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Case Study - A story of Sales, Marketing, and COS Success

Posted by John Middlebrook on Jul 25, 2017 1:43:44 PM

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Executive Summary

Signals Defense, LLC was founded in Owings Mills, MD in 1999 with the introduction of an innovative optically clear window film technology that provides high RF (Radio Frequency) and IR (Infrared) attenuation for RF Shielding and Thermal Imaging defense purposes. Signals Defense patented window technology has been engineered to meet stringent U.S. Intelligence Community security requirements for facilities handling classified information. Over the nearly two decades of being in business, they have expanded their product offering to rFoils, safety and decorative films, window treatments, ballistic glass and other building shielding products for both government and commercial customers.


Signals Defense approached Calibrate Brands in late 2016 and presented several problems to quickly address. They were exhausted of using WordPress for their web platform as it was unstable and their site often broke with simple changes. They had been on Salesforce for years but with the size of their sales team, it was really an unnecessary expense for their business. Lastly, they needed to tie their systems together; Sales/CRM, marketing and a stable web platform.


Signals Defense had several missteps in their relationships with marketing firms and Signals Defense quote 1hosting companies over their 18 year history. They were frustrated with a lack of tangible success, missed goals and the inability to update a simple web page on their own, even from something as simple as their phone.

Signals was using many disparate systems for managing their business. They hosted their web site on Wordpress, they managed their CRM through Salesforce, they did not blog, they did not have a tool for social media publishing or monitoring and they had no tool to close their sales and marketing loop. HubSpot was their new system of choice.


How Product Helped

The first and most logical place to start was to move Signals off of the Wordpress platform. They were unable to make simple changes to their site and eight times out of ten, the site would break and need consulting services when they did.

Calibrate managed the migration to HubSpot’s COS (Content Optimization System). The process was very simple and with the assistance of our CAM (Channel Account Manager) at HubSpot, we had a fully functioning copy of their site up and on COS in under two weeks. After a quick DNS change and a move to SSL (Secure Socket Layer), we were up and ready to use HubSpot’s entire ecosystem.


Our next step was to integrate and import their contact records from Salesforce to HubSpot’s CRM tool. The process of contact migration was as easy as using credentials to connect the two accounts and the syncing took less than 24 hours.

Lastly, Signals Defense needed an overall marketing and sales alignment strategy.

  • SEO – One of their goals was to “dominate” their non-branded keywords in the SERPs. At one point, Signals had great rankings in search but between blackhat strategies from previous agencies, a lack of regular attention and a solid foundation of a content planning, they had slipped far from the top of the SERPs.

  • Content Strategy – Signals had no blogging or content strategy and generated very few new pages or offers prior to this partnership. We developed an aggressive blog strategy, focusing on critical keywords and the personas of their ideal customers throughout all aspects of the strategy.

  • Landing Pages and Workflows – Signals had several great forms of industry and product content but had no delivery and tracking methods. Their greatest asset was their product catalog, one that their sales team regularly had to email after a phone call or email. We built landing pages and gated the content for all of their most valuable white papers and content PDF’s.

  • Social Media – Signals Defense had been using social media prior to engaging with us, but nothing strategic. They needed to optimize and create one story and message between all their social channels. They were able to connect all the Signals social channels, those of their staff use the HubSpot tools to plan, track and report on the social growth.

  • Paid Ads – Signals had never participated in any paid campaigns before engaging with Calibrate Brands. Using HubSpot’s ads add-on, Signals added both branded and a small list of critical high converting keywords to their suite of marketing services.
  • Local Search – As a B2B business with one location outside of a metropolitan area, it was critical that Signals Defense had acquired all the local citations available. This included optimizing their Google Business page, optimizing for Yelp reviews and creating their Swarm (formally FourSquare) optimized page.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Like many small to medium businesses, Signals Defense was unable to place a solid goal on their sales in 2017. We were faced with so many areas that we could make significant impact and our planning and strategy; quarterly planning documents reflected just that.quote2.gif

Search and Traffic – As you know, Google removed keyword search result reporting from their systems several years ago, but we know increased rankings for high value keywords, will increase traffic. When we started in the second week of January, Signals Defense had 25 keywords in the top 3 of the SERPs, and 35 in the top 10 results. As of mid July, Signals Defense has 40 terms in the top 3 and 58 in the top 10 of the results pages.

Their organic referrals from this keyword domination has generated 130 new contacts for their sales and marketing teams to nurture in the first 6 months alone.

Another area of significance is by adding pages to the site, adding new blog pages and content, we widened the “footprint” of 100%. In January they had 70 pages in Google’s index but in July of 2017, 142 pages!

Over 100% Growth in Google Rankings


The traffic growth for Signals Defense shows one of the most significant increases of all the data thus far in 2017.

