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Generate MQLs for 15x less? Yes, please. How Whatagraph crushed it 🔨

February 26, 2020

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Generate MQLs for 15x less? Yes, please. How Whatagraph crushed it 🔨

A few months back – when 2020 was just around the corner – Whatagraph had a target to hit: more qualified leads. Whatagraph, known for its powerful and simple-to-use automated marketing analytics and reporting tools, wanted to close out 2019 with a strong showing of free trial signups (MQLs), particularly among small to medium agencies and in-house teams (SQLs). The company’s marketing mix already included paid ads on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter plus organic social media and more. What else could they do to rock out Q4? 

They had already developed a perfect end-of-year campaign centered around Whatagraph’s technology to create annual marketing reports that included a free template offer. Now, they just needed to get the offer in front of the right audience without breaking their budget. Did they pull it off? Yes, with the help of Zest. 

Here’s the story of how.

What is Whatagraph? 

Whatagraph is on a mission to bring the value of analytics to everyone. Whatagraph’s product features include cross-channel report creation, branded reporting, numerous reporting templates, and team progress tracking. Their automated solutions enable teams to view and understand the data and insights that drive their business forward and share them with clients. 

Whatagraph’s clients include in-house marketing and sales teams and small to mid-sized marketing agencies–just the kind of people who rely on Zest to keep them up to date on the latest marketing news and strategies. 

As they began to brainstorm ideas for their Q4 promotion, Whatagraph knew that Zest had the audience they were looking for because they had previously shared content on the Zest Content Stream with positive results. 

When Whatagraph used Zest’s non-paid content promotion feature – “we saw reassuring results: quality traffic was coming to our site, engagement on the content we shared went up,” explains former Whatagraph Marketing Team Lead, Justina Bakutyte. She adds that the content Whatagraph shared via Zest reached “a highly active and very marketing-focused group of people who appreciate quality content.”  

Was it time to consider something more than Zest’s free content sharing option? Yes, and that’s what they did. 

Knowing that Zest could put them in front of the right audience, Whatagraph decided to investigate ways to extend their presence on the platform and reached out to Zest’s Product Manager, Karolis Vanagus. Karolis helped them put together a package that used a Content Boost to promote their marketing annual report template on the Zest Content Stream and in Zest’s weekly newsletter. 

Whatagraph's boosted article as it appeared on the Zest Content stream
Whatagraph increases its visibility with a boost on Zest

The results of Whatagraph’s decision to make their pitch to the Zest audience

Whatagraph’s campaign, which cost just $400 total, started just before Christmas with an appearance in Zest’s newsletter and continued through January 23, 2020, bringing the brand traffic that was high-quality and high-converting reports Bakutyte.

Check out the numbers 👇

Chart comparing Whatagraph's average costs per lead to their performance using Zest Content Boost. Their average per MQL cost was $60, the per MQL cost of their Zest Content Boost was $4 or 15x less. Their average per SQL cost was $176 and the Zest Boost cost per SQL was 4x less at $44.
High-value audience + low cost per lead =a win for Whatagraph

Whatagraph’s Content Boost traffic converted at a rate of 23% and newsletter conversions were 19%. This performance lowered Whatagraph’s cost per MQL from an average of $60 to just $3.92 or 15x less.

Of the users who signed up for a free trial as a result of the campaign, 9% were SQLs that converted at a cost that was 4x less than Whatagraph’s usual paid advertising per-lead cost. What a great way to start the new year!

During this same time, Whatagraph tested a similar sponsorship using similar content in another newsletter. But the format of the ad and the audience weren’t the same and neither were the results. Bakutyte suspects that the other newsletter’s results were “very poor” because Yam’s personal acknowledgment of Whatagraph’s sponsorship in the Zest newsletter gave it the kind of engagement that a banner ad in the other newsletter couldn’t match. 

Gaining Leads and Knowledge: Whatagraph’s takeaways from their first Zest campaign

While it is still too soon to tell if the campaign will pay off in terms of customer acquisition, the low cost per lead and brand exposure made this campaign a winner for Whatagraph. The Zest campaign also provided both the Whatagraph marketing and sales teams with an opportunity to engage in a little learning by doing. The marketing team learned about using different content marketing channels and the sales team improved their lead nurturing processes. What could have made the campaign even better? Bakutyte says she’d like to see Zest provide more data on impressions and click-to-open rates. 

Top takeaways for marketer-to-marketer brands from Whatagraph’s experience 

  • Content-generated leads require nurturing. “Be prepared to play the long game,” advises Bakutyte.
  • Niche channels offer one of a kind opportunities for your brand and may deliver tremendous results with high volumes of traffic and a low CPA.
  • When you have a successful campaign, take a deep dive into the analytics to find out why it was successful. Do some testing and comparisons.

Effectively reach your audience by partnering with the brands that already serve them

By pairing with Zest, Whatagraph was able to reach a community of professionals invested in discovering new marketing strategies and ideas. That turned out to be a good investment for Whatagraph. When you develop your next marketing campaign, consider trying out new channels of distribution. Find the forums, platforms, newsletters and other channels that serve your community. Narrow your focus to locate the audiences that will value what you’re offering and will bring value to your brand in return.

To learn more about how to reach your niche audience, check out Alexandra Cote’s article, 3 Scalable Content Promotion Strategies You’ll Need To Blast Your Funnel on the Single Grain blog. And, to learn more about how you can boost your content on Zest, contact Karolis@Zest.is

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Thanks to Justina Bakutyte for pulling together Whatagraph’s performance stats and sharing the details of Whatagraph’s story with me.

Erik Haribson

CMO, Aweber

"Zest is quickly becoming the #1 channel in our GA"