Background:

SmartSearch Marketing is a full service digital marketing agency. Our online advertising programs focus on demand generation and lead management. Our creative approach to media planning allows us to serve ads to the right audience at the right time, improving the efficiency of our client’s media investment, delivering engaged leads, and ultimately driving sales.

Challenge:

Our client, a leading provider of Business Process Management (BPM) software was doubting the effectiveness of paid digital channels for lead acquisition. Under previous management, the majority of their ad spend focused on Google AdWords. Performance had plateaued and Cost-Per-Lead (CPL) was on the rise.

After analyzing their campaign and lead flow, we determined the following:

  • AdWords did allow our client to reach their audience, and Google leads were plentiful, however, this approach was not reaching the buyer at the right time. We discovered that most Google leads were still in the exploratory phase and not ready to engage with the client’s sales team.
  • Furthermore, due to large number of advertisers in this space, the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and Cost-Per-Lead (CPL) associated with AdWords was very high.

Solution:

SmartSearch Marketing took a creative approach to media planning and determined that advertising on software review sites would more likely catch the prospect at a time when they were further down the sales funnel (i.e. the right time). Additionally, we believed advertising on these sites leant credibility to our client and would help boost their authority in the industry.

Our 4-point approach:

  1. Based on the mindset of the customer while on these review sites, and their phase in the buy-cycle, we were able to write ad copy that was compelling and pertinent.
  2. We created specific landing pages with messaging in tight alignment to these ads, appealing to prospects in “comparison and trial” mode, thus increasing the likelihood of conversion.
  3. We served ads only on particular software review websites; those with the most qualified and relevant audience.
  4. We evaluated lead quality at the ad- and site-level to optimize not just lead volume, but to ensure we delivered qualified leads.

Results:

Immediately we recognized less competition in this space and saw a dramatic decrease in Cost-Per-Click (CPC) in comparison to AdWords.

Average CPC (Cost Per Click) - Paid Media Case Study

Not only were clicks less expensive, but as we anticipated, the audience had a strong buying intent.  They were further along in the buy-cycle, reading reviews to gather information, and ready to engage with our client’s sales team.  Because of this, the conversion rate was much higher.

Conversion Rate - Paid Media Case Study

With a lower CPC and a higher conversion rate, the Cost-Per-Lead (CPL) was substantially more attractive.

Cost Per Lead - Paid Media Case Study

Summary

While paid advertising on Google and Bing is a great source of traffic and can generate a large volume of inquiries, it is important to take a creative approach to media buying, understand the customer’s buy-cycle, and explore various ad platforms across the entire digital ecosystem.

We were able to identify a new advertising solution based on understanding this client’s customer and listening to their feedback on lead quality.  This creative approach has revitalized digital advertising as an effective lead gen channel for this company.

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