What’s the first thing you think about when you picture ‘marketing automation’? Automated emails?...
In a rapidly changing industry with a small marketing staff, Initial Hygiene Services South Africa were having difficulty yielding the leads and sales at the high standard and target they had set themselves. This case study shows how inbound marketing increased leads by 76.71% in just 8 months.
Initial Hygiene Services South Africa’s goal was to ensure that their digital marketing worked for them in a rapidly changing industry with a small marketing staff. With a tight budget and a small but passionate team, their efforts in PPC, social media and on their website weren’t yielding the leads and sales to the high standard and target they had set themselves.
However, in eight short months, the introduction of inbound marketing saw dramatic increases across the board. Some of the salient numbers:
- Website visits increased by 57.09%
- Leads increased by 76.71%
- Online sales increased by 76.29%
- 310% ROI on inbound marketing
A new way with an inbound strategy
In July 2017, Initial began their innovative inbound strategy in partnership with Spitfire Inbound achieving dramatic results. This included a focus on developing and understanding buyer personas, content strategy, paired with nurturing through emails and social media, and a focus on data-analysis to keep the strategy responsive. In order to appeal to their changing market needs, we armed Initial with the right strategy and platforms to engage effectively online.
They publish two blog articles a week and this, in turn, skyrocketed their online engagement and lead conversion rate. Between July 2017 and the end of February 2018, online sessions increased significantly and exponentially by an incredible 57.09% compared to the previous period. Leads, along with online sales, increased by 76% (year on year) and achieved a high visit to contact conversion rate of 5.74% . Their inbound strategy has influenced over a R1.5 million in sales.
“HubSpot is a fantastic inbound tool that provides granular information that guides well informed strategy. Combined with the expertise of an experienced inbound partner like Spitfire Inbound, we have seen rapid growth within our key metrics. I am delighted with the progress of the project,” says Lémay Rogers, Marketing Manager at Rentokil Initial.
The new strategy worked to nurture website visitors from strangers to customers with a comprehensive understanding of their buyer personas’ journey and their pain points, together with increased distribution capabilities and analytics. Progress was carefully monitored with a goal to constantly improve and innovate based on the data.
Two key outcomes, among others, were as follows:
- ROI & sales outcome: The inbound approach achieved the results within eight months and Initial Hygiene Services continues to rise as a relevant brand. Their increase in sales was achieved with limited budget while attracting and retaining customers. Initial was able to achieve both trust and personalisation and reaped the dividends. Initial broke even on costs within the first four months. The inbound strategy has influenced more than R 1.5 million in sales.
- Consumer engagement: Our content strategy and engagement approach used market research, the correct technology and client-specific data to provide fertile ground for Initial’s online influence. We effectively identified and targeted their buyer personas by providing relevant and useful content, and improved user experience online. Blog content now comprises 32% of all web traffic, with traffic increasing overall by 57% and conversion of lead to customer from content is 40%.
Year on Year increase in website traffic. Source: Google Analytics
Content is the fuel that fires the inbound approach, and a change in their content strategy reaped massive rewards.
The changes they made were simple, but effective, and relied heavily on an inbound strategy that helped them understand their personas and their pain points:
- Shifting from a more general approach of marketing to a more defined, targeted approach towards priority personas.
- Utilising a deeper understanding of the personas in order to best engage with consumers on a deeper more relevant level
- Build a clear and focused objective for content, strategically based on topic pillars and associated communications
- Increasing their publishing to an average of eight blogs a month
Within the blog, we see exponential growth in views and subscribers, with it now contributing 32% of all web traffic:
How did we do this?
Content was strategically organised around specific campaigns, with each campaign driving visitors towards conversion by inserting calls to action in appropriate blog posts to download the content offer associated with each campaign. With this data-driven inbound approach, we were then able to track granular information on our content, which drove the development of content strategies and content offers going forward.
Initial’s aim with their content is to continuously inspire consumers, as well as build thought leadership within the industry among professionals. This was achieved through providing a unique experience through relevant and thought provoking content.
