How SuperFastDiet reduced its waistline, and cost per lead, with data
- 23 May, 2019 11:36
In only a few short months, online weight loss program, SuperFastDiet, has halved its cost per lead (CPL) simply by making better use of its data.
SuperFastDiet launched in 2018 after co-founders, Gen Davidson and Victoria Black, decided to take advantage of their marketing and weight loss expertise, respectively, to help Australians lose weight quickly and simply. Their approach is based on intermittent fasting, a ‘part-time dieting’ or a eat-stop-eat approach based around several different methods.
The two founders decided to build a sustainable business strategy based on three pillars: The intermittent fasting method; offering better foods and lifestyle; and building an engaged community to provide support to everyone on the program.
Motivation, including peer support from fellow dieters, was central to the growth plan. What's more, as a startup, the company wanted to rely on digital and social marketing. Over time, it was clear SuperFastDiet required external digital marketing expertise to take the business to the next level, so the pair brought on digital partner, Digivizer.
Davidson and Black told CMO their initial attempts to find a suitable agency partner were frustrating, with confused information that was often late and incomplete. Measurement also appeared to be restricted to budget outgoings and the relatively small number of leads this generated.
“We were extremely good on organic social media but hadn’t really had to spend money on paid advertising. To scale quickly, we needed to do that, especially as the platforms move more to pay-to-play," Davidson said. “We have very high ambitions at SuperFastDiet, and wanted a business partner for the future that could help us scale.
“We wanted to grow, and do it quickly. However, a short way in, we found our previous agency weren’t set up with the data analytics we needed. So it was hit and miss as to whether something worked or not. It didn’t have the depth of information and analysis we wanted. Cost per lead would vary, mostly high, and analysis was late – too late for us to change our tactics. We found ourselves teaching our agency what to do, which is not ideal.”
Together with Digivizer, however, the result was a reduced cost-per-lead by 56 per cent and an increase in the volume of leads by 176 per cent, all within three months. The pair now has grand plans to drill down into their data and personalise for better targeting, as well a segmentation and A/B testing.
How to start up a startup
“Marketing always been my passion,” Black told CMO. She started with Unilever as a marketing manager, before switching to publishing.
But it was while working in the weight loss industry before Black’s Unilever days she met Davidson.
“I developed a weight problem and tried many things, I always could see the struggle, and now I was struggling myself even though I knew what to do," Davidson explained. "I discovered intermittent fasting, the 5:2 diet, after seeing my brother-in-law, who lost 20kgs in three months. I researched it further, meanwhile the weight was dropping off me.
"Victoria and I decided to start SuperFastDiet [SFD] because we felt we could do it better."
Two years of planning ensued, aided by advice from Investible. While the women had owned businesses before, they had never raised capital prior to SFD, so it was a steep learning curve.
“Investible could see the potential in the business, and gave us list of things to achieve. We raised money, over $2 million... and it took us eight months to build the platform before we launched in January last year,” Black explained. "So much work went into it before we could even build the platform."
Black and Davidson always knew digital media was going to be key to success, but didn’t have the skills they needed, so they engaged an agency to help.
“Traditional marketing, which I have experience in, can be powerful, but with an online business it’s a no-brainer – we had to go digital,” Black continued.
Making data work better
As Davidson explains, the pair were introduced to Digivizer by Investible. They now use Digivizer and its proprietary platform to understand the performance of programs, optimise budgets and programs, and measure the effectiveness of digital and social media content.
This data-driven approach to understanding the company’s digital marketing performance now goes beyond paid campaigns. SFD is working with Digivizer to do a full review of other aspects of its digital marketing program, including its website and EDMs.
Digivizer’s platform aims to help businesses measure and understand the performance of their digital marketing programs across owned, earned and paid media, in a single view, in real-time. Recently, the group has added LinkedIn Pages and LinkedIn Paid Media Analytics to its digital analytics platform to give digital marketers a complete picture about the performance of their digital marketing programs across LinkedIn, Google search, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“We thought it would be hard to change, and at that stage we really couldn’t afford to have a bad month in sales, but eventually we made the switch," Black said. "However, within the first month, the cost of our lead halved. Using the same budget we got double the leads, which blew us away.
“Now, we are working on drilling into the analytics, leading to lower cost, and we are convert them better. Digivizer gives us the depth of analytics and the interpretation of the data we need, and we can pivot really quickly if something is not working.”
For example, using analytics, SFD realised its Mother’s Day promotion was not working. “By Monday we had the data and by Monday afternoon we’d changed the whole campaign,” Davidson said.
“We can see what piece of the puzzle is not working. In the Mother’s day case, it was the price of the product. Email marketing is critical to us as well, finding the perfect balance between nurture, selling and converting, without ending up in in spam boxes. Now, we can identify the best market segments via age, demographics, geographical, typographics, it’s been gold for us."
Another big area of improvement has been search marketing. “Previously we could not make Google Adwords and search work for us, at all, the cost was astronomical. Now, we have been able to make it work well, and cheaply,” Davidson said.
The data also led to some surprise realisations, with their best performing segment, women over 55, not the segment either woman expected.
“What we have gathered is they don’t identify with young, buff personal trainers selling them fitness programs. They are attracted to our programs for this reason,” Davidson said.
The pair is currently planning for personalisation of messaging in the future, and further segment targeting within next few months to tune all their marketing to that fine level, as well as A/B testing.
“We are also finding out more about which content is working well for us, not just basic demographics, but what content is working in which areas. Of course, videos are working really well,” Black said.
SFD is undertaking another funding round in June, and next year the pair hope to raise another $4-5 million.
“This data we now have is vital for investors as well, they want to know what our CPL is, and cost per conversion. Because we can measure it so well now, it’s a much safer investment for them. We know when we pour this much money in the top of the funnel, this much will come out the bottom, which is amazing,” Davidson said.
“We feel very confident about scaling, and scaling fast.”