Story Time: 4 Examples of Good Conversion


The B2B decision-making process can be complex. In this discussion, Iron Horse’s Ellen Smoley and Reachdesk’s Sam Collins explore best practices for creating conversion and fast-tracking leads through the sales funnel, including how you can put them to work with your teams. 

Originally aired on November 14th, 2023.


Rather read a transcript of the session?


Key takeaways.


Personalization is key. 
Your messaging and imagery should match off domain and on domain to foster connected user experiences. 


Identifying the right audience is foundational. 
No matter how fantastic your content is, if you don’t promote it on the right channels, it’s almost irrelevant.


Data is the backbone of growth. 
Data empowers you to make informed decisions and optimize your conversion campaigns to provide your buyers the best possible experiences.

HubSpot Video

From the google ad to the landing page, the message didn’t look the same. So, the contacts were bouncing because they thought they were getting a random landing page. By using a personalization tool or just creating a different landing page with the same messaging and imagery, this customer [a Mutiny newsletter customer] saw a 77% increase in their conversion rate.

Ellen Smoley • Sr. Marketing Manager, Iron Horse

Episode Transcript

Alex Brown: [00:00:02] It's 11 a.m. on the West coast, 2 p.m. in New York, and it's time for a coffee break. I'm your host, Alex Jonathan Brown. A Senior Copywriter here at Iron Horse. And once a month, we sit down with some of the smartest people in marketing to serve up fresh insights and strategies that you can immediately pour into your marketing and sales campaigns. Those are coffee puns. Joining me today is Sam Collins, Partnerships Manager, Reach Desk, and Ellen Smoley, Senior Marketing Manager at Iron Horse. Hi, everybody.

Sam Collins: [00:00:33] Hey there.

Ellen Smoley: [00:00:34] Hello.

Alex Brown: [00:00:36] So today we're taking one of the most important parts of anyone's marketing efforts driving conversions. There's always that satisfaction, especially for me as a copywriter, to, like, get out a really well-written email that I'm like, oh, I did so great. But if it doesn't convert, it doesn't pay any bills, and then I don't work here much longer. Um, and so kind of keeping with our casual coffee break vibe, we've got a couple points that we're going to want to hit on in this chat, but we're mostly like talking about cool stuff that either we've done or we've seen other people do. And so please, as you're watching this, like let us know what your examples are. Throw those in the chat. And we've also got a poll question for you to help guide the conversation. And that's just what are your biggest challenges when it comes to creating conversion campaigns. That polls live now will come back to it in a little bit. We've already got votes coming in. Thanks, y'all. Um, but, Ellen, I think we're going to get started with you.

Ellen Smoley: [00:01:44] Perfect.

Alex Brown: [00:01:45] Yeah. One of the biggest things that can make conversion tricky are like gaps in the process where you've got a couple parts that are working really well and others that aren't. So do you have any like, any examples that I may already know about from our pre meeting that you'd like to talk about here?

Ellen Smoley: [00:02:01] I do. Yes. So some of the examples that Sam and I are going to be talking about are things that we've done ourselves, and we've seen our clients do. This is an example that I saw just by being a marketer and being online and looking at my email and finding good examples where this is super foundational. And when we think about what are simple tactics we can do to have better conversion. This was an example. I thought this is something that everybody can do. So I'll start with this. Um, so I was a part of a Mutiny's newsletter, and mutiny is a personalization tool where they send good examples of their conversions. And so I looked at this and saw, oh my gosh, this is great. This is the one that I want to share. Um, they had a customer who was seeing amazing clicks to their Google ads, so they knew that their Google ads were working. But when they went, when the contacts were going to their landing page, there was a huge bounce rate. So the customer was saying, okay, what what am I doing wrong? What can I have an easy fix on? Because we've all been asked over the past couple of months to do more with less. So let's not spend any more money. Let's just take a look inside and figure out what is not working. So in this example they used a personalization tool. And that is not something that you have to have to do this. So this is not a pitch at all on technology. Just really honing in on what is not working in an easy way to fix it. So the Google ads were really working. The landing page was not. And that was because there was a mismatch in the messaging and the imagery. So from the Google ad to the landing page, the message just didn't look the same. So the the contacts were bouncing because they thought that they were getting a random landing page by using a personalization tool or just having a different landing page, creating a different landing page, and putting that messaging and having the same messaging and imagery. This customer saw a 77% in their conversion rate, which is just crazy. Um, so they were able to change some little foundational things to make sure that that user experience was connected from the different messaging points that they had off domain. And then by getting on domain, it matched. So a 77% improvement in conversion rate, which I think we all want. So a pretty good example to start with there. And just something that's pretty foundational.

