May 18, 2022
Case Study

Content Marketing: Strategies of businesses that improved (and replaced) digital content marketing


There is only one way I can get you to scroll down and read this article.

You must perceive the value of this article is greater than the cost to you (in this case, your time and attention).

Here’s my attempt – if you take just a few minutes to read this article, you’ll get ideas for improving your content marketing based on specific B2B and B2C examples with results. You’ll see exactly how your peers improved the perceived value (and decreased the perceived cost) of their content.

Read on for examples from a property investment firm, beauty salon, and social services corporation.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Content Marketing: Strategies of businesses that improved (and replaced) digital content marketing

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

“The crucial element is not the length of our copy. The crucial element is the articulation of sufficient value,” Flint McGlaughlin taught in Value Proposition Definition: Optimize your conversion rate with this powerful question.

This lesson applies to our advertising and landing pages. But it applies to our content marketing as well.

As this inbound marketing strategy has become more widely adopted, it is harder and harder to attract and engage potential customers in many industries. You can’t just plop an infographic up on social media and expect leads to start flowing through your funnel. To succeed with content, you must increase its perceived value to the customer, and decrease its perceived cost.

Cost? That’s right, I said cost. Some marketing professionals and entrepreneurs still have a false belief that content is free to potential customers. It’s not. They pay with their attention, their effort to overcome friction (e.g., the need to download a PDF or attend a webinar), and sometimes their information.

So, if you want to attract and engage an audience with your content, the customer must perceive that they will get sufficient value from the content to justify its (time and information) cost.

To help spark your best thinking to outcompete the rivals in your industry, today we bring you three stories.

First, a beauty salon that dramatically increased traffic to its blog posts by dramatically increasing the value of those posts by producing long, comprehensive guides for its niche.

Then, a B2B example that shows you do not necessarily need to increase length to enhance value, the story of a social services corporation that grew LinkedIn followers and engagement by changing its social media content strategy.

And finally, to remind you that content marketing isn’t a solely digital endeavor, a property investment firm that used print and television advertising to promote its content. This team even used QR codes to decrease the cost (in this case, cost caused by friction).

Quick Case Study #1: How a beauty salon uses comprehensive guide blog posts to attract 1M+ visitors per year to its website

Divine Lashes is a beauty salon specializing in eyelash extensions. “The competition was fierce for us to stand out from the crowd and attract more clients. After reading many articles, we decided on a very different approach – we would develop a blog to encourage people to talk about their eyelash extensions in detail,” said Asako Ito, Founder, Divine Lashes.

“Detail” is a key word in their strategy. The team creates extremely long and detailed guides in its niche category. The blog posts’ subjects are inspired by specific questions the team has received over the years – for instance, “Can you wear eyeliner with eyelash extensions?” or “How long do eyelash extensions take?”

“Each article was carefully researched and tailored to our customers' needs,” Ito said. “The specific technique we used was inspired by Neil Patel’s How to Create Ultimate Guides. We decided to write guides that would completely cover the topic and end the customer's journey for information.”

Example titles include “Eyelash Extensions 101: Everything You Need to Know” and “Classic vs Volume vs Hybrid Lashes Compared.” The blog posts often discuss pros, cons, costs, what to expect, and plenty of pictures.

Creative Sample #1: Top of long, detailed blog post by beauty salon

Creative Sample #1: Top of long, detailed content marketing blog post by beauty salon

“Our guides quickly became a reference in our industry,” Ito said. The blog now has an annual run rate of more than 1 million visitors, with organic traffic of 102,571 visitors in the most recent month (April 2022).

“As you can see from SemRush data, we were able to increase our readership by nearly 900% in the last year using this method,” Ito said.

Creative Sample #2: Blog traffic data

Creative Sample #2: Blog traffic data

Quick Case Study #2: Social service corporation grows from 2.4K to 23K followers in less than a year

At the beginning of 2021, LogistiCare became Modivcare, and the team had to start from scratch with its social media. Modivcare provides supportive care services to underserved populations through health plans, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid.

As a B2B company, Modivcare’s primary social media platform is LinkedIn. The brand had 2,400 followers in July 2021 and was focused on informational posts.

Creative Sample #3: LinkedIn post before – informational

Creative Sample #3: LinkedIn post before – informational

The above post received 12 likes and one share.

Creative Sample #4: LinkedIn post before – informational post

Creative Sample #4: LinkedIn post before – informational post

The above post had 16 likes and one comment.

“Our content was comprised mostly of idea-centric posts or news articles. While these also perform well, we’ve found that our most engaging posts tell a story about an individual or group,” said Mary Herold, Social Media Marketing Manager, Modivcare.

