Bumbling Our Way Through Content Marketing

Kim: As a business owner, it took me a couple of years to truly understand the responsibility that comes with owning a company. But I learnt. Slowly. And I’ve been so lucky to build Insight to what it is today. I’ve even got people working for me 😛

If you’re a business owner in New Zealand, nothing is more pressing over the years than getting consistent sales. And at the start, it seems like blind luck or chance that new enquiries will come to you. But you build up your client base and your business friends and partners and things start happening. But what would happen if I needed or wanted to step out of the business? There’s no getting around the fact that most of our referrals come due to relationships that I’ve built from being in the industry for 14 or so years.

If someone doesn’t know me at all but could be interested in what my team and I have to offer, how would I get in front of that person? How can I build up credibility? How can I build a system that will gradually introduce new people to our business, our team and hopefully, some work? And so we arrive at marketing. We think, with hope, that content marketing or inbound marketing might be the answer.

Our goal?

A sustainable, repeatable system of work that will deliver leads to my sales and marketing manager, Jody. A system that is independent of my relationships. I think it’s the last system that we need to build before Insight is a true business. A self-sustaining organism that has a logical set of systems to produce the leads we want.

So Kim, I don’t get it. You’re a search marketing agency. Can’t you just drive a tonne of traffic to your site?

Yes. Yes, we can. And we are very good at that.

But just because you get people to your website doesn’t mean that they’ll become customers. For B2B, we’ve learnt getting people to your site is just the first step. Enjoy our bumbling as we tell you about our journey to build the rest of our funnel.

The Process

Jody: Let me tell you…content marketing is a lot of work. Like, I mean a lot…We completely underestimated the amount of time and resource it would involve. It’s totally worth it, but if you’re considering getting into content marketing, be prepared. Here’s a quick rundown of our overall process:

  1. Lead Magnet – Produce something our target market has a good chance of being interested in
  2. Landing Page – Somewhere people can go to download the eBook on our site
  3. Promotion – Creating a range of ads for mainly Facebook/YouTube to promote the eBook
  4. Webinars/Workshops – Creating experiences where we can invite people to meet and get to know us

Lead Magnet

Firstly we needed to have a lead magnet. Something that solves a problem for marketing managers (our target market) that they would be interested in exchanging their email address for.

SEO is one of the digital marketing channels which we have found challenging for our marketing managers. SEO is a vast topic with many different facets to wrap your head around and that, in itself, can make it a daunting investment. So creating an SEO guide to break it down into an easy to understand format was a given for us.

Landing Page

Next, a nice simple landing page upon which we can send people to download the eBook. The landing page was the first of three pages we had a create. We had another form on the first thank you page that added you to a workshop email list if you were interested immediately in learning more about them.

  1. Landing Page – insightonline.co.nz/marketing-managers-guide-seo/
  2. Thank You One – insightonline.co.nz/thank-you-workshop-registration/
  3. Thank You Two – insightonline.co.nz/workshop-thank-you/

Promotion & Budgets

Working in an SEM agency where the data we’re getting back is critical, we want a good budget. We set it at $5,000 for 4 weeks. The rationale in having a decent budget is to collect data fast and make decisions quickly with the campaign. Going too low would mean waiting weeks for that all-important decision making data. Because Kim is slightly obsessive, we had options prepared to pivot if anything wasn’t working. One example were our ads and, with our graphic designer (thanks Jeff!), we created:

  • 8 x 30-second videos for promotion on YouTube and Facebook with variations in people and position
  • 6 sets of image ads for promotion across Facebook, Outbrain, Google Ads Display

It may sound like a lot, but if a piece of creative isn’t working, we wanted to swap them out quickly without doing an entire reshoot or waiting for the designer. With the data that was coming in, we’d have backups to pivot to for each part of the campaign.

Probability of failure was calculated into the campaign

For our type of campaign, it just seems that Facebook and YouTube always come out on top. That’s where the bulk of our budget goes although we always try a few things at the start of every campaign. We are big on video at the moment. The reach and the cost are much lower than search ads for our niche. We are in a very competitive industry and to bid on search terms for what we do it’s costly and I would have run out of my budget quickly. Here’s a rough breakdown:

  • Facebook – 60% | $2,500
  • YouTube – 30% | $1,500
  • Google Ads – 10% | $500
  • Outbrain – 10% | $500

As the campaign runs, we can shift budgets around depending on performance.