Alex Brown: [00:04:32] Yeah, absolutely. And I think one of the so our poll just wrapped up. Um, so the question again was what was your biggest challenge when it comes to creating conversion campaigns? The number one challenge, according to our audience at 50%, was understanding the right promotion channels. And I think, Ellen, that example you gave like also underscores the even with the right promotion channels, it you have to have that flow all the way through so you can see success in your promotion stage. But if you're not carrying that through the conversion, that's really tricky. 33% voted for creating compelling content and 17% voted identifying the right target audience. So I think before we move on to kind of the rest of our scheduled conversation, any quick feedback off those results from either of you?

Ellen Smoley: [00:05:25] I definitely think creating compelling content is challenging, but definitely using the right promotion channels. That's really understanding where your audience lives and understanding how to reach them. One of my other examples here, in a little bit, we'll we'll talk through reaching your audience and using the right channels. So I know that Sam has some great examples too, but it is it is difficult to understand those promotion channels, but it starts with understanding where your audience lives and what they want from you.

Alex Brown: [00:05:57] And yeah, go for it.

Sam Collins: [00:06:13] Let's kick things off. And identifying the right audience is always going to be that foundational step. If you don't do that correctly, then actually the other pieces of the pie don't really fall into place. Likewise creating fantastic content. But if you don't promote it correctly, it's almost irrelevant.

Alex Brown: [00:06:31] Exactly. And I think also, even if you've got everything lined up and even if you're really creating that full kind of journey and through line and you are seeing results and returns, it's another thing to then really work on maximizing those returns. And Sam, I think you can maybe chat a little bit about that for us.

Sam Collins: [00:06:52] For sure sort of segway in, because I know at the moment we're talking about foundations, but we've just kind of coming towards the end of event season, and that's a prime channel for a lot of businesses spending huge sums of money at the moment on, on events, and you really need to maximize the ROI on that. And so a fantastic example recently where often you go to events and everyone's focused on a number of badge scans, MQLs etcetera, but this actually came upwards from, from Chile. Piper it does help that they are sort of drinking their, their own champagne, but just around booking meetings and booking those demos there and there and then and a fantastic example of using their sort of inbound concierge. But what they were doing was driving people to their booths and having that great conversation. And it did help that they were using sort of swag to drive people to their booths, having those good conversations and then just booking people in for a demo there. And then it seems really quite straightforward. But this was a they were doing this at inbound where I saw it, and you're sort of you're wandering around the event floor and had a lot of good conversations with people. But the number of conversations that I was just sort of driven to, maybe someone took my detail or scanned my badge and then was inundated post event with email follow ups, etcetera. They were one of the only booths there that just said, look, we've had a great conversation. Can we book some time in to to follow up with this? And it's really seems seems so obvious. You've had a good conversation, but those next steps in kind of sales 101. But it wasn't it didn't seem to be be happening. And I was chatting with some of their team afterwards and they were saying how they booked. Was it 97 demos off the back of that sort of one event, which is a huge volume of pipeline, sort of millions of pounds in pipeline generated, and that's going in into the funnel. I'm sure if you start to break down from their conversion rates off the back of that, some some great ROI off the back of that event. But again, foundational things that can really be improving the return on investment on that event spend. And they did something a little bit different as well. Not only were they looking those demos in, but adding an extra touch point. So yes, they were drawing people over with with swag, but they were giving people options. Yes, they had some cool stuff, some hot sauce, etcetera at the booth, but then giving people a land page to send themselves that swag to be delivered at their doorstep because people traveled. You don't have space, you don't want to be carrying things around with you. So instead it was delivered to their their doorstep. And also it gave them the option to choose from a few different things. But then that gave that sales team another prime opportunity to pick up the phone and send a message, post events. That wasn't the classic, oh, we had this conversation, but something's just arrived. It's very conversational. And how did you find that that experience, and we call it the four hours of sort of delight. Basically, it's that four hour window after you receive something, sure. It's all the same. You open your package and you feel great. I've got my new my new shirt for a couple of hours afterwards, and if you have that conversation straight away, you're immediately kicking things off and having a good conversation with people and humanizing the the process from, from the get go, which is seen seeing great results.

