What value is buried in your marketing department?
To give you ideas to find that value, we bring you examples from the software industry, a cleaning products company and an answering service.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
Here is one of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes cartoons…
Hobbes: Why are you digging a hole?
Calvin: I’m looking for buried treasure!
Hobbes: What have you found?
Calvin: A few dirty rocks, a weird root, and some disgusting grubs.
Hobbes: On your first try??
Calvin: There’s treasure everywhere!
There’s treasure everywhere for your marketing organization as well. Hidden opportunities that only reveal themselves when you roll up your sleeves and do the dirty work of digging far and wide.
Take the tragedy surrounding the coronavirus, for example. It’s easy at first glance to only see the negative. There sure is a whole lot of it.
But as Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute said, “As a global pandemic grips modern society, most of the conversation has focused around the negative impacts facing individuals, organizations and society as a whole. Many people are hurting today. That cannot be understated. However, even COVID-19 has a silver lining. Deeply painful experiences can also be deeply transformational.” That quote is from The Hidden Opportunity Within the COVID-19 Crisis: Three ways to transform your work and your life.
With that thought in mind, get on your digging gloves and get ready to dive into examples of how your marketing peers found hidden opportunities from a homepage test, in their approach to content marketing and SEO, and in their lead attribution.
A few years ago, Greenice had set a goal to turn its website into a solid source of leads and sales. To achieve this, the web development agency chose content marketing paired with SEO as its main strategy. The team decided to create content in-house and outsource SEO.
“As the person in charge of this project, I had an idea that content quality is the key to success. So I’ve concentrated all our efforts on creating the best content we can and let the SEO guys do their job,” said Kateryna Reshetilo, Head of Marketing, Greenice.
After a year had passed, the team had invested a lot of resources but didn’t get anywhere near their goal.
“It took another year for me to realize where we went wrong,” Reshetilo said. “We neglected content promotion (in our case it is mostly link building), doing very little compared to the competition. We spent too many resources on perfecting our content, sometimes way more than necessary.”
“So I realized that content promotion is just as important as content quality, if not more, and you cannot just outsource it and forget it. I’ve also understood that when resources are scarce, it is not wise to make every piece of content perfect, sometimes good enough is enough,” she said.
The team brought SEO in-house, developed a link-building strategy based on a thorough analysis of the competition and best practices, invested in link building at least as much as they do in content creation, and prioritized content based on how much effort is needed for each post.
At the moment, SEO is the main way for potential clients to discover their content, so having it in-house helps to better coordinate content creation and SEO efforts. Also, they found out that link building is arguably the main growth driver in SEO and they weren’t doing it right. That’s why they dedicated a lot of time to learn what competitors were doing and what SEO experts are saying. As a result, they started developing their own link building strategy to make sure they dedicate enough resources to it.
After changing their approach, the team saw a steady growth of traffic and, most importantly, the number of leads started growing by 15% every month – during the past four months, the number of leads has grown by 60%.
MB Stone Care dedicated two decades to building a line of cleaning products specifically for natural stone surfaces like marble and granite. It was well-known in the professional stone restoration world, but when it came to the everyday homeowner, the brand was practically unknown.
The cleaning products supplier worked with Mission Disrupt to create a website experience tailored to customer needs. The team started by evaluating the current site. “The first step in doing so was to collect user data anonymously on their website using Hotjar. Hotjar allowed us to deploy heat maps, which showed the sections of their website that were clicked on and scrolled through the most,” said Dean DeCarlo, CEO and Founder, Mission Disrupt.
After the new website was launched, the team used paid ads to build upon the site’s organic traffic. “We knew Google Shopping & Search would be the ideal channel for users to discover the website,” DeCarlo said. “Google Shopping allowed us to use the same organic terms that people used to find the brands and then paid for visibility at a national level.”
“Once we established a track record on Google we began exploring the world of Facebook and Instagram,” he said. “We opted to use the instant experience Facebook/Instagram ad format that allowed for the ad experience to be interactive.” When people clicked on the ad, they would get an expanded ad experience that showed the before-and-after results of using the cleaning product.
