A Tale of Two Campaigns: How to Improve Conversations on Your Call to Action, as seen on AdAge

May 14, 2020 Latane Conant

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” When Charles Dickens opened A Tale of Two Cities with that line, he likely wasn’t thinking of digital marketing campaigns. But recently, my team had exactly that experience when running a campaign.

Our campaign focused on our company’s biggest differentiator: a solution to identify a company’s prospect accounts and increase its match rates. Our first run was not pretty (in more ways than one), but after tweaking a few key elements, we turned it around. 

Refreshing our campaign

We were so excited to share our matching capabilities, and we figured that would speak for itself. Our campaign was focused on a webpage and a call to action. Our copy covered all the facts — everything we believed our prospects wanted — and we settled for some straightforward creative elements to round things out.

We pushed it live and waited for the results to roll in. And we got zero interactions.

Talk about the worst of times. We pored over the campaign and scrutinized our call to action. We were worried we hadn’t aligned our campaign with what our prospects really wanted from us. It almost led to us scrapping the call to action altogether.

But upon digging a little deeper, we found a few other culprits that fed into our inability to convert on our call to action:

  • The creative material on the ad didn’t grab anyone’s attention. 
  • The landing page was chock full of technical details and difficult to understand.
  • The call to action seemed to be labor-intensive.

Gartner research found that when buyers have too much information or it’s difficult to understand, they’re 153% more likely to pick a smaller and less disruptive plan of action. When we confused our prospects with a difficult process, we put them on a path toward someone else’s solution.

Our current customers were telling us the report they got with our campaign had value, so we were still confident we had the right call to action. That meant we had to work on addressing the real issues. It was right around Valentine’s Day, and our solution matches companies with prospects. So, someone quickly put it together and said we could share content coinciding with Valentine’s Day. After all, who doesn’t like getting a valentine?

In short order, our team pulled together a new campaign for finding your company’s match for Valentine’s Day. Not only did we address those webpage problems, but we also added plenty of love-themed puns to our copy. We also refreshed our target segments with new accounts our data showed would be interested, and we did it fast (as in, I was updating content in an airport lounge so it could go live, fast).

And the result? The Valentine’s Day theme was a success, especially in ideal customer engagement and new pipeline generation. Our call to action converted, and we are planning similar campaigns throughout the year.

What to do for the next campaign

If your campaign is struggling to convert like ours was, here’s what I learned to help send your campaign toward the best of times:

1. Don’t simply throw out underperforming calls to action.

It might seem obvious, but I've found that marketers do this more often than they think. Although your call to action could perfectly represent your main differentiator, your gut might say, "Our call to action wasn’t aligned with what our customers actually wanted from us." But in reality, you might just need a better way to express it.

Rather than throwing out your call to action, dissect your campaign, and analyze your data to see where you should be smoothing the path for prospects. Then, adjust as necessary.

2. Agile teams respond to needs quickly.

We had a hard deadline to turn around our campaign (after all, you only get one Valentine’s Day a year). Even if your campaign isn't tied to a holiday, you need to have a team moving as fast as the work demands. When the situation changes, they have to be able to roll with it and adapt. 

Ensure your team members have access to solutions that allow them to work together in a hurry. For example, we used on Slack to share ideas and Google Docs to rewrite copy and prepare everything for the launch. Don’t overthink things, as too many solutions can be debilitating, but give your teams the resources and space to be creative.

3. Arts and crafts still rock.

Seriously, they do. Prospects are looking for information that not only educates, but also entertains. In my experience, they’d appreciate some fun while they work.

It’s OK for your teams to tap into that vein. Let them get a little creative with copy and ads. With the right look and feel, you’ll grab prospects’ attention and get them bought in on your call to action.

Put your creative talent to use in delivering your campaigns to the right folks and converting on calls to action. Good creative material around your main differentiator and agile teams with creative flexibility can help your campaign achieve the best of times.

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