You’ve spent a lot of time carefully curating your buyer persona using customer demographics and interviews, surveys, and social media data to build a marketing strategy with laser-like focus.
You put in a lot of work to create an insanely accurate buyer persona, but are you shifting your buyer persona and your marketing strategies as your business changes?
If you’re not careful, your buyer personas can become outdated and, with them, your marketing strategies will too. When that happens, all of the work you’re doing to reach out to potential leads with careful precision isn’t quite so precise anymore.
So how can we keep this from happening?
Grab your customer data sheets and your surveys: It’s time to update your buyer personas.
When to Update Your Buyer Persona
There are a lot of reasons that you may want to update your buyer persona. Before you jump in, though, you want to be sure that you are doing so in a focused, productive way. Updating your buyer persona takes time and resources, which means you want to approach your update with care so you can use it to make a positive impact on your business.
You Didn’t Create Enough Personas
Your business may have a few types of personas who work with you. Did you account for all of this when you created your buyer persona? You could have as few as one or two buyer personas, but according to HubSpot, you can create as many as 10 or 20 to fit the kinds of people who shop with you or the kinds of clients you acquire—as long as you are creating these personas with reasonable, achievable objectives.
This is a great time for introspection, to figure out the kinds of people you are hoping to reach. If you’re looking to expand your audience, start by examining the people who already do business with you and who you are looking to reach to add to your client base.
Your Business Has Changed
With technology changing at lightspeed, how your business operates can change just as quickly. Things are different now than they were even a year ago. Do your buyer personas keep up with these changes? Your customers are changing right alongside all of this technology development, so you want to be sure that you are keeping up.
Whenever you make changes to your marketing strategy or whenever you adapt to a changing industry, you also should reexamine and reevaluate your buyer personas to make sure they still match up and that you’re still tapping into the audience you want to reach.
Your customers change, your products and services change, or your social media accounts take off. It’s a good idea to check in periodically—you may not always be aware of changes you are making from day to day, so pause and take a look at how your marketing strategies have changed. Do your buyer personas line up? If not, it’s time to update them.
Your Traffic Is Slowing
Is your traffic slowing down, or maybe you’re getting fewer and fewer leads? If you’ve noticed a decline in web traffic, your blog posts are getting shared less frequently or fewer people are signing up for your offers, you may need to take a closer look at your buyer personas so you can create content to better reach potential customers and clients. Also, take a look at analytics from your automated email campaigns. For the campaigns I set up for clients, I regularly go back and take a look at how they’re doing for open and click rates, and how the campaign is helping to push leads along the sales cycle.
You can engage in more targeted lead nurturing by aligning your brand messaging with a buyer persona that is a closer representation of who is actually interested in your business. You can meet new leads where they are with content that is geared towards them—but only when you update your buyer personas.
How to Update Your Buyer Personas
Follow the Buyer’s Journey
How are your buyers getting to the point of sale? Take a look at your buyer’s journey, and you may find some clues as to how you can update your buyer personas.
What do I mean by the buyer’s journey? Your buyer’s journey is the process by which your customers become aware of your brand, consider and evaluate it, and decide to purchase a product or a service.
Think about each of your buyer personas and how they encounter your website. Visit your landing pages and your navigation bars. If you want a better idea of how each of your different kinds of buyer personas perform, you can use A/B testing to see which strategies are working for each persona and shift your personas accordingly.
When you first created your buyer personas, you probably had a decent amount of customer data to create them. But if you’ve been living with your buyer personas for a while, you probably have more data that you can mine for more information about the psychology and the behaviors of your audience—which means your buyer personas can get more specific and your marketing more targeted.
What drives your customers to respond? What helped them decide to convert? Don’t be afraid to interview more clients and customers to get even more information about the emotional state of your customers when they buy.
Here’s a great list of questions to ask your customers so you can start to dive a little deeper into what makes them tick—and what made them convert to your brand.
Look at Your Stats
When your business evolves, your customers do too, so re-examine your more recent customer data and transaction histories to see what new information you can gather. Check your Google Analytics data and see what ads are effective at bringing in conversions.
The information you can find in new customer data, from customer demographics to consumer behaviors, can help you establish your new and updated buyer personas with increased accuracy to meet your current buyers where they are.
Don’t Forget About Your Negative Personas
Are your original negative personas still customers you don’t want to reach? You certainly don’t want to spend time and resources marketing to people who won’t do business with you, but as your business grows and as you scale up, you may be selling to an entirely new demographic you never thought you’d reach. Are your negative or exclusionary personas keeping up with the growth of your company?
Take a look at the data you outlined in your negative personas. Are those people still not working with you? It might be time to celebrate your victories; if you are starting to tap into new markets, you may be able to shift a negative persona into a new persona.
If you took the time to create a buyer persona because you know it will pay off (and it totally will), then you owe it to yourself to specify your marketing tactics as your brand changes and evolves.