As a small business owner, or solopreneur, you’ve heard that content increases website traffic,and maybe you know that it also helps build brand trust and credibility.
And although you may be keen to try it for yourself, you’re looking for some kind of reassurance that after all your hard work, it’s a viable ROI.
In the case studies to follow, all three companies were young startups that decided to do things differently in order to get the edge over their competitors. Using content as their primary marketing strategy, they experienced tremendous results that enabled dramatic growth.
Have a read. Be the judge about whether content is a good ROI or not.
Case study 1: Turned problem into a solution with online course content
End result: $20K in 5 days
Company: Design Pickle
Design Pickle, founded by Russ Perry in January 2015, offers a flat rate per month for an unlimited amount of graphic designs. Most large corporations have their own graphic designers, so this company’s clients are predominantly small businesses and solopreneurs.
Most small business owners don’t have a content design strategy in place, and therefore, the customer retention rate for graphic design services in particular is generally low. What Perry found, was that once clients received their designs, they would cancel their monthly subscription.
Design Pickle needed a way to grow and to educate its clients on marketing strategies.
Enter Pickle University online courses. The courses, hosted by Kajabi, an all-in-one marketing tools third party online course platform, allows Design Pickle to upsell and bundle services for discounted prices, and is used as a lead magnet to secure new, and empowered clients.
The launch of the first course brought in $20K within 5 days from pre-sale email marketing to people who were already on Design Pickle’s email lists. The key here, was that Perry identified a need; to educate clients on process and industry, and filled that need by providing online courses to help educate and grow the businesses of his clients.
By developing business and marketing courses, Perry is able not only to increase profit passively while still growing his graphics design business, but can also help his clients strengthen their businesses.
Image Credit: Design Pickle and Kajabi
Russ Perry (back, middle) is the founder of Design Pickle.
Original source of case study: Kajabi
Case study 2: From outbound to primarily inbound
End result: 6 X boost in website traffic and 4 X more customers
Industry: Software developer for health industry
Glofox is a startup founded by Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly in 2014, and experienced rapid growth with its software developed for gyms and fitness studios. The problem was that the direct sales strategy they were using to acquire customers, was costing too much. Their approach required the use of too many complex systems which were not playing nicely together.
Image Credit: BusinessAndFinance
The founders of Glofox: Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly.
O’Loughlin and Kelly decided that they needed to attract customers to their website instead, by creating an inbound marketing machine. Using HubSpot, they set up a blog, created landing pages for targeted traffic, optin forms and smart call to actions. They say that by using content, they “are positioning ourselves as industry experts and thought leaders in our field; we blog constantly, we have a weekly podcast and we produce ebooks and user guides.”
Similarly to the first case study, the founders of this company say that creating personas was a vital part of their inbound strategy.
Since the swap from outbound to inbound marketing, Glofox has experienced a 6 X boost in traffic, and has 4 X more customers.
Original source of case study: HubSpot
Case study 3: Infographic backlinks strategy for new blog
End result: Website traffic increase of 963% in 6 weeks
Company: ChewieSays (now HerePup)
Perrin Carrol, who started the ChewieSays blog, identified an opportunity in the pet niche, after noticing that there were not a lot of smaller pet sites providing good content, and that a handful of big pet sites were completely dominating the Internet.
Carrol needed a strategy to compete with the handful of some seriously big competitors in the niche. To go up against them would entail producing some brilliant content, and promoting it in order to get quality backlinks to his site.
What Carrol did (and this is key), was to identify what was proven to be important to his target audience, and create an infographic around it. Doing his due diligence, he came up with the topic of “ways that pets improve human health”.
Armed with the 22 points gathered from his research, he hired a freelancer to design a pretty basic infographic to use as “bait” for authority websites, in order to get quality backlinks to his site. The link to the ChewySays website, was placed into introductory content on the infographic, which is good for SEO.
Finding prospective blogs in the niche that might have been interested in publishing the infographic, he contacted 92 bloggers and got a positive response of 5.4%.
Once those bloggers confirmed their interest in the infographic, Carrol removed as many barriers as possible, to make sharing the content easy.
The end result was eight niche-related, white hat backlinks which provided a dramatic surge of traffic to his new blog.
Image Credit: Backlinko
The infographic that sparked traffic to a new blog.
