January 19, 2023
Case Study

Self-reflection Empowers New Marketing Approaches: Reactive PR campaign for gaming website, email A/B testing for nursing influencer, ad buying for gutter service


This is the time of year we tend to reflect on our past behaviors and think of changes we can make to live our best life.

A similar activity can help you achieve your goals for your brand as well. To help spark that metamorphosis, we bring you this article so you can get ideas from your peers’ transformation. Read on for specific marketing case study examples with results.

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

Self-reflection Empowers New Marketing Approaches: Reactive PR campaign for gaming website, email A/B testing for nursing influencer, ad buying for gutter service

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

“The action of sales should be grounded in the reflection of marketing,” Flint McGlaughlin taught in Sales Funnel Offers: How to select and refine the best value proposition for your campaign (McGlaughlin is CEO of MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute).

The New Year is traditionally a time to reflect, so what better time to bring you case studies that can help you further reflect on (and improve) your own marketing. Here are question that you can use to reflect on your own efforts in three key areas, along with case study examples to spark your ideas for answering these questions:

  • Public Relations – How can I create something of value that journalists will care about? To give you ideas to answer this question, read about a reactive PR campaign for a gaming website that earned 28 organic links.
  • Marketing – What messages will potential customers respond to, and how often should I ask them to act? To help spark your own best thinking, read about a couple of A/B tests run by a nursing influencer.
  • Advertising – With so many ad buying options, how can I set up my accounts to get the best bang for the buck with my ad spend? To further your own self-reflection, read about a gutter cleaning service that switched from AI-driven to human-driven ad placement.

Quick Case Study #1: Newsjacking digital PR campaign earns 28 organic links for campaign gaming website

LEVVVEL is a website in the gaming niche. It receives 2.5 million total visits per month, according to Similarweb. No matter how much work the team did and the different angles they tried, it was really hard to build links for the website because of its gaming content, they believed. The team was constantly following the news, looking for digital PR ideas.

When they read about gaming companies and gamers sending donations to support Ukraine after the invasion by Russia, a lightbulb went off. They came up with the idea of combining all those donation data points – amounts given as well as company/gamer names – onto one page which was updated daily with current data. The page was meant to help reporters and journalists pick up the data and create pieces about this unified front from the gaming industry supporting Ukraine. This digital PR tactic is sometimes referred to as “newsjacking,” which is the process of adding thoughts and opinions on breaking news stories.

The team created a simple webpage that featured a graph and a list of the company/gamer names and donation amounts. The data was from verified sources, such as the official websites of gamers/gaming companies, their official Twitter statements, etc. The uniqueness of the data was that it was being updated daily so the journalists were getting the most accurate and recent data.

Creative Sample #1: Newsjacking webpage used for digital PR

Creative Sample #1: Newsjacking webpage used for digital PR

The team then focused on outreach to journalists covering Russia-Ukraine war news, gaming, and each of the companies/gamers that were included in the list. “Journalists were extracted from the Muck Rack tool, which is a media database, and outreached via outreach automation tool Mailshake,” said Tsoghik Petrosyan, SEO Project Manager, Loopex Digital (LEVVVEL’s SEO agency).

For the outreach emails, the team used the following subject lines:

  • Gaming industry unites to support Ukraine
  • New Data from Levvvel on gaming industry donations to Ukraine
  • Gaming company donations: More than $195,258,400 in support to Ukraine

And sent a three-email series to journalists.

First outreach email to journalists

Hi {{name}},

After reading a few of your gaming and tech-related articles, I think you’ll find our recently composed list interesting. Here are the details:

In the face of recent events, the gaming industry has come together to support the citizens of Ukraine. In spite of Russia's threats to legalize the piracy of games and other economic retaliation, many gaming companies are helping those who have been affected by the outbreak of conflict which definitely needs to be acknowledged.

Levvvel.com has created a definitive list of all the gaming companies that have made donations to various Ukrainian charities and has revealed that, for now, the total donation amount is $195,258,400. The top 3 companies that have been actively participating in the donations are Epic Games+Microsoft, Humble Bundle, and Necrosoft.  Our list will be continuously updated with the most recent data.

The Editor-in-Chief of Levvvel.com commented on this as well which you can find here.

