How I Launched Outbound Marketing to Increase Conversion Rates

Lori McInerny is the Chief Marketing Officer at Visibly (formerly Opternative), a Chicago-based healthcare technology company that creates digital eye care technologies to help anyone and everyone see better using their in-home eye test.

Read on for a transcript of her presentation from our November 15, 2018, Here’s How Startup Marketing Conference, where she describes how she launched outbound marketing to increase conversation rates.

Hi, everybody. I'm Lori McInerney, CMO for Opternative. I'll talk a few minutes about my role at the company and kind of a little bit of background. I joined Opternative about three months ago and prior to me joining, there was really no marketing team.

There was very little outbound marketing effort. Really, zero dollars spent on marketing. There were some automated campaigns in place.

So again, so really, not much marketing being done: no outbound, nothing paid whatsoever. There were trigger campaigns set up via our product to engage and re-engage with consumers, which I will talk about.

But again, coming in, I knew it was sort of a blank slate. That was exciting to me. It was something I kind of wanted to always do. But also knowing that, I had a lot to build very quickly.

I had a team to build quickly. We had to put a lot of things in place; processes, we built. Launched a marketing automation tool that didn't exist, launched a new CRM, really came up with the entire marketing digital lead gen strategy for the company.

My first couple of weeks in, what I did want to look at – and I think any marketer does this – we're going to put this plan in place for sort of immediate and long-term goals and success. How are we going to drive leads and how are we going to drive revenue?

But where is the low-hanging fruit? And where's the most of the low-hanging fruit? That was in our consumer conversion of our digital vision test. I'm going to talk about how I launched a new campaign to increase our consumer conversion of our digital test.

A little background on the company: Opternative is a Chicago-based healthcare technology company that was founded in 2012 by Dr. Steven Lee. He's very much still involved. He is our Chief Science Officer. Helps with product – helps with a variety of things – very much involved.

We create digital eye care technologies to help anyone and everyone see better. So what we offer is a digital vision test. It takes ten minutes. You can do it on your laptop or your phone – that's what we call sort of dual device – or what we launched about six weeks ago is single device. You can now do it just on your smartphone if you want.

The user experience today is a little bit better on our dual device because you've got your laptop and the phone. You can use the voice automation. It walks you through the steps of the test.

On a single device, user experience just isn't that great yet. We will get there, but the fact is, a big base of our audience, a lot of our consumers are younger, heavy smartphone users, and so they'll probably like that. Again, the test takes ten minutes.

For most of the reasons I think all of us would want to go to an eye doctor. So let me ask the room: why would you wake up one day and say like, "I need to go to an eye doctor?"

[Audience answer:] I ran out of contact lenses.

You ran out of contacts. That's usually it, right? So people don't wake up and say, "I probably really want to go to the eye doctor because I need to get checked." Unfortunately we don't do that. We all have busy lives. It's hard to get in most of our doctor appointments.

So this is a test that takes ten minutes. You can do it from the comfort of your home. It's safe. It's accurate. We have almost 100 percent satisfaction rate. We've had over a million people take the test, and we've issued hundreds of thousands of prescriptions.

When you do complete the test, your results are reviewed by a doctor, either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Within less than 24 hours, you will get emailed a new prescription, and then you can go get your new contacts and your new glasses.

If you are still seeing the same as before, and it's the same prescription, we'll just sort of issue a new one and sort of extend that expiration date. If your vision has changed, our doctors can write you a completely new prescription. And again, we'll send that to you within 24 hours.

The nice thing about this is, again, is you can do this from home. So within a matter of three to four days, you can get your eyes checked, get a new prescription, and have your contacts and glasses be delivered to your house.

Kind of some recent news, we announced last week that we raised nine million in funding. That was from Trust Ventures, Jump Capital, Pritzker, and several other companies. And then again, sort of our recent product launch was the first phase conversational vision test, which is the single device.


The situation I want to talk about is, like I said, I think coming in, we all say, "Where is the low-hanging fruit?" It is definitely in our consumer conversion. So if it's not the largest, it's one of the largest opportunities for a company today to increase revenue quickly and to get consumers to finish.

And so what I mean by that is, today, when someone comes to the site and takes the test – a lot start with the test – but they fail. They stop and they don't finish it. Or they finish the test, but they're sitting and they're checked out. It's sitting in their car, and they're not checking out and paying. And it's for a variety of reasons.

Some are definitely product-related; some are, "I started the test and went to do something else. I went to throw in laundry. I didn't finish it."

Others are, "Okay, I took the test. I finished. It's sitting in my car, and I just forgot to pay." Or, "I realized when I'm checking out that this actually costs money and I have to pay." There's a variety of reasons.

As I mentioned there was a current revival campaign set up via our product prior to me joining. But again, our CTO ran it on top of doing a million other things for the company, so there was very little optimizing of the campaign.

