Marketing Campaign Yields 11x ROI in 2 Weeks, Sparks Vuvuzela Onslaught

South African Girl Blows Vuvuzela

Yes, we have been the cause of a vuvuzela attack.

We’ll get to that.

But first – let’s talk ROI.

Good marketing companies talk ROI with their clients. It’s essential – especially for small businesses. You want to know that what your company is spending is going to give you returns of far greater value (at least 5 – 10x).

Mixing A Campaign Cocktail

Two weeks ago we served up a Campaign Cocktail for our client (let’s call them Nelson). The components of this cocktail were basic (but oh so potent!):

  1. A case study article
  2. Three social posts
  3. An email campaign

The above only cost Nelson $1,500. And as always, we generally promise our clients about 10x ROI for this spend over a 5-year period.
This time though, the results took Nelson by surprise.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s get into the details of the campaign cocktail to understand the recipe better.

A case study article – they’re James Bond

Most companies freely share their expertise with their community – simplifying the technical weeds and offering helpful advice. This takes the form of “how to” articles, listicles and the like. This type of content makes up the bulk of most content marketing out there. The purpose is twofold – mainly to rank better on Google, but also to nurture their clients with knowledge.

However, our client Nelson has got a fire in his belly – he wants more than just to rank on Google, that’s too passive for him. He wants to actively build bonds of trust with his clients. He wants to assure them that they are safe with him. That he’s going to help them get what they want as he’s done hundreds of times before. Nelson implicitly understands the powerful psychology of identification that happens between the reader and the hero. Neural coupling and mirroring are fancy terms for “living vicariously”.

Nelson understands that when we watch a James Bond movie, for those few magical moments we become James Bond.

So… Nelson worked with us to decide on a specific industry that they served (they serve many) and create a campaign around a client story. The centrepiece of this campaign would be an article. He made his past clients the heroes of this client story, while he positioned himself as just the guide (like Yoda to his Skywalker). We interviewed him to tease out the details of the story, working through the beats to flesh out into an interesting case study article.

While the story was engaging, building it didn’t mean that audiences were automatically going to appear. He needed to call his community to his story.

3 Social Posts

Inspired by the article, we created 2 single image posts and 1 carousel post for Nelson. These were designed to be posted on his company’s LinkedIn page and Nelson had prepped his employees to like, comment and repost them with their thoughts. Just the usual (but powerful) SOPs.

But this time around, the revenue results that this campaign unlocked did not come from socials…

The unassuming email campaign

Nelson had a fat database of 8,000 email contacts. It was long overdue for a clean but we prioritised urgency and went ahead anyway. Strategically, of course.

We chose the simplest form of email – text only. To make it feel like just another personal email. Short and sweet. No fancy newsletter design screaming “BUY NOW”. No competing images, all vying for attention. Just one clear taster promising an interesting story ahead. Like a text-based movie trailer. The email campaign teased with just enough information to arouse curiosity.

The final key element of the campaign was a primary call to action (read the article) and a secondary call to action (call us). A clear invitation to act on their feelings.

But did it work?

The Statistics Lie

From a purely statistical perspective, the results were dismal:

  • <15% open rate (their list was too fat with many older, now irrelevant contacts)
  • <1% click through rate (did I mention the list quality?)
  • <0.2% reply rate (they really need to clean that list up!)

But a good marketing and sales team gets granular. And Nelson had a team of superstars.

The side effects of a good Campaign Cocktail

Diving into the details, they realised they had:

  • >10 contacts had more than 10 opens (a sign of engagement and possible forwarding, which is why form signups also increased that week)
  • >10 contacts that clicked more than 10 times!! (smoking hot leads?)
  • 7 contacts had replied (talk about engagement!)
  • 7 contacts had called in (there’s a warm fuzzy feeling when this happens)

Within just 10 days of the campaign going out, they had 1 converted lead and 1 warm lead currently in the sales process. The immediate value of the closed business is $17,000. That’s 11x their marketing spend for this campaign! And we are just 2 weeks in!

Taking a long term view of the recurring nature of their business, each client of Nelson is worth at the very least $15,000 over 5-years. Which brings the long term value of this single client $32,000.

And the sales team is not done yet following up with the highly engaged contacts. Potentially, there is more that will come out of this single campaign cocktail.

The bottom line here is painfully obvious: brand storytelling works wonders when done right.

The vuvuzela attack!

Nelson is a South African. And he has instituted a wonderful cultural practice in his company. When one of his employees closes a deal, that employee walks up to the nearest vuvuzela hanging on the wall and blows it. Hard! Then, everybody drops what they are doing and immediately rushes over to the employee and they celebrate their win together.

I’ve seen Nelson do this mid-cigarette – rushing into the building, racing up the steps to share high fives with the team.

Brand storytelling is not just good fun, it’s good business.

What returns are you getting on your marketing spend? Is your vuvuzela blowing?

Scroll to Top