Four pitfalls in defining your buyer personas

800 533 ME. Media Engineering: Een Full Service Web Agency in Haarlem


Tim loves beautiful clothes. He likes to buy luxury specialty shirts and jackets. He is a sales manager at a large company, pays well and is fun to work. His worst quality is that he is very impatient. If something is not working properly, takes too long or unclear, it has no meaning anymore.

He’d make purchases online, he’s too busy to go into the shops and because he loves distinctive design, he often online more choice. He did not like slow shops. He regrets that there are few shops where they also give styling tips.

There is one problem with Tim: he does not exist.
Tim is a buyer persona.

He is a semi-fictional representation of a customer at a clothing store. Based on data from current customers and characteristics of their ideal customer.



Why is a buyer persona important?

If you know who your customers are, you can access them effectively. Ads on websites they visit, emails with relevant offers and texts in which you emphasize the problems or benefits that they consider important.

The clothing store now know that Tim is happy when they regularly share photos with styling tips on Instagram. Discounts he will not be so interesting. But an e-mail about the latest shirts he’d receive.

Buyer personas are not only useful for the marketing department. If you know exactly which customers you want to reach and what appeals to them, then you can get your website design so that they will feel right at home.


Companies that do this well are, for example and MOO. Look just look around. Their texts, web design and supply are clearly designed with a specific type of customer in mind.

The problem

The usefulness of a buyer persona is clear. Many companies have been thinking about it (though they might call it no buyer persona) and have produced one or more customer profiles.

However, the problem is that ‘he is never used. Perhaps new employees receive a copy of it on the desk of the marketing – the bottom of the stack. But nobody does anything with it. It does not affect customer service, newsletter or social media.

That problem has four possible causes.

1. Employees see no practical use
Whether online, by phone or email – you have little time to arouse the interest of the customer.
Then it helps if you understand well that customer. Is there certain language which he or she uses? rather, he communicates by email or phone? Which style web design speaks to her? Does she prefer no fuss discount code or even a telephone conversation with an employee taking her complaint seriously?

With good buyer persona can better respond to the needs and preferences of your customers. It is not a theoretical framework but a practical hands-on strategy.

2. There are too many or they are incorrectly drawn
The more buyer personas you have, the harder it is to use them actively. Maybe you can merge a number of profiles? Or do you have profiles that do not actually belong (anymore) to your customers? The less you have, the better you can often put in them.

Also critical to how they were created. Perhaps there is one buyer persona by sector: financial, IT, design. But if the managers in these sectors have a similar profile and sellers also, then a buyer persona a meaningful function.

There are also options less obvious: a klusbedrijf might create profiles based on how long people live somewhere. Someone who just two years living in a house likely has other renovation needs than someone who lives for 15 years.

3. You have to fill general or wrong data
A buyer persona is not a target. It is an individual. Preferences and problems, with a name and a face. so do not linger in general properties (about social media) but make it specific ( “Facebook for friends, read more than he post 5-10 Tweets sent per day). Then he comes to life.

Create an ad for “sales managers” is indeed more difficult than creating an ad for Tim. Tim because you know, so you know exactly where he was coming from. Therefore, it is also important as little as possible to gamble. Use real data collected. Which gives you example from Google Analytics, surveys among your customers and their e-mails and phone calls. Otherwise you do not know what you think your customers want is really what they want.

Moreover focus not only on corporate data, but also describe the lifestyle and personal preferences of your buyer persona. Also in B2B purchases, which plays an important role. Also important: write down why someone does not buy. What is stopping them? Tim is impatient and quick click away: it is therefore important to have a clear and quick ordering process.

4. Your update’m never
A buyer persona you must keep. Your business changes, your customers can change. Make someone responsible for keeping track of your buyer personas, so that attention is paid to.

Play also on renewals and temporary changes. Google has recently adjusted the search algorithm and now attaching more importance to secure https connections. For a hosting company is a good time to point out the medium-sized businesses to the benefits of an SSL certificate. And if it is a harsh, harsh winter, Tim might be interested in a cool winter, even though he ‘s usually not so cold.

Think of it as sticky notes, you temporarily glued to your buyer personas and later takes away again.

Are you using buyer personas?

If your buyer personas used smart, has a positive impact on your entire company. From marketing to conversion. So go get to work.

Use your not they enough? look what changes are needed to put them actively. And you have no buyer persona? Then you can use this online tool to easily create a first draft.