What is Growth Marketing?
If you knew a company’s public stock or a shares would 10X your investment every month with confidence, would you invest in it?
Sounds too good to be true. And to be honest, in most cases – it probably is.
But your own business can be a different story. And you can write your own story, if you really want to.
Younger/smaller companies have the opportunity to experience unprecedented growth – more than any large, publicly-owned company.
My business partner Kale and a few Kiwi friends took $200 marketing budget and creatively turned it into over 202K in annual revenue for their startup gym opening.
I find that the biggest reason these cases don’t happen more often is simply that we don’t genuinely believe it can happen.
Belief Equals Perception
Do you genuinely believe you can 10X your investment in a month?
If not, that’s OK.
I’m going to walk you through exactly how we did it, and how you can do it too. That is, if you really want to. Keyword being: really want to.
You must GENUINELY want it, deep in your bones.
As a team, we often use a technique called visualization. So, before we proceed I want you to take you on a mental stroll.
- What would it feel like to get $30K in new monthly revenue? What about $80K?
- How would you feel? What is the sensation your stomach feels?
- How would your business look? What would you change in your business? In your life? Would you buy her a new car, or your family a trip somewhere warm and sandy?
- Now that you’ve experienced it, are you willing to work for it?
There are two facets to making this happen – extreme commitment and massive action. Are you capable of both of those?
If yes, keep reading. If no, that’s OK. This case study probably isn’t relevant and you can X the window and leave now.
An average of 28 leads per month, with an average order value of $3,500 that closed 80% of the time, resulting in $30K at begin and $80K in monthly revenue at end. See screenshots
Part 1 – The Case Study Details
Wherever you are right now is just right.
About The Client Company
This case study isn’t about a high-growth tech startup like Instagram, or a celebrity who has millions in backing. This is about a small wheelchair access / stairlift contractor in Upstate, NY. And a team of dedicated hustlers/marketers.
This client installs wheelchair ramps, stairlifts, platform lifts and other home access equipment for elderly clients. Their average customer age is 78 years old – not exactly “the digital generation”.
But with passion and dedication, any company can be growth hacked using digital strategies, including a company servicing the elderly.
Their budget was $2,500/mo for marketing. Eventually, after some early successes we raised it to $3,000/mo.
The study examines the first 30 days after launching our growth hacking initiative. It took us 30 days to find our groove, and then 30 more to hit our target. The end of the study is day 60.
We’re focused on generating leads from people looking to buy stairlifts, wheelchair ramps and vertical platform lifts. We targeted 2-3 leads per week.
With an average order value of $3,500 and a historical close rate of 80%, the prospects look good. If we generate 10 leads per month (2.5/week), that’s $28,000/mo in sales. The client takes home about 50% of their revenue, so on $3,500 they make $14,000 in pure profit.
Starting to look realistic?
The industry close rate is high because healthcare often helps cover cost of accessibility/ADA modifications (many companies are required to have ADA-compliant ramps and wheelchair access), and elderly don’t really like shopping around for an urgent purchase. Most of their customers can’t get up the stairs safely – so there’s little inclination to shop around because of the time it takes.
Our initial target was 28K in revenue/month.
Part 2: How We Did It
Planning was important, but with anything, plans change. We failed miserably in month 1, and so much so I offered to refund the client’s money.
This is one of the biggest lessons we learned on this effort
Be flexible and don’t get your panties in a bunch if fires pop up or things don’t work. Just aggressively look for areas to fix and optimize them for the next round.
Alas, our strategic backbone: test and learn mentality.
The Stairlift Growth Strategy (later we developed it into a concrete framework/product – “The Stairlift Acquisition System, which guarantees clients 4X ROI)
Our initial strategy was to setup 3 product marketing campaigns for an industry that was tired and out of the loop digitally. Sadly, not much love and attention gets dedicated to an industry serving the elderly.
However, any underserved industry grants much more growth potential for new entrants or incumbents. So if you’re willing to service a niche that might not seem interesting to you, the payoff can be much larger – monetarily and personally.
The Test Campaign Overview
We’d initially planned a digital marketing program using Google Adwords only – pointing ad traffic to the client’s home page.
Our campaign structure looked something like this:
- Adwords Ad Groups
- Vertical platform lifts
- All ad groups pointed to product pages on their website (not custom landing pages)
- No call tracking
- Broad keyword targeting
Sadly, it was a flop. So we regrouped, wrote a new marketing plan and started executing pieces of it one by one.
Once we’d setup the initial growth campaign which I’ll detail in the next section, we found that it generated 0 leads. Not only was everyone kind of disappointed, but the future didn’t look bright. This test was 14 days long.
We regrouped, and dug deep into the data. We did the boring work that most people are scared of, but it paid off.
After a failed first shot at Adwords, we considered several other options for generating leads:
- Forging partnerships with home care companies and elderly homes
- Joining industry networking groups
- Ads in industry/print publications
- Facebook Ads
- Organic social media content
The Revised Campaign Outline for Our Growth Strategy
We didn’t let up that easily though. Adwords was not working well in our first 2 weeks, but we did deep keyword and click trend analysis and began to see a little opportunity.
Here’s what we found:
- Using a mix of all types of keywords (broad, exact, phrase match) was too broad of a strategy
- We decided to hone to longer tail, more specific keywords, using phrase/exact match
- Eliminated all keywords that got a lot of clicks but no conversions (SUPER IMPORTANT)
- Need to add Google Analytics and custom conversions and analyze where people were clicking on landing pages, and where fallout was happening (bounce rate)
After making revisions to the test campaign, our full growth hacking program looked like this:
- Google Adwords & Bing Ads – 3 campaigns
- Vertical platform lifts
- Custom, individualized Landing pages
- Vertical Platform lifts
- Call tracking
- All inbound leads were recorded with call tracking and therefore every lead had accurate tracking data that trued us up with the sales team
- SEO and Onsite optimizations
- Keyword research and insertion
- Technical optimization – load speed, mobile friendly etc.
