Many B2B companies struggle to reduce their costs for customer acquisition with Facebook ads.
However, I recently learned that Sendlane was able to cut their cost per trial signup by 64% by promoting content via paid ads.
Not only that, but now more of their trial users convert to high value paying customers.
Here’s how they did it…
Meet Jimmy Kim
I recently had the opportunity to interview Sendlane’s founder, Jimmy Kim, for my SaaS Marketing Superstars podcast.
Sendlane is a marketing automation platform helping ecommerce stores to increase customer loyalty and generate more revenue from email marketing.
During the interview, Jimmy revealed to me how he’s been able to streamline his user acquisition by sending cold traffic straight to content download offers.
You can watch the full interview here…
As a SaaS startup in a competitive market, acquiring new customers at scale can be a challenge.
This was the case for Sendlane, which was acquiring new free trial signups for $65-$70 with Facebook ads.
That is until they built a new content funnel strategy that decreased their free trial signups acquisition costs by 64%.
In this growth study we are going to break down their strategy step by step:
Sendlane’s new growth strategy is based around two main premises:
#1. Understanding that it takes multiple touchpoints for the prospect to decide to purchase.
#2. Providing valuable education to e-commerce prospects to teach them how to succeed with email marketing and tying those marketing strategies back to the Sendlane product.
The strategy has two main blocks: attracting leads and nurturing them.
Now let’s break down these two blocks:
The first step is to actually bring their ideal customers into the content funnel.
They do this by giving away a piece of content that solves a burning pain point their prospects have, without make that solution directly dependent on their product.
This is the first touchpoint with the market and is important that it’s all about helping prospects to solve their problems.
By offering high-value, educational content at the top of the funnel, they are able to entice qualified leads into their content funnel.
Here are the core components of the process:
- The Content
- The Ads
- The Landing Page
- The Thank You Page
- Email Nurture Sequence
Using the acquisition funnel described below, Sendlane was able to acquire content download leads at an average cost of $2-$3 per lead.
Now let’s break down the different components to do this:
1) The Content
The piece of content they offer is an ebook.
Inside the PDF, they articulate the problems their prospects are dealing with and offer solutions they can implement to solve those problems.
Here are two examples of successful ebooks Sendlane has used:
These lead magnets are effective because they address specific pain points that Sendlane knows their customers struggle with.
And they present solutions to the pain points that can be more easily solved using Sendlane’s products.
Criteria for an effective Ebook (Lead Magnet)
Your ebook should present a unique solution to one of your prospect’s biggest problems. However, your product should be an integral piece of implementing the solution in a more effective or efficient way.
1) What does your potential customer care about?
2) What unique solution can you teach better than anyone else?
3) What goal or desired outcome does your product help your customer achieve?
But have in mind there are many other things you can offer to your prospects such as case studies, webinars, swipe files, trainings, etc.
2) The Ads
Next you have to put your content in front of your market.
One of the the best ways to do this is through Facebook ads.
Let’s see a couple of Sendlane’s ads:
As you can see these are pretty simple ads. Let’s break them down:
- Colorful, attention-grabbing picture of the ebook
- Calling out the problems they solve
- Mentioning it’s free and easily downloadable
It’s pretty clear what they are doing right? They are just putting an ad that solves a problem in front of people who have that problem. Simple but effective.
You can see exactly what kind of ads Sendlane is running right now in their Facebook Ads Library.
3) The Landing Page
Once someone sees the ad and clicks on it, they’ll be taken to a landing page where they’ll opt in to get the ebook and enter the content funnel.
One important point to notice about these Landing pages is that they are trying to qualify leads right away withe the follow two questions:
- Current Email List Size
- Are you in the market for a new email marketing tool?
These questions help Sendlane to identify who their best prospects are that will be most likely to become high-value, paying customers.
4) Thank You Page
Have in mind that some people will be ready to take the next step at this stage and sign up immediately for a free trial, so it’s important to always put your offer in front of them.
See the example below from Sendlane’s Thank You page:
Once they attract their ideal customers into the content funnel it’s all about helping their prospects get closer to their goals.
They do this by dropping tons of value and education on how their prospects can overcome their biggest challenges and obstacles.
The content is easy to consume and delivered mostly through email, which has allowed them to keep their open rates throughout the funnel around 80%-90%.
By providing this high-value content, the team at Sendlane proves that they are truly trying to help their customers to succeed and they build tremendous goodwill for their brand and customer loyalty.
Now let’s see some examples so you can get an idea of what kind of content we’re talking about:
The welcome email is arguably the most important emails. It’s your first interaction with someone after they become a lead and it’s important to start nurturing them right away.
There’s a few things the email below is doing:
- Delivering the ebook
- Establishing authority by mentioning how they’ve sent billions of emails
- Building a relationship by inviting them to reply to the email
- It’s sent by an individual rather than from the company which makes it more personal
This is what we call a value-packed email! Here Sendlane is providing massive value and educating their prospects.
By providing massive value and investing in the relationship they are making sure their prospects will:
- See them as an authority
- Trust them
- Open the next email
Their overall goal with the content funnel, but more specifically with this email is to educate their prospects on what they need to do in order to achieve their goals.
Once they understand WHAT they need to do, the next step is HOW to do it, and that’s where Sendlane’s product (and pitch) comes in.
Look for the transition in the email below and think about how you can adjust it to your own product.
PS: Don’t stop educating, continue to teach and nurture those prospects. It’s not about just getting them in the door but continuing to carry them through that cycle so they become loyal customers and advocates of your company.
Lots of companies invest time and resources to build their email lists. But very few of them continue to nurture those leads and drive them toward the product as well as Sendlane does.
As Jimmy said in the interview, after nurturing those leads Sendlane was able to acquire new free trial signups for a total cost of $20-$25 a piece.
Considering they acquire leads at $2-$3, that implies that they are converting better than 10% of their email leads into free trial signups.
And compared to the $70 they paid per trial signup when they sent cold traffic straight to signup, the content funnel strategy succeeded in reducing their cost per trial signup by 64%.
After implementing this content funnel strategy Sendlane was able to get content download leads at scale for $2-$3 a piece, and after nurturing those leads they were able to acquire high-value $20-$25 free trial signups.
That’s 64% cheaper trial signups compared to their previous “straight to trial” strategy.
And not only are they are getting lower cost free trial signups but, according to Jimmy Kim, they also end up being better customers that are more engaged with their brand.
Finally, they’ve managed to build a large database of ideal customers they continue to nurture and can now market to for free.
It’s clear this is a proven strategy for B2B SaaS companies to get higher-value trial signups at scale for significantly lower costs than the typical “straight to trial” strategy.
- Podcast #13- How Facebook Ads Fueled Proof’s Rapid Growth with Dave Rogenmoser - September 30, 2020
- Podcast #12- How Gong.io Drives Growth with Organic and Paid LinkedIn Content with Mike McEuen - September 10, 2020
- Podcast #11- Aaron Krall’s Framework for Scaling SaaS User Onboarding the Right Way - August 24, 2020