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How a "boring" SaaS company 3Xed leads by destroying printers

It’s a situation many marketers are familiar with: a great product in a stagnant market. A brand deserving more recognition, fighting for a slice of market share.

This story was certainly relatable for eFileCabinet. But with big marketing goals and a team open to creative solutions, they were ready to implement a strategy that would cement their foothold in the market.

After implementing a multi-pronged campaign — holistic SEO, advertising, content, and email marketing, all wrapped around a creative and expertly executed conference — they were not just seeing results, they were seeing stars.

 

 

The Strategy

eFileCabinet makes the champion of document management software. They aim to take the pain out of complex filing and digitizing processes.

While their product was ahead of the curve, they woke up one day to find smaller competitors coming to steal their market share. eFileCabinet needed digital marketing expertise, they needed new approaches, and they needed a team that could ramp up and execute quickly. They found it all with their partnership with 97th Floor.

Our efforts culminated in a campaign so exciting that it not only won multiple awards (and the attention of the press), but also brought in the largest influx of leads eFileCabinet had ever seen.

While it’s fun to smash a few printers, the excitement and attention of a campaign fades, and without the foundation of a well-oiled lead machine, the true potential of that campaign won’t be realized.

In this article I’m covering the ins and outs of this campaign, but if you want to jump to a specific section, go for it!

 

 

 

Audience insights shape the campaign

If you’ve read any similar articles on our blog, highlighting real life marketing wins, you know the first step is typically customer research with the intent to create buyer personas. Audience insights, usually housed in buyer personas, are a critical element necessary before engaging in any campaign. But many marketers (even savvy marketers) underestimate the power of persona creation. Personas are especially crucial when working with an agency. Armed with the insight that only comes via detailed personas you can begin to create marvelous work.

eFileCabinet’s software could serve nearly any business (we all need to organize documents, don’t we?) but when we identified specific audiences that would benefit the most immediately, we were able to refine our customer personas to the most important ones.

The first step in creating personas is always basic market research. eFileCabinet already knew that many of their best customers worked jobs that needed constant document organization. We narrowed down the four most common fields to: HR, accountancy, insurance, and legal.

 

 

With four focus audiences in place, we took it one step further, delving deeper into what made these people tick. What were the biggest pain points they encountered in their jobs? Why would they come looking for eFileCabinet?

eFileCabinet introduced their team at 97th Floor to a handful of customers, thus giving us a direct line of communication with our target audience. These in-depth interviews helped shape the final touches on our persona development. Not to mention these interviews made for exceptional case studies down the line.

During the persona discovery process, it became clear to eFileCabinet as well as 97th Floor that our four audiences were not solely document filing drones, but people.

So, instead of marketing to people that live to digitize documents, eFileCabinet changed their strategy to market to humans.

 

Meet users at all stages in the funnel with SEO

We did a 38-point technical audit and discovered a number of things that were dragging down our rankings. The site was fine, but we were able to clean it up and really make it shine. After all, technical SEO really does lay a foundation for holistic SEO strategy. With a site humming along from a search engine perspective, SEOs could turn their attention to rankings.

Keyword research is an important piece of any SEO campaign, but without personas, keyword research will always be a weak final product. The personas guided the SEOs at 97th Floor in running the keyword research and keyword selection process. We had four different personas, which called for four specific rounds of keyword research. The strategy was to capture these audiences through awareness- and consideration-level keywords specific to their industries.

 

 

A collection of product- and market-focused keywords were selected to spearhead the campaign. Originally, eFileCabinet only ranked for about 10,000 keywords, but today they double that, and which contributes to nearly double increase in month over month organic traffic.

Today eFileCabinet ranks for a host of relative market keywords in varying stages of the buyer’s journey, from “going paperless,” to “office management systems,” to “wet signature,” to, “document manager,” to, “hr document filing.” Today, eFileCabinet has effectively transformed into an entirely new SEO force to be reckoned with, picking up 281% more organic leads than the previous year.

 

Advertising that attracts and qualifies new audiences

Digital advertising can capture an entirely different set of prospects than organic SEO. With our personas in mind, we created a segmented series of campaigns spanning across three platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Ads.

