Case Study

How we used our ‘unfair’ advantage to book 60 demos a month on autopilot

We recently created a profitable, inbound demo-booking funnel from scratch, for a client who had never had any previous success with digital marketing.

Using our almost unfair advantage, forged through hundreds of successful B2B SaaS marketing campaigns, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, and a VIP partnership with LinkedIn; we built a reliable, multi-touch campaign to attract over 60 qualified demos a month, on autopilot, with low ad costs.

Most B2B marketers fail horribly with LinkedIn paid advertising. We’ve heard countless horror stories of companies spending $50k or more, getting zero new leads or sales from their efforts.

On LinkedIn, CPCs can be expensive ($9+ a click), so if you don’t know exactly how to structure your bids, retarget, and create a multi-layer funnel, you’re most likely going to bleed money.

Luckily, as one of the few successful B2B marketers on the platform (see our endorsement from LinkedIn below), we quickly built and optimized a funnel for the drone software maker TraceAir that attracts new customer demos for only $100-$212 per lead.

Since each project nets $10k-$20k, and most customers engage in multiple projects, this campaign has an incredible ROI for our client. It’s virtually printing money on demand, and we’ve kept CPCs and CPAs low while scaling it 10x (the real challenge.) Here’s how we did it…

The Problem:

TraceAir came to us after hitting a point of diminishing returns with their outbound sales strategy.

They had achieved a solid level of success in their industry, having acquired 15 out of 30 of the largest U.S. homebuilders as their customers. But their growth had stalled, and they struggled to further scale their business with cold calls alone.

Booking demos through outbound calls is a numbers game. These days, it’s harder than ever for SDRs to reach decision-makers within an enterprise, and when they do, they are often met with strong resistance – especially if the prospect doesn’t know their company in advance.

This ‘dialing for dollars’ strategy is highly inefficient and makes for an expensive cost per lead. By using ‘brute force’ sales tactics, you risk burning out your market quickly.

Alternatively, most B2B SaaS companies would love to have an inbound funnel that did the heavy lifting for them. It’s much easier to have qualified leads coming to you, already familiar with your company and product, and warmed up with social proof from other satisfied customers.

However, this is much easier said than done. Most marketers don’t understand proper targeting, bidding, split testing or the fundamentals of awareness, consideration, and decision – the art of leading prospects through their buyer’s journey, until they’re knocking down your door, dying to test drive your solution.

Most people lose money on LinkedIn ads

When it comes to B2B marketing, LinkedIn is an absolute goldmine. The ability to laser target specific decision makers by role, industry, company size, and other key demographics is unmatched by any other platform. Sadly, this goldmine remains locked to most people, who try and fail to crack the code.

It’s one thing to get an ad or two on your audience’s feed. It’s another thing entirely to get them to notice you, trust you, and understand the value of your offer. This must be done in a systematic way if you want your advertising dollars to convert into booked demos, new accounts, business growth.

Most marketers throw up an ad or two on LinkedIn and wonder why it doesn’t lead to any demos booked. With CPCs as high as $9, they’ll bleed money, hoping and praying that their funnel will start to work someday. Eventually, they’ll give up entirely on LinkedIn and move to Facebook or Instagram (cheaper clicks, but much lower quality leads for B2B).

The truth is one or two ads is never going to cut it. It often takes hundreds of different ad combinations - testing audience, copy (ad text), and creative (ad image) before finding a few winners to scale up. Even with a series of winning ads that cover each stage of the buyer journey, it can take up to 30 days and 10 touchpoints for a conversion to occur.

The problem is, it’s hard to know whether you’re working towards a positive ROI, without the experience to know which pieces are working and which need to be adjusted. Without these insights, you’ll keep throwing good money after bad.

It’s only after managing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad spend for clients that we’ve found reliable systems to build, test and optimize profitable funnels that consistently perform for our clients.

The Solution:

Due to the high lifetime value of a customer, and the high-level decision makers being targeted, we knew that TraceAir needed to deploy a multi-touch campaign. This meant that each prospect would see our messaging several times, depending on where they were in the funnel.

Key people in the top 100 U.S. homebuilding companies first saw a ‘simple’ (albeit expertly designed and tested) image ad, which built brand awareness and familiarity with the TraceAir name. At this point, the prospect might not even consciously remember the ad. There was no call to action or way to engage. We were simply planting the seed for later stages.

Next, after viewing the image ad, each prospect would enter the second stage of the funnel, ‘consideration.’ Here we used engaging and informational product videos, testimonials, case studies, success stories, and other social-proof-focused content.

The prospect would stay in the consideration stage, receiving a rotation of video ads, until they engaged with one of them (viewing at least 25% of a video.) This engagement would trigger stage 3, a direct InMail message via LinkedIn.

InMail is a powerful feature, driving high conversion rates, but only after a prospect has been warmed up in the right way by the first two stages. This is where most LinkedIn marketers go wrong.

Consistency and repetition are key

Our marketing campaign for TraceAir began on LinkedIn, but it quickly spread to reach our audience across the entire internet. We used retargeting to make sure that those key decision makers would see the brand everywhere, from Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, and on banner ads throughout the Google Display network.

Eventually, they would take notice and want to learn more. It took up to 10 touches to convert each prospect into a demo, but since we tracked everything and used a proven methodology, the total cost remained low.

We also knew how important it was for TraceAir to ‘own’ their brand keywords, and their competitor’s brand keywords in Google search. Anytime someone searched for a similar drone software solution, they were brought into our funnel - already a warm lead, deep in the consideration phase. From there, it was only a matter of time until the consistent messaging would lead them back to TraceAir.

Scaling is the real challenge

With a little bit of testing and luck, it’s possible to get a profitable ad campaign that will trickle in a few new demos a month.

But scaling up to 10x? That’s when everything will usually break down. It’s not as simple as dialing up your daily spend by ten times. When you do so, your CPC will usually skyrocket, or the quality of your targeting will decrease.

Profitable scaling on LinkedIn is a complex art, best left to experienced marketers who understand both vertical and horizontal scaling strategies. We were able to successfully scale up TraceAir’s campaign, by continuously monitoring ad performance, making sure that KPIs stayed in check as the budget increased. When fully optimized, we actually had their CPCs down to $3 per click – that’s 1/3 the cost of LinkedIn’s average ad price!

LinkedIn agrees that we’re the best!

As a trusted partner of LinkedIn, we get unique insights that most of the competition never has access to. This is one of the secrets to our almost unfair advantage. Surprisingly enough, we’ve been doing this for so long and have so many wins under our belt, that even the LinkedIn team is impressed with our strategies! Here’s what one of their reps had to say:

"I have partnered with Arvin to run LinkedIn campaigns for several fast-growing startups. Arvin is truly an expert when it comes to demand generation and has successfully implemented audience, content, and campaign strategies to increase lead volume and build valuable sales pipeline for his clients. I would highly recommend him to any future clients who need help developing their paid social marketing strategies. Collaborating with Arvin has been a pleasure and I look forward to our continued work together!"

Advertising on LinkedIn is easy to get wrong. Each funnel has many layers of complexity, each of which must be dialed in perfectly, much like a combination lock before you finally unlock the profits. Success is never guaranteed, and most people who try end up failing. With a 30-day lead time from first impression to conversion, you could be tens of thousands of dollars in the hole before you realize that your strategy doesn’t work.

So, if you’re looking for the quickest path to a profitable ROI with B2B SaaS marketing, it pays to work with an expert. Contact us today to get started.

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