from Strategy

4 Mistakes To Avoid When Building Buyer Personas

By Erin Durham
February 8, 2018 - read

buyer persona creation by a hubspot partnery agency in SCWe’ve mentioned before the importance of buyer personas when building your inbound marketing plan. In short, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional construct of the type of buyer or buyers you’re marketing to. They’re easy to put together — you can find templates for building them on Hubspot for free — and will give you a much better and more focused way to look at marketing strategies from the ground up.

Buyer Personas are fairly simple to put together and we've talked before about how to put them together, we've learned the hard way that it's easy to make some common mistakes that will end up wasting time in the long run. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when building your buyer personas.

Making Stuff Up

Seems like a ridiculous thing to say, right? The whole point of the exercise is to make up a fake person! Well, not quite; these personas are semi-fictional. Sure, your customer may not actually be named Fly-Fisher Fred or CEO Chad, but the details that make up your ideal buyer do matter.

Don’t make up hobbies, a life story, or a job title with no basis in fact; research and learn what your buyers are really like. Conduct interviews, send out marketing surveys, and read the data.

If you build your persona with real facts about real people, it will give you the edge you need when it comes to marketing your business.

Relying On A Script

Okay, so you take our advice and sit down to talk with one of your most recent buyers. You have your list of scripted questions laid out and you’re ready to go, right?

Not yet.

Having some questions in mind can be a helpful guide, but the ultimate idea is to generate a conversation. Relying on a script can get you some cut-and-dry answers, but your marketing will be much more powerful if you can put those answers into some context. 

Creating Too Many Personas

The development stage can be pretty fun. You’re building a person! You’re sitting down to use numbers, facts, and the aforementioned conversations in order to create a marketing plan. It sounds like a great time, and it is.

It’s easy to get carried away, though, and too many buyer personas will hurt you just as much as not having any. We often find that 2 personas, while they may seem like very different types of people, actually need the same sets of information to make a purchasing decision, and the same tone and platforms are appropriate for both. 

Focus on creating just 2-3 personas to start. Any more than that and it’s easy to lose focus on your goals and wander off target, trying to appeal to too many people all at once. You can always add more if you ascertain that there's a real need. 

Diving Too Deep

It's easy to get carried away writing the story for your persona, but don’t sweat the small stuff. No one cares what kind of breakfast cereal your persona eats — however, you do need to know if they scroll Facebook, LinkedIn, or read a physical newspaper while they're eating it.

Buyer personas are a great tool for your marketing team to utilize. A correctly built persona helps you tailor your marketing plan for your ideal target.  However, making one of these four mistakes could keep you bogged down building intricate villages full of personas who eat at Buffalo Wild Wings or enjoy matinee movies rather of getting on with the marketing research you’re really there for.

Looking for more information on marketing tactics? Help yourself to our free e-book by clicking the link below! It's chock-full of handy tips and pitfalls to avoid when you're crafting your own Inbound Marketing strategy.  

Download the Marketers Guide to Inbound Marketing Ebook


Tags: Strategy