The content strategy has driven traffic, reputation and awareness as well and has also built loyalty among customers. From a blog post entitled “What can you buy for R2.40 per day?” a reader commented, “Dear Lemay. You are worth your weight in gold! What informative and brilliant newsletters you write. Well done! I wish we could convert the world!”
Measure of success
Their content strategies resulted in high engagement and increased time spent online through website visits which achieved the following:
- Steady increase in organic search with a 4.05% conversion rate of visitor to lead - 435% above the goal.
- 432 contacts (60% of all contacts created) were created from organic alone!
- 50% increase in direct traffic
- 155 contacts have been created from this direct traffic - this is a 2.37% conversion rate which is above the HubSpot benchmark of 0.93% - 254% above the goal
- Email open rate of 26.3% and an incredible click rate of 10.14% - above the South African benchmarks from Everlytic of 25.83% open rate and 3.46% click rate.
One of their most successful campaigns integrated with an annual PR strategy for Global Handwashing Day. All inbound links, outbound links and content related to the campaign produced the following results:
The campaign and all associated content was built and customised around buyer personas needs, driving awareness around the day, and also exploring the various pain points of each persona in order to highlight the importance of the cause.
“As a business, we are encouraged by the ongoing progress we have seen during Initial’s digital growth project. The process has enabled us to further reinforce our position as experts in our field, while creating a platform to drive education, enhance our customers’ buying journey and embed our mission of Protecting People, Enhancing Lives,” says Lemay
71% of online contacts are made up of Sales Qualified Leads; which is a great sign that the strategy is targeting the optimal persona.
The main source of leads was derived from organic search which made up 59% of the total online traffic, whereas paid search (Adwords, PPC) equated to around 15% of Initials’ customer leads. The traffic will increase as Initial continues to attract visitors using SEO, content and emailing nurturing along with focusing strategically on paid search. Leads from direct amounted to 20%.
This has proven to be a cost effective way to improve ranking and digital performance and we continue to see this trend among our customers.
“A key validation for me remains the amount of customers we influenced to make a purchasing decision even if they didn’t complete an enquiry call to action.” says Nicole Horne, Online Marketing Executive, Rentokil Initial.
Data driven approach to identify customer source
For the first time, with an innovative solution developed by Spitfire Inbound, Initial was able to track ROI directly to individuals within a company and show the success of their marketing efforts. In the Initial B2B environment, there are various individuals within the buyer's journey. The individuals consist of the researchers, finance personnel, decision makers and point of contact within one company. Understanding and gathering data on each individual’s experience, journey and needs provided a more personalised strategic focus within each stage of the journey.
Using HubSpot, an innovative approach to mapping the individuals was utilised which linked individuals to company data. This provided accurate ROI data which takes into account all offline (such as word of mouth, individual awareness etc.) and online influence on decision making.
Our goal was not only to collect data, but also to present it in an easy to understand way, while sifting out insights from the raw numbers to guide our strategic approach.
“I was impressed by how much data Initial gathers on a monthly basis. Through Hubspot, Initial have been able to pull all this data together in one tool to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and engage with their prospects and customers more meaningfully,” says Senior Inbound Marketing Strategist, Nicole Sengers, who runs the Initial account.
In this way, data becomes the foundation to our growth driven strategy for Initial. It was this combination of on-going research and analyses that led to an increase in rankings; improving brand awareness, consideration, and in the long run, trust with future consumers.
In it together: Spitfire Inbound Marketing partnership with Initial Hygiene Services
Our partnership is driven by communication and a drive to consistently improve and innovate. The high conversions Initial has seen through their marketing efforts let us understand the customer journey and the engagement process throughout. All of these efforts combined led to dramatic success for Initial in eight short months, and a return on their marketing investment in just four.
In the client's words ...
Nicole Horne, Online Marketing Executive, shares her experiences and the results seen from their inbound marketing campaign with Spitfire Inbound and HubSpot. Click the image below to watch the video.
Download the full Initial case study: Full Initial Case Study
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