Classify your personas and segments

Having personas and segments defined is great, but unless it's clear how a visitor becomes part of those groups, they can't be effective. Keep reading to learn how to classify visitors into your groupings.

Classify your personas

Let’s start back with our persona of Jill (read "Who is your audience" for a recap):

Jill is a 31 year old first-time mother looking to buy affordable clothes for her toddler. She lives with her husband of 3 years, works full-time as a nurse, and contributes to a household income of $150,000.

This is a great description of one of our personas, but it doesn’t help us classify new visitors into it or any other persona’s we’ve defined. To do that, we need to match our ability to track a visitor with the bucket we ultimately want to put them into.

Start by thinking: "What does a visitor have to do on our website to be considered part of Jill’s persona?"

Consider your visitors’ journeys

Depending on how you acquire visitors or what causes them to re-engage, you may have a quite a bit of journeys, but let’s start simply. What are the likely ways that Jill would get to and interact with your website? Would she get there from an ad, will she view certain types of products, or something else entirely?

Try to think of her likely behavior patterns in the context of what you’re able to track on your website from the last chapter and build a profile of how a visitor will become “Jill”. Here’s an example:

A visitor will be classified as “Jill” if:

  • She comes from any ad targeting female parents with toddlers, OR
  • She indicates, when signing up for our newsletter that she is female with a toddler, OR
  • She views toddler products more than once after coming from one of our “Mommy” newsletters.

Classify your segments

Let’s break this down even further and figure out what actions a visitor must take to become part of the segments we previously defined. Here were some that came out of our “Jill” persona:

  • Gender: female
  • Parental status: Has child
  • Child age (if has kids): Toddler

Similar to above, link this segment description with actions a visitor may take. The result of this exercise will be very similar to the last section, but will be much more specific. For example:

A visitor will be classified as “female” if:

  • She indicates so when signing up for our newsletter
  • She clicks on an ad targeting moms

A visitor will be classified as having a child if:

  • She indicates “this purchase is for my child” during checkout. Otherwise, we will assume it was for someone else’s child.
  • She makes 3 or more purchases (assuming that, if she’s buying so much, it’s for her own child)
  • She comes to the site from an ad targeting moms

A visitor will be classified as having a toddler if:

  • She indicates so when signing up for our newsletter
  • She purchases an item for toddlers
  • She comes to the site from an ad selling toddler clothing

At this point, you can see how the combination of various segments leads to a persona. Also, by combining segments differently, you discover new personas that may or may not be of interest to you. Most importantly, you’re beginning to put together a concrete plan for implementing personalization to target “Jill” - or any other type of visitor - on your website.