Like an engine, digital marketing is a multi-faceted system of individual parts working together to create a result. When one of those parts is underperforming, it slows down the entire engine down. By optimizing each part, the engine becomes proportionately more powerful, efficient, and faster.
In this case study, we’ll take a look under the hood at Thrive Theme’s digital marketing strategy. We’ll see the specific parts that make up the engine driving their spectacular growth. We’ll see exactly how those parts work, and how they work together, to turn website traffic into qualified leads and customers into raving fans that go on to spread the word about their products, feeding new traffic into their growth engine.
Over the past couple of years, Thrive Theme’s growth has been phenomenal. It certainly helps that they have excellent products, but that growth’s catalyst has been their innovative marketing and post-purchase onboarding.
Let’s take a look at how Thrive Themes uses ActiveCampaign to fuel their growth and convert website traffic into raving fans…
Gear 1: Generating opt-in leads
Effective digital marketing begins with turning website visitors into leads by collecting their contact information.
Once you have contact information for a visitor, you can develop a relationship with them over time. By reaching out to them repeatedly with high-value resources and interesting messages, you can demonstrate the value your product offers, educate them on how your product can solve their problems, and position yourself as the premier solution among your competitors. It’s almost impossible to communicate all this in a single website visit, but by dripping out marketing messages over time you can communicate a range of points, place emphasis on what matters most, and stay top of mind.
Small improvements in opt-in conversion rate translate to huge growth over time. Increasing your opt-in conversion rate gives the entire engine a boost. It’s like adding nitroglycerin to the fuel. The more visitors that are turning into contacts, the faster that gear is turning, the more powerful the rest of the system becomes. This is why Thrive Themes wisely focused on improving their strategy for collecting leads.
They started with a respectable 5.5% conversion rate. By no means is that a bad conversion rate but, never a company to accept “good enough,” they tested a variety of strategies eventually discovering a way to more than double their conversion rate!
The strategy outlined in detail below yields an 11.7% opt-in conversion rate so now they have twice as many leads coming into their marketing funnel. Twice as many people are getting in-depth, persistent communication from the company. Twice as many people end up becoming customers and go on to evangelize their products to other businesses.
How were they able to do this?
They pose a question to visitors: “What’s the Main Focus in Your Business Right Now?”
The question encourages visitor to engage. It’s a way to grab a visitor’s attention and then get them to take a simple first step. It’s quick and easy— it requires very little thought, effort, or time. Once they’ve taken that first step, once they’ve clicked, they’ve started a process in motion so they will be inclined to follow it through to completion.
Immediately after they answer the question, they are offered a high-value opt-in incentive. It’s a valuable resource that is helpful to the visitor. It’s not a sales pitch.
The key here, why their strategy works so well, is that this offer is targeted based on their response to the question. Rather than displaying a generic offer to everyone, they offer a helpful video that helps them solve the exact issue they just said they were focused on!
- If a visitor indicates that their focus is on creating landing pages, they’ll see an offer for a video course around creating high-converting landing pages.
- If a visitor indicates their focus is on building their mailing list, they’ll see an offer for a guide on how to effectively build their mailing list.
- If a visitor indicates their focus is on designing their website, they’ll see an offer for a video on how to create a powerful web presence.
It’s a brilliant strategy and it’s no wonder converts so well for them.
Throughout this case study you’ll see how Thrive continues to leverage this key insight into the needs of each of their contacts to enhance every stage of their marketing. They’ve identified the result the contact wants to achieve so now they are in a position to help this contact achieve exactly that. They can focus their content and messages to precisely address the contact’s concerns through personalization.
Gear 2: Maximize the first touch with advanced personalization
Many businesses miss the opportunity to make an impact with their first message because they don’t realize how important it is.
This is unfortunate because welcome emails “… are opened more than any other type of email, have much higher clickthrough rates, and have proven to increase long-term revenue. It’s a quick win for your company — easy to set up and a golden opportunity to get an important message in front of the majority of your contacts.” (https://www.activecampaign.com/blog/emails-for-stages-of-the-customer-lifecycle/)
This is one email you can be sure most people will open and read, so it’s prime real estate. It’s a place for your most important messages.
It also sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. If the message isn’t relevant and interesting to them, a contact probably won’t bother opening future messages, so it’s critical that message contains exactly what the prospect wants to read.
By the time they’ve opted in, Thrive has already identified their contact’s interest so they can tailor their first email message to discuss the exact reason the contact was looking at their solution. They are able to do this using ActiveCampaign’s Conditional Content feature which allows them to dynamically swap in content that is aligned with the contact’s interest. From the same campaign, they are able to display different messages depending on the interest tag the contact received when they responded to the question, “What is your business focused on right now?”
