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3 Mistakes You Need to Avoid When Developing Buyer Personas

Posted by Fernando Gallo on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Topics: Inbound Marketing

mistakes-avoid-developing-buyer-personasDeveloping accurate and effective buyer personas is one of the key elements of successful inbound marketing. Aiming your content at the general public is far too broad a target to hit; after all, not everyone responds to the same type of content. But when you narrow down your target audience to 2-3 buyer personas, you’re able to create blogs and content offers that will result in qualified leads. And qualified leads are more likely to become converted sales.

If you find yourself with minimal leads, and even less conversions, then your buyer personas may be the culprit. Take some time to reevaluate these personas, and consider whether you made one of these three mistakes when you developed them:

  1. Misunderstanding the appeal of your products/services

Some marketers try to target the most desirable buyer persona – for example, we’d all love it if our products/services appealed to impulsive millionaires who spend their money frivolously. But your personas are dictated by your products/services. You need to have a complete understanding of the appeal of your products/services: what’s great about them? Who can get the most value from them? This is how you will uncover successful buyer personas.

It’s possible your products/services will only appeal to niche audiences, which really limits your potential lead pool. However, you’ll still have greater success targeting that niche audience that wants your product, rather than a larger audience that is indifferent to it.

  1. Not having a clear picture of your ideal lead

Once you know who wants your products, you need to get a better picture of who that typical person is. Are they male or female? What about their age? Do they have a family? You need to try to make your buyer persona as specific as possible; this will help you create better custom content to reach that persona. If you only know that one of your personas is men over the age of 40, that’s still far too broad an audience. But if you narrow it down to married men between 40-60 with children, now you’re starting to get a more unique lead that you can really target effectively.

  1. Failing to fully flesh out the persona

In addition to discovering some general details about your personas, you need to take it a step further for optimal success. Don’t just imagine your buyer personas as a generic type of person; instead, create an actual, fictional person to represent each persona. If we return to our persona from the previous paragraph, instead of just a 40-60-year-old married man with kids, let’s make it a 48-year-old married man with three kids who is a middle manager at an office, and lives in the suburbs. We’ll name him Matt. Middle America Matt. Some of these details are rooted in research or fact, while others are simply logical guesses based on what we know about the persona.

There are limitations to this persona – there’s a great chance that some of our ideal leads are actually 52-year-old married men who live in a big city, but that’s OK. We’re creating a detailed buyer persona so that we can have an incredibly clear audience in mind for our content. Our content will definitely appeal to that specific persona; but that doesn’t mean it won’t also appeal to similar (yet slightly different) personas, too. The heightened level of detail is more about helping you create content rather than limiting the type of leads you can reach.

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