don’t waste time; we optimize.

If you have read enough information, fantastic–we’re glad we could help!

If not, please read on for a short yet effective guide on Developing User Personas.


What is a user persona?

A user persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your target audience. Your team should create a profile of an imaginary customer, based on shared attributes of the target segment which this profile is intended to represent.

This is done to build empathy with your ideal target users and to identify exactly what they need from a product or service. Your business should then aim to satisfy that need.

Why build user personas?

Without a problem, there is no solution.

If your business isn’t providing a solution to a consumer problem then there is going to be very little interest in your business. In order to solve a real user problem, you need to have identified the problem clearly.  Before you can write down the problem, you first need to understand your users and their needs.

A user persona clarifies who your target audience is and will enable you to efficiently identify and communicate their needs.

Understanding your user persona is vital to developing a successful business.

How to develop user personas?

The creation of a persona is supported by data and research from multiple sources, such as:

  • Primary customer research: directly engaging with existing or prospective customers and asking them about their purchase attitudes and behaviors
  • Data analysis: reviewing historical purchase data or analytics data or data available from third-party sources such as your advertising platforms help us better understand demographics, interests, and behaviors
  • Customer sales and care teams: brainstorming with internal teams who are in direct contact with customers daily, is a great way to add color to your personas that helps to make them more realistic

A step-by-step guide:

Step One – Header

This header should include the name and image of your fictional person (a lot of marketers like to make the name alliterative with a descriptor). Adding a small quote that summarizes what matters most to the persona in relation to your product can also be helpful.

e.g. Name: Marketing Mark
       Quote: “Optimize my digital ads so my boss stops shouting at me.”

Step Two – Demographics

In this second step, you must use factual information as opposed to Step One. These demographic details should be based on your team’s user research as explained already. Your user’s demographic profile should include:

  • Personal background (age, gender, education, family status…)
  • Professional background (occupation, salary, years of experience…)
  • User environment (what exposure do they have to advertising; TV, smartphone…)
  • Psychographics (motivations, goals, interests, pain points..)

e.g. Marketing Mark is a 30 year old male working as the head of marketing for an SME in New York. Mark completed both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree and has a salary of $100,000 – $150,000. Paddy is married, lives in Long Island, and is constantly trying to boost digital ad performance for his business. 

Step Three – End Goal

What is your user’s ultimate goal when using your business? This should be the main motivating force for your user. It will determine what goal the user needs your business to fulfill.

e.g. Mark’s end goal when using Optily is to fully optimize all digital ads for his business with one simple click.

Step Four – Scenario

After completing each step above, you can now clearly articulate how the individual features of your offering deliver benefits for your user personas and, more importantly, how these benefits can transform the users’ lives.

The final step is to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and complete the following sentences…

  • Feature – “With [feature X]”
  • Benefit – “I can [do Y]”
  • Impact – “Which enables me to do [Z]”

Mapping this approach to Mark’s story, we might read the following in an internal feather-benefit-impact statement:

“With Optily’s single-click ad optimizer, I can simply and effectively optimize my online ads across all platforms. This will save my boss money (happy boss!) and save me time (happy me!). Job done!”


User personas are not intended to describe an individual customer but paint a picture of our ideal customer.

It should include hard descriptors such as demographics, family, and career status. It should also include softer descriptions of their interests and behaviors relevant to your product. How do they experience the problem you solve? Where do they find out about solutions? What are their attitudes to pricing and what other types of purchase objections might they have?

Developing buyer personas is a critical step that informs much of the later marketing strategy.

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