Cbeyond provides voice, data, mobile backup and cloud services to small companies. Two years ago, the company wanted to get its message out to a wider audience, so it planned an integrated campaign that combined print placements and online display advertising—both of which contained links back to a microsite.
The “Grow” campaign, rolled out in June 2009, showcased about 40 video testimonials from Cbeyond customers talking about the benefits of using the company's services. It ran until last December.
“The videos help people connect on a more emotional level with what we're doing,” said Shana Keith, Cbeyond's director of public relations, who also handles interactive marketing efforts. “It shows how our customers are improving their own businesses using our services.”
Cbeyond, with help from digital agency Arketi Group, Atlanta, decided to use video because the company wanted to put a face on its customer testimonials. “Prospects don't want to read the written word,” Keith said. “They want quick communication with a face on it.”
The banner ads that supported the campaign appeared on various business sites, including Entrepreneur.com and Inc.com. Print ads appeared in Go magazine from AirTran Airways, a “lower-cost airline that small businesses seem to fly on,” Keith said.
Once customers typed in the vanity URL (cbeyond.com/grow) they were taken to the site where they could find videos of customers who were geographically close to them, Keith said. The site also had a small-business resource center, featuring a section about Cbeyond's products and services.
In addition to the paid placement, Cbeyond also leveraged elements of the campaign in its social media efforts. “We consistently put videos on our blog, where they get a lot of play,” Keith said.
The campaign produced significant, measurable results, Keith said. In 2008, before the “Grow” effort was implemented, Cbeyond's marketing produced 50 trackable leads. In 2009, the “Grow” campaign generated 1,100 leads; last year, it generated 2,700. The sales team also uses the videos to educate themselves, as well as sales collateral when customers ask for references, Keith said. “If our customer is looking at [Cbeyond product] Virtual Receptionist, we have a video about it so our salespeople can use it and, in effect, bring a product expert to the sale,” she said.
Since seeing the power of video, Keith has made it a point to include video assets whenever and wherever she can. For instance, she embeds video links in press releases as multimedia content, uses them as Twitter fodder and includes links in direct marketing pieces, she said; and today, she's using the “Grow” videos on a group of new local sites.