Year to year growth (January to July 2016, compared to 2017), traffic is up overall by 71%.

Signals Defense Traffic increased 71%


Content and Blog– Before beginning this engagement, Signals Defense did not have a content or blogging strategy. We quickly implemented one but it did not take off as our writers were internal employees and we could not get the momentum needed. We looked at third party writers and found one that understood the industry and started putting together our creative minds and calendar to push for a blog per week. That paid off.

The blog is now the 4th most read section of the Signals website, in just a short 6 months.

Signals Defense Blog Views

Outside of blog content, we took a systematic approach at reviewing and adding content and new pages around the services and products that Signals Defense offers. We reviewed key terms and made changes to pages to support higher search volumes in Google and other engines. We ultimately added 100% more content and pages from when we began in January.

Landing Pages and Workflows – HubSpot is known for its landing page tools and it’s powerful workflows, allowing us to let the software to work for us, while we focus on other efforts. We quickly identified areas that we could create gated content and allow the software to do the manual tasks that were done by sales and marketing in the past.

We quickly added critical landing pages for items that were frequently emailed by sales like product catalogs, specifications sheets and others.

Here are a few others that have proven very successful for nurturing leads for Signals:

  • Sample Products – Signals has several types of sample films that they would mail to prospects if requested, but we added landing pages and workflows to automate this. We even have workflows that programmatically determine if someone visits their film pages over 6 times, we send them an offer for sample films. We’ve seen over 80 contacts go through this workflow with 26% conversion rates.

  • Product Catalog – This was a given landing page to automate what was being managed by hand. This page has generated over 86 new contacts and had a staggering 34% conversion rate since going live.

  • Workflows included creating sales tasks for highly engaged, active visitors, created tasks for visitors that crossed thresholds for viewing large amounts of content and many other offers.

Signals Defense Landing Page views

Conversion rates on these landing pages have been above industry standards. From a March 2017 conversion rate study by Unbounce, companies servicing “business services” prospects see varying conversion rates.

From the graph below, you can see the ranges.


Unbounce Conversion Rate Study 2017

Companies in the 90% percentile are seeing conversion rates around 13%. Signals Defense has seen a staggering 22.4% this year.


Signals Defense Conversion Rates 2017


Social Media – Social media for Signals Defense is an integral part of their marketing suite. Using social media is more about a delivery method for news and information than a way to directly generate revenue and followers. The majority of their personas spend their time in LinkedIn and HubSpot's social tools allow us to post and track more data then ever before. Using HubSpot’s tools for managing social media, we’ve seen over 52% growth in social referrals in 2017 over 2016.

Signals Defense Social Growth 2017


Paid Advertising – Part of our marketing plans was to have exposure in paid advertising. Signals Defense had not ever participated in any form of paid advertising but wanted to dominate for the brand’s name and critical keywords for their business.

Signals Defense AdWords Traffic


As you see from this graph, paid advertising is now a positive channel for qualified traffic to the Signals website, generating many new contacts and several customers.


Local Search – Local search is critical for Signals Defense as they have been a part of the Baltimore community for nearly two decades and they want to continue to be top of mind, and top of SERP, for the products they offer. This included claiming, optimizing and creating consistent, brand messages across all channels. With local search, no particular “success” metrics were part of the strategy, other than creating a consistent brand message across all local platforms like MOZ Local, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Google Business, and Swarm (FourSquare).



In such a short term, the leadership at Signals Defense is very pleased with the success they have seen by partnering with a knowledgeable agency that methodically approached their needs, while also addressing key areas that would drive value and sales.

By adding automation, workflows, lead scoring, landing pages and quality content, the sales team at Signals has the tools they need in place to do their jobs in the most effective ways ever. From the graph above, you can see that it takes about 20% of the effort to close organically-sourced contacts into customers, vs those that come through "traditional channels". 

Signals Defense Sales Activities 2017
The time to close in this vertical can take time but data has proven that in the last few years. According to an AdWeek article from 2014, 81% of consumers have already made a buying decision when they visit your website.

Signals Defense and Calibrate Success

Now, onto the best part of this analysis, how it affected sales for Signals Defense. While we cannot divulge exact numbers, Signals Defense is on track to have the best year of its 18 year history. Forecasted growth is slated to exceed 40% from 2016. All of the efforts mentioned in this success story are the pieces needed for true, Inbound Nirvana. It is not overly complicated but needs a true partnership between client and agency and it can be done.


Be the Next Success Story


Topics: Social Media, Performance Driven Web Design, Marketing, Agency, HubSpot, COS, Growth Stack, Inbound Marketing, Case Study

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The Calibrate Brands blog is a resource for marketing and branding professionals looking for place to go for news on website design, branding strategies and how to build traffic to your site.

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