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Why Tech Startups Need Target Personas to Gain Traction
KristaFeb 26, 20163 min read

Why Tech Startups Need Target Personas to Gain Traction

As an entrepreneur in the tech industry do you find yourself solving the world's problems with an endless stream of big ideas that leverage innovative technologies, but still struggle to gain traction? Sure, this could be related to timing, market conditions or behavioral trends, but often times this is a sign that you may not be in tune with your ideal users. Without clear understanding of who you are targeting and how they think, seemingly subjective decisions like choosing the right tagline (or name for that matter) can become challenging. To have any chance at gaining traction you need to focus on defined, specific and relatable personas to give your decisions perspective.

Maybe you have built up a substantial user base but need significant investments to take your idea to the next level. Wouldn't you love to know how to speak language of investors so they can share your vision and understand the value of your product. Looks like you might have another target persona to develop.

You may be thinking to yourself, "what is a persona?" and why should I care? Well, a buyer persona describes the ideal user or customer for your industry, product or app. Every business has unique goals and needs, and tech startups are no exception. For success, you often need to educate your customers about products, which is where a good persona really comes in handy. A detailed and accurate persona provides insights and perspective that can guide your efforts to create a roadmap for product development, marketing, and personalization. The more complete your customer personas, the more targeted your efforts should become.

How to Define Target Persona's for Your Tech Startup

Remember that all good personas share several common features. Every persona should have a basic format that includes:

  1. Common behavior patterns - Customers often share several behavior patterns. Your clients might prefer to buy online, make purchases at the end of the month or use mobile devices to access your site. By looking at your existing customers, you can track behavioral trends and isolate qualities they have in common. The more you know about their behavior, the more likely you are to contact them at the right time with the right method.
  2. Shared pain points, both personal and professional - Understanding what your customer needs helps you create products that solve problems. By knowing the pain points of your target market segment, you can create marketing designed to show how your technology can help. For example, if you are building a persona for people chronically short on time, show how your product or service saves your customers time. If the persona is for those who work off-site, make sure to highlight collaboration features. Ultimately, by defining the pain points, you drill down to the product features most likely to appeal.
  3. Universal goals, wishes, and dreams - By giving your personas hopes and dreams, you help make them more relatable. You need to think of personas as actual people. After all, they represent real people who share their goals. The more humanistic the persona, the easier it is to create marketing materials that persuade. Most people share a desire to spend more time with their families or up their productivity at work. Identify a few of these universal desires to focus on in a persona.
  4. General demographic and biographic information - Trying to sell a product to the wrong demographic can leave you with hundreds of hours of development time and nothing to show for it. Nine out of 10 startups fail because they produce a product that doesn't have enough customer appeal. Looking at demographics can help you find your ideal target market.

Once you have that data in hand, you can start creating marketing that appeals directly to those people.

Using Personas for Product Development and Marketing

Building a persona starts with market research. The more you know about your target customers, the more you can segment your market. Vivaldi, an Internet browser, netted 700,000 downloads in just two weeks with a calculated approach to the persona. Not only did they do the market research ahead of time, but they also kept the feedback loop running to integrate continued improvement. What is a persona from the Vivaldi perspective? It is an opportunity to get feedback about desired features from the people who know the product best-users.

Remember, a persona is a living document. As your customer base changes so should your marketing personas. Use the information you gather to make constant updates and keep your personas focused.

Download the Workbook to Create Buyer Personas



Co-founder & VP, Client Services at TANK New Media.