Online Marketing Agency Scales a Business from Zero Customers to Over 200,000
About four years ago, I got an amazing opportunity…
Coursenvy had just launched and the team tasked me with scaling the business.
It is an online course platform focused on the niche of teaching marketing and ecommerce to small business owners. The main objective was to scale traffic to Coursenvy and user acquisition.
I was so excited for the opportunity!
I was ready.
Well… actually, I was little scared.
While I had been growing/marketing online businesses since 2005 for a lot of different companies, I never had to start at ABSOLUTE ZERO!
But I knew Google Ads and Facebook Ads were super effective at growing and scaling all my past client’s traffic, leads, and sales… so I knew starting with zero customers should be no different!
I knew that creating ads targeted at Coursenvy’s ideal customer audience was the first key step to driving a lot of high-value traffic that would generate leads and sales.
I needed results fast! So step one was to plan!
In this case study, I’m going to tell you exactly how my online marketing agency grew Coursenvy’s customers from 0 to over 200,000.
When we started this project, we first wrote down our initial assumptions and objectives about what we were trying to accomplish for this business.
- Most of our target audience is using Google search to find out information on how to market their business (these are high intention searches, such as “dental marketing course” or “ppc management agency”… talk about highly targeted potential customers).
- Another portion of our audience was not searching these high intention keywords on Google, but rather simply owned a small business page on Facebook (no matter the business size, everyone’s goal is to scale and grow that business, so any user that owned a Facebook Business Page was our potential customer).
- In order to generate traffic to Coursenvy’s courses, we needed both amazing “pillar” content and keywords to target in the content + via Google search ads (here is an entire blog post on my favorite keyword research tool).
- We knew we had to create content that would not only attract our target audience (small business owners, etc.), but also provide enough value to convince them to either A) buy a course or B) provide their email address in exchange for XYZ value proposition/lead capture item… i.e. “work them down the funnel”.
The goal is to work customers down your sales funnel and “warm” them up to your brand/product in the process. All users start out as a “cold” audience, which simply means they don’t know you and don’t trust you. You need to WARM up that relationship!
FUN FACT: The average number touch points (i.e. times a customer sees or visits your content/product) before a customer makes a purchase from that brand is SEVEN!
1) First, make the customer aware and interested in what you are offering.
2) Second, retarget these warm customers, provide value, build trust, and collect leads!
3) Finally, retarget and convert the lead into a sale!
No matter what your sales funnel is leading to, you need to identify your end goal! This can include:
- Newsletter or Webinar Signup
- Service or Physical Product Sale
- Growing your Email List
- Increasing Website Traffic (or building up Pixel Traffic for Retargeting)
- Promote an Event
Not many people go from ZERO to SALE instantly… so you need to warm the user up first and build an online relationship with them by:
- Building your brand awareness and sharing your product/service benefits.
- Providing value for free (EX: share a PILLAR blog post with a ton of free value, such as www.coursenvy.com/free-backlinks).
- Capturing leads via a lead magnet/giveaway (lead can be a custom audience or email).
- Retargeting this lead to convert into a sale (or whatever your goal is).
When I say split test, I mean literally split test separate campaigns, one variable at a time!
Remember Biology class in high school? To test any hypothesis you need to compare a single variable (the test group) versus another single variable (the control group). Then you can view the results and see which variation worked more in your favor. So for Google and Facebook ads, this means optimizing for your key metric (i.e. lowest cost per lead, or lowest cost per click, or most conversions, etc.)
Split test EVERYTHING! Facebook Ad Objectives, Detailed Targeting, Ad Copy, Ad Images/Videos, Keywords, etc.
Just make sure to test only ONE variable at a time in each ad campaign so you can clearly decide what variation equaled the most results!
This is my most basic funnel that works for both Facebook/Instagram and Google Ads. You can add steps as you like to further optimize your own funnel. Typically you should have multiple funnels and lead capture opt-ins that you can split test to see what your customers prefer.
My #1 Facebook Funnel
For my Facebook funnel example I like to start with a great PILLAR BLOG POST (this is a 1,000+ word blog post giving immense value in your niche FOR FREE).
I will paste the intro of the blog post into the Facebook Traffic Objective’s ad copy (make sure to finish with a strong call to action and/or a final sentence leaving them wanting more!
Next I retarget the users that visited my website. Retargeting just means showing an ad to someone who has already engaged with your content (i.e. visited your website, watched a Facebook video, subscribed to your email list, etc.)
