Optimist is a full-service content marketing agency that delivers “ridiculously effective” content marketing programs for growing organizations that deserve to be discovered. With a laser sharp focus on helping clients achieve results, they go beyond content creation to ensure they’re delivering value with a unique strategic approach.
Tyler Hakes, founder of Optimist, launched his business with a radically different approach to content marketing than other agencies - a cohesive strategy built on understanding their clients’ specific needs and core audiences to leverage the optimal channels and create content types that deliver value.
For their outreach and promotion campaigns, Tyler and Katy Flatt, promotion coordinator and partner, were creating target outreach lists in CSV files. This was not only a manual effort, but they found that with the sheer volume of content being created globally, they needed to deliver more personalized messaging at scale to get their clients’ content promoted above the noise. They also needed to simplify campaign management as their business grew.
Tyler says “To optimize our content promotion strategies, we needed a CRM solution that easily integrated into Gmail, would enable us to manage all our contacts in one location, and effectively personalize messaging and content at scale. It also needed to enable us to manage our sales pipeline with full visibility.”
The ideal CRM solution needed to enable management of tailored lists for each campaign, deliver custom templates to personalize messaging and content at scale, and easily integrate into existing tools and workflows like Drip and Zapier.
“For marketing Streak had some basic features, such as mail merge and lightweight personalization capabilities, but it wasn’t nearly as robust as the email campaign features that Propeller CRM delivers”, says Tyler.
For Katy, Propeller’s native tagging and customization capabilities were key differentiators that enable her team to successfully deliver on link building and outreach via newsletters and roundups.
“What really differentiated Propeller from CRMs like Streak and SugarCRM was the ease of CSV file import and the ability to create custom attributes on the spot. Streak’s processes for creating list attributes, loading into Gmail, conducting follow up, and tracking campaign status is all manual, whereas Propeller does it all automatically,” says Katy.
For sales inquiry and pipeline management, Tyler says, “The Propeller-Zapier-Drip integration allows us to flag leads coming from our website and act instantly. As soon as a new lead hits Propeller, our internal teams get a Slack notification in real time. This is a game changer for our business.”
“Link building is the key to raising our clients’ domain authority and scaling organic search traffic. Leveraging Propeller, we’ve earned thousands of relevant links with email outreach that have helped clients grow their targeted organic traffic 5X to 20X within 12 to 16 months,” says Katy.
“With Propeller’s campaign personalization and customization capabilities we can do much more targeted link building. As a result, we’re getting more relevant blogs and publications to feature content for our clients. We’ve been able to build relationships at scale, earning links and placements for clients in top-tier publications like PC Magazine, Entrepreneur, Elle, Daily Mail, and many more.
“Because we’re able to manage outreach at scale, we can also target small, niche publications, blogs, and trade journals, too. Propeller allows us to focus on creating connections rather than managing contacts and tracking emails,” says Katy.
“The biggest benefit of Propeller is that we're able to execute at scale. We're doing 3X to 4X the number of campaigns we could do with Streak. We wouldn't be where we're at if we didn't have Propeller to manage the outreach campaigns,” says Tyler.
For most of their clients’ outreach campaigns, Optimist has a domain specific (e.g., @PropellerCRM.com) email address, which their clients find really authentic. “It allows us to scale and manage across multiple clients simultaneously, whereas before, with Streak, our team would have had to log in and out of ~20 different Gmail accounts every day,” adds Tyler.
With Propeller, only one login is needed. “We now have one place where all of our clients’ campaigns live. We can check campaign status and optimize them from one screen and one app. That's a big driver for us,” says Tyler.
“We sent campaigns within the first couple days of signing up with Propeller. It was straight forward,” adds Tyler.
“We've grown revenue 2X since implementing Propeller, in part, because we're now much quicker and more efficient at responding to revenue-generating opportunities,” says Tyler.
Additional revenue-impacting efficiencies are enabled by the Propeller dashboard. Tyler adds, “Prior to Propeller we were using Trello boards to track inquiries. Having the board-style pipeline in Propeller made it an easy transition, but what makes Propeller far more efficient is the ability to manage and track all contacts in one system.
“We now have 100% visibility into the status of each lead in the sales cycle. We can see exactly when we last engaged with them, set task reminders, take notes, and easily manage all communications with leads. These are big advantages for our business.”
With Propeller integrated into Zapier and Drip, visitors on certain pages on Optimist’s website automatically get added into Propeller.
Tyler says, “With Propeller we’re generating 10 new inbound sales opportunities per week, as we have a streamlined inquiry flow: web visitor ->subscriber ->marketing qualified lead -> pipeline. The visibility the system gives us has also improved forecasting. For example, if we know we’ve got $50,000 of proposals in client review, and we forecast our close/won status, we can better project revenue and improve our quarterly plans.”
Now that they’re seeing big, business generating results with Propeller, Tyler says that the team is poised to start doing more sophisticated testing.
“Currently we send everything as a batch, but what we'd like to do is get much more precise in terms of message and outreach tactic testing, and then evaluate results to optimize our lead generation and client campaign programs. With Propeller CRM we have the right engine in place to do this,” says Tyler.