I hope that this list is useful and insightful.

If you need more info, feel free to get in touch.

Best wishes,


Outreach email follow-up #1

Hey {{journalist name}}, just wanted to follow up.

I shot a small video covering the main points of our article :)

Levvvel|Gaming Companies Uniting in Support of Ukraine - Watch Video

Levvvel|Gaming Companies Uniting in Support of Ukraine - Watch Video

Are you interested in covering the topic?



Outreach email follow-up #2

Hi {{name}},

Just wanted to give it one last shot :)

Levvvel.com has created a definitive list of all the gaming companies that have made donations to various Ukrainian charities and has revealed that, for now, the total donation amount is $195,258,400.

Here is a quick video on it as well:

Levvvel|Gaming Companies Uniting in Support of Ukraine - Watch Video

Is this something you would be interested in covering?

If you need more information, feel free to get in touch.

Best regards,


“As a result of the campaign, the website was able to acquire more than 28 links from prominent websites such as VentureBeat, LaRepublica, MinFin UA, and GameRant,” Petrosyan said. “We started the campaign in March and definitely improved important SEO metrics such as DR (Domain Rating), DA (Domain Authority), traffic and Ahrefs rank.” In two months, DR improved from 52 to 54, DA improved from 50 to 52, and Ahrefs Rank improved from 558,807 to 470,042.

Here's an example of the coverage the campaign received. The Ukrainian edition of Vogue included the following text and a link back to the newsjacking webpage – “It is also known that since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the global gaming community has collected more than 195 million dollars to help Ukraine. This is reported in the Levvvel report.” – in the article Game developer S.T.A.L.K.E.R. collected almost a million dollars for the Armed Forces [excerpt and article title has been translated from the original Ukrainian using Google Translate].

“The best and, I guess really the most savvy decision was involving our client in the process from A-Z so he could offer his specialized knowledge and insight into the niche; this ultimately enabled us to progress and eased up the process of campaign development. I do attribute the success of our campaign to this decision. So, one piece of advice that I would give to everyone who is trying to succeed in digital PR is establishing an environment where clients and marketers can both contribute valuable insight for the campaign's ultimate success,” said Maria Harutyunyan, Co-founder and Head of SEO, Loopex Digital.

“I would recommend keeping open communication and having regular updates and check-ins. That can help to keep the project on track and ensure that it stays aligned with its goals and objectives,” agreed Deni Latić, CEO, Delati Group (parent company of LEVVVEL).

Quick Case Study #2: Nurse influencer increases email open rate from 13% to 56% by piquing curiosity

Nurse Fern helps bedside nurses find remote nursing jobs and offers resources like LinkedIn Resume Templates and a LinkedIn course. The influencer had a large TikTok following and a growing Instagram account. The team sought to improve email marketing performance by A/B testing different information, subject lines, and CTAs to see what the list responded to in weekly emails.

Subject Line Test

The open rates on these emails were falling between 11% and 13% consistently, so the team believed there were subject line issues. They started A/B testing with different subject lines to see what the audience responded to most.

For example, one of the original subject lines read “The Nurse Fern Newsletter” and had an open rate of 13%. “The issue with this subject line is that there was no incentive or mystery to open the email and the reader had no indication of what was to be in said newsletter,” said Haley Slade, CEO & Founder, Slade Copy House (Nurse Fern’s digital copywriting agency).

So, they experimented with new subject lines such as “Love tech? This job role is for you” and “You’re gonna be a star!” to see how people responded.

Let’s take a look at a specific test. The “from” field for the control and treatment emails was “Emma with Nurse Fern” and the email is below.

Creative Sample #2: Email body copy that was used for subject line test

Creative Sample #2: Email body copy that was used for subject line test

The team tested the subject line and accompanying pre-header.

  • Control Subject Line: The Nurse Fern Newsletter
  • Control Preheader: sharing news from Nurse Fern this week


  • Treatment Subject Line: Love tech? This job role is for you
  • Treatment Preheader: not to mention, it’s pretty flexible 👀

“We found that piquing curiosity as well as directly calling out when a job role was being presented in the email was what her audience responded to most,” Slade said.

