Marketing|Demand Creation Blog: Thoughts on strategy, lead optimization, social media and the digital space

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Making Lemonade From Lemons: Buzz Provides Unexpected Boost

It was great being nominated for MarketingSherpa’s Blog & Podcast Reader’s Choice Awards last week, and though I didn’t win in the B2B blog category (that honor going to Brian Carroll’s excellent B2B lead generation blog), Marketing & Graphic Design ROI was 1 of only 8 blogs nominated in the category. As the old saying “Make lemonade from lemons” goes, while it would have been nice to win, I can’t be too sour about it — the experience actually provided some great data on the power of word-of-mouth to boost site traffic and connecting with a target audience.

Setting Up the Lemonade Stand – er - Study
At the time of the nominations, I had just posted “Taken Your Metrics Multivitamin Today?”, which included a link to download a lead scorecard tool. Since the link clicks through to a summary page followed by a download form, it seemed like a good opportunity to track not only the buzz value of MarketingSherpa’s link to this blog, but also to gauge interest in the tool and any drop-off as a result of having to supply some information to download the free tool. Since visitors to the MarketingSherpa voting page were not required to vote in every category, or even to view the blogs featured (though they ought to have done so before casting a vote!) I was even more curious to see if there would be much of a response.

Sweet Results
For an impromptu buzz marketing campaign, I was fairly impressed with the results. For the week the voting lasted, I tracked roughly a 10x increase in daily unique visitors to the blog. Of those visitors — most of whom were first-timers — more than 11% clicked through to the lead scorecard summary page. 100% of the clicked-through visitors followed the link to the download form.

At this point it got more interesting. These days most people do not like to give out “personal” information if they don’t have to and I wish I didn’t need to ask for it, but its just too hard to give away all the time put into developing tools with no sense of who’s downloading them. I always recommend requiring the minimum amount of information from prospects to reduce form abandonment, so I decided to only ask for a name and email address. I provided a clear explanation that I had no intentions to use the information for nefarious purposes and included an opt-out to never receive future emails (yes, a double opt-in procedure would be best, but there was little time to put one in place for the test). Despite all the precautions, I was prepared for some pretty serious abandonment.

In the end, 31% of unique visitors had their interest piqued sufficiently to consider handing over a few bits of information to get the lead scorecard and less than half chose to opt-out of future emails. Of course, with this permission comes tremendous responsibility: to evaluate whether the content of the next communication is relevant to the needs of the audience that has entrusted their information to me. I don’t take that lightly.

I don’t know if the results measure up to the return one should expect from a buzz marketing campaign intentionally set up as such, but this example does provide some benchmark of what’s possible. Best of all, the impact has been sustained: traffic levels continue to track well above the levels seen before the “campaign.” Proof that it really does pay to make lemonade from lemons — even when the lemonade is free!

Joseph Mann Sunday, July 09, 2006


Add a comment