Hootsuite is the world’s most widely-used social media management platform. Founded in 2008, they have more than 15 million users (and growing). They have an estimated yearly revenue of over $45.5 million USD.
So you could say that, when it comes to marketing, they might know what they’re doing.
I was inspired to investigate their marketing strategy when I saw one of their blog posts advertised on Facebook.
This article breaks down my experience upon clicking the link in that ad – giving you an inside look at what a leading software company is doing to turn traffic into sales, and how you can do the same.
Let’s get rolling!
First Touchpoint: Facebook Ad
Scrolling through my newsfeed this morning, I saw a Facebook Ad from Hootsuite promoting one of their articles.
Now, any marketer worth their salt knows that advertising content is a tricky thing to get right.
It’s incredibly difficult to get a positive ROI from promoted content, as the conversion rate of the ad’s landing page (the article) is usually extremely low.
Upon clicking it, I arrived at their blog, and saw exactly why they were promoting this article: a content upgrade, smack dab in their above-the-fold. But we’ll get to that in a second.
Let’s take a look at this ad and how it was targeted…
Likely Audience for this Ad:
Given that I haven’t visited Hootsuite in a while, it’s unlikely I’m being retargeted, so I’m seeing this ad because I’m within their targeted audience. Though I’m not 100% sure of what that audience is, here are a couple of my best guesses, based on a few years of advertising on Facebook:
Ad Audience Possibility #1: I have friends who Like Hootsuite on Facebook. Hootsuite may simply be targeting Friends of Fans, which is actually a very smart thing to do (particularly if you’re in the tech industry. Why? A) I’m likely to also be interested in tech if I have friends who Like a social media management tool and B) I’m far more likely to trust in a brand if Friends of mine have, essentially, recommended it to me by Liking it.
Ad Audience Possibility #2: My job title on Facebook is content marketer. It’s possible that Hootsuite may be targeting all content or social media marketers who don’t Like their Page.
Top Tip from Hootsuite
Hootsuite uses UTM codes in their advertisements in order to better determine what campaigns are driving the most (and most valuable) traffic to their marketing campaigns. To easily create your own UTM codes, check out Google’s Campaign URL Builder.
Second Touchpoint: In-line Call-to-Action
When I arrived on the article, I read their great intro and scrolled down to see how they were monetizing this article – how they had optimized it enough to be worth paying money to drive traffic to.
The first thing I see is their free giveaway of the keyboard shortcuts. Initially I thought they were doing content upgrades, but there’s no email-gate on that resource (which is great. Adding value is never a terrible idea).
The monetization tool is the blue div below:
Clicking on the link in this paragraph opens a click popup which offers their email-gated guide to “10x your social strategy.”
Third Touchpoint: Click Popup
As soon as I click the link, this popup shows:
Now, this is a whole lot of forms, but here’s why it works for Hootsuite:
Hootsuite is well-known. Everybody who found this article and clicked on that link is already very familiar with them. Being well-known has its perks, and one of them is the assumed legitimacy and trust which comes with popularity. People feel that Hootsuite’s Guide to 10x your Social Media is worth this amount of lead information. Other businesses (even ours) wouldn’t get away with this many form fields and still generate many leads.
Why did they open a click popup instead of sending the reader to a landing page?
Great question. Luckily, we tested this exact thing last year for our own email-gated content.
We created both a landing page and a click popup for the same piece of content, and used the same in-article call-to-actions for each. Then we sent half our traffic to the landing page, while the other half triggered a click popup.
Here were our results:
Out of the 9 campaigns we A/B tested, 8 of them performed better as click popups than they did as a landing page. To the tune of a 33% average conversion rate increase.
So that, perhaps, is the reason Hootsuite doesn’t send people to landing pages for their email-gated content.
Fourth Touchpoint: Hootsuite’s A/B Test
So we all noticed the high number of form fields (10 to be exact, including 5 dropdowns) on that click popup, right?
For fun, I opened an incognito window, went to this article and triggered the click popup a few more times to check if they were A/B testing. And they were!
Hootsuite is likely testing the efficiency of their sales team vs marketing automation.
The first form gets a lot of sales-relevant data (industry, role, job title, etc) as well as phone number. This leads me to conclude that leads from this test will be contacted by a Sales Development Representative in the next few days.
The second gets less information, and no phone number. As phone number is, far and away, the piece of lead information most prospective leads are most averse to providing, it’s likely this form has a significantly higher conversion rate. But what rate are they converting to a paid sale?
A sales call is going to be more effective than an automated email campaign. But, when you consider the small numbers of leads you’ll get with a phone number, perhaps email automation might be better in the long run. You’ll need to test it for yourself.
Fifth Touchpoint: Sales Call or Email
The form I converted on had a phone number field, which I filled out. As a result, a few days later I received a call from one of Hootsuite’s sales development representatives wanting to learn about my social media marketing needs and how Hootsuite could best address them.
I didn’t mess around with it, of course, and told the very professional sales rep that I’d only converted on their form for an article and apologized.
If I’d received the “B” test (with fewer forms) I imagine I would have received an email, or perhaps several – automated but personalized with my name and business type.
For both the forms, however, Hootsuite is asking for three things beyond the standard name and email address: company name, industry and number of employees.
These pieces of lead information are three of the most influential when it comes to converting leads. Here’s why:
- Company Name: Allows sales teams to create personalized demos (down the line a bit) which will far more effectively show the value of Hootsuite’s tool. I know one sales team, for instance, who shows off a company-specific version of their dashboard for each of their demos, populating it with the business’ logo, company name and more. Personalization is everything in sales.
- Industry: Allows content or email marketing teams to segment each lead into a distinct vertical, enabling them to exclusively send content they know is relevant to each lead. For instance, if you download a guide to social media, I can send you a walkthrough for Instagram optimization. If you download a guide to social media and then tell me you’re in the fashion industry, I can send you a walkthrough for Instagram optimization exclusively for the fashion industry. And that’s way more valuable to you.
- Number of Employees: Size of business is a key piece of information for determining lead value. Hootsuite, for instance, has an entire department of salespeople and account managers dedicated to enterprise-level clients. If you tell them your business is more than 250 people, for instance, it’s likely you’ll get a whole different level of attention than if you’re a solopreneur.
To learn more about what lead information is most valuable to your business, check out The Most Significant Information You Need to Get from Leads.
Hopefully this walkthrough of Hootsuite’s marketing funnel has given you a better idea of how a successful campaign can be run. Let’s break it down one more time…
- A visually-appealing, optimized ad on Facebook which targets people within your target market.
- A conversion-optimized article with a call-to-action in the top third of the article (ideally, right after the intro).
- A click popup, rather than a landing page, to generate leads.
- An A/B test, to determine if it’s more effective to call leads or nurture them through email.
- A sales call or email, both of which use segmentation to turn leads into sales.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below!