The control had an open rate of 13% and the treatment had an open rate of 56%

“The increased open rates include Apple Privacy Opens – this is still a gray area with email metrics,” said Emma Geiser, Founder & CEO, Nurse Fern.

Email call-to-action test

The team also tested the number of CTAs they should have in the emails – one CTA (the control) versus two CTAs (the treatment).

  • Email “from” field: Emma with Nurse Fern
  • Subject line: The biggest mistake nurses are making
  • Pre-header: and how to fix it!

Creative Sample #3: Email treatment with multiple CTAs

Creative Sample #3: Email treatment with multiple CTAs

The audience responded better to the treatment – with two CTAs. It received a 0.6% higher clickthrough rate.

“A/B testing has allowed Nurse Fern to see what email content our audience responds to. It's easy to get stuck in a rut of thinking our email list simply isn't that engaged and there is nothing we can do about it. We used to be stressed about email and sent them out without giving the subject line and CTAs a ton of thought,” Geiser said.

She continued, “It’s almost silly now that we think about it, we’re constantly experimenting with how we deliver content on social media and have very high engagement rates, we simply didn't apply that to email. Learning through experimentation allows us to deliver content to our readers in a way they want to see it.”

Quick Case Study #3: Gutter and solar panel cleaning service pivots from AI-automated ad campaigns to manual campaigns, increases tracked inquiries from 0 to 90

Gutter Cleaning Guys is a small business based in Perth, Western Australia (WA) which provides gutter and solar panel cleaning services to commercial and residential properties across WA. The team had previously been getting by with great word-of-mouth referrals, however they wanted to expand their business by tapping into the thousands of people searching for their services via search engines like Google.

Initially, the company’s Google Ads campaign was set up using Google’s ‘Smart campaign’ format. Smart campaigns are a subset of Google Ads, in which Google uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automate and simplify many of its features. These campaigns are fairly quick and easy to set up, making them appealing for business owners running their own marketing. However, they come with the drawback of less control over the ads and where they can show.

The campaign spent $593 from September to December 2021, generating 8,570 impressions and 254 clicks, but there were 0 inquiries Parkinson could track back to the ads. These were not the results the team hoped for. “As an owner-operator, my areas of expertise don’t include marketing but I tried to give it a shot myself anyway. I wasted a lot of hard-earned cash due to the ads not performing, but I believe in the Google ads platform and knew there must be a way to get it working,” said Gary Parkinson, Owner-Operator, Gutter Cleaning Guys.

Parkinson decided to bring in a team to run the ads. They set up Google Search Ads, with one campaign targeting brand keywords and another targeting gutter cleaning and solar panel cleaning services.

“Like so many small businesses, Gutter Cleaning Guys fell into the common trap of focusing on ‘vanity metrics’ and a broad target audience. It’s clear while Gutter Cleaning Guys’ Smart campaign generated an impressive number of impressions for the ad spend, these impressions didn’t translate to meaningful results because the ads were being shown to the wrong audience. We shifted the campaign type to a proper Google Search campaign (instead of a Smart campaign) so that we could have more control over the targeting,” said Sophie Hunt, Digital Marketer, Helium Marketing (Gutter Cleaning Guys’ marketing agency).

The team narrowed in on only those who had a strong intent of engaging Gutter Cleaning Guys, and they identified these users by the specificity of search terms they targeted, such as bottom-of-the-funnel keywords with clear intent like ‘gutter cleaning perth’ and ‘roof gutter cleaning perth.’

Creative Sample #4: Ad for gutter and solar panel cleaning service

Creative Sample #4: Ad for gutter and solar panel cleaning service

From September to December 2022, the Google Search campaign used a $2,330 ad spend (392% increase), generating 1,280 clicks (504% increase), and 10,000 impressions (only a 117% increase despite the larger increase in ad spend and clicks). Most importantly, the campaign generated 90 tracked inquiries.

Related Resources

How the Pandemic Inspired Brands to Rethink their Marketing Strategy: 3 quick case studies

Marketing Strategy: 5 successful (and 1 failed) strategic approaches to everyday marketing challenges

Creative Inspiration: 9 mini case studies of marketing campaigns and business ideas sparked by unorthodox inspiration

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