- First, what can I adapt from this example to my business?
- Second, who can I share this example with?
1) Buffer: Earning Hundreds of Backlinks With Original ResearchImage Credit: The 2021 State of Remote Work by Buffer Founded in 2010, Buffer was on the Inc 5000 list of high-growth companies in 2018. The company offers social media management software to companies. One of the business’s most successful marketing campaigns has been its annual state of remote work report.
Campaign OverviewBuffer has published the State of Remote Work report for several years. The report takes several months to complete each year. The goal is to drive attention to their work. In 2021, the company partnered with Doist, Remotive, and We Work Remotely on the campaign. The 2021 report gathered responses from more than 2300 remote workers.
ResultsThe multi-year remote work campaign has earned backlinks from publications and websites like Deloitte, Harvard Business Review, Inc, Shopify, and Vox. By my estimate using SEMrush, the campaign has generated at least 350 backlinks.
DiscussionBuffer's success with its multi-year campaign on remote work shows the value of persistence. Several journalists and bloggers have covered the report in the past and are happy to cover the report again. "We start planning the report in August in terms of securing partnerships and working on the survey. We share the survey in October and promote it, then close it in December. By January, we are ready to gather insights and write the report and then publish it in February. We then continue promoting the report throughout the year. From beginning to publication is seven months," Hailley Griffis, Head of Public Relations at Buffer, shared in an interview with the author. Before launching a new campaign, ask yourself if you might get better results from following Buffer's digital marketing example and investing effort in a single area for several years.
2) Booz Allen Hamilton: Generating Leads By Renting A Publisher's Email ListBooz Allen Hamilton (Booz Allen) is a global technology and consulting firm providing analytics, digital, engineering, and cyber solutions. Founded in 1914, the professional services company earned $7.9 billion in revenue for the 12 months ended March 31, 2021.
Campaign OverviewBooz Allen wanted to connect with decision-makers in the military and defense community. The firm partnered with an industry media organization, Public Sector 360 (now part of GovExec), and its editorial publication, Defense Systems, to deploy a two-pronged email marketing campaign to this community. The campaign aimed to encourage military and public sector readers to seek out Booz Allen's digital expertise.
Results:Between February and April 2021, the campaign included a total of 10 email deployments. Overall, the campaign results met or exceeded benchmarks with email open and click-through rates while generating valuable new leads. "A key highlight of this effort was running A/B testing to try two different types of email. Email A featured a core content asset and call to action , while Email B featured a variety of related assets with additional calls to action . Email B drove more website traffic back to BoozAllen.com, but Email A ultimately drove more leads. By design, the overall campaign and frequency of email touchpoints were scheduled out in advance on specific dates to reach a large target audience mass with fresh and related content each time in order to remain relevant rather than an ad hoc one-time, one-shot campaign," David Salati, product marketing manager at Booz Allen Hamilton, shared in an interview.
Email A - Fewer Assets Email B - More Assets
Discussion:You've probably heard the advice to build your email list for years. It is solid advice. However, that is not the only option. The digital marketing example highlighted here shows that partnering with well-established media organizations is a perfectly viable strategy. This strategy is not limited to government either. For example, digital marketers in the wine industry can work with publications like Decanter or Wine Spectator to send marketing offers to their audiences.
3) Bat Club USA Grows Website Traffic With Video CampaignsBased in Miami, Florida, Bat Club USA sells subscriptions to baseball and softball equipment. Established in 2016, the company joined the Inc 5000 list in 2021 at number 326. Further, the company was ranked 17 in the state of Florida.
Campaign OverviewWith a tight focus on baseball products, Bat Club USA launched a series of short videos to attract fathers and mothers. The videos have generated promising results in terms of site traffic. Results: Bat Club USA has grown site traffic by 20,000 to 40,000 monthly visitors since launching the video ads. The company's video ad aimed at dads generated over 2.6 million impressions across YouTube, Google and Facebook. "The biggest surprise was that both long and short-form versions of the ads were working. It wasn't just the 15-second cuts that succeeded, but even the 2-minute version was being watched in its entirety," Oscar Llarena, CMO of Bat Club USA, shared in an interview.
DiscussionThere are two lessons to draw from Bat Club USA. You shouldn't believe the hype that short is always better. Second, take note of their strategy to use videos across multiple platforms. If you have a successful video on YouTube, perhaps it could generate different results on Facebook.