 

 

Facebook Ads’ detailed demographic targeting gave us the freedom to launch ads that reached a wide but tailored audience. We created targeted ads to those who act like past purchasers, which attracted a new audience of people who behaved like our existing audience. Or in other words, they actually followed through on our CTAs. Facebook is also where we focused retargeting efforts, reminding those who had visited eFileCabinet before what they had left behind.

 

 

LinkedIn was instrumental in pinpointing audiences based on job position and industry, which was absolutely critical for our advertising campaign. This allowed us to pinpoint exactly who we wanted to market to, and align that with our constructed personas. Because the targeting was so precise, we were able to build unique ads, copy, landing pages, and lead magnets that were directly tied to any one of our audiences. For example, accountants would see ads about accounting document filing software, while legal assistants would see ads about legal document filing software.

 

 

Google Ads allowed us to market to an intent-based audience via keyword targeting. This let us reach people at their stage in the journey, including those with serious intent to buy. Google Ads also worked hand in hand with the SEO strategy. Together with eFileCabinet, we found high-converting keywords, we took that info to our SEO team members and — bringing in the benefits of paid through organic — saving a lot of money in the process.

Testing multiple ad variants was essential in ensuring the different campaigns were attracting the right audiences, and pivoting the ad copy if they were not. In total, hundreds of ad campaigns, with thousands of ad variants were created across the three platforms.

 

 

These campaigns brought extraordinary results. We had over 400 MQLs, increased conversion rates on Google Ads by 131% (.54% → 1.25%), with click through rates almost tripling (1.35% → 3.97%). All by simply focusing on the real people behind the job titles, rather than just the jobs themselves.

 

Logical and customer-driven email strategy

The secret to great email marketing is a good workflow and customer-centric logic in place. Again, it’s about the people. Email automation platforms, by themselves, lack logic and intelligence. It takes an experienced hand to turn a list of subscribers into leads, leads into customers, and, if you’re lucky, customers into raving fans. The first step, then, is to take full advantage of the email platform and create strategic workflows for each customer persona at each stage of the buyer journey.

Because eFileCabinet’s platform audit uncovered a series of misfiring workflows, overlapping data points, and repetitive offers, the first step in their email marketing strategy was to restructure the entire setup, including campaigns and workflows for each audience.

By creating a dedicated lead nurture experience that hinged on the user’s industry and stage in the customer journey, eFileCabinet could best meet the needs of their users within this channel.

Here’s the thing, everyone talks about the funnel as if it were actually a funnel. Even we are guilty of it. But today’s customers are so savvy that they don’t often progress down the funnel in the direct, linear fashion we want. So having built-in logic to your email campaigns that intelligently delivers what they want (which may not be the next step in the funnel) is imperative to properly nurturing a large and growing list. That’s what we accomplished with eFileCabinet.

 

 

Exceptional content is the bow on top of everything

I can be honest here, right? Document management software isn’t the most exciting industry in the world. Because of this fact, content needed to be fresh, unique, insightful, and just maybe, a little exciting too.

With the traditional content channels, our efforts encompassed a broad range including ad copy, articles, ebooks, case studies, and email copy. We created four different content campaigns, each pertaining to one of our buyer personas.

The following assets were produced to support the content journey of each of these campaigns:

  • 1 full-funnel content audit where we analyzed eFileCabinet’s old web content to determine what could be repurposed to fit into each campaign to help promote the offers we created
  • 4 ebooks used as lead magnets to capture and qualify our leads, each ebook was supported with at least 5 blog posts directing users to the ebook (20 ebook-driven blog posts total)
  • 8 customer case studies used in our industry-driven advertising campaigns to attract relevant leads in our four industries
  • 20 logic-driven workflows for each persona to intelligently nurture leads down the funnel
  • 48 smart landing page variants with corresponding ads, email funnels, progressive forms, and thank you pages
  • 100 emails written to educate and engage the prospect and designed to get them to take the next designed action

 

 

 

Sounds like a lot right? It is. That’s the point. Shortcuts in content marketing don't exist. There is only efficiency and experience and, eventually, expertise.

These assets, executed well, and delivered at the right time have created a near-flawless content flywheel, which contributes to perfect adherence to lead nurture goals quarter after quarter.

Squeaky clean SEO, targeted PPC, segmented emails, and persona-driven content left eFileCabinet well on their way to becoming the leading figure in the industry. This would be the time when most brands would queue the fist pumps and pop open the champagne bottles to celebrate.

