|Published||10 Jun 2021|
|Reading duration||10 min|
About Brad and CitrusAd
Brad is a former professional football player and one of the top 100 tech entrepreneurs in Australia. As Brad describes himself on Linkedin bio, “I’m a startup founder & CEO, marketer, digital innovator and a hands-on leader who enjoys building great products, but most of all great teams.”
He got kicked out of the first startup he founded, NoQ, which made him resilient, more experienced, and set the course for founding CitrusAd.
CitrusAd is one of the fastest retail media platforms. It is an advertising tool for retailers and brands that monetizes retailer’s digital “shelf space,” provides relevant products for customers, and real-time reporting for brands and retailers.
Being fresh and innovative is great. However, introducing your target audience to your fresh and innovative brand takes considerable effort.
Modern consumers are quite jaded because of the variety of choices they’re offered. There is something for everyone. Ads pop up at every corner. Business mailboxes get filled with sales offers from various companies on a daily basis. In these conditions, finding a way to your prospects’ hearts through all that white noise becomes challenging.
- New businesses and startups often have to come up with an intensively creative approach to introducing themselves to their customers. Generic methods cause fatigue pretty quickly, so one must rely on a combination of different outbound marketing channels and their own persistence in order to win the race.
- Niche audiences can be converted into thankful and loyal buyers, but not before you pick the right tone of the conversation. Such prospects are searching for their perfect vendor constantly, trying out large-scale companies in hopes that they will help them meet their industry goals. Sometimes, prospects become disenchanted and resume their search. Sometimes, they grow frustrated but stay because they’re unsure if there’s a better alternative. Standing out from the crowd and sending the right message is extremely important for capturing the attention of such an audience.
- Due to the abundance of competitors, picking a proper platform becomes quite a chore. Should it be a popular social media network like Facebook? Should you use Instagram just to stand out from the crowd? Maybe, you should go for video marketing? How do you appeal to as many prospects as possible?
CitrusAd is the company that had to face all these challenges. One of the fastest retail media platforms, CitrusAd is dedicated to empowering brands and retailers with advertising tools for monetizing digital “shelf space,” real-time reporting, and maintaining relevance. Having won the Deloitte Technology Australia 500 award in 2020, CitrusAd was intent on picking up speed and connecting with prospects via LinkedIn.
To achieve this goal and succeed, CitrusAd’s CEO, Brad Moran, joined forces with Belkins’ team.
The collaboration between Belkins and Brad Moran within a LinkedIn Influencer Program delivered the following results:
- produced 53 appointments;
- gained 350k views;
- generated 25,000 engagements;
- got featured by LinkedIn;
- increased SSI score to 85 (top 1% in the client’s industry);
- effectively nurtured leads to close high-value deals with Brad’s sales team.
The client had a massive base of ideal customers (around 10,000 prospects), which allowed us to develop a wide variety of interesting, relevant subjects and make each post generate around 10,000 — 20,000 views. Such active participation on behalf of the client’s audience allowed us to boost the popularity of CitrusAd’s LinkedIn profile and get in touch with high-value potential clients.
- Building an ICP. This is the starting point of any influencer campaign. You must understand who you will be speaking with, whose goals and concerns you are going to address, whose interest you must fuel. If a client doesn’t have an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), we build one together. An ICP is a compilation of qualifiers of a high-value client that would let the company accelerate its growth via beneficial deals and productive cooperation. Usually, a standard ICP includes the following elements:
- Company size. It’s important to know whether the client targets small businesses, medium-sized companies or large corporations. That allows us to outline the scale of our campaigns and choose the right tone and language for our posts.
- Customer base scale. It’s not enough to provide generic tips and solutions. You must deliver information with killer accuracy and at a well-calculated pace. Knowing the target customers of your audience makes this task easier.
- Average profit. Their financial gains can tell you a lot about their goals and their target audience. It will let you elaborate on subjects that your prospects will be truly interested in.
- Industry. Niche or mainstream? Popular or emerging? For young audiences or middle-aged buyers? All those things matter. Explore the specifics of each area, learn its jargon and terminology so your prospects would always answer when you reach out.
- Tools and vendors. You can’t say that your solution is the best until you know who you’re competing with. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in exploring your prospects’ solutions and their relationships with their current vendors.
- Pain points. Things that hurt the most remain on your prospect’s minds 24/7. Showing your awareness of their concerns and problems gains sympathy, trust and evokes a wish to take the conversation to the appointment-setting stage.
It’s quite a long list, but the payoff is worth the time spent on research. In the case of CitrusAd, the client already had a detailed and informative ICP, allowing us to merely enrich it before moving on to the content-planning phase.
