As you work on growing your business, you will find that you have new marketing strategies and new goals. Further, you must ensure you are communicating with your target audience well.
This requires the development of buyer personas — profiles of your target customer that digs deeper into what they need, want, and expect.
Without buyer personas that are backed by data, you will find that it is harder to create compelling and engaging content that attracts customers.
Now, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing buyer personas, but it is important to avoid simple mistakes throughout the process.
Making mistakes while building your buyer personas can be just as harmful to your marketing campaign as it is to overlook the importance of these profiles entirely.
Let’s take a look at seven of the most common buyer personas mistakes that you need to avoid so you can create accurate and authentic personas.
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1. Developing Too Many Personas
One of the most common mistakes businesses make when developing buyer personas is creating too many.
Businesses tend to find it appealing to make personas for each individual customer, but too many can have a negative impact on your marketing efforts.
The actual number of buyer personas that you will need will vary based on certain factors like the industries you serve and the number of services or products you currently offer.
As you are first starting out with this type of marketing, you should keep your personas limited to between one and three.
If you have too many, you won’t be able to focus on your marketing efforts and truly realize maximum results. You will find it is difficult to attract and convert your audience.
Your buyer personas should not overlap with one another and should have differentiating characteristics.
This ensures your marketing messaging is different for each persona. If you find that the messaging is similar among a couple of your personas, then this is a sign you have too many.
In the event you want to focus on a new audience as your offerings grow or you are interested in expanding into brand-new markets, then you can create new profiles at a later date.
2. Basing Personas Off Assumptions
Another common buyer personas mistake is assuming you know exactly who your ideal or target customer is and what they want.
Buyer personas aren’t based on who you think or wish your customers are. Therefore, they are not 100 percent fictional. Instead, they’re only somewhat fictional.
When creating buyer personas, it is crucial that you base these profiles off of real customer behaviors, data, and demographics that you learn through interviewing customers and knowledge that your company currently has.
So, while you definitely need to speak to your customer support and sales teams to learn data that can help build your buyer personas, you also need to consider setting up interviews with some of your best customers.
Otherwise, you run the risk of creating buyer personas that are too broad or too narrow.
When interviewing customers, make sure to ask questions that are related to their goals, challenges, business, job role, personal background, and more.
If you opt to base your personas off of assumptions instead of facts, you run the huge risk of missing some of the most important insights that can have a positive impact on your messaging and customer relationships.
3. Creating Personas in a Marketing Bubble
It isn’t uncommon for businesses to assume that buyer personas are only marketing-related. However, this is a huge mistake, as these types of personas are almost always inaccurate.
Buyer personas should be created and used across all departments in the company.
All departments play a role in the sales funnel, and because of this, each department can benefit from helping to define the ideal customer.
The marketing team will use buyer personas to attract the right customers, whereas the sales team will use these profiles to engage with potential customers.
The customer support team will use buyer persona profiles to help them confirm how customers want to be contacted and their values.
In the end, when the entire organization is utilizing buyer personas, a higher value and better quality of service will be delivered to customers.
4. Failing to Provide the Actionable Insights That Coincide with the Data
As you go through the process of building your buyer personas, you will gather a ton of significant data.
This data will inform you of your customer’s pain points, communication preferences, their business objectives, their motivations, and more.
This information is incredibly helpful in the development of your buyer personas as well as your marketing campaigns. However, if you fail to create actionable insights that match this data, you are losing out on a huge opportunity.
For instance, if you find in your research that your customers tend to check their emails early in the afternoon, then you will need to ensure you are sending your emails at this time of day.
This helps ensure that your email is at the top of their inbox when they get on for the first time that day.
By knowing how your customers behave, why they behave that way, and what they prefer, you can then address those points more effectively.
You can build a stronger customer relationship and experience as well.
5. Not Updating Your Personas
Due to the fact that there are constant changes occurring in the digital world, you must keep your personas up-to-date.
Failing to revisit your buyer personas regularly will result in your marketing campaigns being a step behind and one of the biggest buyer personas mistakes.
Plus, your business changes as well. Whether it is launching a new product or exploring a new market, your business will grow and change over time.
The same is true with your customers. The way your customers think, where they get their information, how they buy, the apps they use, and their overall expectations and needs will change.
Basically, when it comes to all of these things, changes can occur as often as the seasons change.
To ensure that your marketing efforts continue to be as effective as the day you launched your campaigns, you must take the time to review your buyer personas.
Ideally, this should be done once per year at a minimum.
Make sure your buyer personas are still in alignment with your business goals and current customers and their needs.
6. Failing to Create a Negative Persona
Businesses tend to put so much focus on the buyer personas of their ideal customer that they forget to consider prospects who simply aren’t a good fit for their business.
By creating a negative persona, you can identify these individuals.
You can weed out the ones who may cause significant headaches for your team as a whole or drain your overall resources.
People who make up your negative personas are the ones who are completely outside of your demographic or lack the budget to generate high revenue for your company.
They are the ones that have or may potentially cause problems for your organization.
This process is often overlooked because these are people who you don’t want to be future customers.
However, the benefit of taking the time to learn more about the people who will never be your customers can help you and your team in the long run by not wasting time and money on marketing to these individuals.
7. Not Using Your Buyer Personas
There is a reason you create buyer personas, as they play an important role in your marketing campaigns.
These personas should be part of all content that is created, including the website copy to white papers.
Your buyer personas are designed to help you understand who your target customer is and more about what problems and questions they may have.
They are designed to inform you of what makes your target audience finalize a purchase.
If you fail to use the personas once you create them, how can you be sure that you are truly reaching your audience?
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While it does take some time and effort on your part to develop accurate buyer personas, the end result will be well worth it.
Further, by familiarizing yourself with the most common mistakes businesses and marketing professionals make regarding buyer personas, you can ensure that you avoid them so your marketing efforts are set up for success.
This will help ensure you are attracting the right customers to your business while also growing your business and bottom line quicker and more effectively.
And if you want extra tips on how to generate more accurate buyer personas, check out our blog with 8 valuable strategies!