11 Awesome Free Personas Templates

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Personas templates are often in user-centred design because they create better understanding of and empathy for prospects and customers alike. Buyer persona templates are used for a variety of purposes, including as a customer journey mapping tool, improving customer onboarding, designing sales strategies and increasing customer retention.

1. What is it?

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an important customer segment based on insights from market research and other relevant sources of data, including complaints, customer services and data analytics. The persona template should include information on relevant characteristics of the customer or prospect such as demographics, lifestyle, geography, habits, motivations and goals. These characteristic should be determined by your research and relevance to your sector/product.

2. How are they used?

A user persona template is a great tool for improving understanding of your customer segments and communicating this knowledge to the wider business. A persona template helps bring your customers to life and helps you to get away from using descriptive statistics that rely on averages which can be highly misleading. They also help you to stop treating all users the same as this will only lead to an average conversion rate.

Personas should not be based on descriptive statistics because there is no such thing as an average user. A good persona should be based on in-depth research and segmentation of your customer or prospect base. This can allow you to personalise your user experience for individual user segments.

Persona templates are used to improve the user experience by making designers and other stakeholders consider how the user will react in different situations and to different experiences. A well designed user persona makes us think about the user’s needs and emotional response to our product or design. It should also provide a common goal and direction for all decision makers to refer to when considering changes to an experience. This can make it easier to come to a consensus for making important decisions about a design because everyone should be thinking about the same user.

3. How to use persona templates to improve conversion:

I have previously outlined a process for using personas to improve your conversion rate. This is based upon the Buyer Legends process developed by top US customer experience pioneers Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg. It is essential that your user persona is use for making decision as otherwise it will be a wasted opportunity to become more user-centric.

The Buyer Legends process forces stakeholders to evaluate a user journey from the customer or prospects perspective. It also encourages decision makers to challenge misconceptions about users and how they might behave or feel in different situations.

If you need a persona template for Word or an online tool for building buyer personas there are some excellent free persona creators. Below are the 12 best free persona template tools for you to create and share your buyer personas. I have summarised the features of each persona template to provide an indication of what they offer.

4. Recommended Template:

My personal recommendation for a persona template creator is Xtensio as this provides an excellent and flexible framework that is easy to complete and customise. You can add charts, images, graphs and videos using a drag and drop editor. By adding colleagues (or clients) you can collaborate in real-time on the cloud.

5. Free:

1. Buyer Persona Institute:

A free download persona template which allows you to document your buyer’s role, responsibilities and the resources they trust.

2. Content Harmony:

A free B2B customer persona template Word doc which can be downloaded. Their website includes advice on persona profiles and customer journey maps.

3. Fluid:

A simple but effective persona based upon competitor research.

4. Inflow:

A persona topic matrix which is too much like a spreadsheet for our liking, but may be useful as a starter.

5. Kayak:

This persona template uses a question and answer approach, though the number of questions and topics is not very comprehensive. This does make it a quick tool to use, but not all the questions will be relevant to all personas and there does not appear to be a way of changing the questions.

There is also no save functionality on the site as your persona is emailed to you within half an hour of completing the process. The lack graphical formatting or a one page summary does limit the use of the tool, but it can help start the persona building process.

6. Kula Partners:

This is more of a Pdf for collecting rather than displaying a user persona. It takes you through the information you need to create a user persona but lacks a front-end to communicate it in an engaging manner.

7. Makemypersona:

from Hubspot: This is a free step-by-step wizard persona template which takes you through the process of creating your own buyer persona. In addition Hubspot offers a free downloadable template in exchange for your name and email address. The online tool is very intuitive and easy to use. The tool allows you to select a stock photo to represent you persona and emails you the completed persona as a word document after about 15 minutes.

8. Up Close & Persona: 

A free persona template app that asks you questions to help you understand what motivates your audience. The interface is simple to use, though some of the questions have too few pre-set answers (e.g. there are only 3 age ranges). The app does have a fairly extensive range of questions and displays the full persona when you submit at the end. The persona is also emailed to you, but it would benefit from a 1 page summary of the persona rather than having to scroll down through multiple pages.

9. Userforge:

One of the most flexible tools for collaborative user persona template development. By using URLs rather than static documents it allows everyone to easily access the latest iteration of your user personas. The wizard only asks a few simple questions, but you can then add as many sections as you need using your own headings for a comprehensive user persona.

10. UXPRESSIA: 

Sign up for free to use this persona tool for collaborating with team-mates to create powerful buyer personas. Over 20 tailored sections to incorporate your target audience knowledge. You can stretch, drag and drop sections to customise the layout to meet your specific needs.