For example, someone who is looking for help with landing pages will receive a different email than someone who is interested in building their list or building their website.
Matching content to contacts increases the relevance of the message. Rather than watering the message down by trying to appeal to everyone, they can speak to that single person. This kind of hyper-relevance is the key to rising above the noise and capturing the attention of your busy, distracted contacts.
Gear 3: The engaging follow-up
With the first message out of the way, it’s time to continue delivering relevant, valuable content. This is your opportunity to show how you can help them achieve their goals.
It’s these multiple touches where the magic happens. It’s in this process that someone goes from “interested” to “ready to buy.”
It’s also where ActiveCampaign’s powerful marketing automation features shine. With the welcome email you saw how Thrive Themes is able to match content to individual contacts. The automation builder allows them to personalize the entire customer journey.
Your marketing process becomes a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story where a contact is able to pick and choose the messages they want to hear. Your marketing reacts and adapts as they interact with your messages, website, etc.
Rather than everyone getting the same follow-up sequence, they each have a slightly different experience depending on how they behave. As ActiveCampaign “learns” about contacts, it can automatically tailor that follow-up for each contact.
For instance, ActiveCampaign can “see” which links a contact clicked on and use that information to ascertain which product they are most interested in. It can “see” which emails they’ve opened and use that information to tailor the rest of your follow-up. ActiveCampaign can “see” which pages of your website a contact has viewed and use this information to identify which stage of the buyer’s journey they are in and then tailor the messaging.
Thrive Themes has targeted follow-up depending on what offer a contact opted in to receive. For instance, if they requested a specific free report, they receive a series of emails around that topic.
They also have general interest broadcast emails that everyone receives.
When Thrive begins their interest-targeted follow-up they use a tag to indicate that the contact is currently receiving a targeted follow-up sequence. If they have that tag, that contact will not receive their general promotion broadcast emails.
When the contact completes that targeted follow-up sequence the tag is removed and from that point forward the contact will receive their general follow-up including notifications of new blog posts, new case studies, and other resources they might find useful. It’s basically putting the untargeted follow-up on pause so that a contact can focus on the targeted messages.
Thrive Theme’s follow-up approach is to provide as much useful information as possible. By delivering content that would be useful to someone who is interested in their product, they let the prospect convince themselves. They are never forceful or aggressive, but by steadily dripping useful resources, they prove that they know what they are doing and they give examples of how other companies are using their products to achieve success.
Most of Thrive Theme’s targeted follow-up is 4-5 messages long. For example:
- “Welcome” email: We deliver on the promise (link to the resource people signed up to) and establish a relationship with new leads.
- An engagement email: We want our subscribers to take action, engage with us. We might ask them to leave a comment, ask us any question, … This helps to deepen the relationship and to make sure people like the resources we’ve created for them (and to adjust when needed).
- 1 or multiple teaching email(s): This can be an unannounced bonus, a video, an article on the blog, a case study,… With this message we reinforce the benefits of using our product without “selling” it. We know the content on our website can do that job for us.
- A final “sales” email: This is the only message we send with a clear call to action to buy the product.
Gear 4: Onboarding and upselling
After someone makes a purchase, Thrive Themes continues with their theme of being helpful by providing resources to help the customer get as much as possible out of their purchase. This type of onboarding has proven to turn customers into raving fans because it helps them get maximum value out of their purchase.
The better the results they achieve, the more likely they’ll be to evangelize.
This type of extended customer follow-up has the additional benefit of giving Thrive Themes a chance to introduce other products.
Thrive has an expanding range of products including:
Anyone who purchases one of those products is probably interested in the others. Knowing this, Thrive Themes actively cross-sells and upsells.
When someone purchases an single theme, they are told about the membership option. If they decide not to become a member then they are introduced to individual products they might be interested in based on their previous purchase.
Rather than just telling them about the other products, Thrive does something smart — they give the customer a “customer only” discount. This exclusive offer rewards them for being a customer while giving them a strong incentive to make another purchase.
The fuel: Great content
The fuel driving Thrive Theme’s growth is stellar content.
Each new piece of content they produce — whether it’s a blog post or a video — gives them another chance to get in touch with their contacts. Their contacts are given another resource with actionable insight they can use to improve their business. It’s another opportunity for their raving fans to share the content with their following helping to bring more contacts into their marketing funnel.
By using ActiveCampaign to distribute that content, Thrive Themes is able to constantly re-engage with leads while offering them products they would be interested in based on their past purchases and the solution they have indicated they are trying to solve.
You can use ActiveCampaign to grow your business using the same powerful, proven strategies as Thrive Themes. Sign up for a free trial today and use the techniques discussed in this case study to grow your list and create raving fans.