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Frans Riemersma, 10 Dec '15

Persona ROI Case Study - How Personas Help You Close Deals

Improve content marketing results by using Personas. Read how Persona based content increased customer engagement six-fold. A compelling Persona ROI overview.

The Search volume for buyer personas has increased 300% over the last 2 years. Are Personas an interesting topic for you to explore? We believe so. Many remarkable results have been reported. For instance a 210% increase in site traffic. Or even a 721% increase in top-of-funnel inquiries. Great, but how does that exactly work? How to drive results and close deals with Personas?

According to the Hubspot Academy “Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers”.

Personas help to improve customer experience in many respects, from creating better product experiences to writing better content. We will focus on content marketing in this article.

Marketo explains the benefits of using Personas for content marketing. Personas help you to:

  • Determine what kind of content you need
  • Set the tone, style, and delivery strategies for your content
  • Target the topics you should be writing about
  • Understand where buyers get their information & how they want to consume it.

The ROI of Personas

There are many Persona ROI examples available. The idea is to justify the effort that goes into constructing and continuously updating Personas. We have created an overview of the reported Return on Investment (ROI) of Personas. Looking at the past few years, not only did we find a great many figures, but also a wide variety.

Below is a list of reported real life Persona ROI examples to give you a first impression. It shows the impact of using Personas for different channels.

- Email Click-Through-Rate (CTR) increased by 14%

- Email conversion rate increased by 10%

- Email revenue increased 18 times (compared to broadcast emails)

- Website traffic increased by 210%

- Website generated leads increased by 97%

- Website generated sales increased by 124%

- Organic search traffic increased by 55%

- Online marketing generated opportunities increased by 73%

- Campaign generated top-of-funnel inquiries increased by 721%.

Three Persona variables influence content marketing results

The question remains, how do Personas work? How to apply them? In essence, constructing Personas allows you to tweak three variables: market segmentation, content creation and media selection.

1. Market segmentation. After having explored and documented the habitat and needs of your customer, market segmentation becomes much easier and more effective. You will be able to skillfully identify potential clients, and will improve your assessment of the value of prospects.

2. Content creation. Understanding the customer voice, tone, style, visual preferences, wording and keywords will help you to speak the customer’s language and create more relevant content around a proposition or product positioning.

3. Media selection. The construction of the Persona will help you to understand the media consumption of your customers. What type of information are customers looking for, on which device, relying on which (trusted) source at what moment of the day, triggered by which incentive?

How using Personas lead to a 20% revenue increase – Case Study

How do Personas affect revenue? How to calculate the impact? The following case study illustrates how tweaking the three Persona variables helps you achieve 20% revenue increase. A software firm decided to investigate the impact of Personas. For that purpose they conducted an A/B tests using the three variables.

1. For market segmentation the firm used cold and warm. The warm leads had been in touch with the firm before, while the cold ones had not.

2. Based on the Persona insights they adapted the content of their email campaign. Which content elements were changed is left unanswered, unfortunately.

3. The media selection variable was fixed: email campaigns. Customer engagement was measured by e-mail ‘open rate’ and CTR.

Two very interesting conclusions can be drawn from the test.

Persona based content increased customer engagement almost six-fold when targeting cold leads (10% versus 58%).

It is more effective to target cold leads with Persona based content than targeting warm leads without using persona based content (58% versus 45%).

The software firm made sure that the above results were focused on one sales funnel stage only, the ‘Marketing Qualified Leads’ (MQL). According to the software firm, they were able to increase the MQL conversion rate from 5% to 6%. This may seem like an almost negligible difference, but actually causes a 20% bottom line increase.


Four steps to start driving revenue with Personas yourself

1. Establish a baseline

Populate the left side of the funnel with your own company data to establish a non Persona baseline.

2. Build your Persona

Select a medium type and decide which funnel stage you will focus on. Start small and construct only one Persona. Store the Persona centrally so all team members can comment on it and contribute to its improvement. To speed up the process use existing templates or fill out the 7 most used Persona fields.

3. Create the right content

Create content for the Persona profile you created, for the medium and funnel stage you selected. Go live, observe, and change only one content element at a time: use A/B testing to identify what works best for your situation.

4. Analyze results

Fill out the Persona based results for your medium and funnel stage, on the right side of the funnel table. Then simply calculate the effect for all subsequent funnel stages to discover your company’s persona based revenue increase.

Drive revenue by iterating, learning, improving and becoming more customer centric every day!