Creating an online presence and digital marketing strategy
THE FLYERS ENERGY PROJECT
Flyers Energy is a multibillion-dollar privately held energy company based out of Auburn, CA with a distribution network that covers all of CA and Northern NV. Despite their large size (700+ employees), their entire in house marketing department consists of three people. Prior to 2014, Flyers Energy had virtually no web presence whatsoever. They had a website and a Facebook page, neither of which were being actively managed and that was it as far as their online strategy. Their primary marketing attributable lead source was Direct Mail, which they spent roughly $30,000 per month on.
When they brought us on, they knew they needed a digital presence but had absolutely no idea where they wanted to go nor any directions on how to get there. Through a yearlong campaign, we worked together to make Flyers Energy’s digital presence an extremely profitable enterprise for the company as well as the envy of all of their peers. Here are just some of the deliverables that came out of that project:
LANDING PAGES, PPC, AND RETARGETTING
Flyers Energy is a very ROI centric company. As such, they made it extremely clear that their top priority for their digital marketing efforts was to turn a profit. With that in mind, we decided to focus oue initial efforts on initiatives that would generate immediate business for Flyers. As with any project, before getting started it is imperative that you have key benchmarks for success. In this particular instance, since Flyers was happy with the ROI of their existing Direct Mail efforts, the agreed upon metric for success for this particular campaign was to produce a lower cost to acquire via digital than the CTA we had calculated that their existing efforts were benchmarked at.
After an initial 3-month benchmark period, the results came back and our newly created digital campaign was generating customers at half the previous cost to acquire that they were spending for Direct Mail. Over the following 9 months, we further refined the campaigns and were able to drive down the CTA even further, eventually getting it down to 1/3 their previous costs. After this period, day-to-day management was turned over to PPC Management Company. As a result of the campaign being so successful, the initial parameters were also extended so that we also worked with their HR department to create a PPC and Retargeting campaign for hiring new recruits.
DRIP MARKETING AND CUSTOMER JOURNEY CAMPAIGN
After the initial success of the PPC based campaign, Flyers Energy decided to delve a little deeper into the digital waters and thus hired us to implement a two-pronged DRIP marketing campaign that encompassed both their leads as well as their new customers.
For this campaign, the company included two of their market segments with each segment having a separate sub segment of customers beneath that. For example, on the lubricants side, they service customers with mostly passenger vehicle fleets, which is an entirely different sub segment than customers who have mostly commercial vehicle fleets. After mapping out all of the segments and sub segments, we used their existing marketing data to figure out who their top customers were in each of these sub segments and created buyer personas for each one.
Utilizing the buyer personas that we created, we then crafted a series of custom email messages for each sub segment, specifically designed to appeal to the persona of our top customer for that particular segment. The end result of this campaign was that their sales team realized a 32% spike in their opportunity to close ratio and a 15% decrease in their average sales cycle.
The company presented two objectives for this campaign, to increase customer gallons purchased and to alleviate the burden on their customer service team who was becoming overburdened with their workload. Through talking with their team, it came to light that several of their customers would go through the entire sales cycle and credit process, receive their cards to purchase fuel, and only use them once. Beyond this, we were able to identify 5 key issues that represented about 80% of the calls that their CS team was fielding.
To tackle both of these problems and meet both of the objectives, we instituted a new customer onboarding DRIP and training video campaign. The initial email contained welcome to the company type messaging as well as a link to an instructional video for using their cards for the first time. Once customers’ first purchase was recognized by the accounting system, this information was then passed onto their CRM, which generated a follow up email explicitly highlighting the link to the training video that only went out to any customer who had not clicked the link in the previous email. Alongside this process, a series of 5 emails went out to new customers at set intervals, which had “Did You Know?” type messaging about the 5 key issues we had identified. The end result of this campaign was a 10% increase in overall customer gallons purchased and a 25% decrease in calls into customer service.
When the company hired us for this campaign, they had roughly 200 organic followers on Facebook and no other actively maintained social media networks. While the company had been around since 1979, they experienced a name change in 2012 and so they really had no voice or history on the web beyond a few scattered news articles. The objective for this campaign was simply to grow the company’s voice, both online and in the community.
The very first thing that we did related to this project was to come up with a company brand standard and voice document. The end result was a roughly 10-page document that included explicit dos and don’ts regarding all digital communications. Once this was created, we then brainstormed four key categories for social media content to focus on with three of those categories being focused on engagement and one of those categories focusing on promoting the company. We then created an extension to their company portal that included an internal submission page for social media content that went directly to their marketing department for vetting. Beyond social media, we created three white papers and a series of blog posts series of blog posts for content marketing. For our big bang, we submitted the company for and they were granted acceptance to, the Inc. 5000 list, which is a very big achievement for an established utility company to accomplish. The momentum from this generated significant buzz leading to a 2,000% increase in social media engagement from their admittedly small social media numbers before the campaign launch.
The directive here was simple, increase the company’s exposure to the local community. While many great ideas were tossed around, in the end we moved forward with two initiatives. The first was an ongoing local newspaper campaign highlighting positive aspects of the company. The second was the creation of a philanthropy initiative called Flyers Cares. Under this program, each department Director is given $5,000 in philanthropy money each month that they must spend on community programs. This program has funded everything from local little league teams to cancer battles and it has been a significant PR win for the company.