April 04, 2023
Case Study

Customer Acquisition: A guide to using LinkedIn advertising, AI analysis, and SEO


To spur new ideas in you for your brand’s marketing strategy, in this article we bring you examples from an AI solution, HR tech, and ecommerce company.

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

Customer Acquisition: A guide to using LinkedIn advertising, AI analysis, and SEO

This article was distributed in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

We’ve been helping marketers improve their funnel in the MECLABS SuperFunnel Cohort community (feel free to join us for a ChatGPT, CRO and AI: 40 Days to build a MECLABS SuperFunnel LiveClass to get ideas for improving your own funnel from the cohort).

The first step in any successful funnel is customer acquisition. So to give you ideas for attracting potential customers to your funnel, today we bring you three quick case studies – one using a paid tactic, and two using organic tactics:

  • Paid advertising – How an AI solution improved its advertising messaging thanks to customer interviews and demo attendance.
  • Technical SEO – How an HR tech platform used AI to help migrate subdomains on its main domain to improve SEO.
  • Keyword-driven SEO – An ecommerce company’s five-step plan for finding keywords to attract organic traffic.

Quick Case Study #1: AI solution interviews customers, increases ad CTR from 3% to 10%

“Before I joined the Aimondo team, the company did not consider LinkedIn to be a decent customer acquisition source,” said Alisdair Hunter, Head of Growth, Aimondo UK.

BEFORE – Wrong pain points

Cost per lead was very high (>$120), and the clickthrough rate (CTR) was 1% to 3%.

“Pretty soon I realized that our messaging conveyed in the single-image ad LinkedIn campaign was built on the wrong assumptions about customers’ pain points,” Hunter said.

The marketing team had asked the sales team about customer pain points. The sales team provided these pain points:

  • Low quality of data used for pricing workflows.
  • Price optimization projects are too complex to handle, and not every company has someone experienced enough on their team to tell them where to start.

Based on these insights, the marketing team crafted messages that were supposed to reflect these pain points. For example, the image headline in one ad read “46% of sellers get wrong pricing date.” Another ad’s image headline read “Piece together your winning pricing strategy.”

Creative Sample #1: LinkedIn ads with average CTR, before

Creative Sample #1: LinkedIn ads with average CTR, before

AFTER – Jobs-to-be-done framework

In February, a digital marketer from the team attended three demo sessions and conducted four customer interviews with existing customers. After processing the insights, the team quickly realized that insights delivered by the sales team were not exactly correct.

Instead of using generalizations (complex projects, low-quality data), they switched to addressing very precise ‘jobs to be done’ that prospects had.

“New messaging for the next single-image LinkedIn campaign was built on the following customer interview-driven insights: our prospects struggle to fulfil a very precise task – calculate price elasticity, and our prospects have to improve the quality of their demand forecasts,” Hunter said.

For example, one ad’s image headline read “What is the price elasticity break point for your product?” Another ad image headline was, “Does your April sales forecast account for weather data?”

Creative Sample #2: LinkedIn ads with average CTR, after

Creative Sample #2: LinkedIn ads with average CTR, after


CTR went from 1-3%, to 10-12%. Average cost per click (CPC) remained less than $3. 

“Customer interviews come in exceptionally handy. They provide qualitative data (therefore, you can very well get away with less than 10 interviews) for the initial hypothesis that can be proved or disproved via surveys with multiple participants. Or – like in our case – through LinkedIn campaigns,” Hunter said.

Quick Case Study #2: HR tech increases organic traffic by 1,200% in four months using AI-driven site migrations 

Founded in 2019 by Dee Coakley and Emily Castles, Boundless was born from the belief that people should have the freedom to shape their work lives without forfeiting their right to secure employment. Today, Boundless is operational in 25 countries.

The global employment, benefits, and payroll platform had two subdomains – guides and blogs. Boundless published over 25 country guides (each consisting of 10-12 subpages) which resided on the guides subdomain, while the blog content had hundreds of articles on a separate blog subdomain.

“We had all these different types of content sitting on different subdomains which made it both difficult to manage, but also suboptimal to our traffic goals. We decided to migrate everything to our main domain, boundlesshq.com,” said Irina Dhambazova, Head of Communications, Boundless.

However, the team had a limited budget.

“Limited budgets means there simply isn’t the luxury of time to spend hours trying to decide which content will be carried over and where retired content will be redirected to, so we turned to data using AI to help us deliver within budget” said Andreas Voniatis, Founder, Artios (Boundless’ SEO consulting firm).

The challenge was to bring across the content to the main website without losing rankings and traffic. “What most non-SEO experts won’t always appreciate is that before migrations, search engines have an existing model of your content and how they relate to each other. As soon as you migrate content, that model changes which is where the risks of losing traffic happen,” says Voniatis. “As soon as you migrate content on a website, even if it is within the same domain, you change the search engine model.”

