It’s not always easy to measure the success of advertising designed to build awareness.
For content further down the funnel marketers can look at how leads convert, but if the goal is to build awareness among the people who recommend your product it’s trickier.
ASPE found themselves in this predicament. The Cprime company offers custom IT professional development training to enterprise companies. A popular offering is coursework on adopting Agile and DevOps principles.
Its own research suggests that IT professionals are typically not the ones purchasing the coursework – but they’ll often suggest courses to the L&D department responsible for organizing the training.
Finding those making the suggestions is critical, and ASPE found them by sponsoring a zone in DZone. “We’re trying to build awareness of the literacy and language so that people think, ‘Hey, I need a course on that,’” says RJ Williams, ASPE’s senior product marketing specialist.
ASPE estimates that sponsoring DZone’s Agile zone has contributed to half a million in revenue in the past two years, with their average course cost ranging from $1,995 to $2,495. “We use DZone to pack the top of the funnel,” says Traci Taylor, ASPE’s Marketing Director.
Measuring Top of the Funnel Success
To understand how all their brand awareness investments payoff, ASPE maps the people who download content (from the call-to-action ads) to the companies that are buying training courses.
“The people who click on the ads and download the content aren’t the ones actually converting, but they do work for the companies or accounts that are converting,” Taylor explains. They’ve tracked 3,173 leads from DZone back to those accounts.
This convinced Williams and Taylor that the strategy of getting their name in front of the people who take the classes is the right approach. “Our Scrum Master Practitioner Guide has been killing it on DZone,” Williams says, adding that DZone’s domain authority is another reason ASPE advertises with the platform.
The contents the ads link to are always in the thought leader or technical category. “None are sales tools,” Taylor adds. Another key is to build out a robust lead scoring engine to understand who might be a candidate for sales calls.
“DZone is a knowledge-sharing website. They go there to read about their interest in their industry. So if you’re immediately calling these people and trying to sell you’re not going to be successful. You need to use it as a knowledge share website. Put content out there and then work those leads through your funnel with your drip nurture campaigns, rather than immediately trying to sell to them.”
And while conventional logic would dictate that you run ads in an Agile zone only about agile topics, Williams has discovered that you can work in other topics. He recently ran an ad linking to ASPE’s “10 Steps to Becoming a DevOps Engineer“, and it did well. “There is a lot of cross pollination.”
Crafting Great Content and Ad Collateral
Another factor in ASPE’s success is finding the right partner to write the content and then presenting it on DZone with a well-crafted ad.
“DZone helped us form our content marketing strategy,” says Williams explaining that he received excellent references to content partners that he is still using today.
For the ad, ASPE selects a straightforward call to action pointing to the content piece. While content production is outsourced, the company uses an in-house graphic design team.
“We really feel like having an in-house graphic designer helps us because they know our business, we’ve developed brand authority, and it is easy to fine-tune ads,” Williams says.