Performance marketers want profitable campaigns from a new channel as quickly as possible. Several have figured out how to use content coupled with native advertising to drive sales. Here are five examples of companies acquiring new customers through sponsored content.
Everquote - Insurance
Everquote uses a simple three-step funnel: advertorial content, survey and quote results. The beauty is in the experience of the delivery. The design of the survey is well thought out asking for information exactly when you would expect without becoming burdensome.
The goal of the article is to get the reader to compare auto insurance quotes using Everquote; starting with a zip code. Some of the calls to actions have an IP detected zip code pre-filled.
Survey Step 1 - Zip code
After initial click through with or without a zip code, you are prompted with a short form: zip code, insurance status, number of vehicles.
The questions are easy to complete without thinking. If you idle for too long or decide to bail; then you get an early alternative offer:
Idle or exit offer
Essentially a down sale if they detect you have already lost interest to recoup some cost to acquire.
Survey Step 2 - Vehicle information
Next is a prompt for vehicle information based on the previous answer to the number of vehicles:
Survey Step 3 - Driver information
After getting initial trust with general information; you get asked for personal driver information along with others for the policy.
Survey Step 4 - Current coverage to compare
Next an offer to compare your current rate to Evernote's partner rates; it asks for your current policy cost details. A great way to collect additional information to help close the sale later.
List of Quotes
After submitting all your information; a list of quotes from several providers are shown in a list. My test yielded one quote from Mercury Insurance:
LowerMyBills - Mortgage Refinance
Lower My Bills frame their direct response form into an interactive calculator for the content campaign. The ad copy makes it clear the target audience is homeowners with a mortgage under $625k.
Quiz content landing
The landing page lets them know there is a short time period to take advantage of the offer; this page also automatically redirects if you wait on the page too long.
Quiz Step 1 - Home Description
Each question is really short with about 4 answer options to make completing the quiz quick.
Quiz Step 2 - Type of Loan
Type of loan finds out if this is a refinance or a new home loan.
Quiz Step 3 - Property Use
Anyone who has gotten a mortgage before knows that there are different offers for first, second and investment properties. So this question is expected to get a rate that matches.
Quiz Step 4 - Credit Profile
Most people likely have an idea of their credit score range so they just ask for it to keep things moving along.
Quiz Step 5 - Zip Code
At the end they ask for the first piece of identifiable information; your zip code. At this point, it is fairly natural to complete the step due to commitment bias. This is also the opposite of Everquote who starts off by asking for your zip code.
Step 6 - Discover your options
After the zip code; you get a sense of accomplishment:
Step 7 - Secondary form
That accomplishment quickly evaporates once you realize it is false:
After this point, the information was too personal to screenshot and continue showing. The end result is a list of a few possible lenders to contact with loan offers by rate.
Ancestry.com - Subscription service
Ancestry uses two different types of content to drive people into the same customer funnel. The first is similar to the financial services offers in the sense of it is a search; while the second is a blog article that pushes into the last name search.
The first ad sets the premise to discover the meaning behind your name.
Ad - Story of your name
Discover Meaning Behind Your Name
Google has trained a generation of people to search; so searching by your own last name is an easy task to discover the mystery behind your own name.
Ad - Irish Surnames
A second ad is aimed at people of known Irish descent and plays off their curiosity.
Irish Surnames Article
An article containing a graphic of common Irish names along with an explanation of how the names were created in earlier generation to keep Irish readers interested in their own personal history.
Step 1 - Search your last name
The initial results page gives just enough information to pique more curiosity. The call to “start with yourself” to make it easy brings people to give a little more.
Step 2 - Deeper Search
Now a few steps into the process the ask is fairly big and requires thinking for the person involved. There is definitely some commitment to keep people going:
Step 3 - Register account
To finish and see your search results register an account. If you have entered your personal information and father’s information; most likely you are going to register to get those results!
Step 4 - Start free trial
Now start a free trial to actually see your results. After all that other completion; hard to give up now.
The Ancestry funnel does an excellent job of using curiosity and personal interest to get people to commit to a free trial on the first visit. Allowing them to nurture to a customer over the next few weeks.
Mack Weldon - Underwear
Apparently the classic line, “Why Guys Are Switching” still works in 2017 to sell men’s underwear. That is exactly the type of ad Mack Weldon uses for direct response selling of undergarments.
Why guys are switching
The landing page is a blog post of seven product features of Mack Weldon’s garments that make men love them so much. The call to action links to shop for the underwear that does it all leads to the men's category on Mack Weldon.
Step 1 - Shop now
Clicking on any Shop Now takes you to the product page that makes it very easy & apparent to add to cart.
Step 2 - Product page
The product page is kept short & sweet with everything above the page fold; even on a laptop. Easy to pick size, color and read the details without navigating away.
Step 3 - Add to cart
Upon clicking checkout; you are prompted for an email then password in the side panel before taken to a full page checkout for shipping information. Mack Weldon does a great job of eliminating the need to navigate to other pages for additional information.
Step 4 - Checkout
Mack Weldon does a good job of presenting the right information at the right time. Once checkout is started; the product page is left with no extra information; just a clean path to purchase a basic garment.
Homechef - Food Delivery Subscription
Homechef is a meal kit subscription service that uses an Ad comparing their service being cheaper than grocery shopping. Everyone wants a healthy, simple way of eating so the ad plays into the narrative people already want to believe.
Cheaper Than Grocery
The article outlines three meals cost to prepare via the grocery store versus Home Chef; with the latter winning on all fronts. All roads lead to ordering delivery from Home Chef at this point forward.
Step 1 - Make Dinner Special
All of the call to actions on the content above takes you into the funnel to get started with Home Chef.
Step 2 - $30 off order offer
After dwelling on the make dinner special page for a bit longer than normal; I got prompted with a $30 coupon.
Step 3 - Get Started
With my $30 voucher applied; it is time to get started by giving up my email address to discover the fresh recipes that await.
Step 4 - Finish to save $10 more
Interesting, a double promotion to save $10 on a future (aka second order) by completing the first order in the next hour. Spoiler: I did not read the fine print very well and thought this applied to the current order. Thank goodness for screenshots to save my sanity.
Step 5 - Taste Profile Preferences
An easy to complete taste profile guided with pictures make this task quick on a laptop or mobile phone. My wife is always looking at recipes / what’s to eat on her phone so this meets expectations.
Pretty sure avoiding Milk on this page kills all options because I could not progress as long as Milk (dairy) was an avoidance food. Home Chef is not for vegans ;)
Step 6 - Checkout
Now I am taken to checkout with the $30 off first order applied. The price point and time it took to get this far make it appealing to complete the purchase. Then the work comes to keep them subscribed.
Home Chef makes you feel like it is your birthday when you are getting ready to spend money for the first time with them. The one part that threw me off; I have no idea what food just got ordered. Maybe they show you what is in the upcoming order once shipped or it is part of the surprise of delivery.
So there it is; how five companies using content to drive sales with native advertising campaigns. One thing that stood out is three of the five companies play the lower price card (Everquote, Lower My Bills & Home Chef). While Ancestry and Mack Weldon rely a bit more on curiousness, social proof and brand to draw in new customers. All five companies did well at setting the context in the ad copy and content delivered.
Now it’s your turn to leverage sponsored content into sales for your brand by starting a native advertising campaign to syndicate content across major media websites.