The team decided on which content they could migrate and leave behind using the Pareto principle – 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. “We were able to help them identify which content had SEO value by using Pareto on their Google Search Console (GSC) logs to work out which of the content drove most of the traffic,” Voniatis said.

Using AI to create redirect maps

While the URL structure for blogs and guides was straightforward, the team then had to consider what to do with articles they wouldn’t carry forward.

Some marketers might use the 410 GONE HTTP status code. Other marketers might redirect these all to the home page and lose any backlinks and traffic.

But the team wanted to find the best live pages to redirect the URLs to, and decided to use a language model to test the similarity of the removed content to the live content. “Historically for a site with many pages, this would have taken at least a week of analysis and often with some mistakes, but with AI we were able to carry out this analysis and produce a redirection map within a day which helped to keep the whole project within budget,” Voniatis said.

Although no design changes were involved, the team wanted to ensure the staging versions of the migrated content will perform comparably if not better than the existing live versions. So they audited the staging versions of the migrated content.

While the content performed fine in terms of Core Web Vitals (CWV) and being indexable, the team could see that it wasn’t as discoverable. Again, they used AI to model the distribution of internal links to content and were able to pinpoint articles that were insufficiently cross-hyperlinked from other content. “This not only helped mitigate the risk of visibility loss post-migration, but it also actually helped all content maintain its inclusion in Google,” Voniatis said.

Results – More traffic

Four months after the migration switchover, traffic increased by 1,200%, enabling Boundless to rank for English searches worldwide in Google for its main target terms around ‘Employer of Record [country],’  ‘Employees benefits in [country]’ and simply ‘Employer of Record.’

“The traffic growth since the migration was mad and quite unexpected. Not that we didn’t expect good things, but even we were surprised at how the traffic growth wildly exceeded the traffic growth levels forecasted,” Irina Dhambazova concluded.

Quick Case Study #3: Ecommerce company’s five-step plan for growing organic traffic from 10,000 to 650,000

“When I first joined Kicks Crew, we were laser focused on marketplace selling and were only averaging 15 orders per day. In two years’ time, we grew revenue by 100x with exponential growth,” said Gary Hui, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer, Kicks Crew.

Here is the step-by-step process that the team conducted to achieve that growth.

Step #1: Baseline SEO Audit

The team started by conducting an SEO audit of the global ecommerce platform for sneakers’ website. The baseline focus of the audit examined organic traffic and the number of ranking organic keywords (spots 1-100 in the Search Engine Results Pages, aka SERPs).

Step #2: Identify ‘easy win’ keywords

‘Easy win’ keyword opportunities are keywords that the site is already ranking for in positions 4-30 (a.k.a, the first three pages of the SERPS). Google already sees the site as relevant for these key phrases. The team sought to capitalize on these existing keywords by using them, and variations of them, in more blog posts and webpages. The team:

  • Ensured the site’s on-page SEO features these keywords or phrases
  • Added additional, keyword-related content to the site
  • Built links to these pages from high-quality, high-authority, relevant sites

Step 3: Competitive gap analysis

The focus was to identify missed opportunities and what key terms the competitors were ranking for that Kicks Crew was not. As a result of the competitive gap analysis, thousands of keywords were identified and up for grabs, including ‘Chucks’ and ‘Kicks on fire.’

Step #4: Ramp up blog content

Now that all of these keywords and gaps were identified, the team ramped up their content production and began creating relevant blog posts for the site to get the site to rank for longtail, intentional keywords. For instance, the team published posts about sneaker care, how to wear various sneaker styles, and how to resell sneakers.

Step #5: Guest posts

Guest posts were used to target high-intent, bottom-funnel keywords that users are generally plugging in when they’re ready to buy. They created posts on both sites with high domain authority and traffic, and sites with less domain authority and traffic.

RESULTS – Sales increase

The most important result is the sales increase – the site’s sales increased by 100x in two years.

The SEO improvements contributed to this increase. At the start of the campaign, Kicks Crew was ranking for around 40,000 keywords and at the end of the campaign it was ranking for almost 200,000, with a significant increase in keywords ranking in first page and top three positions. For example, Kicks Crew ranked in the No. 1 position for the keyword ‘authentic air jordan 1.’

Of course, this had an impact on traffic as well. Kicks Crew went from 10,000 monthly visitors to more than 650,000. 

“As mentioned, our site was averaging 15 orders per day which was just unacceptable to us as a company but most of all, we felt our end customer was missing out on our product offering. We are proud of our platform and knew what we had to offer was worth a portion of the market share. Through implementing a strategic SEO strategy, we were able to reach our target end customers and further connect with them by giving them relevant, useful blog content that they value,” Hui said.

“They remained flexible and passionate about reaching their end customer which wound up benefiting them immensely in the long run,” said Marc Hardgrove, CEO, The HOTH (Kicks Crew’s marketing agency).

Related resources

Ecommerce Research Chart: Acquisition cost per customer

Loyalty Marketing: How to get customers to stick around (and keep buying)

Growth Marketing: Attribution is a myth, but you need it

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