October 04, 2023
Case Study

Value-Driven Marketing Strategies: Email marketing, OOH, and SEO examples with results


Look, I’m no saint. But I do try to leave things a little better in life than I found them. Just a bit.

What if we took the same approach with our marketing? What if we tried to provide at least a little more value to our customers? What would that look like?

To spur ideas for your own marketing, in this article we bring you specific marketing examples that helped nudge the results up by taking this approach. Read on for examples from real estate brokers, land sales, and a gut health company.

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

Quick Case Study #1: American real estate company grows email marketing CTR from 0 to 0.9% by taking a more helpful approach

At MarketingSherpa, we publish stories covering all kinds of marketing from all over the world. We get hundreds of pitches, and I winnow through them and work with the potential sources to find the most helpful, very specific marketing examples with results.

The first story in today’s article is a little different. Since the source has been involved in the MECLABS AI Guild (MECLABS Institute is MarketingSherpa’s parent organization), I’ve personally worked with him and he didn’t send in a traditional PR pitch. He just mentioned to me a transformation he was excited about, and I thought it would be helpful to share with you.

BEFORE – Scare tactics and bragging

A real estate company was looking to build leads for real estate agents, real estate influencers, and brokers in specific western cities in the US.

The first idea was to give people a taste of a blog article about common mistakes homeowners make when hiring a listing agent.

“My naive approach at first was to beat up prospects a bit into surrendering to the fact that they need this info. Well that didn’t go over so well,” said email marketing freelancer Michael Lerner.

The email got zero clicks on decent open rates, according to Lerner. Like most businesses, only the click means something. It’s a signal that someone is interested in buying or selling property. Here is a look at the email from Lerner’s first few weeks.

Creative Sample #1: B2C lead gen email for real estate company

Subject line – Real estate, choose the right team to list your property

Hi {{User.UserAttributes.FirstName}},

You’ve decided to sell your property, and now you are going over the different questions you have about listing. Determining how much to ask, receiving bids on fixes or improvements, and last but not least -- preparing to move.

But there’s more! How do I list the property so buyers can find it? What are comparable houses selling for in the area? How do I pay off the current paper and will I walk away with a profit or be stuck with a debt?

To answer everything you need access to experience and knowledge: A local real estate seller’s agent can help. Read this post for tips on finding success with one.

Don’t make these 4 mistakes when hiring a listing agent

Pitfalls are everywhere in real estate. I know. I’ve sold 53 houses in the past 3 years and overcome every imaginable obstacle.

Tackle the issues in selling a house by following a strategic plan and speaking to a seller's real estate agent.

Refer to the warning signs on what to be careful about when choosing the agent responsible for selling your property.

Seller’s agents make half the 5-6% $48K commission which is paid for by the seller. That’s $24K for a $800K house. The buying agent receives the other half. Be careful in choosing.

Here's the 4 warning signs that will help you hire the right agent for the job.

A second email was sent using a mini landing page approach. “No synoptic layer to tune them in. More scare tactics and bragging,” Lerner said. Again, zero clicks.

AFTER – Jobs to be Done and storytelling approaches

“Our next attempt was lot more successful. Using the MECLABS AI, we came up with this subject line (see creative sample below). I used the MarketingSherpa article about Ten by Three as an inspiration, especially the Jobs to be Done and storytelling approach with dynamic and modifier-rich subject lines. I took quite a bit from Daniel Burstein’s copy (thank you Daniel!),” Lerner said.

I’m glad Michael found the article helpful. In the article, I wrote about how I used the framework to help a nonprofit that sells through ecommerce. The Jobs to be Done framework was created by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen. Here’s an email Lerner wrote using the framework.

Creative Sample #2: B2C lead gen email for real estate company using Jobs to be Done framework

Subject Line – Revealed: The Pros and Cons of Renting vs Buying

Dear {{User.UserAttributes.FirstName}},

When seeking your dream house, there's one pivotal choice you'll face: buy or rent?

That's super important because a chunk of your savings will go into a purchase for a down payment and about 30% of your income will go into either a mortgage or a rental.