Original source of case study: Backlinko
Three startup companies achieved dramatic results, all from using content as their primary marketing tactic. In summary, here’s what they did and what happened:
- A graphics design startup launched online courses as a way to grow, and to educate clients. Proving the need for the online courses, was the $20K that was generated as a result.
- The cost to acquire clients was proving too expensive for a software developer company, and the founders decided to switch to a primarily inbound marketing strategy, seeing a 6 X boost in traffic and 4 X more customers.
- The founder of a brand new pet blog, needed a way to compete with major sites that were dominating the industry, and with a cleverly designed infographic, received eight quality backlinks, boosting the traffic by 963% within six weeks.
In the B2B space, there persists a belief that social media only works for B2C. This is because to date most have no proof it works for B2B. According to MarketingProfs and The Content Marketing Institute B2B Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, measurement is a key area where B2B marketers are struggling:
Only 21% say they are successful at tracking ROI.
New social media management solutions make tracking leads and identifying which social shares generate leads and conversion possible. Businesses that implement social media measurement tools have the advantage of focusing their time and resources where they get results.
Many still think social media only works for B2C not B2B. Interested in how many other B2Bs are using social media? All of the statistics below are specific to B2B and come from the above-linked 2015 research.
- 92% of B2B companies use social media content (beyond blog posts) as a content marketing tactic.
- 48% of B2B companies use social media ads to either distribute or promote content
- 42% of B2B companies use promoted posts – such as promoted posts on Facebook or promoted tweets – to promote or distribute content
- 41% of B2B companies say promoted social posts are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
- 38% of B2B companies say social media ads are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
Percentage of B2B Companies Using Each Social Network
- 94% LinkedIn
- 88% Twitter
- 84% Facebook
- 72% YouTube
- 64% Google+
- 41% SlideShare
- 33% Pinterest
- 24% Instagram
- 20% Vimeo
Most Effective Social Networks for B2B Content Marketing
- 63% of B2B companies say LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform
- 55% say Twitter
- 48% say YouTube
- 42% say SlideShare
- 40% say Vimeo
- 32% say Facebook
- 25% say Pinterest
- 24% say Instagram
- 20% say Google+
User data from social media management tool Oktopost agrees. Their user data indicates LinkedIn generated 80.33% of conversions, compared to 13.73% for Twitter, 6.73% for Facebook, and 0.21% for Google Plus. Further, their user data shows that B2Bs should be focusing on interacting in discussion groups because 86.30% of conversions were generated in groups versus 10.07% on company pages and 3.63% on personal profiles. Source of stats:
B2B Social Media Measurement
It is possible to measure not only which social network generates the most leads or conversions, but exactly what lead a specific piece of content generated. Once a lead is recognized, all touches with your creatives and social shares are recorded.
Drill down into exactly which post in which LinkedIn group generated a lead. Find out which groups never convert so you can focus your time on the ones that do. It is clear that LinkedIn produces the most leads and conversions. Sales teams have the additional benefit of knowing much more about each lead before contact.
Leads obtained from LinkedIn provide access to profiles which reveal major insights into their backgrounds, authority, and job descriptions. Their titles may indicate whether they are decision-makers. And you can use LinkedIn’s InMail to contact them.
It is unclear why brands are so focused on Facebook. Leads from that source often provide little information for your sales team to go on. You have to request connection which many reserve only for friends and family. Without being connected first, any message you send is likely to end up in a mailbox the user never sees.
B2B Social Media Case Studies
Still not convinced social media converts for B2B? Lee Odden of TopRankBlog compiled 12 B2B Social Media Case Studies with details on how these twelve B2Bs benefited from specific social media strategies. Here are examples of what some of these B2Bs accomplished:
- SunGard generated over 3000 leads in just 3 days
- Toshiba: 19,000 opens, 1,100+ clicks and generated 309 leads
- LivePerson: 800 downloads, 11% open rate with a 17% click-through-rate (CTR), generated 270 marketing qualified leads and cited as “the most successful e-book of 2013”
- LinkedIn: 10,000 downloads in less than 30 days, more than one-third by marketing qualified leads
Impressive conversion rates like these are attainable by using social media management tools that include the ability to measure results. Case studies provide ideas for what to test and what kind of results other B2Bs have been able to achieve.