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Nov 03, 2011
Case Study

Social Media Marketing: Facebook demo drives sales, but less than physical demos

SUMMARY: Many consumer marketers focus on engagement metrics when trying to measure the success of social media marketing efforts. This case study looks at how one marketer ties Facebook e-demos to sales conversion to gauge the success of its efforts.

Read on to learn how the e-demo was promoted, how the marketer garnered more than 30,000 views on its Facebook page video tab, how the page was used for lead capture, and what they learned from an e-demo that performed worse than a successful long-standing physical demo.
by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter

CHALLENGE

Even when existing marketing campaigns are successful, it is important to try new strategies and tap into new channels such as mobile and social media. Doing this allows you to find new and different efforts that hopefully your target audience will respond to.

Centerpointe Research Institute sells a meditation audio technology, primarily through sending a physical product demo in the form of a short paperback book and audio CD to prospective customers.

This process remains successful for the company; however, it has a fairly high up-front cost with the demo material and postage. The conversion rate for the physical demo is at an acceptable level, but the number has dropped during the difficult recent economy.

Centerpointe decided to create an electronic version of its demo to reduce these costs, and create a company Facebook page to drive downloads of the e-book.

Bill Harris, founder and CEO, Centerpointe, said, “I wasn’t [personally] on Facebook and didn’t know a lot about it, and I had been thinking for quite a while how can I monetize this? I didn’t think it was worth the trouble to have a Facebook presence just to be popular or something. I wanted it to result in sales.”

In this case study, find out how Centerpointe drove traffic to its company Facebook page, how it captured new leads, and how the e-book demo compared to the physical demo in driving sales.

CAMPAIGN

The Facebook effort had two main goals:
  • Provide a distribution point for the e-book product demo and capture new leads

  • Provide Centerpointe customers and prospects a venue to interact with each other and the company

“We have a very large customer base (with an email list of about 420,000), so if we can get the customers that we currently have to go to the fan page and engage there in some way and then ‘like’ it, then all their friends on Facebook are going to see what they ‘liked,’” said Harris. “We wanted to tap into the viral nature of the whole thing.”

Because Centerpointe had no Facebook presence, the very first element of the effort was to create a page for the company.

Step #1. Use drip email effort to drive existing list to new Facebook page

Centerpointe’s extensive email list consisted of existing customers and prospects who became part of the list by taking free courses offered by Centerpointe, but were not yet paying customers.

This list was sent a series of emails on the Facebook launch. The first four went out pre-launch, teasing the upcoming Facebook page. The fifth email actually included a link to the new page, and several more emails followed after the page went live to draw more of the list to it.

The drip effort served two purposes:

First, it let those already engaged with the company know about the new social media channel where they could interact with the company and each other.

Second, the email send served as a re-marketing effort to drive sales. Harris knew that 80-90% of physical demo recipients were not converting, and the video and e-book demo was another way to reach those prospects who had already shown interest in Centerpointe’s product.

Additionally, the drip email effort resulted in Centerpointe’s customers using word-of-mouth to promote the new page.

“We didn’t take any Facebook ads out to do this. We didn’t do any other kind of advertising,” explained Harris. “We didn’t do a launch where we had other people sending people there.”

Step #2. Create content for the Facebook page

Because Harris was interested in using the social media channel to drive sales, the main content piece was a promotional video created specifically for the Facebook page.

The animated video runs a little more than five minutes, includes a live action introduction from Harris, and explains the meditation audio technology that Centerpointe sells. The end of the video features a call-to-action to download the free e-book demo.

The video is streamed from YouTube on Centerpointe’s Facebook page, and it has its own tab on the page. The video page also features a call-to-action button, “Download eBook.”

Step #3. Create the electronic product demo

Since Centerpointe was only sending out physical product demos by mail, it had to create the downloadable electronic version for the Facebook effort. The result was an e-book.

“A part of this was my attempt to see if this e-book would convert anywhere near as well as the actual physical demo,” explained Harris.

When the economy was stronger, the physical demo had a 20% conversion rate, where Centerpointe was sending out five demos to gain each customer. More recently, that number is down and the company is sending about 12 physical demos for each customer, more than doubling those costs.

Harris liked the idea of the downloadable e-book, but had concerns that the physical demo had more appeal and created more incentive for the recipient to actually go through the product demonstration.

He said, “When you download something on your computer, it is sort of hidden in computer somewhere and unless you engage with it right away, you are probably not going to look at it.”

Step #4. Use an online survey for lead capture

Once a visitor reaches the video page and clicks the “Download eBook” button (visitors are not required to watch the video to download the e-book), they are presented with two radio buttons:
  • “I am an existing Holosync customer (I have purchased Awakening Prologue)”

  • “I am not a Holosync customer (I have not purchased Awakening Prologue)”

With a “Continue” call-to-action button below the two options.

