Have you ever asked yourself, “Do I REALLY need a marketing agency?” If so, you are not alone. It’s a great question that many small, medium and even large companies have no doubt asked themselves at some point. The rise of affordable and even free online tools for marketing and advertising has promoted a Do-It-Yourself mentality that makes complete sense from the outside.
Got a few photos? Just paste them here with some basic ad-copy and watch our tool generate leads, close sales and even do your taxes!
Ok, that may be a bit exaggerated, but you get the point. There is no end to the number of online tools promising to increase conversions from your marketing spend. Some of them are great, some of them not so great. So how do you know which ones are worth using, which ones actually work and which ones do not?
Free tip #1: Online Marketing is more than just posting on social media.
At AHA Factory we have tested and used tons of tools to help our clients reach their marketing goals, but this article is not a list of “7 Best Marketing Tools to 3x your Conversions Rates.” There are plenty of those already written.
This article is about whether doing it alone without an agency in your corner is actually SAVING or COSTING you money.
It would be easy to just say, “Trust us, this is hard work. You’re going to need help.” However, let’s take a look at a real client and case study we conducted this year.
Made in Freedom “Freedom 4 Every 1” Campaign Case Study
Made in Freedom is a German T-Shirt company selling 100% organic cotton Fair trade T-Shirts certified by the Global Organic Trade Standard (GOTS). What really makes them special however is the fact that their T-Shirts are hand-sewn by women in India who have been freed from sexual slavery and given a job that provides incredible benefits and payment well above the national minimum wage. You can learn more about their incredible work at www.madeinfreedom.de. (German only)
Made in Freedom came to us with the hopes of increasing traffic to their site, brand awareness and of course, overall sales. They had a great start on Instagram and Facebook with good content and a growing following, but the T-Shirt and clothing industry is jam-packed with competitors. They knew they were different because of the social good that their brand stands for but knowing that and getting people to understand that are two different things. They had been doing their own marketing for a couple of years, but with a team of only 4 people in total they were relying heavily on automization tools, hoping that one of them would finally pay off so their time could be better spent on the day to day activities of a startup company.
Free Tip #2: You might need an agency if: you have great content but are having trouble getting it in front of the right audience.
After looking at their traffic from the previous couple of years, we knew immediately that the first step would be to simply get people to their website. The story that needed to be told was not one that could or should be simply dropped in a Facebook Ad. For people to really “get it” they would need some time to consume the content, possibly from multiple visits. So, with this first step in mind we created a few goals.
- Goal #1 – Increase site visits by 75%
- Goal #2 – Decrease Bounce Rate by 10%
- Goal #3 – Get as many MIF T-Shirts to as many people as possible
I know, normally that third goal would make my skin crawl. It in no way follows the SMART Goal methodology that I and so many marketers live and breathe by. How on earth could we measure that? But, after some talks with Made in Freedom, we realized that this was no ordinary company. Helping women in need came first, and the best way to do that would be to continue to order T-Shirts to be produced, which meant getting as many out the door as possible. Add to that the fact that a T-Shirt is a walking billboard, we all agreed that as more and more people wore the shirts and told the story of Made in Freedom, the growth would begin to snowball.
With these goals in mind, we got to work. Our first step was to create a campaign that would highlight the story of Made in Freedom and the overall goal of the company, which is “to bring an end to modern-day slavery” and to create a sense of community amongst the customers. This required a shift in thinking, as most clothing companies would have goals that focus on the brand or quality of the product. After a few ideas being passed back and forth, we landed on “Freedom 4 Every 1.” We would push the idea that with every T-Shirt sold, the customer TOGETHER with Made in Freedom was helping to enable freedom and hope to real women.
With a clearer vision for the campaign, next we needed to identify the audience. Made in Freedom already had an idea of who their target market was, but
Free Tip #3: It is always a good idea to revisit your audience with each new campaign, as it can and will change depending on your desired goals.
After some keyword research we realized that there were very few people who searched or focused on the specifics of what Made in Freedom does as a company. Our best bet was to target people who were interested in similar “social-good” topics: organic, fairtrade, fair pay, sustainable fashion, ethical consumerism, etc. We also decided to focus the campaign a bit more toward women, as our research showed that women make up the bulk of this audience.
With this in mind, we started running a few general Brand Awareness Facebook Ads. These proved to do quite well, using both photo carousel and video Ads. Our average cost per Post Engagement and 3-Second video view was around €0,01 and per Link Click around €0,20.
*Awareness Ad results
We were pretty happy with the outcome and immediately started seeing a huge increase in site visits. With our Facebook Pixels in place, we also knew that we were building a decent audience for retargeting later.
The next step of our plan was to drive relevant traffic to a landing page that would further explain the campaign, the goal of Made in Freedom and finally offer a Call-to-Action to direct customers to the webshop for purchases.