Alex Brown: [00:10:30] Absolutely. One of my favorite things about that is just the idea of like, even if we all know what the fundamentals are like, the execution of that is where you can really get creative with stuff like not only just with the swag, but like you said, instead of saying, please carry this bottle of hot sauce around for the next three days, it's yeah, we'll send it directly to you. Also, you'll give us your information in the process. Like that's kind of a win win for everybody. So I love seeing where you can get gains by being creative in, in those spaces. And if you are a person who's got some hot sauce, there's a chance that you're really motivated to kind of go be a champion within your within that company. Ellen am very good at Segways. Um, so with that in mind, uh, hey, Ellen, do you want to talk a little bit about empowering your champion?

Ellen Smoley: [00:11:26] That was too good. Yeah. Um, I do. So when we were talking about promotion channels earlier and where you're going to reach your target audience, this is a conversion campaign example on reaching your audience, but in a little bit of a different way. Um, so we were working with a client who one of their main challenges was getting their personas the right personas to the buying table and reaching all of all of their buying unit. So what we worked with that client to do is create a manager's buy in guide. And this was a about six page beautiful PDF where we laid out all of the things that their manager would need to know in order to get the thumbs up, or in order to get them to the seat of the table to start having those conversations about closing that deal. So we understood what the pain points were, what they really wanted to understand about the product, because we had the eyeballs of a certain persona. But what we were struggling with, with this client, is getting it up to their upper level management. Um, so it answered the questions that they were asking in a couple pages, and it was beautifully designed. So it wasn't like six pages of straight copy, but we had the pain points in there. We had customer testimonials, we had a huge section on the data and the ROI of the solution. So it really was addressing their pain points, um, showing the messaging to them in a simple way to consume and getting their managers at the seat of the table. This had a 30% increase in conversion. So it was utilizing our champions. And you know, it's hard to reach everybody, whether that's what paid media or emails or whatever channel that we are trying to use and meet our, our personas. So really looking internally at who's your champion and how can we get them to to create the messaging for us and we enable them to do that with that campaign. So it was super successful and definitely using a different channel than we normally do.

Alex Brown: [00:13:35] It's definitely a stage where I think a lot of people, like people, are familiar with the concept of having a champion internally. That's nothing new, but I think you still see so many organizations that are like, yep, that's our champion. And then sort of just throw that person out the door and say, like, good luck on your own, not a sales person. Hopefully you can figure this out. Um, and that's, that's not the most effective way to do that. But it's so great when we see like numbers that kind of back that up. Right. So that's awesome. Sam, what about you? What else is kind of on your mind as we're moving through this stuff?

