GrowthFit Interview series
Episode #18

"Don’t Let Procrastination Kill Your Ideas. Start up and Be Willing to Revise"

"Don’t Let Procrastination Kill Your Ideas. Start up and Be Willing to Revise"

Bob Sparkins is the manager of Sales and Marketing at LeadPages. He is a former high school teacher who has now built a successful career in product marketing. In this talk, Bob speaks about his journey as a marketing manager and shares what marketing strategies have helped LeadPages evolve as a leading and product company.

Highlights of the conversation-

  • Conversion rate is important and so is the difference in the rate with respect to techniques and ideas
  • Leveraging various channels like advertising, partnerships and affiliates
  • Product success mantra- Create a great product and get a supportive team to back you
  • Don’t let procrastination kill your ideas. Start up and feel free to revise and scale.

A Teacher-turned-Marketer

Tell us about your journey

I am the sales, marketer manager at Leadpages, however, after college, I worked as a High School teacher. I had started working on a few projects, what is now known as “side hustle”. Eventually it turned out to be a coaching business of teaching people how to use different products. Along the way, LeadPages was launched, I started using the product and teaching other users how to use it. Later, the then co-founder of the company asked me to join the team officially. That’s how my journey with LeadPages began.

Leadpages started out as a kind of a software platform for a landing page builder and later we added the website builder over time. For people selling their knowledge and expertise, it helps in reaching the right audience with the right offering quickly and effectively.

Conversion Rate is the Most Crucial Metric

What’s your favorite marketing metrics?

If you don't know how well your pages are performing and conversion rate is the number one metric to know then anything else is just extra noise. You need to know how many people are visiting and turning into a subscriber or buying your products? How your designs and ad copy are performing. Do you have more traffic coming in than you did last week? So, yes, Conversion Rate is crucial but I would also like to see the difference like how you get from split testing. It is important to note the difference so that one can continuously improve.

As a content marketer, how do you understand which content is performing better?

The first thing that we look for is questions that our existing users are asking and also the frequency of those questions on the basis of the persona we have developed. This helps us to determine what content we should create in the first place and where we should be using data.

Additionally, we use analytics tools like Google Analytics to see which content does convert to the right amount of traffic. For example, we have a content calendar that we put together and give away as a lead magnet for people to know over the course of their year, what kind of planning should they be doing and that is one of our top performing lead magnets for traffic.

To add to that, we have another thing called a landing page lookbook, which doesn't convert as well on the front end, but the people who sign up to it are more likely to become customers.

Advertise, Get Partners and Affiliates

What techniques do you use to draw attention to your prospects and customers?

We use quite a bit of advertising as you would expect. We also have a very good partnership program where we have our users share with the world that they're using Leadpages. And we have an affiliate program for that. We don't do a lot of outbound sales. Most people come to know about Leadpages through our social feed, our advertising, or through word of mouth.

We have almost 75% of our affiliates who are active customers. Then we have 10 to 15% are affiliate marketers that may not be customers as of yet, or they use it in addition to other things. We also have a lot of agencies as well that are doing it on behalf of their clients. And sometimes they will build the pages and bundle everything in one package, but most of the time the agencies will have their clients buy Leadpages through their affiliate link to do so. We also have some software referral partners like email service providers.

How do you set up the feedback loop with your customers?

  • Our support team: We have people on the support team that analyze the questions to study patterns like what are the most aspects of the product that people are struggling with, that we need to fix or make the product better through a user experience perspective.
  • Tracking engagement on Social Media: Our social media channels are pretty active and we keep track of the responses and engagement on our posts. Within the courses that I create, we obviously have that feedback loop as well, and I do a weekly coaching call for our customers, additionally, our product marketing team does customer interviews.

What's your take on community building?

Community is very important for us. We do that right now through Facebook. There are some communities that are a bit wider spread, and those are also useful for prospecting, but we are more focused on the people who have signed up with us.

Tell us about your one successful and one failed marketing campaign?

Holiday hustle campaign: Towards the second half of the year, a lot of business owners want to start planning out what they are going to do for black Friday. So we have a campaign of education that was also a lead gen campaign for us. This is the third iteration of it and people absolutely love it because they need this extra support in planning.

Regarding the failed campaign, a lesson we've learned is sometimes the things that don't perform well, don't perform well because of bad timing. It might be because of bad copywriting or a mismatch between the ad copy and the written copy on the landing page or the email wasn't sufficient enough.

Scavenger Hunt Campaign: The campaign was a scavenger hunt promotion that was a fun scavenger hunt day in the United States on May 24th. We made this really great scavenger hunt game where people had to go find different things on the website to spell out a word, and if they spelled the word right, they got a special coupon code to start up their trial.

What's your technique to retain customers?

  • The product itself: It starts with a great product that people love and find easy to use, and that actually is effective.
  • Support by people: A great support team is important, not just a knowledge base but actually people who are able to respond quickly to the challenges that people might have so that they are getting their problems addressed quickly, and they don't have the need to, to leave.
  • Company values: We are very keen on making sure people understand the value that they bring to the table and the value that we appreciate in the world.

Be future-ready with personalization

According to you, what’s the role of personalization in marketing?

Undoubtedly, in the next few years, if you're not having personalization on your webpages, you are sure to miss out on conversions hugely. If you're not speaking more specifically to people about what their needs are you will lose the leads.

Paid or organic marketing, what's your favorite?

Both are crucial, however, nothing beats the ability to test and scale campaigns with paid marketing.
Organic is great because it's more of a relationship. It's a little bit more connected to people. But it does take time, uh, unless you are really lucky sometimes to get something that spins up quickly and goes viral. With paid marketing, you see exactly what is happening and see the results right away.

Who is your mentor in marketing?

I learned a lot from a gentleman named Adam in the United States. He's a business mentor and coach, he taught me a lot about some aspects of business. Robert Cialdini has a book from the 1980s called 'Influence- the psychology of persuasion'. It's a very well-known book. Nancy Marma Leho, a friend of mine, great mentor as well.

“Don’t kill your ideas by procrastinating”

Any advice to fellow marketers?

I have a philosophy for business, which is take action and revise later meaning don't let procrastination hold you back from moving forward in your business. Whenever you have an idea, whether you've got an aha from this conversation, or you have another podcast episode you're listening to, or a book, take action on it and you have to put it out into the world. Then revise and modify as you progress along the way.