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Lucas HamonOct 4, 2016 9:41:47 AM5 min read

STEP 1 of a Growth Driven Design Website Launch: PERSONAS

Buiding your buyer personas is the first and single most important step to building your new website. Here's how we did it with the growth driven design methodology

Understanding the many faces of your perfect customer is the first step to building the perfect website.

We just launched a brand new website for our client using the Growth Driven Design (GDD) methodology.

We did our kick-off call, then scheduled a series of follow-up calls where we brainstormed our way through each of the 7 stages of growth driven design website strategy development. As the vision of this website came together, it dawned on me how GLAD I was that we were using the GDD methodology.

The website is awesome. And not just because it looks great, but because it's built with one thing in mind: Increasing sales.


MORE LIKE THIS: Build a Better Buyer Persona


Normally, we would kick off a new project with a call between ourselves and all major players, where we lay out the next 8 - 9 weeks and assign responsibilities. We would then follow it up by sending a questionnaire, and they would send back all the pertinent information we needed to get started.

However, in this case, our client was looking for more guidance in the area of branding, so I felt it was a better idea to talk through everything on the phone.

Before we jump into it, I think it's important to outline some of the things we can accomplish with a strong website, because many don't realize how much revenue-driving potential it actually has.

Good websites will:

  • Attract the right kind of strangers
  • Deliver value to the visitors that helps them solve some of their challenges
  • Provide paths that make it easy for qualified visitors to find their way to your sales and marketing teams
  • Position your business as a necessity

The 7 Steps

There are seven steps taken before we even look at templates or start talking about features or functionality. Seven. And each one of them is critical to the success of our mission of delivering a website that does a whole lot more than tell visitors you're a real business. 

  1. Personas
  2. Fundamental Assumptions
  3. Journey Mapping
  4. Research
  5. Identify Goals
  6. Wish List Draft 1
  7. Wish List Draft 2

It all starts with creating personas because they will dictate everything we do the moment they are created.

They are the embodiment of your perfect customer - a fictional representation, if you will. When we write a blog post, we write it for one of them. When we put together a content offer, we target them. The website features, landing pages, SEO strategy, forms, calls-to-action, menu items, language, tonality... EVERYTHING is written, created, developed with specific personas in mind.

So, this is where we start every GDD website launch, and here's how we do it:

1 - Choose the right people

The first thing you need to do is find the right people in the company to spear-head this project.

Our staffing client is very knowledgeable of her customer-base, so she understood very clearly who she was marketing and selling to. This is the person who should be interfacing with the project lead.

And maybe it's two people, somebody from marketing, and somebody from sales. It doesn't hurt to hear conflicting opinions, because each perspective is unique and valuable.

But you have to get this right. And they have to have the ability to make the necessary changes a reality (or at least work in an environment where said decision-makers are truly "hands-off").

We're going to be making a lot of hypothesis about the best course of action, and the data we're receiving as developers needs to be accurate. The people feeding us this foundation should understand your client-base, which means they should interface with them directly on a regular basis.

And if we can't get it off the ground because the true decision-makers are absent from the process, well... it's likely going to get expensive and tense when we have to start and stop over and over.

Head of sales. Head of marketing. President. CEO...  <-A couple of those would be great.

2 - Use a template

You should be gathering the exact same information for each of your personas. We have a free template HERE, but you can also copy and paste the following into your own document:

1) ROLES: What do they do in their professional and personal lives? What roles do they play? Are they the CEO? Are they coaching their kids' little league games?

2) GOALS: What is it that they're trying to accomplish in their role(s) that your business can impact? Think about the more common goals.

3) CHALLENGES: What are some of the challenges they face? Of course, think in terms of those goals. What is preventing them from achieving their goals?

4) DEMOGRAPHICS: Age range, income range, education, and location.



3 - Choose the right personas

Narrowing in on the right personas to target first can be a little tricky, but since we have people who are knowledgeable about your client-base in the conversation, we should be able to hone in on the top 5 or so.

At the end of the day, we want to focus on ONE and have a couple of secondaries.

For our staffing client, we narrowed it down to 8. We could have kept going, because some personas have several sub-personas. There are a lot of different players and circumstances out there impacting your ability to close deals, after all, so we could go on for days thinking about details

But that's not necessary; we should be focusing on common characteristics. In fact, you should ideally try to knock your list down to 1 - 3. In this case, after going through all 8 personas in depth, we ended up with 4 that were critical to the fabric of our website, because they are critical to the fabric of the business.

That means we were tasked with creating 4 different experiences.

And that's step 1!

Armed with 4 air-tight personas, we set out for step number two of the website launch: Fundamental assumptions. This is where we take our top targets and start working through everything we know about them and their behaviors, both on and offline - so we can start envisioning the experience they want to have on your website.

We'll be writing about that one next, so be sure to subscribe to the blog, and join the conversation! I would love to hear from you in the meantime. What are some of your favorite persona building exercises?

Want to learn more? Click HERE to download a persona template:

Buyer persona template for your business


Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.