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adoption playbook

Creating user personas

Who are your users? In this playbook, we’ll show you how to create, reference, and draw insights from user personas to enhance your product-led experience.

What you’ll learn: 

  • How to understand user behavior and their needs to identify growth opportunities.
  • Ways to gather insights into how your users interact with your product.
  • How to create user personas to improve your product-led experience.

What you’ll need: 

  • Access to a CRM or user contact info.
  • User research insights and data.

Suggested playbooks to check out before starting this one:

Doing user research to improve your product-led experience

What are user personas?

User personas are fictional representations of the people who will engage with your product. They're based on research and can encapsulate the needs, goals, and behaviors of your customers.

Why are user personas important?

User personas help you gain empathy for the users you don’t see or talk to on a daily basis.  The exercise of building user personas helps you answer a fundamental question, “Who are you building and optimizing your product-led experience for?”

Crucially, user personas help design teams effectively identify and ideate around the individuals who will be using the product. Personas can help teams improve every stage in the Product-Led Growth Flywheel—from deciding which features to build, to improving overall user experience.

5 steps for creating user personas:

Step 1: Start with user research.

  • Conduct user interviews, surveys, or calls to understand how users actually use your product, as well as their work environment, roles, and challenges.
  • Refer to our playbook “Doing user research” for step-by-step instructions on user research. 

Step 2: Create the persona.

  • Distill your findings into individual personas that are distinct and memorable.
  • Include background, goals, needs, behaviors, and frustrations for each persona.
  • We discourage assigning a specific name (e.g., Pete the Product Manager) to your user persona, as this practice presents an opportunity to introduce bias into building and improving your product-led experience. 
  • Instead, name your personas after their primary goal or role. For example, two of Appcues’ personas could be “The Flow Builder” (the one responsible for designing and publishing flows) and “The Executive Sponsor” (the final approver for purchasing a tool like Appcues). 
  • We created the following user persona using HubSpot’s User Persona Builder.
HubSpot’s User Persona Builder

Step 4: Share your findings.

  • Share the personas with the rest of your team.
  • Create printouts or posters of these personas and hang them around your office to serve as a constant reminder of who you are designing for.

Step 5: Adapt and refine your personas

  • Continue refining your personas as you gather more data from client interactions and user research.
  • Pro tip: user personas provide an overview of user attributes and need to be applied thoughtfully to improve your product-led experience.
  • If appropriate, repeat step 1 to create more personas for different segments of your product. 
Looking for more Playbooks? Go back to the Product-Led Growth Flywheel →