October 23, 2023
Case Study

Evolving Engagement: How modern and traditional strategies boosted conversions


The evolution of customer engagement strategies would probably look something like this: traditional media à the web à artificial intelligence.

But just because a new strategy evolved does not mean that the old strategies no longer work.

So in this article, we bring you an example of each. Read on for specific examples of revitalizing customer engagement, with a dive into AI, direct mail, and landing page innovations.

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

Get the power of 10,000 marketing experiments working for you. Play with MECLABS AI by signing up for a free trial at MECLABS.com/AI (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).

Quick Case Study #1: AI-driven chatbot helps fence contractor increase lead conversion rate 30%

Irish Iron specializes in custom iron railings, gates, and fences.

BEFORE – ‘Digital business card’

The ornamental iron company had a simple website that functioned primarily as a digital business card, offering visitors basic information about their bespoke ironwork services.

Creative Sample #1: Simple website for fence contractor

Creative Sample #1: Simple website for fence contractor

The primary method of communication was a straightforward contact form, where potential clients could leave their details and a brief message about their home improvement needs. There was no live chat or instant feedback mechanism.

Customers who filled out the contact form or sent an email, perhaps inquiring about a custom railing design or a unique gate for their driveway, had to wait, often for several hours or even days, to receive a response.

By 2021, as competitors began to leverage advanced digital tools to enhance user experience and engagement, the home improvement’s company’s digital inertia was increasingly evident.

AFTER – Integrating an AI-driven chatbot

Before diving into the vast sea of AI-chatbot platforms, the team established clear criteria for what they needed:

  • User-Friendliness: A platform that could be set up and managed without requiring extensive technical expertise
  • Customizability: Given the niche nature of their business, it was essential that the chatbot could be tailored to address specific queries related to custom ironwork solutions
  • Scalability: As the business grew and evolved, the chosen platform needed to offer features and integrations that could adapt to changing needs
  • 24/7 Support Capabilities: To address one of their most significant service gaps, the platform had to facilitate round-the-clock customer interaction

“After a rigorous selection process – including industry recommendations, peer reviews, and demos – Chatfuel emerged as the platform of choice for Irish Iron,” said Dillon Hill, Head of Growth, Cosmoforge (Irish Iron’s growth marketing agency).

The team added the platform to a redesigned website.

Creative Sample #2: Redesigned website with AI chatbot

Creative Sample #2: Redesigned website with AI chatbot

Upon landing on the Irish Iron website, visitors are now greeted by the AI-driven chatbot. Unlike the static contact form of the past, this chatbot is proactive, initiating conversations and guiding users based on their queries.

Depending on the user's selection or typed query, the chatbot provides tailored responses. For instance, if a user inquires about ‘wrought iron gate designs,’ the chatbot can showcase a gallery or direct them to relevant portfolio sections. For queries related to designs or past projects, the chatbot can display images or even video snippets, providing users with a visual understanding.

Recognizing the diverse sources from which users might arrive, the chatbot is designed to offer tailored assistance based on the user's origin. “For instance, a user landing from a Pinterest post about garden gates might receive suggestions related to garden gate designs, while someone coming from a home renovation blog might be shown options for indoor railings,” Hill said.

For more complex queries that might require human intervention, the chatbot is designed to collect essential details, ensuring that the follow-up from the team is precise and informed. Based on the nature of the query, the chatbot can prioritize leads, ensuring that potential high-value customers get swift human attention.

Here’s an example of the personalized, context-aware interactions facilitated by the chatbot. One evening, a homeowner, who had just read a blog about garden aesthetics, clicked on an Irish Iron ad showcasing garden gates. Landing on the website, the chatbot immediately recognized the source and presented her with various garden gate designs. Intrigued, she explored the options, asked for a quote, and scheduled a consultation – all within minutes. The next day, the team had a fruitful discussion with the homeowner thanks to the chatbot’s insights, finalizing a design that perfectly matched her garden's aesthetics.

“At first, I thought this chatbot thing might be too fancy for our line of work. But seeing folks reach out at all hours, I got it. They want our solid ironwork, but they also want quick answers. What surprised me most was how many were asking about designs and customizations late at night or early morning. Made me realize that folks are planning their dream homes outside the usual 9 to 5,” said Jaden Barkman, Lead Salesman, Irish Iron.

