As the Product Marketing Lead for bids&tenders, eSolutionsGroup's largest product, I am responsible for the overall marketing strategy. This includes:
Development and execution of the content marketing strategy, including content production;
Lead generation, tracking, and nurturing using HubSpot;
Email marketing, including automated workflow drip programs;
Working with clients to improve their supplier onboarding communications; and,
Integration with the product and sales teams to improve the product offering.
When I joined bids&tenders none of the marketing infrastructure existed beyond a website. In the year I've been with bids&tenders, my efforts and that of our team have generated over 700 leads and 100 viable deals. Most of these leads came through our lead magnet content, including 18 blog articles, 4 whitepapers, 5 case studies, and 22 webinars. Lead magnet content showed significantly shorter sales funnel times to deal close.
Visit Guelph Tourism Site Redesign
After a successful RFP, Red Cell Innovation was contracted to update the Visit Guelph website for the City of Guelph's tourism department. Their existing site was out-of-date (both from a technological and a content standpoint), cluttered with ads, non-responsive, and temperamental.
To make things more complicated, partners of Visit Guelph – hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc. – each had a separate login and password to go in and change their listings; this was an administrative and security nightmare. Red Cell Innovation was tasked to create an entirely new site and take over the content management strategy.
My first step in the project was to conduct research on the City of Guelph, tourism demographics and target markets, tourism best practices, and web design best practices. From that information, I designed the information architecture, navigation structure, and content strategy that best met the needs of the target market.
Once that was complete, I wrote a creative brief and outsourced the design to a contest-based design site. From that contest, we received over 40 possible web designs. These were streamlined down to ten based on our criteria. We took those ten designs and created a crowd-sourcing MTurk that would ask workers to compare two designs side-by-side. Each design was evaluated hundreds of times against another randomly-selected design.
The data from the MTurk allowed us to evaluate not only which design was most popular, but also with whom it was most popular demographically. The design that was ultimately selected did not get the highest number of votes; it did, however, get the most votes from our desired target market.
With the winning design selected, I liaised between the programmer and designer to build the site. I also wrote all the copy on the landing pages, and assisted in data migration of the partner listings from the old site to the new.
The site we created more accurately reflected the tourism department’s mandate and branding. It has had several updates since.
Once the new site was launched, Red Cell had to inform Tourism’s partners of the change, and ensure that their listings were up-to-date. Many of them were poorly written; most were accompanied by low-resolution photography.
I wrote a letter and reference card to help partners understand the changes and make the transition easier. It was important that both Visit Guelph’s and Red Cell’s branding were followed. It was also vital that the letter phrased the changes from the partners’ point of view, and explained how it would benefit them.
We packaged the letter and reference card, along with a printed copy of the partner’s listing, as a direct mail piece. Our research showed many of the partners were not good at responding to emails, so a direct mail piece was likely to have more impact.
The reference card was printed on heavy postcard paper and laminated in hopes that it would be kept and referred back to.
Within two weeks of the mail-out, the system began flooding with updates and corrections to partner listings. Though the partners were able to change their own content all along, overall they indicated that this new system was much easier for them to use.
Analytics showed that the bounce rate on the site was down, and though traffic increased the number of searches actually decreased, suggesting that information was easier to find than before.
Heritage Place, Skyline Living
One major project from my time at Skyline Living was a high vacancy community in Sault Ste. Marie, Heritage Place Apartments. Skyline acquired this building in mid-2015, and were experiencing significant difficulty renting suites through the standard advertising methods. I was asked to develop an integrated marketing strategy to decrease the vacancy at this community. Over 6 months, this plan increased lead generation traffic by 80% and reduced vacancy by 50% (saving over $26,000/month in vacancy loss).
My plan involved three main parts:
Transition messaging and community offerings to a seniors’ community.
Leverage non-traditional channels to drive greater traffic of higher quality.
Increase lead generation through a greater number of channels.
My research indicated that in Sault Ste. Marie there is a higher than average number of seniors than in other Ontario communities, and the population is aging quickly. While many options were available for long-term supervised care, the mid-range option (between complete independence in one’s own home to a nursing home) was largely under-served.
To target the senior demographic, we altered the message of the advertising (within legal guidelines) to be more attractive, using phrases such as “independent living” and “maintenance-free.” We offered a seniors’ discount and promoted the accessibility and comfort of the building.
I also organized the implementation of seniors’ activities and events, such as free VON physiotherapy classes, bridge nights, and regular information sessions. The community implemented a library, tennis court, and community garden to increase the appeal to older adults.
As our standard suite of online advertising was not reaching our intended demographic, I researched a number of other options to drive traffic. These included:
Classified advertising in the paper (yes, this is seen as “non-traditional” these days!)
Partnerships and reciprocal referral programs with senior-focused organizations
Listings with sites dedicated to senior housing (many of which were free)
Content marketing to build brand presence in Sault Ste. Marie via Sault Online website and print edition
Dedicated website with helpful resources for seniors and their families
Once the advertisements were rewritten to target the senior demographic, we noticed a small increase in traffic. However, adding the non-traditional channels made a significant difference, and traffic increased 80% over the same period the year before.
We were able to monitor the increase in traffic through distinct tracking emails and phone numbers. In doing this we could also eliminate any ineffective or inefficient advertising, and test different images, copy, and landing pages.
Swan Dust Control IMC Plan
Swan Dust Control is a third-generation independent business in the Waterloo region, specializing in mat rentals and industrial strength mops for the past 40 years. With no current marketing plan in place, Swan approached the Integrated Marketing Communication program for a team consultation and IMC plan. We completed a comprehensive IMC plan for their organization in December 2013.
The Swan management team was so impressed with our plan and presentation, they decided to hire our team as consultants to implement portions of the plan.
Our first step was the creation of a new website; the old site had not been updated since approximately 1998, and was barely functional. Many pages were “under construction,” and for some reason the navigation bar was not lined up with the rest of the page.
Working with Swan’s current web programmers, I designed an information architecture and navigation structure for the site. They took that structure and our team’s notes and created the new site. I also wrote all the static site content, and contributed to the team-written blog.
The new site was more aesthetically appealing, and offered easy navigation. The addition of the blog allowed for current, relevant content. This helped increase both the site’s usefulness and its SEO ranking. The site has since been updated, but much of the content and architecture I developed remains.