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Read on for examples of human-AI synergy, a mission-driven strategy, and psychological positioning in sales.
If you’re stuck in a rut with your marketing, here are three ways you can innovate:
The Rask AI team tested an audio advertising campaign on Spotify from May 24th to 31st, 2023.
The aim of the test was to compare placements in two different languages (English and Spanish). The ads ran only in the United States, targeting people based on what language they use in Spotify.
“AI translation made a huge leap forward over the past years, especially with the introducing of LLMs such as ChatGPT. However, with the release of the first AI-generated ads on Spotify, we wanted it to be perfect, so we did have humans at the end of the editing process. We asked native speakers to check if everything is ok with the wording and grammar in our audio assets. Our content pieces were quite short, and the edits were minimal – so AI did a great job. I think that the main thing about using AI in marketing: you want to scale fast, but don’t lose the quality in the process. So, in my mind, the human + AI synergy works the best to achieve both,” said Maria Chmir, CEO, Rask AI.
The Spanish-language ad got a 36% higher clickthrough rate than the English-language ad – 0.41% versus 0.3% CTR.
(Please Note: I validated the above results at a 99% level of confidence. There were more treatments tested, but since I was unable to validate those results, I did not include them in this article).
“We assume that this is the positive impact of speaking the same language with your audience: US residents using Spotify [in the] Spanish language may have been surprised by hearing ads in their own language and clicked the ad more,” Chmir said.
“It all started with a man named Nick Wallace – a third-generation farmer and owner of Wallace Farms in Iowa. Wallace was on a mission to revive both the health of Iowa’s soil and its farming communities through regenerative farming practices that would provide Iowans with the highest-quality meat,” said Alexander Melone, Co-founder and Chief Production Officer, CodeCrew (Wallace Farms and 99 Counties’ email marketing agency).
And email marketing and rebranding played a role in this effort. Let’s take a look at how the team did it.
Originally the team was sending the same, unsegmented emails to all subscribers from the Wallace Farms brand. And Wallace Farms was selling its meat nationwide. But ultimately, this go-to-market model did not align with its mission.
So the team did one of the most difficult things any company could do – it had to say ‘goodbye’ (at least initially) to some terrific customers.
They added a sixth principle to their five principles of soil health – local. Which meant, instead of shipping coast-to-coast they decided to only service customers within a day’s drive. Their audience got much smaller (almost halved) but they had to keep up with approximately the same amount of revenue.
They rolled out the 99 Counties (99C) brand as a marketplace, and launched with 15 farms, which included bringing Wallace Farms under the 99C umbrella. The new brand coordinates all of the processing, transportation, and marketing so that farmers can focus on raising livestock.
This change necessitated a new approach to email marketing as well. “Segmentation was mainly done based on delivery zones/geolocation…via their email sending platform, Klaviyo,” Melone said.
For customers In The delivery Zone (ITZ), they used a more promotional approach and increased the email cadence. For example, any order placed by Thursday would have been delivered the following week, so they focused on having promo emails from Monday to Thursday and stuck to informative/social emails from Friday to Sunday.
Creative Sample #1: Promo email
They decreased the cadence for email going to Out of The delivery Zone (OTZ) email subscribers down to one email per month, and sent a purely informative email, since they only needed to keep these people connected with the brand until 99C expands their delivery area.
They also made sign up forms that are only shown to recipients in certain areas. This is especially needed when there is a discount offered for signing up. It would be frustrating to show a $10 discount to somebody that can't place an order due to being on the other side of the US.
For the rebranding, their strategy was to start mentioning/teasing the new brand approximately one month before the launch to ensure a smooth carryover from the old to the new brand with as few lost contacts as possible.
Creative Sample #2: Pre-rebrand email
Since this was a total brand change, the team defined the email style entirely – everything was completely different, including layout, color palette, and structure.
Creative Sample #3: New brand launch email
“Using crossed-segmentation between the two brands during the launch and making sure we kept sending from both brands' email domains for a short while after the launch also helped with a smooth transition,” said Nicole Moore, Director of Sales & Marketing, 99 Counties.
After the rebrand, the team achieved a 50% increase in order revenue compared to Wallace Farms’ top 20 best campaigns, along with the following results:
Webinars are a key lead source for self-publishing services company Paper Raven Books. “I demonstrate my expertise with case studies, results, a deep understanding of their pain points, and an offer that is exactly what they've been looking for,” said Morgan Gist MacDonald, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Paper Raven Books.
At the end of a webinar, the team would offer up a call to action that encouraged attendees to apply to work with the firm, and the CEO would take the call for free.
Creative Sample #4: Previous webinar call to action slide
Creative Sample #5: Previous landing page
The CEO spent thousands of hours on the phone, and mostly with people who were not good fits for the company’s services.
The team wanted to grow its service-based business with an introductory package that maximizes the value of every qualified lead. They decided to institute a $100 application fee.
After the team started asking for a $100 application fee, they were able to position the call differently. They would show a slide with the information about the fee, and explain the fee is “to make sure we both show up on time and ready to deeply discuss your book.”
Creative Sample #6: New call to action slide with application fee
The paid application is a two-step order form, which means that people put in their name, email, and phone number before they pay, so if they fall off before they pay, the team can follow up with them.
Creative Sample #7: New landing page
Prospective customers who pay the application fee talk to a sales rep, rather than the CEO, which made it possible to offer a bonus of having a strategy call with the CEO after they were accepted and enrolled in the introductory package.
Creative Sample #8: Fast-action bonus call to action on webinar
The $3,000 introductory package was new. Typically, Paper Raven Books package prices have ranged from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on the scope of services (e.g., editing, design, publishing, and marketing services).
Originally, 100 leads would come in, and the team would close 25 of them on an average $20,000 package for revenue of $500,000.
Of the 25% who closed, some of those clients were a good fit, and some were not. “We are a remote company, so all of our communication is through Zoom and a project management software called Basecamp,” MacDonald said. Some of the clients required such an intense amount of handholding and were so frustrated by the technology, that it would have been better for the team not to take them on as a client, at all. For a small team, the emotional drain of an upset client is hard to quantify in dollars.
Now, 100 leads come in, 60 sign up for the introductory package ($180,000). Then 30 continue on with a custom upsell package for an average of $20,000 (with their initial investment of $3,000 credited to the new package). This is a total of $690,000 for the same number of leads. That’s 38% growth.
One benefit of adding the introductory package is that it uses the same technology as the larger, custom package. “So, our clients discover how to meet with us on Zoom regularly, how to post messages in their Basecamp projects, and what the back-and-forth flow will be like,” MacDonald said.
And they’ve seen this math play out, already. The team closed $1,062,551 in 2022, and more than halfway through 2023, they’re on pace for $1,601,712, which is actually even higher than the projected 38% growth, but that’s also because they’ve gotten better at downselling their online courses.
Also, the company has been able to reduce its sales team to just one person, which has helped with keeping the sales rep’s calendar full.
“What makes it all work is not the design; it's the positioning. When a prospective client is asked to submit a $100 refundable deposit, just to talk with your team, along with the carrot of being able to have a 1:1 session with you, it turns the tables, psychologically, and now the prospect wants what they can't have,” she said.
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