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Netting Huge B2B Clients for Travelperk with Paid Search

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This project will be of interest to those working in a B2B environment, but it could also be replicated in a B2C environment. Companies that are already generating significant revenue, and are looking to grow and up-scale their business quickly, will find this study valuable
In this case study, you’ll discover how I helped Travelperk, a travel booking company, to greatly increase their marketing leads, using a data-driven approach that landed them new and larger clients.
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MQLs increased by 65 percent.
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Netted 80% bigger clients
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Company raised €44 million
Background

A Travel Booking Company was Looking to Generate Better and More Lucrative Marketing Leads

Travelperk is a Barcelona-based B2B online platform, specializing in business travel bookings and management — essentially an online travel agency. Although I started working with them at a fantastic time, when Travelperk was experiencing massive growth, when I arrived, their lead generation was still falling short. The cost per MQL (marketing qualified leads) and SQL (sales qualified leads) were still really high and the company just wasn’t able to find the right keyword opportunities.

A plan was set in motion with four key goals: To scale up the number of Google Ads accounts in order to increase SQLs, to maintain the cost per SQL, to increase the number of SQLs, and to increase SQL quality.

Quality (which in this case, meant size) was particularly important to Travelperk. Larger companies with more employees have larger travel budgets, which in turn means higher lifetime revenue.

Fortunately, when I arrived at Travelperk, I already had over 10 years of relevant experience, having worked with some of Europe’s biggest advertisers. Having dealt with complex data sets and integrations, I was well placed to tackle the challenges of a complex B2B environment.

The project that unfolded was radical and forward-thinking. Very few travel agencies at this time had switched to a software-as-a-service model (SaaS). Open-mindedness was key to the team’s success, as we embarked on a period of risk-taking and rigorous testing to develop a strong new approach.

Execution

Generating Greater Leads with Bespoke Content

Tracking the Right Data

The first step involved tracking the right data to close the offline-online tracking loop. Salesforce, a trusted marketing program, was custom integrated into Google Ads, in order to track the right kind of leads more effectively. I also mapped the characteristics of a great business lead, and defined what makes a lead “marketing qualified” or “sales qualified”. Next, the team tracked our MQLs and SQLs, to assess the value of each. The data was passed back to the adverts, using DCL IDs, (unique identifiers that allow adverts to track a conversion back to the click that drove the conversion) to integrate offline conversions. Without tracking all the right data, the company would have been driving blind.

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Crafting Bespoke Landing Pages

After we had collated the data, bespoke landing pages were created for each of the different personas the team identified. In B2B, personas can be quite distinct from each other. Usually, businesses have a good idea of what their persona is, but it gets broken down into many different segments based on the different keyword themes people search for. Our landing pages were made to differ depending on what people specifically searched for. For instance, somebody looking for an online travel agency would end up with a very different result from someone looking for a corporate travel agency.

These landing pages were also tested. The team experimented with different calls to action, such as “sign up for free”, or “request a demo”. This was an iterative process that allowed the company to improve conversion rates over time.

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Creating a Campaign with Keywords

The campaign structure developed following serious keyword research. John and his team broke down the account into many different segments, so that they could then track performance and optimize those segments. The account targeted 4 – 7 European markets, broken down by intent and geography.

For intent, there were four main categories: convert-related keywords, acquisition-related keywords, education-related keywords, and uninformed. Keywords were allocated to different ports, based on factors such as, how likely the user typing that keyword was to convert, and how close they were to making a decision.

Keywords and ad-creative were then aligned. The keywords used in searches were always added to the ad-creative, which made the relevance of the ads higher and therefore improved click rates. Crucially, this happened on a local level. If somebody was searching in French, they would get a French ad. If they were searching in German, they would get the German ad, and so on.

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Developing a Custom Attribution Model

Rather than optimizing the Google Ads campaigns on a last-touch basis (i.e. which was the keyword that drove the person to convert?), we developed a data-driven attribution model. For example, somebody’s initial search might include “corporate travel agency” as the keyword term, but they then might return to the website using the word “Travelperk”, then leave without doing anything. Next, they might be retargeted with a display ad, which they then click on. Finally, this might lead them back to the website, at which point they request a demo.

Using a custom attribution model, the company is able to assign a value to all three steps of this journey, not just the last one.

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Results

Attracted 80% Larger Clients, Increased Marketing Leads, and Transformed Leads into Clients

These crucial steps increased our marketing qualified leads by 65 percent and the size of the leads increased by 80 percent, as larger companies came to the business. The paid search, the contribution of the paid search towards the business, and business inbound leads also all increased.

Consequently, Travelperk raised its backing to 44 million, as a direct result of this successful and profitable approach to driving qualified leads.

The project changed the company's overall approach in a number of ways. The success of the project led Travelperk to acquire a complete in-house team dedicated to this type of marketing lead generation. Plus the 80% of expenditure that previously went towards Facebook and LinkedIn, was rerouted towards Google Ads. The entire project was such a success, it ultimately proved to me that I could have been even more daring, especially in regards to testing.

While this approach obviously worked well within a B2B environment, it could easily be replicated in a B2C environment as well. In either case, this method will be useful for any company with a strong desire to grow fast on their available budget. It is particularly relevant to businesses that are up-scaling, that have a clearly defined product, and that are generating serious revenue, having raised backing multiple times. This method is perfect for those ready to get serious, especially in terms of growth.

During my 10 years’ of experience in Paid Search, I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the UK's largest advertisers (£2M+ monthly budgets) as well as successfully build and grow Paid Search programs for European and global start-ups, profitably growing their Paid Search programs from £0 to £100K+ spend per month. I offer advanced Paid Search management, digital marketing strategy, performance audits and management of biddable media campaigns across Social and Display networks. I've worked with some of the UK's largest Media agencies and Advertisers such as Sky, DFS, Staples, Everest, Bose, Europcar, Avis, Flybe, Travelodge and quite a few more.