Sam Collins: [00:14:15] Yeah, sure. I mean, just to quickly touch on on Ellen's point, just happen to be doing putting together a lot of like internal sales enablement at the moment as well. And you do really feel that pain, like it's hard enough to enable your own sales team to do things. And you sort of you do sometimes have to spoon feed people, but if you make life easy for people, then you're only going to bolster that the interactions you're having with them as well. So I think I'll be be hitting you up afterwards. Ellen, I think I could use this playbook myself as well for a number of reasons. Um, but I was just thinking, even around that understanding the right promotional channel piece, and it's something that we've recently seen and been working quite closely with. Tala is one of one of our customers, and they work in the cybersecurity space and sort of one of their products, the data security platform. It, they're dealing with CTOs, CIOs, CSOs. They're hard people to to engage with. And historically, they've always used gated content with with white papers, which has led to a good, you know, fantastic pipeline generation tool. But they really started to see a drop off just because these individuals are very adverse to giving out their their information. And so they had to sort of just think a little bit differently. What can we do to to get them to, to be re-engaging with us? So they still were providing the same content, but reframing that into booking a workshop with them, which is essentially a demo, but framing it all around, becoming sort of a master of the data universe. So knowing that audience, they really work from start to finish and created this whole NASA themed space themed campaign, which they ran, and using physical direct mail to send out NASA themed goodies like moon tea, etcetera, that they would then be able to drink on. On that workshop, there was almost like a Your Space Manual handbook, which was your guides and content that people were then going to engage with throughout the workshops that they were they were running. They were able to to get those conversion levels back and get that sort of volume of traffic, um, simply by just reframing the way that they were asking people to submit their information. It's not download this whitepaper, it's get some, get some cool stuff. And then playing through that, they got their NASA badge. All of the the team would then get their their various NASA badges, sit down on this data universe workshop. And then they would go into the into the into the process. And it was quite cool because they not only engaged their kind of customers in that way and increased conversions, but they were really struggling to. There's the age old sales marketing. Head to head was happening as well internally, and they kind of used the same tactics to get the sales team involved as well in this campaign. Now the obviously their CIO, CSOs, etcetera love space, their sales team, they actually happen to love weightlifting. They're sort of a bunch of gym junkies. And so they just created these internal spiffs. And it was it was swag. It was t-shirts. But they got them involved with t-shirts that said, if the bar ain't it, the bar ain't bending. You're just pretending. Super corny, I know, but the sales team loved it. It became a badge of pride, and it was basically who can engage the most amount of, um, sort of space. Space prospects won the t-shirt, the company kick off happened, and suddenly everyone was wearing these gym junkie t-shirts and we saw fantastic results there. All of a sudden, the sales team was engaging with the marketing team as well, which was fantastic to see.

Alex Brown: [00:18:19] I mean, everything about that is delightful. Ellen, did you have something? I just wanted to comment on how much I love every part of that story.

Ellen Smoley: [00:18:27] I was going to say, I mean, definitely getting your sales team involved on the marketing side can be a challenge. And we hear from some of our clients on the sales enablement piece of of how to work with our sales team more efficiently and effectively. And so that's an interesting way, is to kind of provide what are they interested in. And I'm not sure I would be repping a weightlifting bar wouldn't be bending so much, but I would I would want it if I was on the sales team to prove that I was, you know, picking up my weight and really helping out the marketing team. So super interesting tactic.

Sam Collins: [00:19:03] Yeah, yeah, it was always interesting when you start to look at a whole host of campaigns where we talk about conversion, but how much of the conversion actually just drops off because leads go unfollowed up or conversations don't happen on when they should be? It's sort of as a marketer, it's so frustrating. You feel like you've done all of this hard work to get people engaged, but at the end of it, the sales team isn't on board and still having those conversations, then it's almost futile.

Alex Brown: [00:19:34] There's a whole other other side of this too, that we don't have time to get into today, but I do. If you have like quick reactions on two is like Sam, both of the examples that you kind of talked about are like high cost options. I think anytime you're like comparatively, especially to just throwing a form in front of somebody and saying, hey, if you want to chat with us, I guess put your information in. And so there's a whole like back end of that then too, right? Of like if you're doing that kind of stuff, you like to get back to our poll, you have to have a really good idea of who your target is, and you have to make sure that those are the people you're getting in front of, and the thing you're offering is still compelling, because there's nothing worse than saying, we're going to develop, you know, we're going to print 750 NASA kits that we're going to send out, and then having two people sign up to take them, and then you're like, oh, we missed that entirely. Um, so I think we're seeing this cool space where we're doing a lot of creative stuff, but obviously all of those fundamentals are in place before any of that happens to make sure that it works and works well.

