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How Andrei Iunisov Helped a Software Company Increase Leads Web Traffic Tenfold in 6 Months with a Lead Generation Project

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Insightfulness
Impact
Explanation
Execution
Novelty
This case study is a great fit for B2B companies that want to grow their value, as well as existing B2C companies that want to transition to a B2B model.
In this case study, you'll learn how I helped my client manage SEO, paid search advertising, Google Ads, email marketing, and lead nurturing to drastically increase leads and general visibility.
Over 10x more leads per month in 6 months
Monthly web traffic increased tenfold
Budgetary goals exceeded when it came to cost per lead
Background

Enterprise Software Company Needs to Generate More Leads on a Budget

My client was an I.T. security company, specializing in securing unstructured data storage like SharePoint and classifying the data within to be able to additionally encrypt sensitive information. They had worked independently on lead generation for a year and had roughly 10 leads per month, not all of them qualified. This did not fit their business model.

Because their digital marketing process wasn't mature, lead generation had to be built from the ground up.

In the past, the company had handled lead generation through conferences and exhibitions, but online approaches held greater possibilities and potentially reduced costs. They needed the right person to help them drop the offline attempts and improve the online processes.

The goal was to improve the number of leads to about 100 a month or more within a $70 per lead budget in a specific selection of EMEA and APAC regions. This meant competing with third-party generation providers who spend closer to $130-150 per lead — approximately double.

I was a good fit for the project because I have expertise in promoting enterprise software in general and specifically SharePoint-related projects.

Based on previous experience, I was also able to predict what assets would and wouldn't work, saving the client from producing lots of content for tests, as well as cost per lead — a great advantage over other freelancers or third party providers. I asserted that the job could be done with that $70 budget and the client had the confidence that I could deliver.

Execution

Market Analysis & Competitor Research

Market Analysis & Competitor Research

Firstly, I was given a list of the client’s competitors. Using several tools, I analyzed their traffic levels and the split of traffic between different sources and similar. In some cases, through this, I could accurately estimate their advertising costs. I also began to strategize, thinking about how we could leverage the methodologies of the competition to our advantage.

For example, SharePoint can be on-premise and online (Microsoft Office 365). It became clear that the competition was focusing on the cloud version. Incidentally, this wasn't my client's specialism; so, we decided to push where the competition was weakest, purely focusing on on-premise SharePoint at first.

Aiming for areas of low competition is especially important for Google and Keyword search, or else you risk paying up to $15 per click. We went for keywords that suited our market positioning and gave us a good chance of conversion.

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Search Engine Optimization

If you want your website to rank properly, it needs to follow some Google standards. I ran a list by the client, of requirements, customized for I.T. companies, that they wouldn't have found in the Google Help section.

For example, Google likes blogs and informational content rather than commercial or transactional. Your blog needs to list the author of each post along with a biography and links to social media profiles and, if possible, a Wikipedia page. In short, you need to repeatedly prove the expertise of the author, which increases the trustworthiness of the site according to Google.

Other ranking factors include page speed — how fast a website is able to start interacting with the user, structured data (which also helps Google to identify what the page is about), and accelerated mobile pages, or AMPs, which we built for this site.

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Search Advertising

Next, I put our list of keywords through the Google Ads system, set up the campaign settings, and started to generate leads instantly. Google Ads works much faster than SEO, making it an invaluable resource for I.T. startups.

Because the B2B sales cycle is long, a single touchpoint is likely not to result in conversion. We followed website visitors who did not convert with a retargeting campaign designed to convert SEO traffic to the non-commercial blog pages at a high rate and very low cost.

We then took each keyword and planned a separate blog post analyzing the content which already ranks well in Google. This was a detailed text task for the writer. Because of the large number of blogs, internal links between them, their high-quality and relevant content, good user behavior, and on-page SEO, we started to see much better rankings in only 3 months.

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Social Media Advertising

We started an ad campaign on LinkedIn, a powerful platform for account-based marketing. We uploaded a list of target companies and advertised to users by job title within those companies. Our target audience included SharePoint administrators, compliance and risk managers, I.T. security managers, and the like.

Rather than place ads on the LinkedIn newsfeed, where the cost per click would be very high, I went with InMail ads, which arrive directly in the user's LinkedIn mailbox. The ad would invite people to download a free whitepaper. The paper might be about our service, the risks of not complying to data regulations, or the detrimental effects of a data breach and how we can mitigate them, depending on search statistics.

Together with LinkedIn forms, we were spending only $20-60 per lead — below the $70 target. In I.T. security, this is a fantastic price for enterprise-level clients.

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Lead Nurturing

When a LinkedIn or Google lead arrives, it’s usually a whitepaper download. If, instead, it's a demo request, we immediately reach out to the company in question. Otherwise, we nurture the lead with a sequence of emails.

These aren’t off-the-shelf, industry standard emails; they're very open, friendly and personal and designed to look like anyone could have written them: just black text on a white background. We refer to a link or similar, but keep it simple.

We collect all data on these emails: opens, clicks, and replies. If we don't get a reply, the email sequence just keeps running, with variations for Google and LinkedIn.

At the same time, all leads are scored in a CRM system. If a lead reaches a certain score, our sales department makes a phone call. The purpose of nurturing leads is to increase scores and decide who is a good fit for a demo.

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Results

10x Leads, 10x Organic Traffic, & 10x SEO Visibility in 6 Months

Within 6 months, we increased leads per month from up to 10 to more than 100, at an average cost of $50 per lead for all paid channels. Organic traffic and SEO visibility have both improved tenfold.

We’ve built an entire systematic lead generation funnel from scratch. The company’s visibility has vastly improved — look for the right keywords and it’s easily within the top 3-5 Google results in the interested region. The sales pipeline is now sufficiently fuelled, with opportunities in the desired territories having increased significantly.

In many ways this was a challenging project. In the context of I.T. security, companies are reluctant to 'show themselves up', which makes generating leads a lot less straightforward than usual — let alone qualifying them. On top of this, due to the complexity of the process and service, it often takes 12 months or more for a final decision to be made. All this pushed me to get creative with lead generation methods rather than reaching for an off-the-shelf solution.

I am an independent paid & organic lead generation expert with 14 years of experience worldwide. My services include lead generation using Google Ads, Bing Ads, SEO on Google and Bing, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads, YouTube Ads, G2Crowd, Capterra, TrustRadius & others.