So, what's the appropriate course of action - buy or rent? That's the question. Armed with the evidence we present in this post, we aim to guide you towards the most beneficial decision for your circumstances.

The best 5 reasons to rent and 5 reasons to purchase a place.

From my experience as a real estate agent I've found deciding to buy or rent is a much more personal decision then you think.

For instance, I had a family that moved around because of career transfers. Well, they were better off renting.

Another family bought a house in a neighborhood that didn't seem so nice at the time. But 15 years later, they walked away with a nice gain because the neighborhood improved.

The Advantages and Disadvantages to Purchase or Rent.

Make the right decision based on your preferences; consider things like risk tolerance, career movement and even nearby open space.


{{Attributes.PartnerFirstName}} {{Attributes.PartnerLastName}}


PS. Here's the link again, The 5 reasons to rent, and 5 reasons to purchase. It's part of a real estate website, (I've reviewed and contributed to) [brand name anonymized] that personalizes your real estate search.

In the article I also wrote about using a storytelling approach in an email, another way to provide value to an audience. Here’s an email Lerner wrote using a storytelling approach.

Creative Sample #3: B2C lead gen email for real estate company using storytelling approach

Subject line – The dream house features to look for…

Creative Sample #3: B2C lead gen email for real estate company using storytelling approach

RESULTS – From 0% to 0.9% clickthrough rate

After making this change in email marketing approach, the open rate increased by 62.5% – from a 40% open rate to a 65% open rate.

The clickthrough rate increased from 0 to 0.9%. “That’s an infinite improvement,” Lerner said.

Asked about his biggest lesson, Lerner told me, “Instead of being a formulaic schlemiel, be a mensch! Take care of your customers' life and heart.”

He explained how he tried to do that with his new approach to email marketing. “Real estate agents truly need to assist and support people in a pleasant way, offering them a guide, helping them to make a decision that works for them. Speaking to the customer in real terms, on their level with their heart and mind engaged with a real person who cares about their outcome,” Lerner said.

Lerner also discussed his own transformation. “Followed Flint McGlaughlin [CEO of MECLABS and MarketingSherpa] for years, and the last year or so been involved with the AI research cohorts at MECLABS. It’s really rocketed my marketing value up, as I can add email copy and strategy to my CRM and Hubspot skills on the freelance market,” Lerner said.

Quick Case Study #2: Real estate website increases leads from 7 to 10 by providing additional value

To show how universal these principles are, let’s take a look at another real estate company in a different part of the world – Kenya. Akama sells plots that can be built on.

The company has poster advertisements in some of the largest malls in the country.

BEFORE: Focused on selling land

The original poster advertisement had a headline that focused on selling land. The body contained details about that product.

Creative Sample #4: Poster advertisement for selling land (before)

Creative Sample #4: Poster advertisement for selling land (before)

AFTER – Providing value

“Using Alex Hormozi's lead magnet, which is giving away free value to increase leads, we added a free offer to the title,” said Allan Karanja, Lead Developer, Akama.

Purchasing land is a paperwork nightmare, according to Karanja. His business partner is a civil engineer, so the team created value by offering a free construction consultation. This was a differentiator from other offers from competitors.

Creative Sample #5: Poster advertisement for selling land (after)

Creative Sample #5: Poster advertisement for selling land (after)

“We also added a second call-to-action, in red, for more visibility, to create urgency. According to [Robert] Cialdini's principles of persuasion, scarcity is a great way to increase perceived value of a product,” Karanja said.

RESULTS – More leads

The new poster advertisement generated 10 leads, a 42% increase over the seven leads the previous ad generated.

Quick Case Study #3: How ION boosted organic traffic by 78% by answering customer questions

Intelligence of Nature (ION), is a company specializing in gut health, selling various products online.

The team learned that there were many questions their potential audience was asking, but they were getting the wrong answers. After seeing SEO research, they were able to provide accurate information to their potential customers and better control the narrative about their products.

“Many people don’t realize that SEO data can help improve user experience and drive a more successful content strategy,” said Cassandra Gucwa, Founder, Menerva Digital (ION’s agency).

