We have been killing it with digital funnels in acquiring names for our clients. Well, until this campaign.

We have been acquiring new names for some of our US campaigns for as little as $0.50 each. In the days of direct mail name acquisition, that would be impossible.

Even with all the success, one of our campaigns was not performing well, as in not performing at all.

Let me explain.

The campaign goal was to acquire names of US and Latin American Spanish speakers. The offer was a free, 30-day devotional to encourage people during difficult times.

That’s a no-brainer. Free encouragement and all you need to give is your first name and email.

Our ads were performing exceptionally well. We have a click-through rate of nearly 11%, which in digital campaigns is unheard of (the average campaign is around 1%).

We had tens of thousands of people getting to the landing page, but no one was signing up for the free offer.

We knew something was wrong with the landing page, so we started to test different variations of the page.

We added a video, moved copy around, changed colors, made the opt-in form as simple as possible, added more social proof, and added more information about the organization.

Nothing helped.

On a call with a colleague in Mexico, I asked his opinion of what might be wrong with the campaign.

His first reaction was, “You are offering 30 ‘thoughts.’ I get ‘thoughts’ from my mother and aunt several times a day. I don’t need any more thoughts.”

As it turns out, the word “devotional” is almost impossible to translate into Spanish. Our entire campaign had been translated and reviewed by a panel of highly competent translators; however, in their opinion, “thoughts” was the best word for our title.

On a whim, we decided to change the offer from 30 days of thoughts to a 30-day guide of encouragement.

“Guide” was the trigger word.

After three weeks of over 12 thousand visits with two conversions, we started getting sign-ups—not just a trickle, but 200 or more a day!

We are now getting thousands of names with an average cost of $0.06 per name! And we are ready to scale this campaign further.

Here are some takeaways from this lesson:

    While there are best practices in digital campaigns, no templates work for every occasion. There is no copy and paste and see results.
    Don’t assume anything: test, test, and test some more.
    Nuance matters. One word, graphic, or button can be the difference between success and complete failure.
    Don’t give up too soon. We spent over three weeks making changes that did not affect the outcome.

I am a life-long learner, and this experience proves that no matter how much you know and what level of expertise you might have, you have to be willing to let go of your knowledge and test new options.

Digital marketing is highly fluid. Algorithm changes, artificial intelligence reviews of your ads, and policy changes make it impossible to duplicate any campaign. The days of “set it and forget it” are over.

To succeed in digital marketing, you need to be willing to wrestle with a campaign until you find a breakthrough.

But remember, your breakthrough is only temporary. It might stop working next week and when that happens, begging the process all over.


P.S. Giving Tuesday is just around the corner. We put together a Giving Tuesday Toolbox full of social posts, ideas, and graphics you can use in this year’s campaign.  Click HERE for the Toolbox and get ready for your best Giving Tuesday yet!

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