Case Study: How A Very Small Business Increased Leads 300% with 3 New Landing Pages

Posted by Steve James on Jan 16, 2013 7:31:00 AM

Marketing Challenge

RIDE Adventures is in a unique type of travel business with a dependency on keywords that have relatively low search volume. (For example: “Motorcycle Tours”) In an initiative to increase Top of the Funnel (TOFU) leads through their website, Eric Lange, the owner of RIDE Adventures recognized they would have to gain new visits and contacts through keywords and topics that are more widely searched for by their prospective customers. After thorough keyword research and analysis, he confirmed that not only were keywords like “Motorcycle Gear” and “Motorcycle Travel” pertinent to their customers’ interests, but they also had remarkably higher search volume than keywords directly focused on what RIDE Adventures was selling.

The Solution

As RIDE Adventures had already been committed to creating resourceful content in blogging and videos, similar topics were also formed into downloadable whitepapers, free for visitors and researchers to enjoy. In some cases these whitepapers already existed, as they were being provided to customers upon bookings for motorcycle tours anyway. The difference in late 2012 was that instead of these whitepapers only being offered to existing customers, they were placed as calls to action (CTAs) throughout the website, as well as built into a specific page dedicated to “Free Motorcycle Travel Information.”  More content, more keywords, and more offers have led not only to an increase in visits to their website, but an amazing spike in TOFU contacts is being enjoyed as well. (Screenshots taken January 10, 2013)

ride adventure solution1

An important point to make note of (shown in the next screenshot below) is how the previous couple of years of blogging and creating content had definitely increased traffic to the web site, but TOFU leads were not increasing at the same rate. As we’re constantly reminded, “content is king,” and especially helpful if your company’s ideal keywords also have high search volume. However, in the event there isn’t high search volume for your ideal keywords, creating pertinent content on “secondary” topics related to what we’re selling is what’s needed in order see such a spike in TOFU leads.

ride adventure solution2

In addition to creating the whitepaper download offers themselves, each click by a visitor was leading them to very specific landing pages made in accordance with Hubspot’s 10 Best Practices For Landing Page development. Whereas many of these best practices had previously been overlooked or ignored by RIDE Adventures, implementation of such key features into these new pages has seen conversion rates as high as 34% as compared to their more antiquated landing pages, which tend to average around 10% conversion rates. The combination of a great offer found through pertinent keywords and a well-designed landing page is proving quite fruitful to RIDE Adventures.

This strategy helps RIDE Adventures not only in gaining more contacts, but also in terms of credibility and content as well. TOFU leads that receive these whitepapers are benefitting from the vast information provided and often coming back for a 2nd, 3rd, or 4thdownload later. Stream Creative had been consulting with RIDE Adventures and reminding them of the importance of being seen as authority on the topics their customers are interested in. As a result, customers keep coming back for more, which sets up the groundwork for workflows to be created that drive more leads to become actual customers.

ride adventure results landing page

It goes without saying that all the content, all the keywords, meta tags, and inbound links that stem from these new offers are contributing to the RIDE Adventures search engine rankings as well. In fact, the content provided in each whitepaper has been offered in short segments on their blog as well and helps the search engines discover each page and therefore each call to action leading them to a landing page.

The Results

Well, you can see them! Not only have unique visits continued to increase for RIDE Adventures, but in the final 3 months of 2012, their contact database actually doubled over what they had accumulated the previous 24 months of being in business. In addition: a) unique visits are reaching all-time highs and at steeper rates than what were typically realized, b) customers are seeing RIDE Adventures as an authority on a subject they’re interested in, and c) inquiries about the actual services RIDE Adventures is in business to provide have risen dramatically as well! Their outlook for 2013 as the 3rd year in business is looking brighter than ever before, and customers are feeling it as well.

 

About the Author: Steve James is a partner and creative director of Stream Creative, a certified HubSpot partner and full service digital marketing and design firm specializing in inbound marketing, web design and development, and social media.

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Topics: keyword research, keyword discovery, measurable marketing, business blogging, inbound marketing, content marketing, stream creative

Marketing Automation: Are You Ready?