4) ZeroBounce Boosts Google Ads Results Through RelevanceEstablished in 2015, ZeroBounce improves email marketing results by cleaning up risky and obsolete data. The Florida-based business has been on the Inc 5000 list for two years: 2020 and 2021. Email marketing is a highly competitive industry, yet the company has successfully used Google Ads to drive more leads.
Campaign OverviewZeroBounce focused on increasing the effectiveness of their Google Ads. Specifically, the company started to use single keyword ad groups ("SKAGS") to increase their pay-per-click advertising relevance.
ResultsThe results were significant. "We were able to raise the ad relevance for our Google Ads by 72.7% in 'above average' copy," Corina Leslie, PR Manager at ZeroBounce, explained. The ad campaign increased performance by getting more specific in terms of Google Ad targeting and landing pages.
DiscussionThe ZeroBounce success story is a timely reminder of the value of focusing on optimization across several elements. Marketers, it is tempting to always focus on brand new campaign ideas and technologies. The digital marketing example from ZeroBounce shows further improving existing campaigns can yield good results.
5) Gravy Analytics Stands Out With Unique Consumer DataImage Credit: Mark Dymchenko/Shutterstock.com Founded in 2011, Gravy Analytics is ranked #263 on the Inc 5000 list in 2021. The business offers location intelligence software for marketers.
Campaign OverviewUnderstanding the impact of COVID-19 on business has become a significant opportunity for Gravy Analytics. Consumer behavior changed very quickly as consumers changed how they shop. By publishing near real-time data-rich reports about consumer behavior, Gravy Analytics has stood out. Rather than vaguely guessing what consumers are doing, Gravy Analytics provides real-world data on consumer habits in America such as this analysis of Mall of America consumer behavior.
Digital Marketing Example: Consumer behavior at the Mall of AmericaWith more than five hundred stores, the Mall of America is one of the largest retail shopping spaces in the world. Historically, the Minnesota mall has drawn visitors from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Canada. As a major shopping destination, it serves as a good proxy for consumer behavior. Gravy Analytics gathered original data on consumer behavior at the mall. Through their research, the company found several actionable insights:
- Consumers are economically minded – looking for discounts and fast food eating,
- Out of town tourism is down
- Recommendation retailers: offer more kiosks and change advertising offers to suit current consumer desires.
The Campaign Results"We published the study and created a series of blog posts to go along with it. We then promote the research through SEO, PR outreach, and social media. The results have been excellent. Our key performance indicator is the number of sales-qualified leads (SQLs), and we see a record number of SQLs move through the sales process," Jolene Wiggins, chief marketing officer of Gravy Analytics, shared with me in an interview.
6) Divergence AcademyImage Credit: Divergence Academy Divergence Academy, founded in 2015, ranked 556 on the 2021 Inc 5000 list. The company offers online and traditional training focused on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and cloud technology. The training business recently launched a successful LinkedIn campaign to generate leads.
Campaign OverviewIn partnership with the agency AmpFactor, DivergenceAcademy started a LinkedIn campaign in July 2020 and continuing into mid-2021. The campaign involved sending customized direct messages to prospects, such as the message below focused on veterans transitioning to a civilian career: “We're graduating our biggest class yet & I am reaching out, as I think our missions align. Quite simply, we built Divergence to help as many veterans get into tech roles as possible. From what I’ve read, your company wants the same thing. Our goal is to connect employers such as yourself with trained military veterans, free of charge. They come equipped with real-world, application-based cloud, data, and cyber skills. These individuals are transitioning out of their careers with the military into the civilian sector, bringing with them a drive that is capable of immediately impacting your bottom line. Let me know when you have 15-20 min so we can chat and share some insights.” The campaign focused on human resources executives and IT leaders at large companies like Google, Dell Technologies, and Charles Schwab. The effort led to 350 warm leads and 140 virtual meetings. Ultimately, DivergenceAcademy was able to sign up 100 new employer partners. This campaign was new for DivergenceAcademy and AmpFactor. "With learnings from this partnership and tweaks based on various industries, AmpFactor has been able to replicate this success for other clients. Divergence Academy was surprised and delighted by how quickly this lead nurture campaign could exponentially grow the footprint of their employer partner program," explained Sravan Ankaraju, founder and CEO of Divergence.