Somewhere along the line in our creation of the landing page, a conversation took place regarding the competition that we would be up against. The average price for a Made in Freedom T-Shirt was around 22€. This put them somewhere between a normal, everyday T-Shirt from places like H&M (5-15€) and a premium fashion brand (30+€).
Our first reaction was, “Great! We’ll pull customers from both price points.”
However, we soon found the opposite to be true. People coming to the site expecting to pay 5€ for a T-Shirt were bouncing as soon as they proceeded to the webshop, and although we could not prove it, our gut was telling us that people who were expecting to see a “premium brand price” were being turned off by the lower prices. This is a strange but all-to-real phenomenon. People often attribute high quality with high prices.
This posed a difficult problem. How do we maximize the opportunity of sales without compromising the value of the T-Shirts all while creating a sense of community around Made in Freedom?
Our solution – A “pay what you want” or “name your price” campaign. This took some time to get used to, but the idea was that we would allow the customer to decide how much the T-Shirts, and more importantly how much the mission of Made in Freedom was worth to them. We set up the webshop to allow payments between 5€ and 100€ per shirt and changed all of the Calls-to-Action from “Shop Now” to “Pay what you want”. The landing page explained in step by step detail what the mission and goal of Made in Freedom is, with strategically placed Calls-to-Action after each bit of information.
*Made in Freedom landing page
Free Tip #4: A good campaign should be fluid and easily adaptable as more information becomes available.
Playing on the slogan “Freedom 4 Every 1”, we created and shared content that focused on the message that everyone deserves freedom, as well as a simple set of instructions for each customer.
“NAME your price – WEAR your T-Shirt – SHARE the story – CHANGE a life.”
After getting some great feedback from Instagram and Facebook shares, it was time to go back to Paid Ads in order to maximize the reach and effectiveness of the campaign.
After a few initial tests we found that a photo Carousel Ad would have the greatest effectiveness.
At this point we had fine-tuned our audience to the point where we were confident that the Ads were being served to the right people.
Free Tip #5: A/B test different Ad-Copy and Visuals to see what resonates well with your audience. But don’t stop there, dig deep and find out what time of day your customers are actually buying, then run your Ads during those times, or even target specific days depending on the weather!
We A/B tested different Ad-Copy, then different visuals and were happy to see that the cost per purchase was nearing 10€. Thanks to Facebook’s Pixel tracking, we could also see that the average purchase was around 28€. I’ll spend 10€ to make 28€ any day, but we knew there was still some positive changes to be made. The final push came with brand new product photos, both for the Facebook Ads and for the Landing Page. This finally put us around 6,25€ per purchase.
So, how did the campaign do in regards to meeting our goals?
Goal #1: Increase site traffic by 75%
We wanted to present this data as fairly as possible. Obviously, fewer people are buying T-Shirts in the winter months, so we used data from the same months of the year in 2018 and 2019. This way there would be less data warping due to the time of year.
*Traffic March 1 – May 31 2018 *Traffic March 1 – May 31 2019
Not only did we see a nearly 300% increase in site traffic from the previous year, but site traffic also increased over 600% from the 3 months prior to our campaign launch!
This coupled with the fact that Session Duration (the average amount of time each visitor is spending on the site) also doubled made us, and our client, extremely happy.
Goal #2: Decrease bounce rate by 10%
Looking again at the graphs, we see that bounce rate decreased from 64% to 30%! This is a 53% decrease in bounce rate, FAR exceeding our goal of 10%. We attributed this to a few different things.
First, the targeted Ads were bringing the right audience to the website.
Second, the effectiveness of the landing page coupled with the “name your price” offer was funneling visitors quickly from Awareness to Conversion because we had effectively cut out the Consideration stage. Since the customer was able to name their own price, fewer people were leaving the site to compare prices or to search for coupon codes. Once again, this left us feeling very happy.
Goal #3: Get as many MIF T-Shirts to as many people as possible
As stated previously, there was no way we could measure this goal. We all had our own expectations and hopes for what that might be, and in the end we were all very pleased. In the 3 months of the campaign, we were able to help Made in Freedom increase the number of sold products per month by 30%.
That means, 1/3 of their total sales in the past 2 years were made during those 3 months.
Due to the “name your price” model, we knew that more sales did not necessarily mean more revenue. We were extremely pleased to see that the average person was still paying around 17€ per shirt! This plus the increase in products sold led to a revenue-per-month increase of more than 200%.
All in all we were able to directly attribute 171 Purchases to the Facebook Ads alone. A byproduct from running the Ads was that the Made in Freedom Instagram account also grew from around 480 to 755 followers, a 57% increase.
DIY vs. Working with an Agency
As you can see, our work with Made in Freedom more than delivered on all goals. Could they have done it alone? Possibly, but with a limited staff the cost of implementing all of the work would be nearly impossible. Add to that the time saved that comes with working together with an experienced agency, and the cost of the investment really is a no brainer. If you are looking for help with Online Marketing, save yourself the time, money and stress of doing it alone.