March 09, 2022
Case Study

Pull The Customer Forward: 3 quick marketing case studies of personalized content, landing page optimization, and content marketing


You can’t instantly sell your product or service to most customers with your headlines, landing pages, email, SEO, or other marketing tactics. Your time frame is not their time frame.

But here’s what you can do. You can coax them along on the next step of their journey.

To spark your next great idea for improving customer momentum through your sales and marketing funnel, read on for examples from a law firm, software product, and marketing company.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Pull The Customer Forward: 3 quick marketing case studies of personalized content, landing page optimization, and content marketing

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

“Pull the customer forward with a subject-predicate structure,” Flint McGlaughlin teaches in Effective Headlines: How to write the first 4 words for maximum conversion.

In that video, the CEO of MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute is referring to a headline structure that will pull potential customers into your landing page (and shows tests that generated 26% and 331% increases thanks in part to that structure).

While headlines are an essential element, you can apply the idea of pulling the customer forward to many other elements of your marketing strategy as well. After all, potential customers are on a journey that begins with a problem or a goal and ends with a product purchase and use.

Where does your offering fit within that journey? And how can you facilitate customer momentum with your marketing?

To spark you best thinking, here are three quick case studies. First, a law firm that pulled more potential clients to take the next step – a phone call – by adding a form to a landing page (even though very few people filled out the form). Then, a software product that pulled more customers into a trial or purchase by nurturing them with personalized content. And finally, a marketing firm that pulls customers to its website with long-form, original content, and a subject-predicate headline.

Quick Case Study #1: Law firm increases phone call conversion rate 53% by adding (little-used) landing page form

Century Park Law Group is a law firm that handles personal injuries. The team tested landing page variations with design element and call-to-action (CTA) differences.

Variant #1 provided a form to visitors as well as a phone number.

Creative Sample #1: Law firm landing page – Variant #1

Creative Sample #1: Law firm landing page – Variant #1

The most drastic change in Variant #2 was the removal of the form and using that real estate on the page for copy. Because of this change, other copy and design elements shifted around on the page. The headline was also changed.

Creative Sample #2: Law firm landing page – Variant #2

Creative Sample #2: Law firm landing page – Variant #2

“The existence of the form tells users that there is a clear CTA for capturing their contact info without having to read any instructions. Though the phone-only variation is easier for users, it's more difficult to understand what's needed of the user at a glance… even with the CTA ‘Call Now,’” said Brandon Buck, Digital Practice Lead at the law firm’s agency, The Pollack Group (a partner in The Worldcom Public Relations Group).

Variant #1 with the form converted 53.2 percent better – 7.33 percent conversion rate versus 11.11 percent conversion rate…even though virtually no conversions are form fills.

“People suffering personal injuries already have enough on their mind as they recover physically, emotionally, and financially, so any opportunity for them to get some answers should be as easy and seamless as possible. Marketing for legal representation is also a highly competitive field, so any strategy that reduces the friction of connecting us to someone needing help is worth trying,” said Sam Tabibian, Partner, Century Park Law Group.

Quick Case Study #2: Personalized content increases sign-ups for software program 366%

The team at SketchUp – a 3D design software owned by industrial technology company Trimble – launched a campaign to nurture leads early in the customer journey. “The goal for this campaign was to capture leads and nurture them with persona-specific content in an effort to convert them to a trial or to purchase,” explained Cara Bell, Content Marketing Manager, SketchUp.

The team used segmented data to identify and engage lookalike audiences with digital ads across multiple channels such as social media and Google Ads. Once the prospect clicked on the ad, they traveled to a teased piece of content that required a lead form completion.

“When we first kicked off this campaign several years ago, we had about seven touchpoints over a 30-day period, and we quickly realized that’s too much. [People] were losing interest; so, we combined things,” explained Bell.

What started as seven email touchpoints quickly dropped to three.

The team organized and centralized its content to deliver a personalized stream of relevant content experiences every time a lead clicked on a nurture email. The tailored, personalized email series allowed the team to send just three touchpoints while increasing sign ups.

“What we’re trying to do is get them to click on it and go to our stream where we’ve curated tons of content and where we have recommendations set up within each piece of content. So, they can filter and explore on their own time and for their specific needs,” Bell said.

With more personalization and organization, the team has been able to increase the conversion rate from 1.5 percent to seven percent. And the persona-specific, pre-trial lead nurture campaign increased signups to trial or purchase by 366 percent.

“The key to successful persona-specific lead nurturing is using segmented data to identify and engage lookalike audiences with digital ads across multiple channels such as social media and Google Ads,” explained Randy Frisch, CMO, Uberflip (SketchUp’s content experience platform). “Once the prospect clicks on the ad, they should be directed to a teased piece of content that requires a lead form completion. Prospects can then consume this content while immersed in personalized content that they can filter and explore for their specific needs in their own time.”

Quick Case Study #3: Attention-grabbing headline increases page CTR to 12.63% (despite not being the first result on the SERP)

The team at ThriveMyWay uses educational content to get potential clients and was recently inspired by a free marketing course session taught by Flint McGlaughlin, CEO, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute.

“Flint has amazing content and delivers effective tactics that helps a lot in improving the quality of a website. I admire his teaching methods and apply them to improve my websites and help my clients do the same. In his FASTCLASS on MECLABS, Session #7, he teaches not to copy external sources and not to be afraid of long-from content,” said Georgi Todorov, Founder, ThriveMyWay.

Todorov applied that lesson to his content for a recent article. He made sure it was very detailed – almost 1,500 words long. It also contained original research.

He had success with visitors who read the article. “When I offered some high-quality, in-depth content for free, the potential customers felt more confident and put in their email addresses to get more content, which I’m able to capitalize down the road,” he said.

But Todorov needed to work to get more people to the article.

At first the headline was a generic line – “Link whisper review: Why you should use it?” Then the page had a CTR (clickthrough rate) of 3.7 percent from the SERP (search engine results page).

Todorov changed the headline to “Link Whisper Review: I Built 2000+ Internal Links and my Traffic 12x.”

Creative Sample #3: New article headline

Creative Sample #3: New article headline

The CTR jumped to 12.63 percent in the first week of the modification.

“Although I don’t rank in the first place on Google for that keyword, I still manage to get a very high clickthrough rate,” Todorov said.

Creative Sample #4 SERP position

Creative Sample #4 SERP position

Pageviews for that content went up by almost 350 percent. The bounce rate dropped by 17 percent.

“The headline of the page sparks interest in the viewer’s mind and it leads to good engagement on the page,” Todorov said.

Related Resources

Effective Headlines: How to write the first 4 words for maximum conversion

Customer-First Marketing: A conversation with Wharton, MarketingSherpa, and MECLABS Institute

How to Create a Model of your Customer’s Mind

Not Enough Lobster In The Ocean: Trusting their gut leads to 90,000% revenue growth at Mint Mobile (Podcast Episode #11)

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions