How we helped a cybersecurity training company double their revenue by expanding online.
Take your business online and the opportunities to grow are virtually limitless. Read on to discover how we helped a cybersecurity company increase revenue and boost brand awareness by showcasing their presence online and launching a new, fully digital branch of their business. This is what happens when you take a really good idea and support it with top-notch marketing know-how.
When we met, our client was successfully running offline cybersecurity consultancy services and training courses around the world. Inspired by the vast and growing skills shortage in the cybersecurity industry, they came up with the bright idea to establish an online cybersecurity education channel.
Our mission was to help our client create and advertise the new online platform of their cybersecurity education business, having impact on the topics and content of the courses. To do this, we created a bespoke marketing strategy from scratch based on our comprehensive market research which identified a clear need for a high-quality training product aimed at advanced cybersecurity specialists. The idea to develop the online platform by offering additional courses came later.
Our research into existing online cybersecurity educational programs revealed a one-dimensional market in which the majority of offered courses were open to anyone regardless of skill level. What is more, the courses were mostly focused on just a handful of topics with no attention paid to the bigger picture of developing a comprehensive knowledge of cybersecurity. This was a surprise considering the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals.
We were delighted to discover that the company’s CEO had already built a strong personal brand offline in the cybersecurity industry through reputation as an instructor and a great public speaker. This was a strength we knew could be leveraged and used for the company’s marketing strategy.
We decided to launch our client’s educational online platform with a course specifically designed for professionals with advanced cybersecurity skills. To ensure the teaching level of the course remained high, a selection process was used to allow only applicants with a significant amount of cybersecurity knowledge onto the course. Applicants were asked to apply with their CV and a link to their LinkedIn profile. Those who were not qualified were screened via interview by the client’s in-house cybersecurity experts.
Limiting the course to highly skilled applicants created a sense of scarcity around the product, driving up its desirability. Plus, it elevated the reputation of the product from a simple training course to a premium training program for “the best of the best.”
To underline the high status and distinction of the course, we decided to broadcast live sessions with the company’s specialists (including the CEO). This technique meant instruction could take place in a learning environment which more closely echoed a traditional classroom.
Next, we created a training lab where participants could practice hacks safely. We also set up a shared Facebook group in which participants could communicate, share tips and celebrate their progress with each other.
The success of this initial course for professionals gave us the idea to create more courses for other cybersecurity professionals of a different level or expertise, such as beginners or intermediate ones. This approach allowed us to scale revenue and open the door to the people who were initially not accepted to enroll in the advanced course.
The market research helped us to better understand the cybersecurity education market’s needs and how to make the course appeal to the target persona. Armed with this information, we decided to create a series of educational videos in the form of free weekly online hacking tutorials for IT enthusiasts and specialists.
Creating a free learning resource containing valuable knowledge imparted by world-class cybersecurity specialists helped our client to build brand awareness, demonstrate the high quality of their teaching material, and establish themselves not only as a provider of high-quality paid for training, but also as a benefactor to the cybersecurity community.
Live webinars provided a way to engage with potential customers while also showing off the expertise of our client in real-time. Webinars, which always ended with a sales pitch, were conducted in an informal atmosphere. Hacking challenges were included to boost engagement and, to make sure viewers didn’t switch off before the sales pitch, the winner of the challenge was always announced at the end of the webinar. The high show-up rate for webinars was the critical part of the campaign for the final conversion from signups to applications and then sales.
Social media played a big part in our strategy, being used for multiple purposes to attract, engage and delight the customers. LinkedIn was used to boost the client’s reputation and to create more opportunities for the distribution of content and promotional material. Facebook was used for both promotion and community management since we connected the client with the customers through private Facebook groups.
Course applicants were required to submit their applications during a designated period which we dubbed an application round. Restricting the period in which applications were accepted gave us the opportunity to play with scarcity, discounts, time and seat limits while marketing a course. This helped the performance team, giving them more freedom over the creative and technical aspects of ad management. As a result, we were able to reduce the CAC, which is key in any online education project.
Right from the beginning of the project, we put a huge amount of effort into building a valuable email list. To aid engagement, emails were written in geeky language tailored to the persona and featured content of a much higher quality than the market average. The end result was a fantastic list which played a crucial part in our success. And of course, engaging the cybersecurity community over email helped us on our way to reaching the sales KPIs.
Holidays and internationally recognized special days such as Cyber Monday were a great opportunity for us to further boost the effectiveness and reach of our existing campaigns. Time-sensitive offers that were related to these days were promoted through owned and earned media to our email list and to audiences that had been warmed with previous content via social media.
The CEO of the company is a world-renowned cybersecurity professional who travels the globe helping companies and government organizations to detect vulnerabilities in their cybersecurity and delivering keynotes at the industry’s leading conferences. We capitalized on the CEO’s strong personal branding, creating promotional materials featuring their image to bring more recognition and credibility to the courses. This helped us to bring in more applications for courses which later translated into sales.
To broaden the audience our client’s content reached, we invited cybersecurity specialists from outside the company to contribute tips and content, give interviews, and participate in webinars as co-hosts.
Webinarjam was used to host our live webinars. We used another platform by the same creators – Everwebinar – to record webinars for distribution later. This tool made it easy to manage our marketing campaigns thanks to its integration with our CRM and marketing automation tool Ontraport.
This platform’s easy-to-use features, wide range of integration possibilities and excellent software performance made it the perfect choice to use as our CRM system and marketing automation tool.
Bit.ly helped us to organize shared links on our client’s social media channels. Plus, its tracking and reporting feature let us use it to cross-check our other tracking tools. This link-shortening tool made it simple to include branded links in offline events.
It has tons of useful features like pop-ups and sticky bars that helped our visitors engage with the website more. Its integration with our marketing automation tool Ontraport was a plus.
Zapier was used to connect the different tools to increase our productivity while decreasing the workload.
Stripe was a convenient solution to manage our payments. Its effortless integration with the website made our work easier at an international level.
We used PayPal as an additional payment method as this global system with a high usage rate among our audience.
Our live and personalized classes were hosted in GotoTraining. This gave instructors a high-quality dashboard that was convenient and reliable
With its unique completion process and easily customizable design features, this tool was a natural first-choice for lead collection and definitely helped us to increase the conversion rate.
Live chat and support functions were provided by Intercom which uses advanced automation and organization features to increase sales.
One of the world’s most widely-used video hosting tools, Amazon S3 gave us smooth streaming features for our recorded webinars.
OneSignal helped us to engage with our website users through notifications they received via their internet browsers.
Within two years of our client launching their first-ever online cybersecurity training course in 2016, we managed to increase their revenue by 202%. We achieved this feat by deploying a range of different tactics which included adding more courses to expand the client’s product range, increasing the user base and improving the accuracy of our targeting.
Every strategy we used in our first year was analyzed and optimized before being fed back into the client’s digital marketing funnel. Continuous fine tuning streamlined our client’s overall marketing strategy into a sleek and effective machine.
After the first year of the project, the audience number more than tripled, increasing by 347%. This was partly the result of the special care and attention we took when creating valuable free content to share. Another key tactic which helped to grow the audience was the creation on social media of a space in which the cybersecurity served by our client could congregate and interact.
Increase in revenue from the first year
Growth in audience size
Increase in email list after 1st year of platform existence
Ready to expand your reach? Briefly tell us about your business and we’ll schedule a 1-hour meeting to show you how we can integrate our digital marketing approach into your business.