7) Attending Grabbing MediaAttention Grabbing Media, based in Florida, was founded in 2017. The advertising and marketing company was ranked number 438 on the Inc 5000 list in 2021. In addition to working with clients, the company also sells its digital products and e-commerce products. The campaign objective was to offer free access to one of the company's courses. The campaign started with warm audiences and they were incentivized to spread the word so they shared with friends and family so we gathered leads from cold audiences. The campaign targeted a warm audience of people who had previously interacted with the campaign. Specifically, the campaign targeted website visitors, current and previous customers. The campaign targeted a warm audience of people who had previously interacted with the campaign. Specifically, the campaign targeted website visitors, current and previous customers.
Campaign Overview:The three-month campaign (March-May 2021) generated 213,989 unique leads and a total of 210 sales. The campaign led to sales of products priced between $95 to $360. By focusing on a hot topic – staying healthy during the pandemic. Rather than using advertising, the campaign relies on running virtual live events on Facebook and YouTube. The company's online videos have now generated more than two million views. The Attention Grabbing Media campaign offers a few exciting lessons on marketing fundamentals.
- Virtual Live Events. These are a proven way to sell products. You might have already heard that Alibaba in China has used live events to sell products. In the US, major brands like Walmart and Facebook are using live events as well.
- Offer Products At Multiple Price Points. The campaign offered a variety of products at different price points. Even in times of economic uncertainty, it is possible to find customers willing to make larger purchases. Keep this digital marketing example in mind as you design your next campaign.
8) RallyUpBased in Arizona, RallyUp provides online fundraising tools for non-profit organizations. The company was 323 on the Inc 5000 list in 2021. One of the company's most successful recent campaigns spoke directly to the challenges experienced by non-profits during the global pandemic.
Campaign OverviewAimed at non-profit organizations, the "don't cancel" campaign runs across multiple paid channels: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google Display Network. "This campaign focused on the issue many non-profits worldwide are facing now - COVID19 restrictions that make hosting physical events challenging and sometimes impossible. Q4 is the peak of fundraising season, and many organizations rely on it to continue and offer programs and support to their communities," explained Evgeny Redjebov, Head of Marketing at RallyUp. The most surprising result from the campaign was the high response received from the market. "If I had to point one thing out, it would be: always listen to your audience. It's easy to get lost in the vast amounts of data that marketers are exposed to. Sometimes taking a step back and simply asking your audience about their challenges can lead to fantastic results," Redjebov added.
The Lesson Learned From The RallyUp CampaignThe RallyUp lessons speak to the fundamentals of connecting your message to current challenges. It is easy for us to lean on easy-to-access quantitative data in our analytics tools as digital marketers. The RallyUp digital marketing example is an excellent reminder to address challenges your audience is feeling directly. Sure, a COVID-related campaign may have a limited shelf life, but it is well worth attempting.
9) Conga: Speeding The Journey of Leads Through The FunnelFounded in 2006, Conga is ranked #1636 on the Inc 5000 list in 2020. The software company automates document management and related processes for Salesforce users.
Campaign OverviewContacting a prospect once is rarely enough. The company launched a global campaign that used Google, LinkedIn, email marketing, and the company's partners. The goal was to target new prospects in sales leadership and sales leadership in Europe, Australia, North American, and Asia. Typically, Conga's campaigns take about 16 weeks for leads to make their way through the funnel. This campaign far exceeded those past results. "Typically, our campaigns run for 16 weeks before we see opportunities beginning to progress down the funnel. That was not the case for this campaign! We saw opportunities and high-quality leads progressing down the funnel within the first 4-6 weeks of the campaign launch. We attribute this to targeting the right audience, with the right message, at the right time through the correct channels. As well as the varying creative versions we developed to localize for our priority markets," Randy Littleson, chief marketing officer at Conga, shared in an interview.
Lessons From CongaFrom a copy perspective, Conga's ads are clear and specific. You can send a proposal in minutes. In addition, Conga shows that the value of not settling for past results (i.e. leads in 16 weeks).
10) Emazing Group
Based in Anaheim, The Emazing Group has been on the Inc 5000 list of high-growth companies since 2014. In 2021, the consumer lifestyle brand was number 3688 on the Inc 5000 list. You've heard a lot about working with influencers over the past few years. You might wonder how these campaigns work in practice. For answers, I interviewed iHeartRaves, a property of Emazing Group, about their recent successes with influencer marketing.View this post on Instagram
The CampaignThe company set the goal of growing its following on Instagram and TikTok. To achieve that goal, the company decided to enlist the aid of influencers. Rather than iHeartRaves took a direct approach. The company contacted the influencers directly via direct message and has been working with them for several years.