But eFileCabinet was only getting started. Now was time for the fun stuff.

 

Enter the Rage Cage

Everything was humming along nicely digitally, but eFileCabinet had a long-time challenge they wanted to tackle next: Trade shows. Quite a different world than the digital marketing landscape they’d just conquered.

Trade show sponsorships had been lackluster in the past, but they believed there was opportunity still on the table. Together, we dreamed up many ways to get more out of upcoming trade shows. We did countless brainstorming sessions and built decks describing options. It was a battle royale of creativity. When the smoke cleared, one idea stood out as the clear winner: the Rage Cage.

 

AdAge Sequence

eFileCabinet wanted trade show sponsorships to accomplish two goals: first, engage a large audience beyond the conference, and second, bring in sales. These two goals may seem diametrically opposed for a trade show, but we put our brains together and got to work on a creative solution to both problems.

The idea was simple: become the title sponsor for the largest accounting conference in the region, then set up a room filled to the brim with old office equipment and sledgehammers. Before participating, participants would give their contact information to eFileCabinet, gear up in safety equipment, and then be unleashed on the old office equipment-- free to beat the ink out of printers, monitors, fax machines, and copiers.

This wasn’t a cut-and-dried request. Accounting trade shows aren’t used to having a booth that required visitors to sign a waiver. They aren’t used to old office equipment showing up by the truckload, nor for spools of chain-link fencing, nor for television crews and print media showing up to cover the spectacle. They aren’t used to seeing a bunch of mild-mannered office-types unleash their inner beast and rain down violence. They weren’t used to seeing show goers come out from a booth with an ear-to-ear grin — and a soul lightened from the catharsis of wailing on the same model of printer that has generated so, so, so much paper that needed filing at their offices.

The Rage Cage shook up the show. People happily provided their contact info for a chance to enter the booth. They literally lined up to watch — and to wait their turn.

 

But it didn’t end there. Our promotional video supplemented our media pitches and pre-conference hype. In addition to capturing leads from those who entered the Rage Cage, we emailed all participants a recording of their time in the cage, and offered a cash prize to the most-shared video. This effectively turned hundreds of accountants into passionate marketers, generating millions of social experiences with those outside the conference.

The media isn’t used to covering what happens inside an industry trade show for accountants, but they came this time. The story was picked up by several local broadcast news stations, gaining even more exposure and attention for eFileCabinet.

 

 

Let’s talk about the follow up. Captured email addresses were imported into an automated email workflow where their engagement determined the content they were delivered, thus nurturing the right candidates into demo requests and then sales pipelines.

 

 

 

The event itself was a smashing success. Conference attendees had a good time destroying old office equipment, but along with the fun, we kept sight of our goal to capture leads. All in all, the campaign brought in over 800 new leads, the largest influx of leads eFileCabinet has ever seen in a single month. Those leads turned into over 100 closed deals, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Results

A year later, eFileCabinet’s vigor for marketing hasn’t dimmed.

If you thought the Rage Cage was cool, how’s this sound? eFileCabinet hit it’s annual 2020 goals in July! That’s right! 5 months ahead of schedule in what is maybe the most challenging year for marketing (and pretty much everything else). Clearly, the benefits of a campaign like this have a very long life.

Organic search has continued to compound the success. In the past year, leads brought in by organic traffic have increased by 281%. Leads brought in from advertising channels have grown as well. Using the best of Google Ads, Facebook, and LinkedIn, more marketing and sales qualified leads are coming in each month from targeted verticals than ever.

 

 

eFileCabinet and 97th Floor have created a system that’s always maturing and driving the bottom line. eFileCabinet is a leader in the document management space, receiving the accolades they’ve always deserved, from names like Business News Daily, Motley Fool, and Inc.

The future is exciting. As the process of refining these strategies carries on, creativity thrives, and eFileCabinet continues to knock it out of the park — or, perhaps, pound it with a sledge hammer as if it were a keyboard with a sticky space bar.

 

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Jeff Windsor

Jeff Windsor is a SaaS industry pioneer, former professor of literature, and culinary arts school graduate. He did his master’s work at BYU, and his Ph.D. work at Ohio State. At 97th Floor, Jeff is Vice President of Content Marketing where he leads content strategy, customer experience, and content ROI.

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