Improving conversion rates through personas

Improving conversion rates through personas

Understanding behavior

While sometimes we may not want to admit it, not all of us think alike. What is extremely important to you may not matter a bit to the person you’re sitting next to. We all make decisions and choices differently, sometimes getting frustrated when others don’t see things our way. This tendency to overestimate how much other people share our own beliefs and behaviors is called the False Consensus Effect.

Assuming that your audience will automatically see the value in your offering becomes a problem for Web marketers. Often the value proposition doesn’t fit the prospect’s needs. Sometimes the prospect doesn’t have the right information to make an informed choice.

Your online marketing efforts are wasted if your website's bounce rates are high. SEO, social media marketing, and traffic don't matter if potential customers bail out. Customer acquisition costs go through the roof when conversion rates are low.

Unfortunately there’s not a silver bullet to improve conversion rates, but there are incremental steps that you can take. One way to improve conversions is by focusing on personality types, temperaments and personas.

A temperament is the usual attitude, mood, or behavior of a person or group of people. Once we have temperaments mapped out, we can develop customer personas. Personas that are truly effective in helping to develop content marketing and persuasive strategy.

Shoppers make their buying decisions differently.

The four temperaments

Temperaments are a composition of personality traits. They encompass our attitudes, values and talents, along with the way we communicate, think and take action. Our temperaments can be discovered by analyzing what we say and what we do. While some of us are abstract and talk about ideas, others are concrete and talk about reality.

By analyzing temperaments, seemingly random variation in behavior begins to look quite orderly and consistent. The ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment makes them different.

The Meyers-Briggs personality test categorizes people into these four temperaments:

SP: Sensing / Perceiving
These users are Artisans, Sensation Seeking, Tactical, Spontaneous and Impulsive.

SJ: Sensing / Judging
These users are Guardians, Security Seeking, Logistical and Dependable.

NF: Intuitive / Feeling
These users are Idealists, Identity Seeking, Diplomatic, Creative.

NT: Intuitive / Thinking
These users are Rational, Knowledge Seeking, Competitive, Strategic, Innovators.

Keep in mind that each of four temperaments is part of our personality. Just because you may be logical, doesn’t mean that you’re not creative. We have a primary mode that is our comfort zone, but can adapt our temperament according to the situation.

E-commerce sites appeal to the needs of different personality types.

Developing personas

By mapping out temperaments, we can now begin to develop personas. A persona is a clear understanding of a target customer that exists in the minds of the marketing team. As brands do market research on demographics and psychographics, the personas they define will evolve.

Personas allow a company to evaluate content, identify gaps and develop a strategy to meet potential customer’s objections. In the most general categorization, millions of different personalities fall into one of four main groups:

The Competitive Persona (NT) makes decisions very quickly and is logically oriented. They want to be the best and have the best of everything. Since they are business like and power oriented, companies must present what they can do for them and what they can get. Support ideas and conclusions with problem solving. To facilitate their decision, provide options, probabilities and challenges.

The Spontaneous Persona (SP) makes decision quickly as well, but are emotionally oriented. They don’t spend a lot of time over thinking – they just make a decision and go with it. This persona is personal and activity oriented, companies should show evidence that they are trustworthy – customer service is very important. When explaining the solution, support their feelings, interests and excitement. In order to best facilitate their decision, provide guarantees and opinions, not options.

The Methodical Persona (SJ) takes time to make decisions and is logically oriented. They want to read the fine print and understand every detail before they make their purchase decision. The methodical persona is businesslike and detail oriented so show evidence of your experience, processes and knowledge. With problem solving, support their principles and rational approach. Facilitate their decision by providing evidence and service to show that the company can work with them.

The Humanistic Persona (NF) is also slow at making decisions and is emotionally oriented. They will look for social proof before deciding to purchase a product. Since this persona is personal and relationship oriented, companies should be upfront about who they are, what they think and whom they know. To show adequate proof of problem solving, support their ideas, intuitions and the relationship to them. The best way to facilitate their decision is to offer testimony and incentives.

TD banner sells computers and electronics. They are brilliant marketers, and their site addresses the needs of each of the four personas:

  • Detailed product descriptions and specifications appeal to Methodical Personas.
  • Customer Reviews and Editor’s Recommendations appeal to Humanistic Personas.
  • Copy such as ‘Quantites Limited, Act Fast!’ appeals to Spontaneous Personas.
  • In the banner above, describing everything as BETTER appeals to Competitive Personas.

Companies must build messaging so that it resonates with all four temperaments. Without this understanding, many visitors to their Web sites get frustrated, click that back button and look for solutions somewhere else. 

Too many marketers get so wrapped up in their own sales processes that they forget that customers have a different angle of approach to the problem or need that they could solve if they only took the right perspective. To understand what their visitors need, they must have empathy about the user's journey through the buying process.



Which personality type are you?

Do you make quick decisions or take your time and make thoughtful decisions?
Next, are you inclined to be more logical or emotional?

  • Quick decision makers who are logical are CompetitiveSome examples are trial lawyers, stock brokers and athletes.
  • Quick decision makers who are emotional are SpontaneousExamples are CEOs, salesmen and politicians.
  • Thoughtful decision makers who are logical are MethodicalSome examples are engineers, computer programmers, architects and librarians.
  • Thoughtful decision makers who are emotional are HumanistsExamples are doctors, nurses and teachers.


Persona Map

Learn more:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people's lives.

Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, by David M. Keirsey

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing, by Bryan Eisenberg and Jeffrey Eisenberg

Watch: How to Use Personas to Improve Sales with Brian Eisenberg

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