11. Xtensio:

A free forever buyer persona template creator tool to build as many personas as you like. Also has a “How to guide” to help you with the process. This is one of the better online tools as it asks you to complete an online template to create each persona. It has an extensive range of questions, but each field can be amended to suit your needs. A highly recommended persona creator.

Bonus resource:

Learningspacetoolkit: This is a great free resource website which includes PDF guides on creating personas and running workshops to create user personas.

Conclusion:

There are some excellent free persona templates here to help you create your buyer personas. To get the most from personas learn how to create a buyer persona to improve conversions. This will help you conduct a customer journey analysis to significantly improve your sales and revenues. Although it’s not an easy process and it will take some time to complete, it will definitely be worth the effort. You should also see substantial benefits for your organisation.

Is It Time To Kill-Off The Conversion Funnel?

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Does The Conversion Funnel Exist?

The conversion or sales funnel is based upon linear models of decision making such as A.I.D.A (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). This ignores the reality that people don’t mindlessly go though each step in a mythical conversion funnel until they complete a purchase.

People are highly connected and use their social networks extensively to identify different ways they can meet goals and who they can trust. Behavioural economics supports the idea of a non-linear decision making process. It provides clear evidence of how important our interactions with other people are in the choices we make.

We use our network to reduce the chances of our decisions being a disaster. If someone is known to our network they risk damaging their own reputational capital if they sell us something not fit for purpose. Behavioural economics also shows how underlying emotions, social norms, traditions, and many contextual factors influence decisions. If any of these ring alarm bells we may reconsider our goals or abandon the purchasing process.

Image of paper people holding hands

Source: Freeimages.com

This often produces an erratic, on-off and on-again decision making process. Plus as we employ our unconscious brain when we can to conserve cognitive energy. We may not even be consciously aware of many of the factors that drive our decisions. This undermines much of the market research that organisations use to design their marketing campaigns.

Multiple Purchasing Processes:

In addition, when people are online they often simultaneously look at alternative solutions. They could be in more than one purchasing process at the same time. This means the funnel metaphor is misleading when it comes to understanding real-human decisions as it over-simplifies the process.

A Leaking Bucket:

The conversion funnel needs to be replaced by the behavioural economics decision bucket as visitors are continuous leaking from the process

A better metaphor for a conversion funnel may be a leaking bucket that is constantly being filled by a stream of water. People frequently swing from one decision to another. The importance of factors in our decision making can quickly shift as our emotions, social interactions and environment alter our motivations.

Our brain filters out a lot of the information that we are targeted with and cognitive biases further distort our perception of the information we receive. Having a simple and compelling message is essential if we wish to cut through the noise surrounding us.

Imperfect Memory:

Image of computer memory chips

Source: Freeimages.com

We don’t have a memory like a computer as each time we recall a memory it has to be recreated and elements inevitably get changed or lost. This means our memories are heavily dependent upon what happened at the peak and at the end of an experience. Get these wrong and chances are customers will not recall an experience in a positive light. It also explains why we need to regularly repeat our brand messages through advertising and other media as our memory degrades over time.

There is also evidence that high advertising and promotional spend act as a costly signalling. This demonstrates the organisation has long-term time horizons and is in good financial health. This behaviour may increase trust in the organisation or product as people interpret this as an indication of confidence about the future of the brand.

Goals Motivate People:

When we create an unmet need this forms an explicit goal (e.g. I want to have a reliable car to get to work). But for our brand (or website) to be chosen we need to communicate that we can deliver on key psychological or implicit goals. If we can convince customers that we meet these implicit goals we may generate an emotional response which can help close the sale.

Behavioural science provides us with a framework for behavioural change
This motivation model is the intellectual property of BEYOND REASON

Provided the brand is available and the experience meets our expectations this may help form a habit which creates brand loyalty. This can be broken by lack of availability or the creation of a new habit. Indeed, if the product does not deliver what it promised we are unlikely to create a new habit and users may buy another brand.

Don’t Ask Why:

If asked why we purchased a product we will come up with what we think are rational reasons for our choice. But as we don’t have full access to our subconscious processes this is a pointless exercise. However, there are implicit forms of research that try to tap into these underlying motivations.

Conclusion:

The conversion funnel is dead, or at least it should be on life-support. They are a misleading way of describing the decision-making process. A conversion funnels may also result in too much focus on customer acquisition and short-term thinking because they imply there is only one goal (e.g. the conversion rate). Instead we should be looking to ensure our product meets the needs and expectations of customers and try to create sustainable habits to encourage brand loyalty.

Dave Trott sums it up nicely in his book One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking:

“The product creates the experience.

The experience creates the reputation.

The reputation creates the brand.”

Recommended reading:

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