Do You Use Negative Buyer Personas?


Marketers are using exclusionary personas to avoid attracting the wrong users, and increasing Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

JetBlue’s persona-template has a social media mould. Their persona is tailored for a low-budget traveller seeking a comfortable solution. Their demographic is naturally young. They like to be reached through social media channels, and expect prompt responses. As a result, JetBlue engages with its patrons through colloquial language on Twitter to establish familiarity.

If buyer personas are meant to be a simulation of your ideal customer, it’s equally important to know who your customers are not, argue modern-day marketers. Not all leads fit well with the business. Thus, it’s imperative to avoid wasting precious marketing spends on chasing such customers. 

Optimise your ideal customer:

Your inbound marketing and sales pipeline depends on it. Operationally, users who seem to download every free lead magnet you offer but never convert can encourage you to pursue dead ends. These may be great advocates but the price point may pinch. It could also be that they use a competitor’s product and are validating what they already know.

Think of it as a collection of behaviours, demographics and real-life scenarios that disqualify them from your pool of happy, paying customers.

Reader personas are valuable allies to your content promotion as they are the 5 to 10 per cent of social media users who are responsible for 60 to 80 per cent of all online influence. Reader personas should bring you one step closer to your buyer personas. 

Let information flow

Buyer personas have typically been a marketing team asset. According to Marketing Insider Group research, in 2021, through buyer personas, 56 per cent of companies have generated higher quality leads, 36 per cent of businesses have created shorter sales cycles and 24 per cent of firms have generated more leads. 

But these personas are useful across the company’s entire funnel. Thus, it is imperative to share them across the organisation, especially in sales and customer service, so that the team is aware of ideal customers and is armed to meet their needs. It’s okay to make assumptions – so long as you can back it with data. 

Learn from non-buyers

According to Neil Patel, author, founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar who helps companies like NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue, a “lost” conversion may not be a lost conversion at all. It’s a future conversion from a customer who was in the conception phase of the buying cycle.

What can you learn about buyers from the traffic data? There are three main types of searches, navigational, informational and transactional. If you increase traffic, you may be boosting navigational and informational searches.

  1. Transactional Queries – People who want to buy. They are looking to make a purchase right away or very soon. Many of these searchers will convert.
  2. Navigational Queries – People who are trying to find your website. They may or may not be ready to buy. More often than not, they’re doing pre-purchase research.
  3. Informational Queries – People who are looking for information. These searchers are the least likely to convert right away, but they comprise the largest percentage of website traffic. 

How to create buyer personas

The recipe for effective consumer personas includes a healthy dose of raw data about customers, prospects, leads, and the ability to identify patterns, trends, and commonalities. Companies start off by researching  current customers to fill in the demographic information.

Psychographics can be identified – the goals, pain-points, and values. Each of these need to be worked on individually. It will inform the tone of messaging to match their lifestyle. The next step involves locating where your customers spend their time. Are they searching for content online, looking for reviews on blogs, or reading information on social media? By finding answers to these questions, you can find additional resources to bolster your buyer personas. Crowdsourcing via Google Consumer Surveys, Quora and the like has also become a popular option.

You can also screen what your competitors are doing on social and search for top-performing content in your sector.

Struto, a HubSpot agency offering services such as web design, eCommerce, Saas, software development, WordPress, CMS, SEO, and campaign optimization, advises software brands to consider a few factors to help share buyer personas;

  • Take ZMOT into account. ZMOT is the zero moment of truth, and it refers to the stage in the buying cycle when the customer researches your product/service, often before you even know that they exist. These days, your customer often knows more than you, so assume they do. 
  • Productise. Despite popular belief, tech customers aren’t looking for complicated solutions. They’re looking for solutions that are simple to apply and implement, despite being complex in nature. Learn how to productise your service or solution for quick marketing understanding.
  • Tech customers are after the latest news which can work wonders for lead generation. The tech buyer wants to see that you’re selling the same product or service over a long period (as it helps to build trust in your offering), but they also want to see that you’re constantly moving and evolving the way that you offer this product or service. 
  • Which past events motivate future purchases? What technology (product or service) has your buyer persona purchased before? This is an important factor to understand what might motivate their future purchases. Even more interesting, what is the attitude of the buyer’s persona company toward the IT industry? Does the business see IT as a liability or an asset? The decision-maker above your buyer persona, if their is one, is often where you’ll find these answers.