At Mod Girl Marketing, we’ve used buyer personas to guide our content and product creation for years. Buyer personas help you know exactly who your audience is so you can be more effective in your marketing efforts.
And while not using or creating personas can be a mistake, the process of coming up with your customer personas can be a challenge, and as a result many entrepreneurs and marketers just skip this step entirely. But by failing to create valuable, data-backed buyer personas, you’ll lose valuable time and resources targeting clients who are a not good fit for your products or services.
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7 Things Not to Do When Creating B2B Marketing Personas:
1. Making Assumptions About Your Buyer Personas
The first mistake marketers often make when creating buyer personas is making assumptions that may be based on anecdotal information, opinion, your “gut” or intuition, or outdated data.
Assumptions that are very narrow (like assuming your audience is only one segment of an age group) or going too broad (like assuming your audience is every female in the USA) are also a mistake.
Furthermore, confusing your preferences with personas is another costly mistake to make. For example, if you like to make videos as content, you shouldn’t assume that this is the same kind of content your audience likes.
The number of personas you need is a combination of several factors, including the number of products or services you offer, marketing maturity, and industries served.
If you’re just getting started with marketing personas, you’ll want to start with 1-3. Anything more than that will divide your efforts too much, and you won’t be able to focus enough to see results.
As you grow, you’ll need to revisit your buyer personas, especially when expanding into new markets. Edit them when necessary and add new ones if you’re targeting a new audience.
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3. Failing to Share Buyer Personas with Your Team
Doing research to develop buyer personas and then not making use of them is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make. But another big mistake that’s related is confining your buyer persona to use only in the marketing department.
Buyer personas might come from your marketing team, but everyone can make use of them. Share your personas with other departments and employees to ensure smooth transactions and to provide a comprehensive customer experience.
This is usually caused by another mistake: creating buyer personas based on roles instead of pain points. Create your buyer personas by considering your potential clients’ struggles and how you can help them.
You’re not selling to a “digital agency owner with 1 – 5 employees;” you’re selling to someone who struggles to balance the needs of their clients with managing their growing business. By approaching customer personas from a mindset of how you can help solve their pain points, you can create messages that better appeals to your prospects.
People and trends change all the time. If you’re not constantly updating your data, your resulting actions will be less effective.
Regardless of the world around you, it’s fair to assume that your business will also be changing over time — exploring new markets and offering new products or services. At any rate, to ensure your marketing continues to be effective, take the time to revisit your personas at least once a year, if not more often.
Having a profile of your buyers is just that: a profile. It does not tell you what their hopes, dreams, and goals are — or what motivates them. You need to humanize your buyer personas because it’s actual humans that are going to be buying from you.
Furthermore, B2B marketers have to think differently than B2C marketers.
B2B marketers have to market to buyers who are often not making the purchasing decision by themselves. They have to consider their partners, team members, bosses, and what is best for the business. They tend to be more conservative about purchases than B2C consumers.
That said, there’s still a personal component involved in making B2B decisions, meaning that these B2B decisions aren’t fully logic-fuelled. Therefore, humanizing buyer personas is just as important for these customers – and perhaps even more so, since marketing to them with a personal touch will make you stand out even more!
7. Focusing Too Much on the Final Sale
Buyer personas are created to help understand decision making during the buying process. And while selling is important, the key to getting there is moving customers through the entire customer journey. Consider what resources they need or lower tier products they may want to warm up to the final sale.
Being too focused on the product can cause you to make irrational decisions, like wanting to take action too early—selling before buyer persona research is completed. Consider a soft launch if you’re still finishing your personas and use what you discover to tweak them. Then, once you’re confident in your personas, do an official launch.
Put Your Buyer Personas to Work
Thought it’s a mistake to not create buyer personas, it can be just as damaging to make buyer personas the wrong way. By making yourself aware of these most common issues, you can work to prevent them when developing buyer personas for your business.
Once you’ve developed your buyer personas, make sure your LinkedIn profile speaks directly to them so your dream clients can find you! Download my free LinkedIn Profile Optimization Checklist today to learn the simple tweaks that will 10X your prospects.