BEFORE – Low visibility answering questions from potential customers

ION was having trouble ranking for its branded keywords, especially within Google’s People Also Ask area and the Featured Answer box of organic search. Part of the challenge was that various websites sell their products, including Amazon, Zach Bush, Inspired Health, The Healthy Place, iHerb, and many more.

Because they weren’t ranking, there was misinformation about their products.

Creative Sample #6: Example of a featured answer for ION’s product where a competitor outranked ION

Creative Sample #6: Example of a featured answer for ION’s product where a competitor outranked ION

ION didn’t have the content to answer these questions. While they had a frequently asked questions page, the questions and answers were not always addressing what customers were actually asking.

This page had 66 questions with answers that weren’t optimized for search.

Creative Sample #7: Some questions from old FAQ page

Creative Sample #7: Some questions from old FAQ page

AFTER – Providing value to customers by answering their questions

The team conducted research on what questions users were searching for answers to. They formulated suggested questions and suggested answers based on the competitor responses within People Also Ask.

“We learned exactly how to rank within People Also Ask – it’s by outlining every relevant keyword that displays PAA, review every PAA question, analyzing every single answer, and writing a better one in question-and-answer format within one FAQ page,” Gucwa said.

The team started by analyzing branded keywords (including old branded terms) and common questions, and then analyzed the websites’ ranking positions using Semrush. For any branded keyword where ION wasn’t ranking, they analyzed the websites and content ranking higher than ION. Anyone searching for their old or current brand names was more likely to purchase their product, so ION wanted to capitalize on it.

Using the Semrush Keyword Majic tool, they plugged in all of ION’s old and current brand names, which included: Restore + gut, Intelligence of nature, ION + gut, and Magic dirt water.

They used “Broad” match to see all keywords, then exported those keywords into Excel and narrowed down the list by overlaying ION’s ranking position for the exported keywords and filtering on any keyword that wasn’t ranking in the top (#1) position.

Once they settled on keywords, they outlined PAA questions for each targeted keyword and analyzed answers and metadata of the website ranking within the PAA section.

They noticed themes such as including the phrase match of the keyword in the titles, meta description, H1, and body copy, the brand’s history in the body copy, old product reviews, old product pictures, nutritional facts, FAQ-designed content, etc.

After reviewing the competitors, they would also look at the People Also Ask questions. If they found an answer that was accurate and good, they would write a similar yet better answer with more detailed facts and links to sources. This gave the team a really good idea as to what they should write about and how they should structure their content.

Instead of creating a new page, they decided to use the existing FAQ page since it already had authority.  The team updated existing answers on the FAQ page and added more. It now has 81 questions.

Creative Sample #8: Example of new FAQ questions

Creative Sample #8: Example of new FAQ questions

Creative Sample #9: Example of new FAQ question answered

Creative Sample #9: Example of new FAQ question answered

ION was able to out-rank their competitors within Featured Answers and various People Also Ask questions.

Creative Sample #10: Example of Google SERP page

Creative Sample #10: Example of Google SERP page

Creative Sample #11: Another example of Google SERP page

Creative Sample #11: Another example of Google SERP page

RESULTS – More organic traffic

After updating the FAQ page, the team saw a 106% Increase in the number of keywords ranking in People Also Ask from 23 to 159 from April 2023 to May 2023 for U.S. Google searches, according to Semrush.

Organic traffic increased 78% from 5,487 in April 2023 to 9,788 in May 2023.

“Prior, search traffic to our website was heavily driven through paid advertising. After implementing a well-rounded SEO strategy including page optimization, content creation, and keyword indexing, we are seeing an increase in organic traffic with new eyes on the brand month over month. It is very exciting to witness this growth in organic traffic,” said Hunter Davis, Head of Marketing, Intelligence of Nature.

Related resources

Customer-First Marketing Strategy: The highest of the five levels of marketing maturity

Customer Value: The 4 essential levels of value propositions

Value Proposition: How a local business doubled its space in 9 months

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions