Do you ever wake up at 4 in the morning eyes wide open, heart beating out of your chest in an ice-cold sweat?
Eyes wide open with thoughts of ‘Will I earn enough to pay employees‘? ‘Will revenues increases faster than my cash gets burned‘? Can ‘I repay the money borrowed to get my dream off the ground‘?
Any way you slice the ‘pie of concern’ the opportunities facing CEOs are tangible, visceral, palpable, and not imaginary.
Yet, no concern is more critical then a constant stream of leads, revenue, and cash.
So how does a startup grow and get cash?
Case study strategy how a local B2B startup business generated 100s of leads a months for 5 months.
“Three Ways to Grow any Business”
Jay Abraham says there are three ways to grow a business…any business.
Only Three Ways
- Increase the number of clients
- Increase the average transaction value
- Increase the frequency of repurchase
Jay Abraham is an extraordinary marketing authority. Jay has helped his clients increase revenues by billions! Meaning we can trust his his three ways. These are not the usual fire, aim, ready strategies many employ.
Three choices. And in fact, a start up has only one!
A startup has one option to Grow – Increase the Number of Clients!
That is all. Get more clients. There exist fourteen tried and trusted lead generation methods. These fourteen are slow and steady, medium speed or fast and immediate results.
- Referral systems
- Acquiring clients at break-even up front and make a profit on the back end
- Guaranteeing purchases through risk reversal
- Host-beneficiary relationships
- Using direct mail
- Using telemarketing
- Running special events or information nights
- Acquiring qualified lists
- Develop a Unique Selling Proposition
- Increasing the perceived value of your product/service through better client education
- Using public relations
- Using public relations
- Influencer marketing
- Content marketing
Yes, the fastest way lead generation is to pay for them.
The business plan for this particular clients stipulated aggressive growth. The brief was ‘simple’ – get high quality leads from small and medium businesses niche.
From November 2018 until June 2019 we generated 585 leads at an average CPA of €13.41.
The 585 total was 3 leads a day, averaged over the six months.
This client has one product at the €1000+ price point. Further, the product is on a sliding scale based on yearly revenue. My client did not have a low priced front end or back-end offer available to supplement revenues.
Admittedly, €13.41 for leads is not the lowest possible or the lowest available. Yet, the goal was high quality not the ‘low hanging fruit’. The range of CPA was between €1.5 to €59.60.
And yes, lower priced leads are always available but, the goal was high quality not low price.
The Target Dream Client
The ideal clients were Owner, Founders, and CEOs of SMEs, with 5-20+ employees, and 500K+ yearly revenue.
These 585 high end leads converted into clients, contributed to revenues in the range of €267K-€335K.
The Start Up Business Strategy
Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right. The marketer must deliver the right message to the right prospect at the right time – or it is no longer the right message. Flint McGlaughlin, Founder and Managing Director, MECLABS
Because startups have only one option the acquisition strategy was simple: get clients!
“What do you have we can use to attract and get leads?”
This brand is new and has minimal recognition in the market. Client has a website, a smallish email list <1.5K, and a Facebook Page with about 1.5K page likes.
We did not use ‘funnels’ designed on a fancy specialist funnel designing software. The sales, registration, and thank you pages were build on WordPress website.
First was to get an answer the base questions a) what is the offer? b) is there a product market fit?, c) are there competing products (which is good, because then there are buyers)?, d) is the product proven
Second step is creating and refining the ideal client avatar.
We used the Targeting Trifecta System™ to find targeting opportunities. This exercise resulted in a large list of interests. An interesting result is one interest produced 70% of all results.
The Base Marketing Funnel
The base funnel was simple – advert > Sales page > registration page > TY page.
But, three parts of the puzzle were missing at the start:
- A thank you page – the page people land upon after submitting their contact details
- Conversions pixels – installed on the the sales, email, and TY page
- Retargeting audience – see below
The business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins. – Dan Kennedy
The initial strategy conversation was about the numbers. The life time value and the average order value. After running the number we decided upon an target CPA of €15-17 with an upper CPA of €20.
Mind CPC is not the same as CPA. Customer Acquisition Cost is the cost to acquire a paying client. Whilst – Cost Per Acquisition is the cost to acquire a non-paying client.
A lead, one name and email is a non paying user. E.g. a non paying user is 1-month free subscription to Netflix. Or a free user of Dropbox, or user of LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, or Google.
Recall, if CPC is higher than Customer Lifetime Value your business cannot succeed (in the long haul). Because you are spending more to acquire clients than the revenue you will earn over the life-time of them being a client – CPC > LTV
AOV is average order value. LTV is the lifetime value and is the total revenue during entire time one client stays your client.
Retargeting Audiences – Present offers to Brand Aware People
Interesting is the ability to retarget adverts to people. Retargeting is not exclusive to Facebook. Retargeting is possible with Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and others.
The retargeting options are reengage the people who landed on the sales/offer page. Landed on the registration page but did not register.
The retargeting options were reengage the people who landed on the sales/offer page. Reengage people who landed on the registration page but did not register.
We created five retargeting website custom audiences, WCA.
Two audiences for each of the sales, registration pages, 5 and 10 days, and one for the thank you pages, 90 day.
Second, to recover some of the money spent bringing people to the website in the first instance.
Third, a reminding to a website visitor is the right action for a business owners to take.
‘‘hey, you saw the offer, can I entice you to take my offer?‘?‘
Three Webpages Function as One.
Adverts drive people to the (1) sale/offer page. If interested they click through to (2) the registration page and register. When they register and get redirected to (3) the thank you page.
For example, during calendar week 4, 2019, we generated 46 leads, from 162 visitors to the registration page, and 575 people landing on the sales/offer page.
The 46 to 575 ratio is a 7.9% conversion rate for cold traffic!
We used four retargeting campaigns. Two for each of the two time periods, and two for each of the Sales/offer and Registration pages. The time periods were 1-5 and 6-10 days after landing on either page.
Four different adverts because the intent of each page visitor is different. The intent people on the two page is different.
Hence different variants of a polite reminder: ‘hey did you forgot to register?‘
Using retargeting is proper practice. Showing adverts to people who registered demonstrates lack of basic advertising etiquette. Besides bad customer service, bad form, and a waste of money.
As a ‘solve’ we subtracted the audience of people who landed on the thank you page from the retargeting audiences.
Retargeting– see the explanation above.
Interests – using the Targeting Trifecta method, we generated a couple dozen of gurus the ideal client followed. Dozens of websites they visited, and many websites where they shopped.
These three list formed the basis of our ‘cold audiences’ targeting.
LAL – Look-a-like audiences. We used three main groups of look a like audiences. 1- LAL of people who landed on the thank you page. 2- LAL of people who landed landed on the registration page, 3 – LAL of people who landed on the sales page.
Look a-like audiences size depends on the total Facebook users in the country targeted. This client operates in a country with a total of 2.2 million Facebook users. Meaning a 1% LAL audience size is 37K people. And the 2-3% LAL is 88K people.
When using conversions campaigns larger audiences are better than smaller audiences.
With ‘small’ audiences, the total number of conversions possible, is limited, at the price we were willing to pay.
We did use these audiences, and like a hawk watching over her eays, daily monitored the relevant metrics for increases in CPA.
Email – We uploaded a 1.5K email and matched 60% of them with Facebook ID’s. These were directly targeted (yes) and again we created 1, 2, 3% LAL audiences.
“All action has risks, prudence is not avoiding danger (it is impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” — Niccolò Machiavelli
We earned 585 leads with name, business name, website, and emails addresses. 487 arrived through the website and 98 leads came from the Facebook Lead Advert format.
One interest, ‘who the avatar follows’ produced 70% of all leads. Not surprising, this is one of the largest audience available. We also tested other interests including many name brand business ‘gurus’.
We used static images, videos, carousel and Giff formats.
Images examples are below. Note the ‘Social Proof’.
|Image A||Image B||Image C|
Image A, B are the super star creatives. Together they produced 264 lead! Which is 46% of all leads! Yep, one creative. B is a copy of A.
Image C is one of three different creatives used in the Facebook Lead Ad creatives. This one creative earned 59 of the 98 lead form ads, which is 60%.
The photo in adverts A and B is professional photo of people in business appropriate attire.
The images did not include any dogs, cats, three eyed fish, or ‘suggestive’ imagery.
One reason advert A and B was successful is the high number of shares and comments.
The social proof whilst great, did not, in any way, classify as viral. Yet, the variants with a high number of shares and comments converted at higher rate than adverts with low comments and shares.
Social proof is a positive signal to Facebook. They signal that the advert is resonating with the audience.
Positive signals reduce CPMs and CTRs. CPC drops distribution increases and importantly CPAs drop.
Carousals and GIFF
|Carousal 1||Carousal 2||GIFF|
We tested many carousal adverts and GIFFs. Both advert formats generated leads but, were not spectacular performers.
Facebook loves video. We used multiple videos.
The format of the videos were interviews. With one person talking to the camera discussing experiences and benefits using the product (service).
The video and audio production quality was professional. All the videos had intro and outro bumpers.
The CTA drove people to the sales/offer page. We did not test captions nor did we test other common video styles, lengths or formats.
The length of the videos were 2-4 minutes. Video were for branding, building video views custom audiences and direct registrations.
Video CPM were in range of €2-3 and cost per 3 and 10 second views of €<0.01, and €<0.03. Through plays cost were €0.03. These video number are average to high, as the videos have low amount of comment and share numbers.
We segmented the video view custom audiences by percentage watch time. The 50% or greater audience was then used in retargeting adverts. We also created look-a-like audiences from the 50, 75, and 90% video watch time. And injected them back into the top of our funnel as cold audience.
Eat, Sleep, Optimise and Test Everything
As an experienced marketer I have a very good handle on which leaver to pull at the right time for greatest benefit.
Every audience is different and different as time marches. Great marketers starts at a point, do the ‘work’, watch progress, wash and rinse out the poor performing parts, and test more.