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 29, 2008 5:23:00 PM

Marketing Automation is the topic du jour in the marketing world. Aweber has been the pioneer allowing marketers to segment "types of buyers" and then setup "drip email marketing campaigns" that educate buyers about how to solve xyz problem [usually] using the marketer's abc solution.

There's many more new solutions out there that are much more sophisticated now. More expensive too.

Marketing Automation is smart. Usually, I think it makes the job of salespeople easier if the prospect can communicate their problems, and are confident that your solution solves their problems - going into the sales process. Marketing automation gets your prospects up to speed.

At HubSpot, we have prospective clients with multiple employees that are subcribed to our newsletter, attended several webinars, downloaded our white papers, visited our product and pricing page, left 4 comments on our blog, visited our site a total of 10 times and filled out 6 forms over 3 months. When we call [or rather: they call us], as you could imagine, they're pretty much ready to buy.  

And I think there is a rule in sales that says something like, "When the buyer says they're ready to buy, it's time to shut up". Right Rick? Dave? Al

Regardless.. The topic of Marketing Automation is top of mind for many marketers.  

I even had a local realty franchise owner tell me he wanted to do marketing automation. To which I asked:

  • How big is your email list?
  • How many people sign up for your email list every month?

His answers were low hundreds and a few every month. He's not a candidate for marketing automation. Marketing automation should be done by people who have many more leads than they can handle and can't find any other way to figure out who the sales people should call first.

I also asked the realtor:

  • Are your sales cycles long - involving multiple types of decision makers each with different agendas, concerns and challenges?
  • Do you sell different products to different types of buyers? Are you selling one thing to engineers and another to the CTO? Are you selling one product to people in the auto industry and another to people in the aerospace industry?
  • Do you have to educate your buyers before they're ready to buy?

He answered "No". Again, he's not a candidate for marketing automation. Marketing automation is good if you need to educate your buyers with bite sized chunks of information over time. If your sales cycle is short and only 1 or 2 people are involved in the buying decision, you don't need marketing automation. Marketing automation isn't going to close more deals for you. (Better salespeople might.) 

Just to drive the point home, I asked a few more questions:

  • What types of things are you doing online that will get a prospect to come back to your website? Are you writing blog posts where they can leave their thoughts? Are you doing regular webinars that they can attend? Are you publishing white papers or articles they can sign up to download?  Do you have new promotional offers they can sign up to receive? New Press Releases they can read?
  • How often are you doing all of this stuff?

He said, "My website really needs some work. I even have trouble editing what I have now, let alone adding things to it. I know that I'm not getting all the leads I could be getting because I don't have anything to offer them to get them to come back to my site." Again, he's not a candidate for marketing automation.

I stopped there. I recommended he use Constant Contact as that would be a better solution for him for email marketing. Besides that, I recommended that he should just focus on getting more traffic to his website and converting more of his visitors to leads, so that his agents would have more people to call and he'd have more people to send his email newsletter to.

Their lead to deal conversion rate isn't the problem. It's that they don't have enough leads.  So, marketing automation is not going to solve their most pressing issue. Improved PPC performance, SEO, blogging and more lead conversion events such as webinars, promotions and downloadable articles (eg "how to lease commercial real estate") are what's needed. 

They don't need to do online marketing automation. They just need to start doing more online marketing. And start measuring what works. And what doesn't.

Are YOU ready for Marketing Automation?  

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Topics: SEO, measurable marketing, blogging for business, marketing automation

Measurable Marketing

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 23, 2008 5:05:00 AM

Uber Online Marketing Genius, Mike Volpe, Hubspot VP of Marketing, wrote a post about "Scientific Marketing". He posed some really good questions: 
  • Why does sales think all the leads are so crappy?
  • How come it is so hard to measure all my different marketing programs?
  • How can I use a Blog to better market my company?
  • How valuable is my web traffic?
  • What do all these web stats actually mean for my business?

At WhizSpark, I attempted to apply engineering to event promotion. I did it pretty well. Promoting a successful networking event, I found, was just a matter of getting enough people with a vested interest to invite their contacts. If I had 20 people promoting it, it seemed to always work. When I had a 100 people promoting an event, we had several hundred people in attendance. Eventually, I built up a really good email mailing list and depending on the event, all I had to do was send an invitation. Of course, the bigger the mailing list, the better the results. HubSpot conducts online marketing webinars all the time with several hundred people in attendance. 