Results:"Recently, we launched a collaboration with the music artist, Jauz. We had three influencers - @nbkittiekat, @sunflowerraver, and @eliseerodriguez - support the launch by posting on their Instagram & TikTok accounts. The total Instagram engagement on the influencer pages was over 15,000, the total views were over 55,000, and we gained over 1,000 followers during the launch week. We were able to re-post the influencer content on our page as well. "Brandon Chopp, Digital Manager at iHeartRaves, shared in an interview There are a few lessons we can take from iHeartRaves.
- Influencer Research. The company did their homework by directly reaching out to influencers to start campaigns. That is an excellent option to keep in mind because an influencer agency or platform is not suitable for every company.
- Long Term Influencer Relationships. The business took a long-term approach to their campaign by working with influencers repeatedly over a long time frame. A little patience goes a long way in digital marketing, even relatively new options like influencer marketing.
11) JazzHR Attracts Over 1,000 HR LeadsSource: Jazz HR Landing Page JazzHR, a software company for human resources needs, found a marketing opportunity from the explosion in remote work. Specifically, the business decided to partner with Gusto to develop a co-branded ebook called "How to Stay Compliant While Hiring Remote Employees." Gusto is a HR platform noted for its payroll capabilities - PCMag gave the company an outstanding rating.
Campaign Results" We drew on both organizations' respective expertise to create comprehensive, high-quality content. Then, we promoted the asset across several channels, including email, paid advertisement, in-app, and more. The combination of relevant, valuable content with targeted distribution has resulted in over 1,300 downloads, which both teams are now able to convert effectively," explained Kelly Peters, Content & Communications Manager, JazzHR
Lessons From JazzHRJazzHR's content marketing is an excellent application of the classic copywriting advice from Robert Collier: enter the conversation already taking place in the customer's mind. Before 2020, few companies had human resources processes designed with large-scale remote work in mind. The short ebook directly helps companies with practical issues like candidate screening and understanding different state employment laws. Finally, JazzHR also shows the merit of working with a partner on a content marketing campaign to increase distribution.
12) Text RequestBased in Tennessee in 2014, Text Request is a software company that landed number 335 on the Inc 5000 list. The company helps organizations use text messaging on a team basis. The company recently launched a digital marketing campaign to promote their Peer to Peer Texting product for political campaigns.
Campaign OverviewThe campaign was aimed at political consultants who work with candidates seeking elected office. The campaign included a product landing page, an industry landing page, and a blog post to draw in organic traffic. In addition, the company also used virtual events, association sponsorships, and social media. In total, the campaign generated over 400 sales qualified leads and 50 customers. The campaign ran from March to October 2020. The campaign ended up achieving far better results than Text Request expected. "We brought in hundreds of campaigns, from local school board races through the presidential race. These customers cost us less to bring in and paid about 50% more on average than our average SMB customers,” explained Kenneth Burke, vice president of marketing at Text Request.
The Lesson From Text RequestTiming was a key reason for TextRequest’s campaign success. “One reason it was so successful was timing. As campaigns were looking to spend, we all went virtual. So they - like so many others - needed a great virtual engagement channel like texting," explained Burke. Marketing to a customer when they are likely to buy is a best practice that still makes sense.
Four Ways To Use These Digital Marketing Examples In Your BusinessThere are a few ways you can take what you've learned here to improve your marketing.
- First, start by building a swipe file to inspire you. To be clear, I am not suggesting copying. Instead, look at these examples and ask yourself, "how can I adapt this idea or method to my business?"
- Second, look for winners in your marketing past that you can build on. Buffer has achieved more significant results by spending several years on its remote work reports, and ZeroBounce has enhanced the performance of its Google Ads. Direct response marketers have known the same principle for years. These marketers sometimes test a different headline or lead in a sales letter to see if that will help to extend the life of a proven sales letter.
- Third, look for methods that you have not tried recently. Perhaps you can pay to access a specialized audience like Booz Allen. Or you might take a page from iHeartRaves and start to work with social media influencers directly.
- Fourth, inspire a colleague by sharing this article with them. Success in digital marketing takes effort, and there are few natural shortcuts. Adapting successful marketing campaigns from other companies is one way to get ahead.