In the final installment of our three part series, we look at the marketing channels that resulted in one of our biggest success stories last year—a campaign to help a medical clinic in Utah. You’ll learn which channels hit pay dirt and which (to our surprise!) bombed. You’ll also learn how we cut their cost per lead by more than 300%.
If you missed Parts One and Two, be sure to check them out:
- In Part One we talk about why businesses that occupy a niche win more leads.
- In Part Two we talk about how to train your staff to close more deals.
How to Choose Your Marketing Channels
Yes, you read that correctly: marketing CHANNELS.
It’s foolish to devote your entire budget to just one advertising avenue, even if your digital agency says they’ve seen huge success with that channel in the past. The truth is that you have no way of knowing with 100% certainty which channels will work.
That’s why you need to carefully consider the following criteria when choosing your marketing channels:
- Where your audience lives – You need to know if a market exists before you throw money at an advertising channel. Knowing whether or not your audience already uses the platform you’re advertising on is the difference between a successful campaign and a flop.
- The approximate cost per click – It’s important to know roughly how much it will cost to reach your target demographic on a particular platform. This factor alone doesn’t make or break a marketing campaign though—a more expensive channel is a good investment if it wins you more qualified leads.
- The quality of your leads – Some platforms allow you to narrow your targeting more than others. Generally speaking, the more focused your marketing is, the better your leads, because you get to go straight to your target audience.
- Which channels are working – The reason you invest in multiple channels is to find the most qualified leads. Once you’ve found a channel that works, shift your budget away from underperforming channels and reinvest in what’s working. Also, never stop experimenting—you never know when you might find a diamond in the rough.
The Channels We Invested In
Using the above criteria, we researched multiple platforms to figure out which marketing channels might benefit our client the most. We had an initial working budget of $8,500, and we wanted to invest every penny of that as wisely as possible.
Before we invested in any channel, we used $100 of our budget to run a test that helped us estimate how successful our campaigns would be. Thanks to this test budget, we learned how to improve our landing pages and we also gained insights into factors such as cost per click (CPC), click through rate (CTR), bounce rates, time on site, and of course, cost per lead (CPL).
You can read more about our test budget in step 6 of the complete case study.
When our test results came back (and they were very positive!) we decided to invest our budget in the following channels:
We wanted to win qualified leads, and we knew AdWords would deliver better than one-size-fits-all display advertising. AdWords let us advertise to people actively searching for knee pain treatment, making it a worthwhile investment even if the cost per click was higher than other forms of advertising.
Cost per click on Facebook advertising is very low, making it immediately appealing. We especially wanted to get in front of mobile users, and Facebook ads let us put targeted advertising directly in front of our target demographic, across all platforms.
Pandora had been incredibly successful in our previous campaigns, so we decided to try it with this client as well. Pandora let us target a particular age range and geographic radius with banner ads and audio messages, which we thought might be successful.
- Organic Local Search
We didn’t just invest in paid ads, we also invested a portion of our budget into search engine optimization. We knew that even if this didn’t see results in the first few months, this channel was important for the long term success of our client.
After our campaigns went live, we tracked and measured the results to figure out which channels were good investments, and which needed rethinking. Here’s what we had to show for our efforts:
- Sessions: 6,611
- Users: 5,090
- Contact form submissions: 102
- Unique calls: 101
- Average CPL: $42
- Qualified leads: 203
What we found was that our Facebook ads were easily our best investment. In the first month alone, we generated 3,955 unique visitors for our client, and our cost per click was a low $0.37. We had invested less than a quarter of our starting budget in Facebook ads, so we had plenty of room to grow.
The AdWords pay per click ads lived up to our expectations. Our average cost per click with AdWords advertising was $1.44, and that was only improving as time went on.
Our investment in Local SEO didn’t win many immediate returns, but we also expected that. When we started our campaign, our client had a brand new domain, with no links or search engine ranking whatsoever. The fact that we saw 95 unique visits in the first month pointed to an investment that would pay off in the future.
But the biggest surprise after our first month was a dismal showing by Pandora ads. Though we invested the most time and money into Pandora, both Facebook and AdWords advertising outstripped it. In the end, at almost a $300 CPL, Pandora wasn’t going to work for this client.
And here’s the lesson: no matter how successful a marketing channel was in the past, you can’t assume it will work every time.
Pandora has, and continues to be, a great platform, but for this particular client it simply didn’t win the quality leads that Facebook and AdWords did.
The Takeaway Lesson
When our client came to us, they’d relied exclusively on traditional advertising and they wanted to lower their cost per lead. After one month, we managed to turn our $8,500 budget into $104,000 profit for our client, and we drastically improved their cost per lead—lowering it to $42, down from $118 with print ads and $173 with television ads.
This success was the direct result of investing in multiple channels and measuring the results.
Without this approach, we wouldn’t have enjoyed the runaway success of Facebook ads with this particular client, and we might have made the mistake of looking to previous successes alone to dictate where we invested our budget.
Today, we continue to collect data and use our insights to improve this marketing campaign. Our cost per lead is now an exceptional $28—an atypical result that not every client will enjoy, though it does showcase how hard work and initial research pays off.