- Biweekly Performance Reporting
- Sent to the whole team to keep everyone accountable every reporting period
- Email drip campaign
- 3 welcome emails with calls to action for leads who didn’t buy
Growth hacking in a space like handicap access is something in itself. How many growth hackers are entering a space that is focused on helping the elderly? Better yet – which business owners of stairlift companies are aggressive enough to get into growth marketing? The average age of a stairlift contractor owner is 61 years old.
Part 3. The Execution
Alas, the most important part (warning – we get a little technical here)
As mentioned, plans change and shit breaks. Instead of rolling out all the other “ideas” for marketing, like home care partnerships and networking events, we decided to give our Adwords strategy one last hoorah.
Some of the trends we noticed were odd landing page behavior/low CVR, low CTR, and high CPCs on landing pages. These can all be analyzed in isolation, but they definitely have a common threading. So we took a holistic approach.
Optimizing Conversion Rates
To address landing page behavior, we opened up Google Analytics, and reviewed where people were clicking on the page. We found most people wanted to call, not submit an email form, due to the purchase urgency (Can’t move about their home safely after disability or injury). We added call tracking numbers and made them clickable. We also made font size larger and made ugly landing pages (not really ‘ugly’ but you get the point). Big blocky text and only 3 visual elements per fold.
For the low Click through rate, we knew it was an ad copy issue, so we tested several different ad copies that looked similar to competitor’s ads. Tying in trust builders like certifications, guarantees and reviews. Further, we added call and other ad extensions and more so that people searching on mobile could click to call.
High CPCs were dependent on several factors – competition, ad relevance, and past performance. This we had less control of, so we zoomed out a little. I’ll explain how we beat this using keyword strategy, in a moment.
We also noticed there were redundant keywords in our ad groups, which caused internal competition and drove up our costs. We broke out all keywords that overlapped and saved ourselves money there too.
Another reason not to take Google’s recommendations to add keywords to ad groups.
Once we got leads to our landing page, they wouldn’t call nearly as much as we needed them to. Our initial conversion rate was 2.9%. After reviewing it with our CRO (Conversion rate optimization specialist), we were able to bring conversion to 12% nearly overnight. This involved clearer CTAs, less text, mobile optimizations, and bigger imagery/fonts.
We still had a cost problem though. High CPCs and slow conversions. Now, most PPC managers would say “add keywords and get more qualified traffic and leads”. But I had a sneaking suspicion that Google and other PPC pundits recommending more ad spend wasn’t solely focused on improving our costs, rather lining their own pockets. So I did the opposite.
The Beautiful Defiance of Common Knowledge
I did what no one would ever recommend, and went from 110 keywords down to 5.
Since I made this decision, and still up to today, other digital marketers laugh and scoff at me. Even the agency who used to do the Ads for this client laughed at me (they did however ask me how I did it, about a month later).
But then something strange happened – leads started rolling in. Every day. Soon, the client was getting 7-10 leads per week. That’s triple our target. All with fewer ads showing and less keywords?
30K is a prudent sales figure
Let’s revisit the math one more time: 7 leads/week * 4 weeks/mo * 80% close rate * $3,500 Avg order value = $78,400 per month in new sales.
Now, I don’t know that the client will ever admit we sent him nearly $80k per month in new business, but I have proof we sent him ~30 leads per month and his lead installer mentioned in an email that nearly every lead turned into an install. They also mentioned 80% close rate on a review call.
Further, other install leads we sent them range as high as $7,000 for other products. I’m confident we sent them over $80K/mo in sales on several months of the campaign.
(He did however share in a video interview that we send him 30K+/mo consistently).
Now, we all have our own reasons for hiding numbers. I feel he didn’t want to let us get a big head, as well as protect his own privacy. So I stick to the 30K figure he told me after the testimonial video was recorded.
The Strategy Implemented
After we improved the landing page, keyword strategy and upped the ad budget slightly, the client was now getting 10X his investment in revenue, and about 568% ROI in profits.
This worked because we were willing to break the status quo in our space. Later on, another PPC manager told me that all clickers are good as long as the keywords are relevant. “Qualified clickers” as she explained. I still disagree to this day.
Why it worked
A lot of things have to go right to have a successful marketing campaign.
The good thing?
Most of them are in your control. All the above tools we used are available to you, right now. We were lucky that our partners/clients had a strong sales process and knew how to close deals.
With that said, it’s totally doable for any business owner, if you have a solid team.
Since this initiative, we’ve rolled out the same strategy for 10 other clients, and even developed it into our “Stairlift Acquisition System” – a refined set of tools, processes and platforms that has never delivered less than our target guaranteed leads/week target. The Stairlift Acquisition System is the only of its kind in the handicap industry.
The best part? We tried it on other industries and it worked just as well. So we expanded to service mortgage companies, dentists and are now piloting other industries.
If you really, really want it. It can be done. But you must have extreme accountability, trust and cohesion among your team. You’ll also need specialists – not general marketers.
We developed a saying after “we’d rather go a mile deep and an inch wide, than a mile wide and an inch deep”. We apply this philosophy to our niche strategy, but also for resourcing team members. Each person on our team has a single specialization, whether that’s email design, landing page copy or keyword analysis, we don’t spread ourselves thin.
And the results are the answer to the question whether this strategy works.
Hope you enjoyed reading. If you have questions or want to learn more about how we did it, email us at [email protected].