Sam Collins: [00:20:44] For sure, it needs to be. It always has to be sort of super targeted and sort of. Most of the sort of people we're using, sort of in dealing with, they're using intent data to, to fuel all of this. So they have a demand base that's extensive roadworks, whatever it may be, kind of in place. And so they're really narrowing down that sort of target audience and the personas in that audience before even sort of thinking about using tactics like this, because as you say, it could end up being hugely expensive and it needs to be targeted. And that's when you really see the results, because you know who that audience is. You know they're going to be engaging with the content that you're providing, and this is solving a challenge for them. And it certainly yeah, you'd never recommend it as a as a spray and pray tactic for sure. But then that's often where the there are tools in place that that can help that you, you have the intent data providers. But even in like the chili Piper instance, actually they could keep costs relatively low because they're able to sort of funnel people down. Um, they've got like various routers and calendly do the same, but it's your your accounts are all tiered within your sort of CRM anyway. So depending on that tier you can have different valued options as well. You might have a gift card for a small account and sort of your themed pack for your sort of enterprise level account. And a lot of that can be automated within the workflows, which helps to keep budgets in check, but also keep that ROI number where you need it to be and whatever that multiple is.

Alex Brown: [00:22:28] Awesome. Ellen. We're coming up on time, so I'll kind of give both of you kind of a last swings opportunity. If there's anything else you want to add. But I'll say it now. Thanks both so much for chatting through stuff with us today. But sorry, Ellen, you were going to talk. Go ahead. Yeah.

Ellen Smoley: [00:22:46] No thanks, Sam, for joining us on our coffee break. Thanks for having me, Alex. My last thing that I'll end with is I think it's really important to look at your data, to kind of figure out those conversion campaigns that are or are not working. And what's the simplest thing you can do to change them? Some of the things that I mentioned was really looking at the audience that you were targeting, and then also some of those message maps. So I think pretty foundational things that we sometimes skip over because we think that we have them defined. So using the data that we have at our fingertips to make sure that we do have them as tight as we could, our messaging as tight as we could, and that the buyer experience is cohesive. I think that's super important. We've had a lot of data recently. We did some reports on what that buyer experience looked like and what people are expecting these days. And it's different. It's different than it's ever been. So really keeping an eye on that. But thanks for having me, Alex.

Sam Collins: [00:23:43] Yeah, likewise. Thank you for having me, Alex. And thanks for having me. Ellen. I think as sort of just reiterate Ellen's point there, it's there's so many really quite straightforward foundational things that can be done. And it's actually just look at what you're already doing and how can you just just a couple of percentage points better by engaging that, that audience and, and maybe just a slightly different way that you actually it doesn't have a huge, huge uplift if you're already going to events. And actually you don't necessarily even need to be giving out swag, but just having a calendar in front of you and having that sort of pep talk with the the sales team beforehand, that's sort of delivering, saying, guys, let's just. Get a demo booked in. Simple as that. It sounds so sound, so straightforward, but you can be interesting to see sort of what results you can see internally doing something like that.

Alex Brown: [00:24:37] Yeah. The difference between like we're here and we're going to talk and meet people to we're here and we're going to book demos like can be such a huge difference. So thanks for bringing that up Sam. Before we go, it's, you know, the end of 2023, I'm not legally allowed to have you on an online platform and not ask you if there's anything you want to plug. So do either of you have anything you want to plug? Be LinkedIn websites, anything where people can follow up with you and get a little more info.

Sam Collins: [00:25:08] For sure. I mean, it's the season of gifting. So in which fashion? We do have a sort of Christmas gifting guide is out at the moment. If you're in need of any last minute inspiration, be sure to check it out and always happy to have some conversations as well. If that's something we can can help you out with, then plug away. Um, that's that's that's me. Over and out.

Alex Brown: [00:25:32] What's the website, Sam?

Sam Collins: [00:25:34] That's reachdesk.com. And there's the the gifting guide will be be on there.

Alex Brown: [00:25:39] Awesome. Alan, what about you?

Ellen Smoley: [00:25:42] My plug is it's the season for planning, so if you need a partner to help you do that and have some growth goals for next year, Iron Horse is that growth marketing partner for you? So visit our website ironhorse.io and that's where you'll find us.

Alex Brown: [00:25:59] I love it when there are two Iron Horse people on because I don't have to do the plugs then. Thank you so much both of you again for joining us. Thank you everybody for watching. And until we do this again, coffee break's over. Let's get back to work. Bye, everybody.