- Content form and scheduling. Knowing our target audience, we proceeded with creating content. This phase is always supervised by the client who took active participation via:
- Filling out the content form. Every client has built a distinctive culture for their business — and this culture deserves to be represented in each post. We developed a content form template to let our clients outline the most outstanding things about their industry and work, as well as choose the most appealing tone and style. Additionally, we get an idea about the post size and post topics.
- Building a content plan. There are the best days for posting and there are the most unproductive days. It’s important to know the difference. When we create a schedule, we do it to pinpoint the best day of the week and the best time slot for making a new post. It guarantees us high visibility and good engagement. Whenever we build such a schedule, we consult with the client and keep comparing our notes in an Excel doc.
With CitrusAd CEO, Brad, it was a smooth and productive process, letting us move on to the next step in a few days.
- Posting content. The posts of our campaign for CitrusAd revolved around the following topics:
- Impact of COVID-19 on business. The client provided detailed insights into the state of businesses post-pandemic, completed with metrics and analysis. Since the beginning of the outbreak, COVID-19 has been a painful and highly relevant subject for business owners, especially those who needed to manage their digital shelf space. Due to this, any exclusive information is highly appreciated by readers. Posts like this generated around 8,175 views (Post 1).
- CitrusAd services. As a retail media platform with an innovative streak, CitrusAd provides new advertising and monetization opportunities that allow retail companies to overcome modern-day issues and gain powerful leverage. We outlined the most distinctive features of the clients’ services, making an emphasis on their troubleshooting ability. This post brought us 14,240 views (Post 2).
- Personal success story. Behind each business, there is a story. And people would love to hear it! CitrusAd CEO, Brad Moran, had plenty of experience to share and talk about. A former professional player, one of the top 100 tech entrepreneurs in Australia, and, most importantly, a startup founder who failed but never gave up, tried again and succeeded, Brad could tell a lot about his journey and offer useful advice. Brad’s story and personal tips drove around 10,000 views (Personal story post).
- LinkedIn engagement. We watched post interactions closely and explored the communities CitrusAd participated in. We evaluated our opportunities to engage users and then reached out to them via hand-crafted LinkedIn templates. We sent around six waves, gradually connecting with titles working in enterprise companies, introducing CitrusAd services, and discussing issues that prospects were going through in their niche.
So, how did our efforts pay off?
- Got featured in LinkedIn. Catching LinkedIn’s pulse isn’t so easy - anyone who has tried to get a Featured section can confirm. Our activity on LinkedIn that involved posting relevant content, useful articles, building connections, and aligning with our audience allowed us to get CitrusAd featured by the relevant channels. To top it off, Brad became a prominent consulting expert in his industry and target industries, turning from a poster to a trend-setting voice in the retail industry.
- Increased views and engagement. In eight months of our campaign, we generated around 434,000 views in total and managed to increase engagement up to 7.75%.
- Boosted Social Selling Index. Social Selling Index or SSI means a lot to businesses on LinkedIn. The higher their score is, the easier it’s for them to gain visibility, attract the right people and create new relationships. With our campaign, we increased our client’s SSI to 85, which equals the top 1% in CitrusAd industry.
- Produced 53 appointments. The ultimate goal was to make CitrusAd more recognizable and help Brad Moran gain recognition as a thought leader. Nevertheless, we also managed to nurture 53 high-quality appointments for our client, which was a pleasant bonus. Additionally, the LinkedIn campaign helped the client nurture thousands of high-value leads out of 10,000 prospects.
- Create a strong ICP. The more you know your ideal customers, the easier it is for you to speak with them. Explore your target audience from every angle, study their goals and aspirations, dive into their relationships with their vendors and investigate their competition. Once you know where it hurts, you know how to treat it.
- Speak bravely about your mistakes. People are curious about the faces behind the business and the stories they can tell. Even if those are stories about falling and getting up. There is power in the tales of your mishaps and failures. There are lessons to be learned, as well as things to admire. People no longer believe in geniuses who started their business in a garage and never failed on their way to becoming enterprise CEOs.
People who stumbled, who didn’t succeed from the first try but came back with vengeance, are the ones that everybody looks up to nowadays. So, don’t hesitate to talk about your achievements and mistakes — both of them will teach your target audience a lot. If you’re a startup founder, you probably have some pains and positive things to share. Additionally, it makes sense to involve your colleagues and fellow professionals — they all have something to talk about.
- Analyze your surroundings. When the world is constantly changing, your prospects look for advice that would help them adapt and stabilize. During the COVID-19 outbreak, our clients on LinkedIn managed to increase their visibility by reaching out with useful recommendations, participating in communities, and generating useful content.
- Present your services wisely. The point of every LinkedIn campaign is not to sell but to build trust and exchange information. If that foundation is established properly, you can move on with structuring your sales funnel and driving your high-value leads through it. Therefore, the information about your company and services must be in synergy with the current-day tendencies and answer some of your prospects’ long-time questions.
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