For most online marketers, getting customers to enter their payment details and click “purchase” is the ultimate conversion. But for New Balance Chicago, online sales aren’t the goal at all.
In the Chicago area, New Balance’s brick-and-mortar stores are owned and operated as a family business – with a local marketing budget. Although they do get a cut of the ecommerce sales that come through their online channels, their primary goal is getting people’s actual feet in the literal door.
So you can understand why, until recently, online marketing seemed like more of a distraction to the company than an opportunity.
“Their typical ad buy was during a Cubs radio broadcast, not a cross-device digital campaign,” says Brian Davidson, co-founder of Matchnode, the digital marketing agency tasked with helping New Balance Chicago drive — and track — its in-store sales through online channels. “We knew that we would face some challenges.”
Over the course of a few months, Brian’s team tackled those challenges feet first, starting with targeted Facebook Offers, which reached 136,541 people and resulted in 600 offers being claimed; however, they were only able to track 32 individual purchase codes. The problem was that in order to track the codes, the company had to rely on customers and clerks taking the time to report the discount codes at the point of purchase.
Matchnode’s original strategy for New Balance revolved around Facebook Offers, which allow marketers to embed discount codes in Facebook display ads. Although this first run did a reasonably good job at using the ads to drive in-store sales, it wasn’t until Brian and his team introduced mobile responsive landing pages built in Unbounce that results really started to take off.
“When Unbounce launched mobile responsive landing pages, we were thrilled. We had used Unbounce for numerous landing pages and with its mobile launch, we made a tactical shift away from using Facebook Offers and utilized Unbounce to capture email address conversions.”
Custom design, messaging and nurturing
Moving away from Facebook Offers, Brain and the Matchnode team kicked off a traditional Facebook advertising campaign paired with customized Unbounce lead gen landing pages integrated with Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
Matchnode then used Unbounce’s landing page builder to “virtually clone” the national New Balance website as a starting point, and then optimizing it for offline conversions. This included doing away with website navigation and links to purchase products online and instead featuring information about New Balance’s Chicago stores, including Google Maps, phone numbers and in-store benefits like old-school fittings, something few other shoe stores offered.
Once the landing page was built, Matchnode created a series of Facebook ads aimed at very specific segments. The first campaign promoted a discount for an ultra-targeted audience of 45,000 U.S. military veterans, generating more than 200 coupons, which were sent to leads after they entered their emails on the landing page.
In just two months, New Balance Chicago’s email list grew by more than 10%.
“Unbounce was very helpful in this case because we could directly tie the New Balance landing page to any Mailchimp or Constant Contact email marketing account,” Brian says. “For organizational and segmenting purposes, we created specific email groups for each campaign we were running.”
With these emails tied into specific campaigns, they were able to go “one step further in the funnel” and send out reminder emails, urging leads to claim their discounts.
Open rates for these reminder emails were 5-10% above New Balance’s regular promotional emails.
Optimizing for conversions
There’s one more element that made these campaigns so successful. Using Facebook’s ad platform, marketers can choose to optimize their ad spend either for clicks or for “website conversions,” which means actions taken outside of Facebook’s ecosystem.
Once they started sending people who clicked on the ads to dedicated landing pages, Brian’s team could optimize their campaigns for landing page conversions, which is far more efficient than gunning for clicks.
With this strategy, they were able to spend 50% less and drive 200% more in sales compared to the Facebook Offers campaigns they ran previously.
Using Unbounce, Matchnode could easily duplicate the original landing page and tweak the design for any other offer New Balance wanted to promote, and throughout the year they’ve run successful promotions for New Balance Chicago, on everything from Foot Health Awareness Month to kids’ shoes.
Matchnode’s perfected the formula along the way, testing copy and swapping out photos on the landing page to match the ads that Facebook’s algorithm identified as the most successful. Needless to say, the folks at New Balance Chicago are digital marketing skeptics no longer.