Workshops/Webinars

At the end of it all, this is just awareness work. Getting people to meet us is the most important part of our funnel. We love search marketing and we love to talk about search marketing. So we’re going to be running a series of workshops to get us in front or people. Creating an environment where people can meet us and learn more about what we do is a huge win.

There are a bunch of other tiny little things we needed but we wouldn’t want to bore you 😛 I think our learning was to be prepared to spend twice as much time checking and double-checking that everything is set up and working correctly.

Results

Kim: This section was hard to write and the reason is that the expectations of our marketing campaigns have changed quite dramatically from campaign to campaign. We started out by immediately calling people who downloaded our eBooks (that didn’t work). And as we learnt more about the people coming in, we gradually added more steps to move people through our sales and marketing process.

These days, our goals for our marketing are focussed around building up our email database and eventually, getting people to meet us either in person or virtually through webinars.

We’ve found that in New Zealand, for a search marketing agency, meeting face to face and getting to know people has been key.

With this in mind, here are the key metrics we cared about and the results from the campaign:

  • Primary Goal: eBook downloads – 305 downloads
  • Secondary Goal: Workshop Interest Sign-Up – 53 signups
  • Cost per Goal: $12.01
  • Total Ad Spend: $4,302

Initially, we had a lot of Facebook audiences broken out into different assets but we found the Facebook algorithm did better at getting conversions when we combined those audiences together. Cost per download dropped from $13.43 to $7.96 by the end.

Facebook Campaign Results

Facebook Advertising Campaign Results

 

Our warm audiences and the lookalikes that we could build of them were by far the most effective in generating leads.

LinkedIn Lead Ads were surprisingly effective. They were about the same price as YouTube downloads at approx $20/download. Previously we’ve really struggled to get any results from LinkedIn

Single image ads were the best performing this time, then Jody’s videos, then mine (Boo)

YouTube Campaign Results

So yea, Jody destroyed with her video…

Lessons

Kim’s Lessons

  • Calling people after they’ve downloaded your eBook did NOT work for us, most were nice, some bemused but none turned into clients
  • Wanting to optimise the campaign but not thinking about what data you’ll need to make those decisions, not having enough data, having the data spread over what seem to be a hundred interfaces is extremely frustrating
  • Videos, even if laughable in quality and production, worked really well. Some factors, video is to the point, call to action is clear, whether or not you believe the person in the video, the genuineness.

Here’s what we did based on those learnings:

  1. eBook downloads for us, rather than considering them a potential lead got moved up the marketing funnel to awareness. Now we don’t consider them a lead until they attend a workshop
  2. Targeted an older demographic (35+) – That immediately improved the quality of our leads
  3. Figured out in advance what optimisation we’d want to be doing as the campaign progressed and made sure that we had the tracking and reporting in place to support this
  4. Came up with multiple options and backup plans if things weren’t working

Jody’s Lessons

  • Looking back at previous campaigns we didn’t prepare enough creative assets to swap out.
  • Reviewing videos from our other campaigns, our message to our target market was off. It was vague about who we wanted to download our ebook.
  • In earlier campaigns our planning was ok but there were always things left that we were scrambling to get done. We were underestimating the time it would take for tasks

Here’s what we did based on those learnings:

  1. We created more than enough assets this time around, we were able to change things out when needed. We even have some that were not used which can be used for a future SEO campaign.
  2. We kept our messaging on point – Who it’s for, What it is, what problem is it going to solve and what we want them to do.
  3. Did I mention marketing is a lot of work? Jokes aside…Plan, plan, plan, plan! What needs to be done, who is going to do it, when will they have it done? Always allow for some extra time! Both people and technology can be hard to predict. Because life….

Final thoughts

Jody & Kim: It is a very interesting thing to try and practice what you preach. Despite having helped clients with their marketing for many many years, we don’t think we could truly empathise with what our marketing managers needed to do to get campaigns off the ground. Really our services are the easy side of things. We expect our marketing managers to have the website, pitch, marketing funnel already worked out. We are mainly paid to drive traffic to websites. It’s been tremendously humbling to go through the entire process for ourselves.

Is it worth it? It’s hard to tell just yet, we often find the campaigns pay off much later due to the length of our sales funnel. But the numbers of leads, calls, queries from our own clients has definitely jumped up. As we get a clearer idea of the results and Kim can relate it back to our profit/loss, we’ll keep you all updated!

Insight Online