RESULTS – Lead conversion rate increase

“When we first approached Irish Iron with the idea of a chatbot, we knew it was a leap from their traditional ways. But we believed that blending their craftsmanship with modern tech could create a unique customer experience. It's not about changing who they are, but about amplifying their strengths in today's digital age. Seeing the results now, it's clear that tradition and technology can coexist and thrive together,” Hill said.

In the months following the chatbot integration, lead conversion rate rose from 4.3% to 5.6% for the custom ironwork company, a 30% increase.

Beyond the numbers, the chatbot's impact was evident in the feedback received from customers. For example, one customer mentioned, “Irish Iron's communication, both online and offline, made me feel understood and valued. Their prompt responses and attention to detail made all the difference in my project.”

“This whole experience has shown me that while our craftsmanship is timeless, the way folks want to connect with us has changed. We've got to be there for them, both with our skills and with timely info,” Barkman said.

Quick Case Study #2: Home remodeling contractor increases direct mail ROAS from %1,250 to %2,000 with new creative

Homestar is a full-service home remodeling firm, with an average sale of roughly $30,000 to $40,000. For this reason, its marketing must be targeted towards homeowners with the financial means to work with a turnkey contractor. This means that broad targeting isn't ideal; the team must rely upon targeted advertising impressions.

“We regularly utilize USPS' Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) to target wealthy homeowners and generate ROAS (return on ad spend) of roughly 2,000%,” said Thomas Borcherding, Co-Owner, Homestar. “With EDDM, and without having to have a mailing permit, you can select specific postal routes to deliver advertisements to.” The team selects postal routes based on average household income.

Even with such a high ROI, the team tried different direct mail creative to see what would perform best.

BEFORE – Color and copy

“I decided upon Vistaprint for the printing of the postcards. As for the design, I had a creative vision in mind which I brought to life via Photoshop,” Borcherding said.

The first postcard was full color and had descriptive copy.

The team got the postcard out quickly, and looking back he saw some ways it could be improved. While there was a call to action – ‘Get Your Free Estimate Now!’ – there wasn't enough incentive to call, or to keep the postcard instead of discarding it. The design clearly struggled to contain the four services that were being advertised.

Creative Sample #3: Every Door Direct Mail postcard before

Creative Sample #3: Every Door Direct Mail postcard before

AFTER – B&W with incentive

So the team sent a second postcard – black-and-white with no body copy, but they added an incentive.

It was designed to deliver the most vital information quickly. They utilized a black-and-white design with important information colored with a pop of blue, so homeowners could quickly scan the card and get the key information.

Creative Sample #4: Every Door Direct Mail postcard after

Creative Sample #4: Every Door Direct Mail postcard after

“The homeowner's eyes immediately go to the pops of color, including the ‘$750 Off.’ In fact, the ‘Present This Card For $750 Off’ incentivizes the homeowner into retaining the card, as opposed to discarding it. For this reason, we receive leads long after the initial mailing of the postcards,” he said.

A homeowner once told the team that she kept the postcard on her fridge because of how pretty the images of the remodeling jobs were. Eventually, she called when she felt the time was right to remodel her kitchen.

RESULTS – Cost per lead falls, ROAS jumps

As mentioned above when discussing the company’s average sale price, residential remodeling is a large-ticket sale. In addition, a few large jobs – the company will sometimes receive $80,000 to $120,000 jobs from a small amount in ad spend – can inflate the marketing metrics even more. This means that the ROAS numbers can be quite high.

“Our advertising campaign performance, including EDDM, is measured using ROAS. ROI is a great metric if you have the staff and time to analyze profit per job and then aggregate all of the data. Due to our healthy margins, ROAS is most convenient for us,” he said.

The postcard revision happened in 2021. In the period from 2019 to 2020, the team saw ad spend of about $30,000, with revenue of $375,000. This makes for a ROAS of 1,250%. From 2021 to present, the team spent about $50,000, which saw a resulting $1,000,000 in revenue, making for a ROAS of 2,000%.

“EDDM is a very underrated marketing channel, especially in the digital age. We can realize lower CPAs through search ads via Google or Facebook Ads, but those leads will be of lessor quality and can result in the wasting of money,” Borcherding said.

Quick Case Study #3 – Apparel store redesigns product pages, increase ecommerce conversion rate 104%

BB Branded is an apparel store that sells Nike, Adidas, and many more brands.

