Service businesses can struggle through growth periods. Without an outbound sales force, or a list of potential contacts, options are fairly limited. One company found a unique way to ramp up their inbound leads through online marketing, but it wasn’t as straightforward as expected.
It took a bit of ‘figuring it out,’ but they ultimately acquired over 400 new leads in two months, with a cost-per-lead of around $2.00 for some methods.
387 leads just from Facebook and Instagram….
The company is a credit card processor. They provide clients with online and offline processing solutions – gateways and point-of-sale systems. They work specifically with health and wellness businesses, like dentists, doctors, chiropractors and similar businesses. While not geographically-limited, they were limited in resources, with only a small sales team and support staff. Business was steady, but they wanted to grow and were unsure of the best path to take.
Just want the highlights? Read below. Want the specifics? Read on!
What are the takeaways for your business?
Businesses of all sizes and budgets can succeed with online advertising.
Certainly large companies can be successful online – they have the budget and people in place to make it work. But, the Internet is in some ways an equalizer. If you know your market and have a strategy on how to reach them, you can grow your business. Use automation and online tools instead of an internal team and, done the right way, you can grow too.
Google AdWords is not always the solution for online ads.
AdWords is the best-known advertising option, and it works very well for many businesses. Sometimes, though, it’s not the right fit and you need to explore other advertising platforms to get results.
Social advertising requires relationship building.
Just like any relationship, you want to get to know someone before you commit. Provide opportunities for your potential customers to get to know you, before asking for the sale. Give them useful information, create a guide as discussed in this article, let them know who you are and they’ll want to do business with you.
Step 1: Deciding where to advertise
It would have been easy to use Google AdWords to reach everyone searching for credit card processing or point-of-sale systems, but AdWords does not provide a way to limit those searches by industry. And, without a large advertising budget, it would be tough to compete with the larger players in the credit card processing industry.
In order to find the decision makers for their target clients, other advertising platforms were considered, namely LinkedIn and Facebook, for advertising options. With the numerous targeting options available, finding the decision makers or owners in many different types of health and wellness businesses was possible, rather than relying upon generic keyword searches. So, the first step was complete – finding the target market.
Step 2: Reaching the target market
The credit card processing company had little-to-no brand recognition. They are a relatively new company and, again, did not have a large marketing budget. Traditional methods, such as direct-response ads, would be glossed over. Response rates would be low, relevance scores as well, and the marketing campaign would be unsuccessful. They needed a way in – to begin building a relationship with these potential customers.
One way to begin a relationship is to provide something useful – and free – to your ideal customers. In this case, a guide on marketing your business. Well written, nicely designed, insightful, and branded to the credit card processor. The guide is then provided for free, in exchange for a name and email address.
A major oversight in online advertising is to send paid traffic to the homepage of your website. Target-specific landing pages were used, sending paid traffic to a page specific to the promotion. A page promoting the marketing guide was built on their website. Ads specific to each type of health and wellness business were created, directing paid traffic to the landing page. The type of business was captured dynamically behind the scenes, triggered by terms passed through the URL from the ad to the landing page. And it worked really well, generating front-end leads as low as $2.00 each
At this point, the credit card processor had some information on potential customers, but these weren’t really leads. These were people interested in better marketing their business, with whom they now had a minor relationship. In order to turn them into customers, there was more work to be done.
Step 3: Turning leads into customers
The first step to convert these warm prospects into customers was simple – present them with a great offer on the ‘thank you’ page. After submitting their name and address, they were redirected to a confirmation page where they could download the marketing guide. On this page, multiple offers were rotated and tested. In order to claim the offer, the lead needed to enter their phone number and click submit. Under ideal circumstances, this information would pass to a CRM system, but lacking that, Google Sheets and MailChimp were used for storing data.
Leads that claimed an offer were called immediately. Leads that did not, now became part of an email nurturing program, where they received a series of emails discussing the various ways a new credit card processor, one that knows their industry, can help not only with marketing but reduce expenses, headaches, and improving customer service.
Not every business needs their service immediately, it may be weeks, months or even a year before they decide to switch. So, the duration of the email nurturing campaign was rather long, but not too frequent, to maintain awareness. And, in each email they included a link back to a relevant section of their site – an article, whitepaper, and occasionally an offer.
The end result was significantly lowered acquisition costs, an expanded email list and, by using Facebook’s pixel, a new audience to which they can reach socially. Not to mention the added brand recognition from thousands of ad views by their target audiences. They can also now create ‘lookalike’ audiences on Facebook, which expands their reach when advertising.
Background in traditional and digital media. Loves startups, local business and online marketing. Read more about me here.