Inbound marketing can be an excellent way to engage visitors and generate leads by developing a series of nurturing workflows that help visitors along the buyer’s journey. Sometime, however, getting those people into the workflow can be a challenge. Common tactics to generate contacts are free downloads of content that the target audience would find valuable, or offers that provide coupons via email once the visitor fills out the form. When a free download or coupon doesn’t attract sign-ups, that’s when you should think outside the box - the cereal box, that is.
Recently, General Mills and the Cheerios brand ran a “Bring Back the Bees” campaign. The idea was simple; with the bee population in the United States in mass decline and their mascot, Buzz Bee, in trouble, Cheerios asks you and me to plant some wildflowers in our backyards. All we needed to do is fill out a simple form on their website and in a few weeks, our packet of seeds would arrive in the mail and the world would be saved! Ok, maybe it wouldn’t solve all the issues in this world, but Cheerios and General Mills committed to giving away 100 million seeds to save the bees.
It worked! In fact, it worked so well that they are now giving away 1.5 billion (billion with a ‘bee’) seeds. That’s a lot of home and email addresses to add to the database and start to lead nurture. Their workflow could contain a “Share Your Flowers” campaign, where those participating in the program could share photos of their wildflower plot, or they could ask for photos of their new backyard bees. The campaign has a lot of opportunity for continuous engagement and now they have a long list of people.
It’s not just the number of leads captured that makes this a successful marketing push; they also received a ton of social engagement though various posts and ads to promote the Bring Back the Bees campaign. I suspect social media is why they are giving 10 times the original amount planned. They generated lots of marketing buzz (ok, I'll stop with the bad puns).
Now, no good deed goes unpunished, and Cheerios is getting some pushback on their efforts because of concern about invasive plant species for certain regions. For their part, Cheerios is openly communicating what seeds are contained in the packets being shipped across the country, which keeps the conversation going and people engaged with the brand—any press, is good press, right?
So how does this apply to you? If you know your cost-per-acquisition or cost-per-conversion, you might find your own version of a seed packet that a target audience would find valuable enough that they share their personal information with your brand. You could also benefit from social engagement as those who have connected with you share with their network of friends, who often have similar interests. And, the remarketing lists you can build through the traffic your landing page receives further adds value to your marketing dollars.
If you are acquiring leads for the same or similar costs, the method that you achieve those results shouldn’t matter as much as meeting your goals. The benefit to this method is it provides something tangible that people can hold in their hands and interact with instead of easily hitting the delete key on the free ebook. It’s something fun and unique.
I’ll let you know how my flowers turn out.