Best practices are appealing. It is difficult to get results, and all too tempting to mimic what has worked for others.
However, I encourage you to look at MarketingSherpa case studies in a different light. We bring you elements. While you can learn from these case studies, they are not enough. It takes you.
You are the composer that can take elements from here, and elements from there, and ultimately create something entirely new and powerful to better serve your audience and get results.
To inspire your next great composition, in this article we bring you examples from Cisco, The Pedowitz Group, and an insurance broker.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn,” T.S. Eliot said.
Marketing is complex and difficult. One way to cope with this challenge is by hunting for best practices and “stealing” the approach others take.
Or you can bring a different perspective to the challenge. Look a level deeper. Don’t just focus on the surface-level best practice, dive into the elements of what it took to build that success and create something all your own with a clear intention – to get results by best serving your unique customers.
For example, the Landing Page Blueprint infographic PDF shows the anatomy of a landing page by displaying 22 elements of a landing page. Having these elements in front of your team can help you design an effective landing page. This isn’t a best practice. It’s a breakdown of the elements you need to build that successful landing page.
To help you break down the elements that lead to marketing success, in this article we bring you three stories.
First, an insurance brokers than conducted A/B testing to determine effective elements of a landing page. Then Cisco shares the elements of its advocate marketing program that has recruited 20,000 global advocates. And finally, The Pedowitz Group maps out the elements it changed to optimize a key blog post for conversion.
Alan Boswell Group is a UK-wide insurance broker and financial planner, with a landlords insurance department.
“In light of our new rent guarantee insurance product launching, we have implemented a landing page test with the aim of improving conversation rates and increasing online sales of our rent guarantee product,” said Ellen Holmes, Marketing Assistant, Alan Boswell Group.
The team wanted to send more people to its online quote engine, thus reducing the need for people to email or call to get a quote. They tested two landing pages. The Landing Page A included the following elements – a header with a “quote” button and a section to highlight the insurance broker’s awards
The copy "Cover up to £2,500 in rental income per month" is clearly displayed in a red circle next to the headline.
Marketer and entrepreneurs always question when they should introduce price on a website, or if they should not have it on a webpage at all and save it for an in-person conversation with a sales rep. They worry price will turn away customers that they could otherwise sell in person.
On Landing Page A, there is a subhead that promintently states the price – "Purchase rent guarantee insurance from £160 per property*" And below the button, two key features of the product are listed – "Up to 15 months’ rental cover" and "Landlord Legal expenses helpline 24/7."
Creative Sample #1: Landing Page A for insurance broker
Landing Page B had a more traditional look, with the quote button further down the page.
It did not have a subheadline. It did not prominently feature the price.
The initial body copy was not as specific as Landing Page A: "Purchase our rent guarantee insurance and get peace of mind when renting your properties."
Creative Sample #2: Landing Page B for insurance broker
The A/B landing page test split the traffic, so each page received 50% of visitors – 20,771 users per page. The team tracked clickthrough rate (CTR) from the rent guarantee insurance (RGI) product page to the quote engine.
Landing Page A had a 30.6% clickthrough rate and landing Page B had a 13% clickthrough rate.
"From the test the team learnt that customers are more likely to click through to purchase our rent guarantee product if the price and key features of the product was shown in a prominent place," Holmes said.
Over the past four years, Cisco has championed its global advocacy community, The Gateway, expanding it to more than 20,000 Cisco advocates globally.
“We created a user experience that initially rewarded CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) and CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certified customers for the hard work they’d put into getting certified. We also made the program into a venue where Insiders can share their knowledge with fellow Cisco-certified IT professionals and voice their opinions about current and future versions of the Cisco certification training stream,” said Shelby Major, Advocate Marketing Manager, Cisco.
The team uses gamification to keep community members engaged. For example, every September, they run a themed social media frenzy challenge that rewards the Insiders who generate the most shares. When the annual Cisco Live conference was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team asked Insiders to share pictures of their “convention-from-home” setups, and then assembled a collage they shared on the Learning@Cisco social channels.
In addition to technical training, the team considered the whole person. They launched the Gateway Wellness channel, which promoted advocates’ wellbeing, including a cycling wellness video with Emma Roffey, Cisco’s Vice President of EMEAR Marketing (marketing for Europe, Middle East, Africa & Russia).
The advocacy program helps the team create customer-generated content at scale.
“At Cisco, we employ a hybrid model of enabling customers to share their authentic stories in the first-person narrative. We give them a menu of advocacy options (e.g., customer stories, testimonials, videos, reviews, etc.) and they decide and drive forward with whatever avenues they are most passionate about or most comfortable doing,” said Cristina Melluzzi, Director, Global Customer & Partner Advocacy, Cisco.
Once a customer has created content, the team also seeks to identify other opportunities. For example, someone who has already completed a customer story may be an excellent fit for a future speaking opportunity.
And they make sure the advocates benefit from the experience. “We recognize and reward advocate contributions in many ways, such as event tickets, VIP access to Cisco executives, branded swag and more,” Melluzzi said.
“According to Gartner, 70% of consumers today distrust marketers, so customer-generated content is a must when building brand trust and attracting buyers to your brand,” said Dan Cote, CMO, Influitive (Cisco’s customer advocacy SaaS).
In the last five years, the advocate marketing program has generated the following results for Cisco:
The company has also received feedback like this quote from Joshua Beaver of T-Mobile – “You guys at The Gateway have changed my passion levels for Cisco as a whole, you have engaged me at a human level that is just unheard of in such a big company.”
The Pedowitz Group produces a lot of B2B content and was looking for a way to increase its performance. In late August, the team optimized a key blog post titled “What is Revenue Marketing? The key to earning a seat at the revenue table.”
“First, we added a video from our Chief Strategy Officer [Dr. Debbie Qaqish] above-the-fold to provide a succinct answer to the question posed by the blog: What is revenue marketing? (It helps that she coined the term and brought it to market!),” said Caleb Rule, Inbound Marketing Manager, The Pedowitz Group
The team also improved the graphics throughout the blog. “Originally, they were taken from PPT [PowerPoint] decks that we presented to clients, but we instead wanted to provide a more consistent (and modern) look/feel, plus callout particular key points so it’s easy for people to scan (instead of in-depth reading) if they want to,” Rule said.
The graphics were added to the blog post in a way that people could easily download them, putting the consulting group’s logo and concepts in front of other people who these graphics might be shared with. The updated graphics also allowed for some SEO (search engine optimization) outreach since the team could pitch people who were using the old ones (some of whom weren’t linking to The Pedowitz Group).
Creative Sample #3: Updated graphics on consulting group’s blog post
The team also added relevant CTAs (calls to action) throughout – for example, adding a new italicized line near the top that said, “Looking for a deeper dive? Download our Revenue Marketing bundle packed with everything you need!”
These optimizations led to a 67% increase in conversion rate (downloading an asset or contacting the consulting group had a 4.45% conversion rate, up from 2.66% in the previous period). Visitors from paid search traffic spent 38% more time on the post. And there was a 16% increase in pages per session when this content was used as the landing page for paid search traffic.
The team also added a bot on the blog post that offered specific content suggestions related to that post.
Creative Sample #4: Content recommendation bot on consulting group’s blog post
Since late August, three percent of blog visitors had a conversation with the bot. The bot had four conversations with prospects in the consulting group’s ideal customer profile (ICP), based on intent data segments the chatbot pulls from. Two signed up for an email newsletter and two grabbed a related high-value asset after chatting with the bot.
“It’s a small improvement, but it’s possible we don’t get that engagement with our ICP without the bot,” Rule said.
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