Free trials work for more than just SaaS. Read on to find out how we TRIPLED our client’s business in 6 months with free trial campaigns.
You don’t need magic to triple your sales. All you need is a good funnel with multiple layers and some seriously HOT spin (i.e. one unique strategy that acts as a catalyst and makes everything work). The story behind this significant growth is one of total funnel remodeling and the timely introduction of a Physical Trial to boost revenue and sales.
In what became our most challenging e-commerce project of 2018-2019 we teamed up with a certified gynecologist from the U.S. selling a cosmetic product under her personal brand. Based on her own experience, our client had created a cosmetic cream for women aged 40+ affected by common symptoms of menopause.
We began by reviewing our client’s existing fragmented marketing strategy and soon found out that sales were coming mostly from affiliates, therefore incurring a commission cost. Due to the topic sensitivity, previous media buyers didn’t succeed with the paid channels. It required a lot of work and creativity from them to get ad copies and images approved. All these factors made paid media too expensive to run. Instead of the Lifetime value (LTV) being roughly 3x greater than the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) as you’d expect in a healthy business, we were seeing 1xLTV=1xCAC!
We quickly spotted some missed opportunities:
1. Untapped SEO potential
The client’s huge cache of high-quality content couldn’t be found online because it hadn’t been optimized for search engines. A big opportunity to increase traffic to their site FOR FREE had been missed.
2. Brand building around the content
The blog’s content was supposed to raise awareness of common problems associated with menopause and promote our client’s product as efficacious in treating them. However, since audiences had not been gathered through blog posts visits and video views, our client had been deterred from remarketing her product via paid media (Facebook and Instagram).
3. Effective remarketing to drive sales
There were key remarketing opportunities missed: targeting sales page visitors with sales offers or advertising to customers at those crucial ‘add to cart’ and ‘abandon checkout’ stages, when they demonstrated an intent to purchase the product, but didn’t.
4. Proper tracking and in-depth data analysis
Multiple systems were in place inhibiting proper tracking and preventing the exploitation of the synergy between different channels. Ad testing had not been carried out to find out which banners and copies had performed successfully.
Our client’s fragmental marketing activities had failed to produce sufficient results (cost per acquisition was too high), so we aimed to build a new effective funnel model which would result in LTV=3*CAC. We proposed a trial campaign to increase sales, and a total revamp of our client’s funnel to this:
Why offer a physical trial of the product?
By giving away free samples of the product we were able to build a hot audience who could distinguish our brand from others, trusted it, and were more likely to purchase a full-size version of the product and remain loyal to it. Those who participated in the trial were later remarketed to with sales banners, product videos, and a thoughtfully constructed sales email sequence.
So, how did we go from implementing the new funnel to achieving 169% growth in revenue? It took serious data analysis, intensive monitoring of certain KPIs, and the deployment of some pretty cunning tactics. Get comfy because we’re about to reveal the strategy in detail…
We analyzed search queries to ensure our client’s blog posts contained the keywords their target customer persona searched for. Then, we created several blog posts addressing the most searched-for menopause problems which the product was designed to solve, making sure that all texts were SEO-optimized. We ensured readers could buy trials of the product from links in the blog posts, and from banners promoting the trial located inside the blog articles. Then, we used paid targeted promotion to bring this content to the right audience.
Since the trial product decreased the total CAC, users were only permitted to order a single sample once. As a main strategy, we promoted blog posts through different paid channels to build audiences we could remarket to with trial ads.
Users who abandoned the checkout process were sent emails showing the benefits of the trial product. This tactic convinced 7% of them to complete their purchase.
Finally, we used Push notifications & pop-ups to minimize the number of users leaving our website without ordering a trial.
After ordering the trial, users received carefully plotted email sequences featuring educational videos on how to apply the product alongside testimonials and reviews designed to increase the client’s trust. Each sequence concluded with a time-limited discount offer to purchase the full product. Users were also shown ads a week on from purchasing the trial.
Furthermore, we used deep remarketing to show ads to people who visited the sales page or who added the product to their cart but didn’t buy it.
We used seasonal real-time marketing connected to holidays, for example offering a 24% discount on the product plus free shipping at Christmas. These offers were only presented to warm audiences gathered through content promotion and HOT audiences already primed to buy.
These time-sensitive holiday offers were supported by ads and emails that drove traffic to the promo landing page where the offer was displayed.
Certain words just aren’t ad-friendly. We make it our business to know what the rules are so that an ad doesn’t end up being hidden. For this project, we asked our team of expert content creators to make banners and ads that spoke in metaphors. This meant that we could allude to sensitive areas without using language that might result in censorship.
Proper tracking and reporting can identify a funnel’s weak points and stop you spending money on ads that have proven ineffective.
We worked with our client to set KPIs, then introduced a funnel tracking plan to measure the results at every stage from brand awareness to customer retention. Together we defined which data sources to use in reporting (Facebook, Ontraport, Google Analytics) and placed all the pages under one domain for accurate data tracking.
This ecommerce platform is definitely a good match for mono-branded stores. Unlike many similar platforms, Shopify has default in-house marketing tools (e.g discount codes, coupons, auto mailing etc.), and various plugins which can be set up within the store without any coding. Pages are easy to edit and customize. Also, Shopify is an SEO friendly platform.
The client was already using this tool to manage leads and customers, mail subscribers and manage affiliates. At their request we incorporated its use into our email marketing activities. Ontraport is prone to bugs and not an obvious choice for e-commerce, but it has many valuable functionalities and is easy to use.
We used this tool to create beautifully customized trial offer pop-ups which we used on the blog to boost uptake of the trial. Thanks to Sumo’s integrated analytics we were able to evaluate how pop-ups performed and adjust them accordingly.
Zapier was used to move data about purchases from Shopify to Ontraport and create a list of users under a specific tag based on their actions towards our products. Zapier has a great range of software which can be interlinked.
We used this Shopify plugin for customized upsell creation. In such a way, “hot” leads who were about to buy their first product were shown a pop-up with a second product offered. This helped to increase average order value and maximize revenue.
We used this plugin to boost sales on the product pages by displaying a message stating someone had just bought the product. Customers were more motivated to buy a product which others had purchased.
Good page builder to use in terms of price/quality relation. Can be used for landing pages & blog templates but we actually used it for landing pages only. Super helpful and responsive technical support.
The main reason we used this app was to boost social proof, urgency, conversions (sales) by displaying notifications about recent purchases on site.
We used this platform to recover carts and retarget customers with promotional push notifications to bring them back to the site to convert.
We enabled customers’ review feature on product pages and managed reviews across product pages.
We used this app to customize shipping rules for different products on the site and control rates based on location and product.
We used this app to display countdowns on the pages customized for specific users based on the time when a user opens a sales email.
Free value upfront
We created a new funnel connecting content marketing with trial distribution to build an audience of people interested in sampling the product then purchasing a full-size version. To increase brand awareness and establish trust in the product among our client’s customers, we offered free samples and shared free educational content on topics related to the product.
Our content distribution strategy proved effective across our client’s social media channels: +858% reach on Facebook, +57% Facebook Subscribers, +65% YouTube Subscribers. More users landed on the blog (148% raise in unique pageviews) and more articles were accessed via the email newsletter (31% growth in Click-Thru-Rate). Distribution of the product to audiences warmed by content and the free trial resulted in a 78% decrease on CAC when compared to product distribution to cold audiences.
Just 7 months after implementing the new funnel we designed, our client was able to scale sales by 270.06% and increase revenue by 169%.
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.