Buyer Persona Case Study: CFO On-Call

Notes from HubSpot's Inbound Certification Video Class 3: What Does Inbound Look Like?

Buyer Persona Case Study

HubSpot’s Inbound Certification Video Class 3: “What Does Inbound Look Like?” shares how a real-world company successfully practices inbound marketing. This is a valuable class as a real-world, spot-on buyer persona case study.

This buyer persona case study proves how well-crafted buyer personas can:

  • Drive inbound marketing strategy and tactics
  • Link together content marketing and SEO choices
  • Support a company’s sales and revenue goals

Here’s what to expect from this blog post on these inbound marketing best practices (and future blog posts) as I prepare for the inbound marketing certification exam:

  • Open Sharing. I’ll publish my study notes on this blog as I review each video in the twelve (12) classes.
  • Detail. My notes will be very detailed. Many of the slides in the video classes state the learning or take-home-message perfectly. If I think that’s the best way to state the learning, I’ll record the learning in my notes verbatim from the respective slide.
  • Context. I’ll provide my context whenever it may help us better understand the inbound marketing and sales concept(s).

CFO On-Call Is A Prime Buyer Persona Case Study

HubSpot Academy selected CFO On-Call, an Australian-based financial services company, as a successful example of disciplined inbound marketing for this video class. HubSpot also wrote a detailed case study on its website showing how CFO On-Call:

  • Transformed its business through inbound marketing
  • Powered its marketing succcess using HubSpot’s marketing software

Tackling A Typical Marketing and Sales Problem. CFO On-Call management team concluded their past traditional marketing tactics lost effectiveness. Sales lead generation relied heavily on telemarketing and cold calling.

That’s why and when the company decided to try something different. They made a decision to try inbound marketing.


Inbound Marketing Step 1: Develop Buyer Personas

CFO On-Call invested time developing their buyer personas. It wanted to understand their main customers’:

  • Demographics
  • Business Roles
  • Business Problems

Be Helpful To Your Buyers. This company ramped up its audience focus by creating better targeted content, emails and offers. It wanted its content to help one of its important buyer personas: “Gary The Business Owner.”

Here’s the buyer persona profile CFO On-Call created for this small business owner customer:

  • The Buyer’s Picture. Showed a photograph of the business owner profiled in this buyer persona
  • Background. He runs a small company. He started it after a career in that industry. Married with two children. He’s been running his business for about 3 years.
  • Demographics. Typical age in mid-40s.
  • Identifiers. Drives a modest vehicle. Achiever. Determined individual but a natural leader. Entrepreneurial flair.
  • Goals. Has high ambitions for his business. Can see great opportunities in his marketplace for growth. Likes to be his own boss.
  • Challenges. Cash flow can limit growth potential. Lenders aren’t too helpful about borrowing funds to grow. Income can be erratic at times due to business cash flow. Occasionally has to borrow money which causes stress. Doesn’t always agree with his accountant. “Feels stretched” at times.

What Keeps Your Buyers Up At Night? CFO On-Call’s buyer personas help them get inside their buyers’ heads. Its detailed buyer persona example spurred content ideas to addresses this prospective customer’s problems and challenges.

The company gained a better overall picture and understanding of this buyer’s specific business problems and challenges.


Inbound Marketing Step 2: Target The Buyer Persona With Expanded Online Content

A Mix of Helpful Content. CFO On-Call published whitepapers, eBooks, and blog posts focused on an important and specific small business owner problem. It created content with advice to small business owners on growing their individual businesses.

SEO-Rich Keywords. Here are some of the blog post titles the company published targeting its “Gary The Business Owner” buyer persona:

  • “22 Warning Signs of a Business In Trouble”
  • “9 Keys to Small Business Growth in 2014”
  • “8 Ways to Improve Profit in a Business”

The keyword choices for these blog post titles started with the buyer persona. Those persona-driven choices give these post titles higher chances of search engine optimization (SEO) success.



Inbound Marketing Step 3: Measure and Analyze The Results 

A Buyer Persona Case Study Success. CFO On-Call’s inbound marketing results are impressive:

  • 200% increase in web traffic within six-months.
  • 9.6% increases in sales leads. Important Note: It implemented technology tools like HubSpot to improve capturing more leads from their website.
  • 153% increase in sales-ready leads by using lead management and lead nurturing tools.
  • A 1 in 3 improvement in sales close rate (versus 1 in 20).


Conclusion: Buyer Personas Initiate The Inbound Marketing Process

Great content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) start with investments in buyer persona development. The buyer persona “glues together” content marketing choices and SEO tactics (e.g., keyword selection).

Hat’s off to CFO-On Call and HubSpot for sharing this great buyer persona case study!


Your Turn

Please let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you. I’m here to read, listen, and learn from YOUR PERSPECTIVE.   Comments are open. So let’er rip!


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President and Founder

As President and Founder of Faustino Marketing Strategies, I advise how a buyer's problem guides a client's content marketing and SEO decisions.

I am based in the Kansas City area (Overland Park, Kansas).

I share my ideas on the reinvention of content marketing and SEO in my personal blog: Social Media ReInvention. (