Why Create Exclusionary or Negative Buyer Personas?

Posted by Lindsey Bowshier on Feb 28, 2018 9:31:00 AM



Have you ever thought of the parallels between marketing your business and dating? They are more similar than you might think. Trying to find the right prospects to invest your marketing and sales efforts into can be a lot like finding love. And when you're looking for love (or creating buyer personas for your business), it's just as important to know your deal breakers as it is to know the characteristics you are attracted to. Let's break it down.

They're Just Not That Into You

Think back to your dating days (or, if you're still single, think about the current dating pool). You might have run into this one particular type of guy/girl. They had something that you really liked, but it always came with waaaaay too many red flags. Perhaps you even worked out a kind of checklist for this type:

  • They'd be into you for a while, but they always seemed to have an eye on the door.
  • They'd demand more time and energy than they were willing or able to give in return.
  • Even if they paid attention to you, they'd never have much interest in truly committing.

Over time, you might have refined and mulled over this checklist to the point where you could tell in a heartbeat when somebody was Trouble.

Can you already see the analogous attributes in business? If so, you know the value of creating negative or exclusionary buyer personas.

Everything You (Don't) Want

At Tribute Media, we talk a lot about creating buyer personas. We teach our clients to compile and analyze data on their existing customer base to come up with a semi-fictional representation of the perfect customer.

Once you've created buyer personas, you can create and distribute content that speaks to that ideal customer's specific needs and problems.

Creating negative personas involves the same process, but it delivers the opposite results. These personas help you figure out which leads ultimately don't fit your business. They help you fine-tune your marketing and sales efforts by showing whom you shouldn't try to convert.

To develop your company's exclusionary personas, you could interview:

  • Clients who bought from you but didn't spend much
  • Clients who weren't happy with your products and services
  • People who might like your content and follow you on social media but never buy from you
By talking to these people, you can determine the habits and characteristics of not-so-ideal customers. You'll be able to spot the types of leads that may seem promising at first but won't really be worth pursuing. 

Let's Just be Friends

Just because leads fit your exclusionary personas doesn't mean you should be rude or not engage them at all. Even if they aren't suited for your business, they might know or work with people who are. Focus on attracting and engaging your buyer personas while still treating your exclusionary personas with respect. One way or another, it could pay off down the road.

Want help creating your personas? The buyer persona worksheets we use during our clients' marketing workshops make it easy to gather information on the leads you want as well as the ones you don't, and they are available for you to download and use for free. There is a reason this is one of our most frequently downloaded pieces of content.

Check it out below....

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Lindsey Bowshier

Written by Lindsey Bowshier

Lindsey is the President of Tribute Media. Her degree is in English and Communication with an emphasis in Journalism, her background is in copywriting and content marketing, and she's had pretty much every job at Tribute Media since she joined the agency in 2014. Outside of work, Lindsey participates in a "super-cool-not-at-all-nerdy" writing group. Her favorite writer is Dorothy Parker.