Existing customers are presented with a three-field form that asks for first and last names and email address, and are immediately able to download the e-book.

New prospects are presented with the same form with the addition of four multiple choice survey questions that are required to download the e-book.

The survey questions are used to customize autoresponse emails to address the benefits sought and objections those prospects indicate in their answers.

“We separate those customers from the non-customers because I didn’t want to make the customers have to fill out the survey,” said Harris. “It is sort of like a squeeze page in the sense that we are saying, ‘Okay, if you want this (e-book), we want this information from you first.”

For Centerpointe customers, the form allows the company to keep track of who among its customer base and email list is downloading the electronic demo. For non-customers, the form serves as a lead capture.

Step #5. Pay attention to campaign details to guide the visitor experience

Harris said every element of the Facebook effort was designed from the page visitor’s perspective to guide their experience.

“We are getting into the head of the person going to the Facebook fan page with the underlying assumption that unless something says to them, right away, ‘This will give you something you want or need,’ they will leave,” stated Harris.

He added, every decision--
  • Whether to open an email

  • Actually read the email

  • Read the next line in the email

  • Make the next click

  • Provide a name, email address or other information

  • Other potential actions

-- is a place where the prospect might say, “This isn’t for me,” or “This isn’t worth the time, money, effort, etc.”

“We look at each action we want them (prospects) to take from the point of view of the potential customer who is not eagerly waiting to take these actions -- because they aren’t,” said Harris. “They are looking for a reason to leave and go do something else.”

He said part of the entire marketing effort was to go through the entire process and evaluate each potential situation to avoid triggering reasons to end the engagement, and make the process easy and smooth.

Harris continued, “We help them keep in mind the benefit to them (in) taking the next action. And the next, and the next, and the next, while making it all as easy as possible until they get to the point where they buy.”

For example, there was an internal discussion about the “Download eBook” button on the video page. The options were to have the button available at all times so the visitor could click without watching the video, or to have the button appear during the video to force visitors to watch at least a portion of the video.

The decision was to facilitate the main goal -- driving e-book downloads -- by having the call-to-action button visible on the page at all times.

Another example of this nuanced approach was naming the page. When a Facebook user “likes” a page, that information is presented on the user’s wall for their friends to see. Because of that, Centerpointe named the page, “Centerpointe’s free Holosync demo and e-book.”

Naming the page that way would create more of a sentence and subtle product endorsement on its fans’ Facebook walls: “[Facebook user] likes Centerpointe’s free Holosync demo and e-book.”



RESULTS

The results for this effort are broken into two groups: fan interaction with the Facebook page, and success of the e-book product demo.

Facebook page engagement

Over the first four days, Centerpointe reached a little over 4,000 fans, and currently has 6,199 “likes.”

Over the first eight weeks of the effort, the main page logged 9,422 visits.

Electronic product demo

Over the first eight weeks of the effort, the product demo achieved:

  • Video tab on Facebook page had 32,922 views

  • The video was viewed 7,670 times

  • The e-book demo was downloaded 2,420 times

  • The e-book resulted in 42 product purchases

The main issue when comparing the electronic demo with the original physical demo was conversion rate.

The e-book converted at about 1.5%, where the physical demo (even though its conversion had dropped in recent years) converted at around 8%.

Harris said he was not pleased with the performance of the e-book demo.

He added, “We are currently preparing to email to those who downloaded the e-book and didn’t buy to see if they would like the physical demo.”

Harris speculated on why the physical demo converts at a higher rate than the e-demo, “When someone downloads something, unless they look at it, listen to it, or whatever, immediately, they probably will never deal with it. Where a physical demo is sitting on their kitchen table to remind them.”

Even though the physical demo is more expensive than the e-demo, the e-demo has achieved an 81.3% lower conversion rate, so Harris is less concerned about the cost-per-acquisition and more focused on maintaining a high conversion rate. To achieve that, his next step will be to change the Facebook page to offer the physical demo instead of the e-demo.

He explained why conversion was more important than cost-per-acquisition, "The real money is on the back end, not on the first sale. Getting a few less expensive initial sales is much less lucrative than getting a lot more new customers even if they are more expensive."

Useful links related to this article

Creative samples:
1. Drip email copy
2. Video tab page
3. E-book download
4. Customer form
5. Non-customer form

Centerpointe

Centerpointe’s Facebook page

Create Product Demo Videos that Get Social Media Attention: 6 Strategies to Increase Sales

Social Media Marketing: 8 tactics to measure and improve Facebook results

Improve Your Facebook Profile to Increase Consumer Interaction: 4 Tactics

Social Media Marketing: How to ensure Facebook doesn’t tear down your wall

Email Plus Facebook Marketing: Fresh ideas from FreshPair

Social Media Marketing: Should Facebook host your landing page?


See Also:

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