The team’s two most successful campaigns are called We’re There and #IAmModivcare. What both campaigns have in common is that they’re both people-centric, shining a light on everyone involved in making a difference in the lives of Modivcare’s members.

“People-centric campaigns create extremely high levels of engagement with Modivcare followers. This type of post allows people outside your company to feel like they’re a fellow team member, giving them the opportunity to interact with your brand in a whole new way,” said Herold.

We’re There features stories about how employees and partners have helped Modivcare members through non-emergency medical transportation, personal care, remote patient monitoring and meal delivery.

Creative Sample #5: LinkedIn post after – people-centric post that was part of the We’re There campaign

Creative Sample #5: LinkedIn post after – people-centric post that was part of the We’re There campaign

The above post received 73 likes, one comment, and five shares.

There #IAmModivcare campaigned featured a Q&A format that allows employees of all levels to showcase their personalities, share what they love about working at Modivcare, and provide career advice.

Creative Sample #6: LinkedIn post after – people-centric post as part of the #IAmModivcare campaign

Creative Sample #6: LinkedIn post after – people-centric post as part of the #IAmModivcare campaign

“The results from our two most successful campaigns, We’re There and #IAmModivcare, show that people love to engage with content that showcases humans doing exceptional things. Both campaigns are heartwarming and inspirational and highlight the positive things Modivcare employees and partners are doing to help others and succeed as an individual and company,” Herold said.

Due to the success of the people-centric posts, the company gained more followers each month than before and reached 22,887 followers as of May 13, 2022.

“I would advise fellow social media marketers to bring people to the forefront of their posts, as it not only allows them to put a face to the company name, but also helps others see the company through the eyes of successful and happy employees. It’s the easiest way to foster a healthy company culture, too. All these things combined equals more engagement and more followers,” Herold said.

Quick Case Study #3: Property investment firm uses QR codes to track ads on TV and print, gets 75 new leads and three quick sales

Accrue Real Estate is a brand with a need to continue reaching new audiences who are in the market for, or at the early stages of considering, an investment property. The team is always looking for indicators of a return on investment in the short term even though its selling cycle can take up to 12 months.

So, they have taken a direct response approach. Search ads have been most effective but fluctuate month to month.

The team built a strategy to reach new audiences through traditional media to hedge against fluctuations in lead volume while still maintaining a direct response approach by introducing QR (quick response) codes.

They split the monthly search ads budget evenly between linear TV and a national print publication in their home market of Australia. Targeting very broad audiences didn’t concern them since broad match keywords (carefully controlled by manual bids) were starting to outperform in their search marketing.

The team created QR codes for each of the media so the audience could take action on the offer promoted on TV or in print. The offer was to download the firm’s property investment magazine for free, an offer which has previously resonated with their target market.

“We need to get our magazine in front of prospects as it contains a wealth of information about the property market and provides a solid groundwork to make the best decisions when purchasing an investment property. We publish it quarterly, so the information is always relevant to current market conditions,” said Jason Nevins, Managing Director, Accrue Real Estate.

The team built a customized landing page optimized for mobile for each QR code. The landing page is where the magazine is downloaded from after the visitor fills in a lead form.

As a result, the team knew exactly how much website traffic was generated (2,145 visitors), how many filled out the lead form and converted (3.5%), and how many of these 75 leads were subsequently converted into sales within 30 days (three). The team felt that these three sales amounted to a very healthy short-term investment.

“This is a lead generation strategy and generates 70-100 leads per month from which we can close three to four sales within a 30-day window, where we are generating a good return in the short term. The rest of the leads are nurtured via email and SMS which we look to convert over the next 12 months as our selling cycle is typically quite long,” Nevins said.

The net result was that the team made a campaign that traditionally couldn’t be tracked clickable and could show an actual return on investment. They now plan to diversify channels further using this strategy to hedge against fluctuating performance inside their primary search ad account.

“Every brand needs to be constantly marketing to new cold audiences to fuel its top of the funnel and this is a simple strategy that can be executed to better track ad spend. Knowing broad audiences are starting to outperform in many ad accounts it's also very viable in the current market. The brand still needs to know its audience and have an offer/hook or call to action that resonates with this audience. This is a fundamental requirement for any campaign,” said Robert Eppinger, Director, MaxAd (Accrue Real Estate’s marketing agency).

Related Resources

An Effective Value Proposition: What it is, why it is so important to business and marketing success, and how to use it

Content Marketing: Encouraging sales and upsells at the point of purchase

Inbound Marketing: Do you care about the quality of your brand’s content?

“True Blood” Vampire Fangs from the Dentist: When you’re too successful at driving the wrong traffic to your website

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