Have you ever wondered what goes into building a really effective inbound marketing campaign? I'm not talking about a campaign that results in a big spike in visitor traffic and lots of leads. There are plenty of examples of those. No - I'm talking about a campaign that results in a big spike in visitor traffic, lots of leads AND new revenue for the business.
Too often, we as marketers measure our success in these terms. We report on Facebook likes or engagement, email opens and click throughs, and visitor and lead generation. These are important metrics to get right because they're a good indicator of how many people are seeing your content and finding it valuable - in other words, they measure your success at the top of the funnel.
But success at the top of the funnel is just the start. An effective inbound marketing campaign needs to pull leads through all stages of the funnel and ultimately convert them into paying customers and loyal brand evangelists. Put simply, it needs to generate measurable return on investment (ROI).
A great example of an inbound marketing campaign that aced all four stages of the inbound marketing process - attract, convert, close AND delight - is Chesapeake Eye Care's LASIK surgery campaign. The team here at Quintain developed this campaign in the fall of 2014 and in just four months, it generated more than $50,000 in new revenue for our client. We know this thanks to HubSpot, which we used to manage the campaign and measure the results.
Chesapeake Eye Care and Laser Center is a top eye health practice and LASIK surgery center in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Center offers its patients a complete suite of opthamology services including cataract surgery, LASIK eye surgery, glaucoma surgery, retina services, as well as cosmetic offerings such as BOTOX and skin treatments. Chesapeake Eye Care boasts some of the Mid-Atlantic region’s top eye doctors, and their patients come from throughout Washington, DC, central and eastern Maryland.
Over the past ten years, LASIK eye surgery has evolved from a cutting edge treatment once considered a luxury to an affordable, low risk solution for vision correction. The number of LASIK providers has grown dramatically, with many offering the service at a deep discount. Chesapeake Eye Care’s LASIK division is known as one of the top surgical centers for LASIK in the Mid-Atlantic region and the practice is known for its exceptionally high patient success rate. Because they have chosen to compete on quality (the experience and track record of their surgeons) and not price, the Center was finding it increasingly difficult to attract the right kind of patient in a highly saturated advertising environment.
Chesapeake Eye Care turned to Quintain to develop an inbound marketing strategy aimed at raising awareness about LASIK and emphasizing its impact on patients’ quality of life. Most importantly, they wanted a solution that would make it easy to track the results of the campaign and measure the ROI of their marketing spend. They chose to purchase a Professional level subscription to HubSpot in order to be able to manage, track and measure all of their marketing activities in one, easy-to-use portal, and to take advantage of the automated lead nurturing capabilities that come with the Professional plan.
The first step in developing an inbound marketing strategy for Chesapeake Eye Care's LASIK campaign was to develop a strong understanding of the target audience. We began by building out an audience persona. In this case, the best candidates for LASIK are young men and women between the ages of 20 and 40 - old enough that their eyes have stopped growing and young enough that they don't yet need reading glasses. The ideal lead would be in this target demographic and also enjoy an active lifestyle that would make wearing glasses inconvenient.
The audience persona was added to Chesapeake Eye Care's HubSpot portal and a persona question was included in the conversion forms used on their website. This allowed leads to self-identify the correct persona and helped Chesapeake Eye Care more effectively target follow-on lead nurturing emails.
Having developed a detailed audience persona, we turned our attention to the top of the funnel and developed a blog series aimed at attracting qualified candidates to the website. The strategy was a to offer a first-person account of what it is like to experience LASIK surgery, as told by one of Chesapeake Eye Care's patients. The goal was to build trust with the target audience and allay prospective patients' fears about eye surgery by describing the experience - and the impact it has on patients' lives - in a way that is relatable and approachable.
The team at Quintain conducted research to identify online influencers who might be potential candidates for the surgery. Our top choice was Justin Berk, a meteorologist who has developed an avid blog and Facebook following by offering hyper-local weather forecasts in the same geographic region that Chesapeake Eye Care's prospective patients are located. Justin was a perfect representation of the target audience because he is in the right age group, leads an active lifestyle (participates in running races, triathlons, etc.) and is very involved in the community. In addition, his audience is large - his blog gets more than 1,000,000 page views each month and he has over 197,000 followers on his Facebook page.
Justin was interested in LASIK surgery and met with the doctors at Chesapeake Eye Care, who verified that he was a candidate. He was not compensated by the practice for his involvement in the campaign, and agreed to share his story through guest blogs on Chesapeake Eye Care's website.
