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As inbound marketers, we are faced with the constant challenge of adapting to change. Times are changing and with that consumer mindsets and products are changing as well. If you've been marketing to the same audience for several years, chances are your target customers have changed beyond your marketing strategies and tactics. Is this you? We have some steps to get you thinking about your buyer personas and how they should evolve.

What are Buyer Personas and Who do they Benefit?

To catch you up, buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They are used across a wide range of internal departments, such as marketing, sales, product, and services, to understand your ideal customers and to help you find ways to reach those customers.

Buyer personas help you separate your clients into specific categories, then create content targeted specifically to them. If you have never created these personas, or have personas but haven’t looked at them in a while, it’s time to revisit and reevaluate. Follow these 5 tips on how to update your personas and make them more effective when it comes to capturing new leads for your business.

1.) Avoid the Mistake of Creating too Many Buyer Personas

How Many Buyer Personas Should You Have?

There is no cut-and-dry number that businesses should follow when it comes to buyer personas. The key to creating a buyer persona is to develop your personas based on realistic and viable objectives. No matter the size or amount of resources available in your business, it’s important not to exclude the buyers who are successfully closing with you

Having too many personas often blurs the lines from one persona to the next, making it difficult to determine the best course of action when balancing all these unique types of customers. We recommend starting with three personas and adding personas over time. If possible, use your client data from your existing database when creating your new personas. Make sure there is a clear defining line that separates one buyer persona from another and utilize your data when making your decisions.

2.) Ensure Your Buyer Personas Align with Evolving Business Objectives

Why Update Your Buyer Personas?

Your buyer personas should evolve over time to align with your business goals. This is not a bad thing! Adjusting your buyer personas is often a great way to open up new opportunities that may not have been attainable in previous years.

When you go over your previous year’s budget and progress, and next year’s goals, don't breeze through your yearly marketing plan. Review older buyer personas and see if there are any opportunities you want to take without upsetting your current customer base. Remember, your buyer personas may only need a few changes, but those changes could have a significant impact.

3.) Understand How Your Target Audience Communicates with Your Brand

Are you spending marketing dollars on the most effective platforms?

As technology continues to evolve, brands are faced with the challenge of knowing how to communicate with their customers. If your 7-year-old buyer personas are out of touch with your preferred channels and platforms, then you could be spending marketing dollars on driving traffic to the wrong target audience. 

Channels of communication and social media engagement is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to generating new leads, nurturing your leads, and driving sales. Your buyer personas may very likely outgrow certain attributes over time and brands that pay attention and pivot accordingly will be more successful.

4.) Boosting Website Traffic and Generating Qualified Leads

Are you sending the right content to the right buyers?

If your traffic is on the decline in comparison to last year’s traffic, your outdated buyer personas may be part of the reason. When the blogs you post aren’t getting much traction and your offers are falling flat, it may be a sign you are targeting the wrong people and/or pushing the wrong content. 

Before investing more resources into your existing strategy, or making changes on the fly, you need to get to the root of the problem. A reduction in traffic and diminishing leads means you are off target with your potential customers. Step back, realign your approach, and reconsider your buyer personas.

  • Do you need to account for a new channel or communication or social platform? 
  • Have your persona’s pain points or challenges changed?
  • Is there a niche audience you aren’t accounting for with your existing personas?

You can overcome a decline in traffic and leads if you take the right steps to get to the root of the issue. Just make sure your personas are part of the evaluation process.

5.) The Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service. This journey is a three-step process:BuyersJourney-Graphic-14

  • Awareness Stage
    The buyer realizes they have a problem.
  • Consideration Stage
    The buyer defines their problem and researches different options to solve it.
  • Decision Stage
    The buyer chooses a solution.

Buyer personas are a crucial part of the buyer’s journey and for supplying your leads with the content they need. By focusing on the characteristics of the consumers you want to sell to, you can create more personalized content that can better influence them at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Buyer personas are a simple but effective way to set your company's goals and help align your marketing objectives for the upcoming year. With that said, buyer personas are only one piece (but a very important one) of your inbound marketing campaign. To discover more about how to effectively create an inbound campaign for your company, download our checklist below.

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