Aside from paid ads, the team also leveraged organic social media by working with micro-influencers. “Affiliate partners produce content on YouTube, Instagram or any other social media platform, helping to send customers to your website, if they help get you a sale they get a commission (usually 15%) of the sale,” DeCarlo said.
Now that they had traffic flowing to the new site, they began A/B testing. “One thing I love about growth on your own ecommerce site is that you learn more about your customer with every transaction made. That means a ton of data that can help you build a better experience. For MB Stone Care, we implemented A/B testing which allowed us to test new layouts, marketing copy, and even promotions to see how it would affect our conversion rate. This practice is known as conversion rate optimization and is a practical way to ensure you’re getting the best results before increasing ad spend.”
In the original home page, the team had designed product mockups and a clear call to action to help customers find the right stone care by using the product finder wizard.
Creative Sample #1: Original (control) homepage for cleaning supplies company
For the treatment, they decided to change the layout of the homepage, ensuring top sales products were front and center on the page while also displaying the top-rated products. They highlighted three selling points by creating promo grids that had “Free Shipping Over $75,” “Best Sellers,” and “Guides & How-Tos” – three distinct call to actions. They chose this approach partly based on website traffic flow data.
Creative Sample #2: New (treatment) homepage for cleaning supplies company
The new design improved conversion rate by 184% thanks to a more minimalist design, that featured more functional call to actions addressing multiple visitor needs.
"Based on the success of our first A/B test, conversion rate optimization is a regular part of our marketing plan. As an online retailer it helps us test new innovations, features and layouts, while understand our customers behavior in a measured way,” said Denise Daniels, VP of Operations, MB Stone Care.
Moneypenny is a communications provider offering solutions like live chat and outsourced switchboards. They serve hundreds of thousands of clients across the UK and US.
Moneypenny’s marketing team operates across all digital marketing channels, with multiple campaigns in play to drive leads into their website. Their leads tend to engage with their sales team via phone call, live chat or web form and eventually convert offline.
This posed a reporting issue for Moneypenny. One, how could they track each of their leads no matter which method they came from? Two, how could they track the full customer journey to understand the role marketing played in reaching and converting those leads?
“We were confident we were missing data on a large number of leads via paid search, particularly for those leads that came in via phone. While we could cross-reference leads in the CRM (customer relationship management platform), there was no way to accurately track leads that came in via a call back to a traffic source,” said Daniel Marshall, Digital Marketing Manager, Moneypenny.
By implementing marketing attribution tool Ruler across its website, Moneypenny has been able to definitively track all visitors to their website and match lead data back to the original source. This enriched data is then pushed to Google Analytics and Ads where the team can see leads, opportunities and won clients attributed back to specific campaigns and keywords, which removed time-consuming tasks from the team’s to-do list.
And Marshall’s assumptions on missing data were proven correct.
“We quickly identified we were losing visibility on around 20% of leads that came in via phone, meaning our view of overall CPL (cost per lead) was incorrect. We’re now able to optimize campaigns based on actual won business, as opposed to web conversions,” he said. “We knew prospects like to interact with us in different ways, so the ability to see what drives live chat leads has been of huge benefit too, as we can now identify which keywords work for this specific audience.”
Now armed with data they can trust, Moneypenny’s understanding of what drives a high-quality lead has allowed them to reap the benefits.
“Being able to surface this data has allowed us to be more intelligent in the way we optimize our paid search activity. For example, we have been able to reduce our spend on keyword groups that drive web conversions, but do not result in genuine leads. Likewise, we have been able to increase spend in the areas that drive good volumes of leads at good CPLs.”
With significant budget placed behind PPC (pay-per-click) and Paid Social, Marshall has been able to use the data to protect his budgets and identify both cost savings and performance increases.
“Our spend has stayed consistent year on year, but as we’re now able to optimize based on all leads rather than web conversions. We’ve seen an eight percent increase in leads and our cost per lead has reduced by 11%,” Marhsall said. “At first glance, our generic paid search campaigns appeared more expensive due to the competitive nature of the keywords. Offline conversion tracking discovered more leads had interacted with these campaigns, which had a big impact on our CPL and allowed us to be more focused on our spend.”
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