At Xiklab Digital, we love to run small digital experiments. I emphasise to my digital team that the best way to become better digital marketers is to constantly test, experiment, and iterate.
I also emphasise to them that we all need to be practitioners of our own digital craft: everyone in the organisation needs to know digital, not just in theory, but in actual personal practice. And this rule applies all the way up to the C-Suite: I believe that to even deserve the title of digital agency CEO, you need to be an actual digital practitioner who knows the nuts and bolts of digital, and not just a theorist whose digital knowledge is limited to fancy “frameworks” and snazzy powerpoint presentations.
That’s why I run my own personal “digital experiments” with some clients – I conceptualise the plan and personally run it and implement it myself. The lessons that one gets from these personally-managed digital experiments are priceless.
Can Digital Marketing Help Grow the Business of an Already Established Basketball Skills Camp?
One such experiment I made was with a small and medium enterprise client that needed our help in growing their business using digital. The client is Filipino Basketball Academy(FBA) – one of the biggest basketball skills camps in the Philippines. Established in 2012, FBA has trained more than 10,000 young students on the game of basketball. Students pay a fee of around $80 to be trained by coaches on the basics of basketball for around 8 sessions. With a Facebook community of more than 180,000++ fans, they are actually one of the more digitally-established brands in their space in the country.
However, most of their sign-ups have predominantly been via organic, word-of-mouth marketing. They used to do paid Facebook ads, but were not scientific in their approach – they basically just boosted their posts.
FBA wanted to see if Xiklab (Mobext Philippines back then) can help grow its business – ie, sell more $80 camp fees to students – using a more sophisticated approach to digital marketing.
I took it on as my personal pet project, in line with our company approach of encouraging everyone to run their own personal digital experiments in order to learn. The challenge was simple: can we use Facebook advertising to help FBA sell more $80 basketball camp packages?
Failed First Experiment: Drive to Messenger
The first experiment I made was to test the use of Facebook Messenger. The plan was as follows:
- We created seven (7) separate audience buckets that were geo-targeted based on the location of the seven basketball camps that we were promoting. We targeted Facebook users who were parents (and were interested in basketball-related content on Facebook) who lived within a 2-mile radius of the basketball camp.
- The audience would see a static image ad on Facebook (the same ad the client used previously) that included details about the camp.
- Facebook users who see the ad are invited to click on the SEND MESSAGE button on the ad.
- When they click on SEND MESSAGE, they are directed to the Messenger chat box, where they can interact with the client’s community manager who will then try to close the sale by prompting them to submit the needed camp registration information.
The initial results were promising. In just a one week period, we were able to receive several hundred inquiries via Messenger. However, conversions were quite low: only 3% of those who inquired ended up becoming paying customers.
The cost-to-sales ratio was bad: for every peso we spent on advertising, we only achieved Php2 in sales. It was completely unprofitable for FBA to spend 50% of revenues on advertising (the goal was 20% advertising cost-to-sales ratio).
Second Experiment: Video + Landing Page
In our second experiment, we made several changes to the execution.
First, we asked the owner of FBA to produce a simple, low-cost video about their camp. Video is crucial in increasing conversion rates: it establishes credibility, provides social proof (through testimonials), and helps customers visualise the product a bit more.
Second, we created a simple landing page. The landing page is a one page website that has a single purpose: to get customers to convert and actually reserve a slot. The landing page does not contain any external navigation buttons, includes a lot of information about the product, provides social proof, and incorporates a lot of call-to-action buttons that lead to the reservation sign-up form.
Third, instead of static image ads, we used Facebook video ads to drive traffic to the landing page. We kept the audience targeting the same, the only difference being the creative approach (video instead of static ads).
Phenomenal Results: 8x More Revenue
The results were quite phenomenal. The landing page conversion rate was around 5%, almost 70% higher than conversion rates for the initial drive-to-Messenger approach. We sold 8x more (camp fees) than the initial campaign. More importantly, the cost-to-sales ratio was at 1:5. For every peso we spent, we were able to actually sell Php5 worth of product.
The October to December season is traditionally a low season for basketball camps, given that the majority of reservations happen during the summer vacation when all the kids are on break. However, because of our campaign for FBA, the client is on track to achieving more than 100% growth in revenue versus the same period last year, with more or less the same advertising budget.
As a result of this campaign, the client has already committed to undergoing a massive expansion program for 2019, with an objective of doubling the number of camps they run and doubling their revenues, on the back of their confidence in our proven Facebook-advertising driven marketing model.
I have personally learned so many lessons from this little experiment.
First, everyone already knows that videos absolutely work. What you may not know, however, is the incremental, bottomline impact of investing in video, versus cheaper static ads. In the case of FBA, investing in a simple, low-cost video increased revenues by a factor of 8, compared to static ads. It is well-worth the investment.
Second, landing pages absolutely work for lead generation. In this era of Facebook marketing, many marketers nowadays actually question the need for a website. After all, Facebook has invested in so many beautiful ad units, such as lead ads and canvas ads, that essentially replicate the functionalities of websites. What I learned from this little experiment is that landing pages still absolutely work, particularly if the objective is to generate any kind of lead: be it a sign up, registration, test drive, appointment, etc. It’s not as sexy as a viral video, but it absolutely works particularly if the objective is to achieve leads or conversions.
Third, a 10x growth plan for any business is possible with Facebook advertising. I have seen the power of Facebook advertising first-hand. With FBA, we have essentially created a model where Facebook ads are essentially variable costs as a percentage of revenue, instead of fixed costs. If FBA wants to sell $1 million worth of basketball camps, for as long as they get good camp locations, they just need to invest $200,000 worth of advertising – and we as their partner can confidently guarantee the revenue results, given our past experience. They can scale their business to the level they want, with the right advertising and marketing conversion model.
Conversion Marketing Works!
The fourth and most important lesson that I learned from this personal experiment is that conversion marketing can truly help businesses scale their revenues. There is an art and a science to achieving conversions in digital. It involves the creative discipline of creating advertising content that connects, as well as the scientific discipline of sophisticated media targeting, creative ad optimization, and landing page optimization. Conversion Marketing is a huge opportunity – for agencies such as ours who are trying to justify our existence in this increasingly complicated marketing landscape, as well as for businesses who want to achieve clear ROI on their digital investments.
If you’re interested in learning more about Conversion Marketing and how it can help your business, send us an email, we’d love to hear from you.
About the Author:
Arthur Policarpio is the Co-Founder and CEO of Xiklab Group, one of the Philippines’ largest independent digital marketing network with more than 800 digital specialists. A sought-after speaker across APAC in digital marketing, he has spoken in various industry events such as: Festival of Media in Singapore, AdTech ASEAN, Spikes Asia in Singapore, and more. He is also the Co-Founder of the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), where he served as Founding Vice President in 2007 and 2008, and President in 2009.