Digital advertising spending is set to increase in 2016.
Isn’t that great news, B2B marketers?
No, not really.
The problem is nobody trusts ads. This lack of trust leaves marketers struggling to find ways to cut through the noise and create ads that feel relatable (or useful) to our target audiences.
So, what’s a marketer to do when they’ve got targets to hit and a budget to spend? Test copy changes over and over again while hoping for the best?
We’ve overcome this problem and increased our MQL-to-opportunity conversion by 150% with one simple shift: by making our messaging more authentic.
Forgetting about gated content
Today’s buyers usually go through a journey of self-research and education. So, it makes sense for marketers to focus their ad offers on content like ebooks, analyst reports, research papers, case studies and webinars. At Influitive, this method has helped us generate thousands of high-quality inbound inquiries.
However, we wanted to push the boundaries and accelerate the buyer’s journey by convincing people to skip the gated assets and jump right to the Contact Us/Request a Demo stage. Our hope was that these leads would progress through the buying process faster because they’d have direct contact with a rep sooner.
But in order for it to work, we knew our ads have to be incredibly compelling. To do it, we decided to tap into our most important resource: our customer advocates.
Marrying ads & advocates
We decided to marry our paid advertising and advocate marketing efforts by featuring our top advocates’ success stories in our paid ads. We predicted that prospects would respond better to social proof from a “real” person rather than another content download.
Although this was a smart approach, there were some roadblocks: Who would we feature? Who would agree to it? How do we get their permission
Luckily, thanks to our advocate marketing program, Influitive VIP (run on our AdvocateHub software), these questions quickly answered themselves. (If you want to learn what advocate marketing is read this blog post. If you want to know how we’ve built up a community of eager customer advocates, check out our incredibly revealing eBook on the topic.)
We posed a challenge to in our advocate marketing program asking our customers to be the faces in our new ads:
The response rate was astounding: 3 c-suite executives and over 63 advocates agreed to appear in the ads. (We know, we know; our advocates are amazing!)
Next, we put their headshots in the ads, along with a real success measure they generated using our AdvocateHub software. Then we promoted these ads across LinkedIn, Twitter and Retargeting channels.
And the results were…
By putting real faces and voices in our ads, our click-through-rates doubled and we generated 66 sales-ready leads in 3 months.
While the results are amazing, the stat that we are most proud of is the conversion rate. Typically, leads from our paid advertising effort convert into sales qualified opportunities (SQO) at a rate of approximately 2%. With this campaign, it grew to a whopping 14%! So far, these campaigns have created $153,000 in pipeline, with Twitter being the most successful distribution channel.
With this successful campaign under our belts, it’s safe to say that advocate marketing has a solid demand generation use case. We’re planning to continue experimenting to see how else we can leverage social proof from our advocates to drive interest and faster conversion rates.
If you’re looking for creative ways to engage customers in demand generation and advertising initiatives, contact us and we’ll be happy to brainstorm with you!
How harnessing our advocates helped us grow 650% in 1 year
This eBook explains how Influitive has mobilized thousands of our advocates to submit referrals, write reviews, and help us drive demand. We promise we won’t be shy as we reveal what worked—and what didn’t—in our own advocate marketing program, Influitive VIP.