BEFORE – Basic product pages

The original product pages were simple page layouts, which were the best fit for the team’s resources at the time. The pages displayed the brand being sold, since it was very important for people to recognize what brand they were buying, in addition to the SEO benefits.

The page displayed the product universal ID because fans would search for or recognize that ID. The product description was above the product size since the team thought it would be better for users.

The page provided an option for people to share that product on multiple social media platforms and had a catalog of related items right underneath the product itself to influence purchases of multiple items.

Creative Sample #5: Old product page on desktop

Creative Sample #5: Old product page on desktop

Creative Sample #6: Old product page on mobile

Creative Sample #6: Old product page on mobile

AFTER – More image-focused product pages, addition of a loyalty program

The team redesigned the product pages to make the product photos larger. The new photos take more space on the page since they believe images are the most important attributes of the product and people love to flip around the photos before buying the product. On desktop, when people scroll down, the page starts by scrolling down on the image side only.

The team created a loyalty program, and added the points that could be earned from each purchase on the product page. This was a game-changer. Big brands like Nike have rules that stop the team from lowering prices for a set time. But many customers will spend $250 on shoes no matter where they buy them. To stand out from other stores, the team made an easy-to-use rewards system. It gives points that can be turned into cash, helping customers get a better deal without breaking any rules.

They also made the following changes to the product pages:

  • Bolded the title as it is a very important element of the product.
  • Tremendously decreased the size of the breadcrumbs. They realized people would keep going back and forth discouraging conversions.
  • Added the specific product type and brand, and making both clickable for a better user experience.
  • Added the option to finance the item over four interest-free payments with the help of Sezzle or Afterpay, a feature that was widely used by customers buying $150+ items.
  • Added the color options for users to visualize the color before choosing it.
  • Add an organized sizing system with the actual number of products left in stock displayed based on the size. There was sometimes only one or two products in stock in a particular size which also created a feeling of scarcity.
  • Added a box that displays the promotions, and if that specific product qualifies for the promotion.
  • Moved the [Add to Bag] button to the top of the page as this was the ultimate goal for people to convert.

Creative Sample #7: New product page on desktop

Creative Sample #7: New product page on desktop

Creative Sample #8: New product page on mobile

Creative Sample #8: New product page on mobile

"Don't just assume what people want to see,” said Ayad Saddy, Owner, BB Branded. “Use your data and see what your customers value the most."

The team collected data by surveying website visitors using Hotjar. These insights led them to add three tabbed sections to the product pages:

  • Why BB – People were concerned that the store's products are not authentic (there are a lot of fake products in the market). People were concerned about the store having reliable shipping, and how much it costs. Some were worried that the checkout was not secure as people were just getting used to buying expensive items online.
  • Description – They simplified the description and moved it to a hidden spot as not a lot of people were interested in the description.
  • Shipping – This section had more detailed information on shipping than in the ‘why BB’ section.

“Always get feedback from your users – use free tools like Microsoft Clarity or paid tools like Hotjar to understand and see how your users act on your website,” advised Aly El-Ganzouri, Founder and Product Manager, ES Consulting (BB Branded’s agency).

Creative Sample #9: Sections with more information on new product page

Creative Sample #9: Sections with more information on new product page

The team also made the ‘customers also viewed’ section fit and look better on the product page.

Creative Sample #10: New ‘customers also viewed’ section at the bottom of product page

Creative Sample #10: New ‘customers also viewed’ section at the bottom of product page

RESULTS – Higher conversion rate

Thanks to these changes, the team increased the product conversion rate from 0.51% to 1.05% – a 104% conversion rate increase.

"I believe there were multiple things that were done right together to get a 105% increase in conversion rate, but I highly credit any change that put the users first and made their shopping experience better,” Saddy said.

Average time on page increase by 15%.

“There are multiple metrics that clearly tell webmasters if users are engaging and enjoying the experience on their pages. One of them is the average time on page. While it's sometimes not looked at carefully, this should tell you if users are enjoying the page or not. We believe simplifying the page and making it fit with the right target audience – with better and bigger images and less text and random info on the page – increased average time on page by 15%,” El-Ganzouri said.

Related resources

Customer Engagement: Marketing case studies from Coors Light, a professional soccer team, and a private jet charter

Marketing Strategies: 3 proven customer engagement strategies to try (examples with results)

Effective Audience Engagement Strategies: Real-life examples from social media and email marketing

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