There were four parts to the blog series:
The first post also included a video of Justin removing his glasses for the last time - something anyone considering LASIK can really relate to.
These posts were published on Chesapeake Eye Care's blog over the course of one month following Justin's surgery in November of 2014. Using HubSpot's Page Performance report, we were able to verify that the posts received more than 8,000 views, bringing a dramatic increase in traffic to Chesapeake Eye Care's website.
In addition, the blogs were heavily promoted over social media by both Chesapeake Eye Care (through HubSpot's Social Publishing tool) and Justin Berk. This led to an almost 13,000% increase in traffic from social media to the Chesapeake Eye Care website during the month-long campaign (check out the impact as shown in the HubSpot Sources Report, below!).
With the influx of new traffic, Chesapeake Eye Care needed a strategy to convert visitors into leads.
Quintain worked with the team at Chesapeake Eye Care to develop a top of the funnel offer for LASIK surgery candidates. The result was an ebook - A Complete Guide to LASIK Eye Surgery - aimed at answering the questions of people considering undergoing LASIK.
The ebook covered:
- How to know if LASIK is right for you
- How LASIK works
- Questions to ask when choosing a LASIK surgeon
- Preparing for LASIK
- What to expect the day of surgery
- What LASIK costs
The ebook offer was promoted via a call to action in each of the blogs and in Cheseapeake Eye Care's email newsletter. These promotions resulted in over 490 page views on the offer's landing page.
Because Chesapeake Eye Care's goal was to acquire new LASIK surgery patients through the campaign, getting the bottom of the funnel strategy right was critical to success. Quintain developed a special offer aimed at creating a sense of urgency amongst the target audience and getting them to book a LASIK consultation.
The offer was again promoted via social media by both Chesapeake Eye Care and Justin Berk. It was also included in email lead nurturing campaigns sent to leads that converted on the ebook offer. These campaigns were developed using HubSpot's workflows tool and all of the new LASIK leads were enrolled in them.
Thanks to HubSpot, Chesapeake Eye Care achieved its objective of being able to clearly measure the ROI of the campaign, and the results to date have been outstanding:
- The landing page was viewed more than 5,000 times
- 207 leads were generated
- 163 of these were new contacts that had never been in Chesapeake Eye Care's system
- 40 of these leads have scheduled a LASIK evaluation and approximately half of the consultations have been completed
- Of these, 9 did not qualify for surgery and 14 have scheduled (or completed) surgeries
- In addition, there are several more scheduled consultations that should result in additional surgeries.
Best of all, Chesapeake Eye Care has already realized more than $50,000 in new revenue as a result of the campaign and expects this number to grow as additional surgeries are booked.
The increases in visitor traffic and new leads were great, and the measurable revenue generation results were exactly what the practice was hoping to acheive from this campaign, but the icing on the cake was the outpouring of testimonials and social proof that came from Chesapeake Eye Care's partnership with Justin Berk.
In addition to Justin's first person accounts of his positive experience (including this post from his own blog), several of his followers who went on to get LASIK surgery at Chesapeake Eye Care shared their stories on social media.
What Made the Campaign a Success
Want to incorporate the lessons learned from Chesapeake Eye Care's LASIK campaign in your own inbound marketing strategy? There are several reasons this was so successful:
- Everything - from the influencer chosen to the social promotion strategy and the offers - was laser focused on the target audience.
- The blog series delivered a highly relatable, first person account of what it's like to undergo eye surgery. This approach generated a much higher level of trust than anything authored by Chesapeake Eye Care could have accomplished.
- The top of the funnel offer (the ebook) was an easy way to convert the large influx of new website visitors into leads that Chesapeake Eye Care could continue to nurture and the bottom of the funnel offer (the discount) added a sense of urgency that incentivized leads to book a consultation.
- Partnering with an influencer helped get the campaign in front of a large audience quickly an inexpensively. This approach proved so successful that Chesapeake Eye Care has since cancelled all of its spending on pay per click ads.
- Running the campaign through HubSpot's marketing software enabled Chesapeake Eye Care to benefit from closed loop marketing management, analytics and reporting that made it easy to measure campaing ROI.
Notice that each of these key success factors is easily replicable across a variety of industries and audiences? That means you can use this as a blueprint for your own inbound marketing campaigns.
I'd love to know if you decide to use any of these strategies, and what the outcome is. For Chesapeake Eye Care, the campaign was such a hit that we are now working together to replicate this model for their other services including cataract surgery, glaucoma treatments, etc.