A set of well-crafted buyer personas is one of the best marketing tools, enabling you to understand and respond to your customers' needs like no other. But this powerful tool can also do you more harm than good if you follow the wrong rules. Here we present the six biggest mistakes in creating buyer personas that you should remove from your concept.
Buyer Personas are more than just helpful when it comes to digital marketing. They can help you succeed or destroy your marketing efforts.
Get it right and you can look forward to online content, marketing strategies and social media presences that deliver profound results.
However, if you misunderstand buyer personas, you may miss the opportunity to connect with your target audience.
That's why it's important to know the right strategies for creating buyer personas - so that they can help you achieve your marketing goals, improve your Build brand and to get in touch with your customers.
Here are six particularly common buyer persona myths that persist year after year, even among savvy marketers.
1. you only need to create buyer personas once
Many people think that the creation of buyer personas only happens once - typically when a company is brand new and the first marketing strategies are set. However, this belief is wrong.
Markets, technologies, products and consumer tastes are constantly changing. Your marketing strategies must therefore also constantly change and evolve.
So reverting to outdated buyer personas is a recipe for disaster. The Corona pandemic alone has changed so much about how people shop, spend money and consume content.
Savvy marketers keep a constant eye on the market, analyse data regularly and update their buyer personas accordingly.
2. buyer personas are 100 per cent fictitious
Don't make the mistake of confusing your buyer personas with fictional characters. Creating one doesn't mean putting on a creative writer's hat before you crack your knuckles and get to work. So don't lean on assumptions you or your marketing team have about your audience and customer:base.
The best and most effective personas are based on real consumer:ing behaviour. So ultimately, there is no substitute for actual data if you want to create buyer personas that work.
Look at the numbers of how your customers actually interact with your website: What does it tell you about who your customers are and what they are looking for? Use surveys, feedback forms and interviews with existing or potential customers to get contextual data. Talk to salespeople, customer service representatives and other members of your team who interact with customers at different points in their customer journey.
Then use what you have learned to create or refine your personas.
3. buyer personas only represent your ideal customers
The opinion that buyer personas should ONLY represent your ideal customers is also a common misconception.
Every business has model customers that they would like to reach. However, the vast majority of your customers will not fit these ideals, so it is a big mistake to leave them out of the equation when creating your personas.
Don't just analyse your best customers and most desirable leads. Instead, create a clear picture of your entire customer base by including occasional buyers, prospects who have not yet converted and customers who have had a negative experience with your business.
Personas that cover customer types that don't match your ideal lead, or that you would describe as negative customers, can provide valuable insights into what works and what doesn't work with a particular marketing campaign.
4. the more personas you create, the better
Overdoing it when creating buyer personas is easier than you think. Especially if you have a lot of data to work with and you're in the swing of things.
Of course, you know how important personalised content is and you want to plan your marketing strategies accordingly. But before you know it, you have unnecessarily oversegmented your customer base and sorted it into 50 different categories.
Every business is different, so there is no magic number of buyer personas you can stick to. But making your personas overly specific can hurt your efforts more than it helps. At best, your personas fund is confusing. At worst, it can lead to a massive waste of resources. So don't go overboard right off the bat. Instead, start slowly with just a few personas and create more as needed.
5 B2B companies do not need buyer personas
With so much talk about changing consumer values and customer buying paths, it's not surprising that one of the most common misconceptions about buyer personas is that they're just a B2C thing.
This way of thinking can be misleading, because marketers must not forget: B2B customers are different from ordinary consumers, but they are still buyers. So if you don't understand their unique motivations and needs, you will lose your customers and your sales.
While it is true that most B2B consumers make highly rational purchasing decisions based on data, product features and long-term business benefits, that is not the whole picture. They are just as human as B2C consumers. This means that personal values and emotions also play a role in their customer journey, and well-crafted B2B personas can help you better understand how this works.
6 Marketers who know their customers do not need personas.
Remember, buyer personas don't just benefit new businesses and brands looking to rebrand or tap into entirely new demographics. Personas are about more than just getting to know your customers. It's about developing a deeper understanding of their wants, needs, goals and motivations.
It is definitely possible to know your customers very well but still not be able to understand certain things, such as why they behave in certain ways when they are considering a purchase. This is especially difficult to understand when their needs change over time. However, buyer personas have marketing value for businesses of all types and sizes.
By adding buyer personas to your marketing repertoire, you can avoid making incorrect assumptions that could lead to customer loss and ultimately damage your bottom line or brand reputation. Keeping your buyer personas up to date ensures that you know your customers well at the current time and will understand them well in the future.
It is a special skill to create incredibly good buyer personas that really capture the essence of who your customers are and what motivates their buying decisions. And like any skill, it can be mastered with enough research, dedication and practice.
Part of this means identifying best practices and persistent buyer personas fallacies that can hinder success. However, the right tools can also significantly support the process.
Take the next step to creating more accurate buyer personas with our free template and example: TO DOWNLOAD.
If you need support in creating buyer personas, contact us for a non-binding initial consultation.