This is Chapter 4, Part 3 from the Buyer Persona Guide.
Creating your buyer persona (customer avatar) isn’t that difficult, especially once you know the steps and details behind successfully creating it. However, there are some mistakes you need to avoid in the process.
Why? Because, while the biggest mistake of them all is not creating buyer personas, it can be just as bad for your brand to create buyer personas the wrong way.
Here are the mistakes you need to avoid:
1. Assuming you know your customer
If you just assume that you already know your customers, you won’t be looking at existing customers and their buying habits when creating your ideal customer profile.
Obviously, in case you are just starting out, you assume what your customers would look like. But then, once you start having customers, you need to dig deeper and learn more about your customers. Eventually, assumptions need to be validated.
After all, buyer personas are developed to help you understand your existing customers – to gain insight about their problems and the motivations that drive them to purchase your product. So, the fundamental element in a buyers persona is the buyer’s journey.
What is the buyer’s journey?
The buyer’s journey is essentially the active research process a buyer goes through that eventually leads up to a purchase. It’s basically all actions a person does before they decide whether to buy your product or not. So, we think you can understand why this is so important.
A buyer’s journey consists of three main stages:
- Stage No.1: Awareness
During the Awareness stage, buyers identify their challenge or an opportunity they want to pursue.
- Stage No 2: Consideration
During the Consideration stage, buyers have clearly defined the goal or challenge and have committed to addressing it.
- Stage No.3: Decision
In the Decision stage, buyers have already decided on a solution category.
So, don’t create your buyer persona based only on your assumptions and not the actual facts, as you run the risk of missing out on the insights that will make a difference in your content creation and your overall relationships with the customers you’re trying to reach.
2. Interviewing the wrong individuals
Finding the right people to talk to is crucial. While it’s easier to talk with those who are nice and willing to talk to you, make sure you talk to everyone who can deliver helpful info that would help in creating your buyer persona. Otherwise, you may end up with inaccurate details that will definitely deliver less than the ideal results you expect.
So, just look at your list of customers and determine who you consider being an ideal customer. Then find some more interviewees besides your already existing clients, including past customers, and even your competitors’ customers.
Talking to a wide range of people that fit your ideal client profile will provide insight regarding what your ideal customers think, behave, feel, need, and what steps they take in order to make a purchase.
3. Not talking to your customers directly
While doing your research and looking at Google Analytics data, social media data, or sales data to learn about who your customers are is great, you may need more in order to find out about what really makes them tick.
We mean, even though we know that this data can give you a lot of valuable information, nothing can actually replace a good interview talk with your customers. Why? Because talking directly to your customers will give you the full story you need to create an accurate customer avatar.
4. Creating too many buyer personas
When you create too many buyer personas, you might end up with overlapping and very similar information between some of them, and eventually, you’ll end up having 4-5 buyer personas that look the same.
However, all businesses are unique, so the truth is that there is no set number that works for everyone.
So, when you start creating your buyer personas, start small. Simply start with an avatar that covers most of your customers. Consider adding a few more only when there is enough proof that it is worthwhile doing so.
Another thing you need to consider is the fact that by having more buyer personas will require many different marketing messages for all those different avatars – which can create confusion with your customers.
5. Not working closely together with your sales and customer support team
When it comes to creating your buyer personas, your customers are not the only people you need to talk to.
One of the characteristics of a good inbound marketing organization is that both the sales teams and the marketing department are working closely together. And by doing so, you can get the extra insights you need which are more valuable than the information you can get from just looking at data.
6. Not creating a negative buyer persona
Just like you create your ideal buyer persona, the one who you want to sell to, you should also create a negative persona, the person who you’ll want to avoid as a customer.
So, after you create your buyer persona(s), we strongly suggest creating a negative buyer persona as well. By creating a negative buyer persona as well, your company will be able to better identify and stop focusing on individuals who aren’t the right fit, saving you both time and money.
What’s a Negative Buyer Persona?
Just like a buyer persona helps in understanding your ideal customer, a negative buyer persona helps you better understand and identify those who aren’t a good fit for your product or service.
An important benefit these negative personas bring is the fact that you can save time and money. So, what you are doing basically is you are tuning your insight into the prospects with real potential to offer a return of investment (ROI).
Here are some other benefits of creating negative buyer personas:
- You’ll be able to rule out potential prospects that are likely to drain your resources
- You’ll free up resources to focus on prospects that will actually lead to purchases
- You’ll avoid wasting your marketing budget on trying to reach the wrong people
7. Failing to update your buyer personas
Just like it’s important for you as a brand to stay updated with the latest trends in marketing and evolve. People evolve, too and so do the problems they are facing that you are trying to meet with your product or services.
So, make sure to check your buyer personas on a regular basis and adapt the occurred changes.
Buyer Personas in Social Media
Would you like to read the full guide? Download it here to iscover all there is to know about creating buyer personas.