Event Promotion is Predictable. Measurable. Engineerable.

In a similar fashion, sales has always been pretty scientific. If a salesperson contacts enough prospects, they'll make enough sales. Depending on the sales cycle, number of prospects touched, # qualified, and historical conversion percentages... sales should be predictable. Measurable. Engineerable.

Shouldn't advertising be the same way?

Obviously, the engineers at Google thought advertising should be. And they created Adsense. And made online advertising measurable and pretty damn scientific. Certainly Engineerable.

Shouldn't marketing be measurable too? It seems to me that measurable marketing is the next frontier.But, how do you measure SEO, blogging, webinars, activity on Digg or LinkedIn, leaving comments on other blogs?

Isn't this stuff more art than science? No. Not at all. I'm not saying that creativity isn't necessary. And these activities should be treated as opportunities to meet, interact with and educate potential prospects. Not as places to blast your positioning statements or litter with links. I'm just saying that a marketer should put their right brain on too.  

So, how do you go about measuring it? What are the important criteria?If I take a very web centric view, here's the questions I'd want to answer: 

  • How much qualified traffic can I possibly get to visit my website?
  • How much qualified traffic am I getting now? How much traffic are my competitor's getting?
  • How much of my traffic is converting? Notice I didn't say lead. I think some conversions don't warrant a sales call. For example, someone might sign up for an email newsletter or leave a comment on a blog.
  • How much traffic is converting into a lead? I'd qualify a lead as someone who registers for a seminar/webinar, downloads a white paper, or more explicitly requests someone to contact them.
  • What marketing activities cause conversion events? If someone signs up for an email list, then attends a webinar one month later, I'd say that the webinar is a marketing event that should be done again. If webinar x causes 24% of your site visitors or email list members to convert, and white paper y causes only 2%, then do more webinars.
    If blog post z garners 15 comments from 25O RSS reads with 4 resulting in a repeat site visit and other conversion event after viewing your product description page... than blog post z.1 is something that should write. Similarly, activity by marketing or anyone else in a company, that happens on external blogs, social media and social networking sites, should be measured too.
Many marketers might stop there. However, measurable marketing creates an amazing opportunity for "Marketing to be accountable to sales" and "Sales to be accountable to Marketing". Remember. Marketing is a Science now. So, we need to know what marketing activities results in leads and sales. Along these lines, here's the questions I'd ask next:
  • What marketing activities are generating highly qualified leads?
  • What sources of leads are converting at the highest rate in the shortest amount of time?
Many really good marketers with strong ties to sales results would stop there. However, if a marketer puts the CFO's hat on for a brief stint, they'd probably ask a few more questions:
  • What sources of leads are buying our most profitable products?
  • What sources of leads are repeat buyers/ bring in clients that are retained the longest?
  • If I spent x amount of time + y amount of dollars on marketing to z lead source and z lead source converted into client buying revenue r  and profit p producing product and client stayed for n years, what is my true customer acquisition cost?
  • What's my most profitable marketing activity? Which marketing activities are not as profitable?
And of course, if the marketing person wants to put their CEO, Board Member or Shareholder hat on (and you should probably issue stock to any marketing person that can pull this off for your business), here's the question that measurable marketing can answer: 
  • What marketing activities are best for the bottom and top lines of the business?
  • How much can I grow the business if I invest x dollars into marketing activity z?
Is your business doing measurable marketing yet? What exactly are you waiting for?
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Topics: measurable marketing, marketing analytics

Do You Need a Disciplined Measured Reasonably Priced Approach to Web Marketing?

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jan 24, 2008 8:30:00 AM

Problem:
For startups and small business there are two interrelated tough issues; (1) how to formulate a productive web marketing strategy that reaches my target customers with the right balance of methods, content, and accessibility; and (2) how do I support, sustain, and improve the strategy and tactics over the long haul. Small organizations have a lot of difficulty sorting out the meaningful and effective from the blizzard of action in the web world. And, small organizations can not afford high-priced solutions.
Read the rest of Mark Orton's post to see the solution.

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Topics: measurable marketing, startups, affordable web marketing

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