I do retargeting via Facebook Custom Audiences and the Facebook Pixel. With the Facebook Pixel installed on my website, I can track visitors and then create Custom Audiences of those users who visited specific URLs of my website (and many more cool Custom Audiences, such as email lists, content engagement, and more!)
Click this link to learn how to create a Facebook Custom Audience: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/666509013483225
Make sure to split test your top of funnel ad content when you are seeking to build brand awareness to a cold audience (i.e. they are new to your brand)!
Besides traffic campaigns to pillar blog posts, I have a lot of success with video ads for this initial awareness/touch point with new potential customers! I will retarget people who watch over 50% of my top of funnel video views ad… YES, there is a Custom Audience for video engagement retargeting!
Then I will retarget these warm users by selecting my custom audience under the AD SET level in a new Facebook Conversion Objective Campaign. I will direct the traffic toward a lead capture page on my website where I am offering something for free in exchange for the user to opt-in (i.e. the user exchanges their email for XYZ value proposition).
My free opt-in item for Coursenvy (or LEAD MAGNET / GIVEAWAY) is a mini-course! Maybe your customers will prefer a free ebook, a coupon or free trial, a free video course, free consulting, a free webinar, a free product/service, etc. Just make sure to SPLIT TEST to see what freebie is best for your target market!
Email Follow Up Automation
Next I follow up with my email leads via an automated email sequence (click here for more info on email automation) thanking them for signing up for my free mini-course and provide them with a link to the course.
Then in 2 days, I follow up with another automation email offering more value (i.e. another pillar blog post with a ton of free value). By this point the user is very warm, trusts you, is starting to build an “online relationship” with you, and should be very happy with all this free value you provided them. At this point, I will email them the Coursenvy course bundle for sale with a time-sensitive coupon to create a sense of urgency (this will be where you promote your product or service for sale that makes sense for this specific lead). In case they open my email but got busy with life, I will also retarget this list of emails via a “HOT LEADS” custom audience in another Facebook ad campaign promoting my course for sale. You can create this new custom audience of emails via the “Customer List” option while creating a new custom audience on Facebook.
Scaling Ad Budgets
All along the way I am split testing campaigns, one variable at a time, at all three levels (objective, ad set, and ad) to optimize for my key metrics (typically lowest cost per conversion).
I am also shutting off non-performing ads at each step of the funnel every 2-3 days (i.e. too expensive of ads, non-performing, etc.)
Once I find winning ads (using all the variables I tested), I will slowly scale up their budget 20-30% every 2-3 days until I am at a daily budget I am comfortable spending. I am constantly testing ads to find more audiences and obtain cheaper results, but once you get a few of these winning ads, they truly can become EVERGREEN (i.e. lifelong ads for you!)
Who is Your Target Market?
At every step of the funnel be LASER focused on who your target market is (not only in your ad set level targeting, but also in your ad copy)! We are converting cold traffic (they don’t know you or your product) into warm traffic (they’ve clicked or engaged with your content) and then into SALES (a potential lifelong customer you can upsell and remarket to again and again!)
Typically the narrower the audience on Facebook, the more expensive it is to target them, so start VERY broad at the top of the funnel.
Split test targeting different DETAILED TARGETING (i.e. your competitors, demographics, etc.) at the Ad Set level to see which target market drives the best results for your ads.
Facebook doesn’t have ALL Facebook pages listed under Ad Sets > Detailed Targeting. If your competitor isn’t listed, no worries, just target BROADER and then create your own Custom Audiences and Lookalikes with the engagement you get from this 1,000,000+ sized audiences!
Just don’t start too narrow at the top of the funnel… I’d rather you start as broad as targeting an entire country at the top of your funnel, then miss out on potential customers!
Your target market is another great area to split test to see WHO are your highest converters (i.e. sales)!
Take some time to sit down and describe your PERFECT customer in great detail. Ask yourself and write down… What is their age? Sex? Relationship status? Location? Hobbies? Job title? What organizations or groups they are a member of? What is their favorite TV show? What blogs do they read? What podcasts do they listen to? What Facebook pages do they like/follow? What stores do they shop at? Etc.
Another great area to split test in your Facebook ads is PLACEMENT.
Placement (under the AD SET level of your campaign creation) enables you to choose where your ads show up. Such as:
- Facebook News Feed
- Facebook Messenger
- Facebook Stories
- Instagram Feed
- Instagram Stories
I typically use Automatic Placements as Facebook’s algorithm and user data knowledge usually gets me the best return on ad spend.
Customize Your Ad Copy
Target each stage of the user (are they cold, warm, or returning customers?) directly with custom ad copy!
- For example, in your warm audience retargeting ads you know info about the user (i.e. they navigated to your blog post), so you can mention that in your retargeting ad! Such as:
“I hope you enjoyed my blog post on How to Sell on Amazon, but I wanted to take it one step further for you… I want to give YOU my Amazon FBA Mastery course for FREE!”
My Top 10 Proven Marketing Tactics to Skyrocket Your Business Overnight
Quality marketing starts with a strategy that is tailored to fit the specific needs of your business. In a world filled with infinite marketing tactics, there are only a few that will actually help you achieve the goals that you have set. Now I will share my TOP 10 techniques that will help you get new customers and increase brand awareness. With these strategies in place, you’ll learn exactly how to reach new clients during your marketing efforts and how to develop a lasting relationship with them.
Finally, you will learn the proper follow-up strategies needed to gain new clients through referrals, testimonials, and consistent communication.
1. CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION
There are many methods of communication that you can use to connect with your clients. Email marketing is one of the most effective communication methods that you can use to stay in contact with them. Emailing new promotions and offers to current clients will be beneficial when trying to increase your overall customer base.
Here are a few steps that you can take to create a successful email campaign:
- Collect the email addresses of your current clients and create a master client list; preferably in an email marketing client and utilizing a signup form on your website.
- Make sure all that all of the content that you create utilizes your branding and contains authentic imagery.
- Send an email campaign to your clients at least once a week or a newsletter at least once a month.
By staying in contact with your clients, you’ll begin to develop a trusting relationship that will bring you repeat business.
2. REFERRAL PROGRAMS
A referral program is one method of marketing that can effectively put your existing clients to work as your marketing staff. This system is quite simple, as the clients that are satisfied with the products or services you provide will potentially refer their friends, family or coworkers to your business (either directly to your brick and mortar location or to your website).
Here are a few steps that you can take to start a successful referral program:
- For your clients to fully understand the referral program, make sure you take the time to explain to them how it works, i.e., a landing page on your website or within your marketing collateral (brochures, vouchers, etc.).
- Create a program that is centered around giving clients rewards for referring new clients to your business.
- Provide desirable rewards for referrals that pan out such as gift cards or store credit. You can even enter them in a drawing for a high-ticket item.
It is a cost-effective method that can increase your customer base and help grow the relationship with your existing clients.
3. PRESS RELEASES
All business owners need to master press releases as a part of an effective communications strategy. When done right, a press release can help you gain additional attention for your company and your products or services. A press release isn’t always necessary, but if you have a high-profile product launch or a significant change in your company, it will assist you in building credibility and attracting media attention.
Here are a few tips to make sure your press release is effective:
- Make sure that you have a STRONG value statement so your pitch will stand out. It all begins with your headline, which needs to grab a user’s attention while conveying relevant information.
- Make sure your press release isn’t lengthy by using short paragraphs and employing short, direct sentences.
- The tone of your release should be neutral, but apparent that you are trying to promote it. (Don’t oversell it!)
4. DIRECT MAIL & FLYERS
Direct mail and company flyers placed in high-traffic areas are excellent marketing methods that you can use to connect to clients that would have never heard of your business. Share promotions and offers, useful tips, and other information that will influence them to visit your location or website.
Here are a few tips to produce a successful direct mail (or branding) campaign:
- Create (or export) a master list that includes the full name and mailing address of the clients that you are trying to reach. (If mailing to a general area, you can address items to the ‘Current Resident’)
- Use a brand-focused design that will stand out to potential customers while reinforcing your company’s mission and value proposition.
- The information that you send needs to be of value to your potential clients. If possible, include a promotion or offer that consumers will find IRRESISTIBLE.
5. BLOG POSTS
Utilize a blog to promote your products or services, develop a voice for your brand, and improve your company’s SEO. By creating and consistently adding high-quality content to your website, you won’t increase your customer base overnight, but you’ll begin a practice that will bring consistent traffic to your business’s website in the future. Engaging, insightful blog posts will turn readers into customers.
Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your blog posts:
- Be sure to use keywords in your blog post that will show up for specific terms that will help you reach your targeted audience. Using the right keywords will improve your rankings, increase traffic, and eventually turn your site into an industry authority.
- Create a post at least once a week that promotes specific products or services, your current sales and promotions, or information that will inspire potential consumers to visit your business.
6. THE POWER OF VIDEO
Videos are instrumental when trying to promote your business. By creating videos that highlight your products or services, your company, and your process you will make your audience much more comfortable with your brand.
Here are some topics for creating the perfect video for your business:
- Make the first few seconds count! Start your video with a statement that will spark the interest of your target audience.
- Make sure to highlight the benefits and features of your business, i.e., your VALUE PROPOSITION.
- You don’t need a professional camera and crew, as most phones record HD video. They will also provide authenticity.
- Use a call to action that will encourage your audience to visit your business or site directly, sign up for your email list, or receive a discount on a specific product or service.
7. SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING
Social media is quite similar to a referral program as the post that you create can be shared by your current clients furthering your reach and engagement and will result in people coming back to your business or website to learn more. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are some of the most lucrative advertising methods available to you!
Here are some tips to help optimize your presence on social media:
- Create fun and short social media posts that include your newest products or services.
- Create a regular posting schedule for the social media platforms that your business will utilize.
- If possible, make sure your posts have visual appeal. Use real photos and videos! After all, vision is our most dominant sense. If images can boost engagement, imagine what videos can do to your business!
- Be sure to interact and engage with your audience by replying to comments and responding to direct messages.
8. FACEBOOK ADVERTISING
Did you know that 68% of adults are Facebook users? This results in a vast advertising opportunity for businesses. While a Business Page on its own is an excellent way to market your business, the constant changes in Facebook’s algorithm can have a massive impact on how many users will see your posts.
Here are some reasons why Facebook Advertising is essential to your business:
- You can fine-tune the targeting of your advertising by selecting specific demographics, locations, and behaviors to show your ads to the right audience.
- Even if your ads aren’t being clicked on from the beginning, their continued visibility will help build trust, improve brand awareness, and create a retargeting opportunity.
- If you are consistently creating great content, you will want to share it across Social Media. Facebook Ads will amplify the organic reach of your content when a user shares it.
9. GOOGLE ADVERTISING
When a user performs a Google search, they are instantly served with millions of results. By implementing Google Ads in your company’s marketing strategy, you will increase brand awareness and receive results much faster than relying solely on organic traffic.
Here are some tips to make sure that you get the most out of your Google Advertising experience:
- When choosing “Target Outrank” bidding strategies, the Google Ads platform will automatically adjust your bid to outrank your competitors.
- Influence your audience to come back to your site and complete your desired action by implementing remarketing ads.
- Create campaign strategies based on the demographics of your visitors. Including or excluding specific demographics like age, gender, and parental status can result in a much higher conversion rate!
10. CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS
Customer testimonials (or reviews) are a form of word-of-mouth marketing that can help you market your business through your previous customers. The process is simple, you’ve provided an excellent product or service to your client, and in return, they will return the favor with a review on your site.
Here are some tips you can use to utilize testimonials as a cost-effective marketing tool:
- Most clients are more than willing to provide you with feedback on their experience; you just need to reach out and ask them the right questions first!
- Motivate your clients to leave feedback for you with an incentive. Consider entering them in a drawing, offering a gift basket, or even take them out to dinner.
- Create an eye-catching landing page on your website that is solely used for displaying testimonials. Actively share these kind words on your social media platforms and if permitted by the patient, tag them, so they may share it with their friends – thus extending your reach.
Rinse & Repeat
Using these strategies discussed in this blog post, we grew Coursenvy from ZERO customers to over 200,000!
It isn’t an overnight process.
And you will fail at times. You’ll spend too much on split tests. You will waste time creating pillar content or a lead magnet you think is great, only to have it fall flat once you start marketing it. THAT IS OK!
The key is consistency and optimization. Always be split testing and optimizing your ads as you move customers from COLD to HOT!
No matter what… keep moving forward!
I wanted to share this experience/case study not just to brag about the growth (although the numbers are pretty impressive if I do say so myself). But, because what we learned through this process can be applied to almost any business!
Let me be the first to say that it is not always easy.
In fact, it’s really hard and takes a ton of time to implement.
But with focus, a plan, and the right team, this framework I have laid out today can be applied in nearly any industry!
Here’s What To Do Next…
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