There was like – it was the same creative, same CTA, same subject lines – nothing was being tested. So the biggest opportunity here was to say, okay, let's test this, really optimize it. Let's change creative. Let's do a bunch of different CTAs. Let's A/B test everything.

Current state was: when they did fail to do this, they would receive four emails over a week. So we've changed that to then say, okay, let's send them eight to ten emails over a three-week period. Different subject lines. Different ways of re-engaging with them, right?

So maybe it's that they've checked out; we can't get them to finish out. Okay, let's get them a promo code on contacts or glasses. If they're wanting a vision test and they need a new prescription, it's probably because they need new contacts or glasses. Let's convert them in some way.

Our current audience: again, for not having really any paid outbound, we get a lot of organic traffic. We have over 200,000 consumers that we can target today. 50,000 in our revival campaign. So, a very good audience to work with. We get 240 or 250 sign-ups a day, but we're converting less than ten percent of them.

Take away here: we will be heavily investing in our consumer conversion entire strategy. There's at least one million dollars of online revenue that we can see by literally increasing conversion by a couple points.

Okay, so this is just to show you – it's kind of some dismal results. But you can see here – you guys can read this – but it shows you our current funnel. So 80 percent of our sign-ups are qualified.

83 of the qualified sign-ups start an exam. 45 percent complete the exam. 35 of the exam completes place an order. 88 percent of orders get a new prescription, so only 9 percent of sign-ups complete get an actual prescription.

And you can see here, for every 100 sign-ups: 100 sign-up, 80 are qualified, 66 start the exam, 30 complete, ten paid, nine prescriptions.

So again, most of this low conversion is due to just us not engaging and re-engaging with the consumer at the right touch points. Us also digging into the data and then knowing we know exactly where the drop-offs are.

So we have to also look and say, okay, what can we do different in our product to make that user experience better, faster?

One of the biggest things was that our test takes ten minutes, but when you go through the test, you don't know when it's done. So even telling them, you're almost there. You're almost there. One more step and you're done.


Okay, steps that we are taking. So again, we just recently launched this whole new revival campaign – testing a lot of different things. The email cadence: so we changed that from four emails over a week to eight to ten emails over three weeks.

We felt like starting small and kind of seeing results and really building from that. In the next slide, I'll kind of show you where we started really small and saw great results. A/B testing everything. So we're testing, again, subject lines, creative content, CTAs, etcetera.

Something big coming up. I was actually going to use today to announce this, but it's a few weeks away. We're launching a new company name in a few weeks and we're also launching a new website. Once we launch the new website, the user experience in itself is going to be incredibly better. It's going to be very informational, very informative of how to take the test.

Right now, to tell somebody, "It's an online vision test, it's really easy, and it takes ten minutes,” what does that mean? So to walk you through: it's the E part of the test, it's the color vision test, it's the acuity part of the test, it's the refraction part of the test. It's not a full, comprehensive eye exam and it literally takes ten minutes.

And within less than 24 hours, you'll have a new prescription. I think just having a new website that's super informative and will walk them through these steps more clearly will help.

New company name. So, I don't know how many of you know of Opternative or the industry. Opternative has carried a negative connotation, because it sounds like we're an alternative to a doctor, and we're actually the opposite.

We partner with doctors. We work with doctors. It's going to be a huge part of our business, now and moving forward. So I think just finding a name that aligns who we are, what we want to do in our future, and our mission and vision, makes sense to us.

We just recently launched really aggressive media campaigns. Aggressive media campaigns on all the major platforms again to drive brand awareness.

We'll have a lot when we launch the new name to drive consumer brand, traffic for our partners, and overall, just pulling these consumers to the tights and very educational. We launch a lot of surveys, and so we've really honed in to launch more consumer surveys about, again, just the whole test.

What's working? What's not? Why are they dropping off? Where are they dropping off and why? And that data has been critical. And then, again, redesigning product. So we're going to kind of look at the different touch points in product and just make the user experience a lot easier.

I'll go through these quickly, but as I mentioned, kind of making just really little tweaks, we saw a huge improvement. So, after 15 days, we sent 11,465 emails. All we did was adjust the subject line and minimal copy changes. And you can see here, open rate went from 29.1 percent to almost 32 percent.

Our click went from 4.7 to 6.0, and our conversion went from 3.8 to 4.4. So it looks small, but this is massive to us. So each percentage is an incredible amount of revenue for the company, and it was minor, minor changes we made.

In the second one here, all we changed was the subject line. And again, you can see: open rate went from 18.3 percent to almost 25 percent. Click went up, and our conversion went from 1.8 to 2.1. So it kind of told us that, as we're testing out all of these little things. And then how do we make that bigger and bigger and really grow it.


And just to end, so, in terms of creative, what we realized is a lot of the campaigns prior had a lot of medical speak and just terminology that most consumers wouldn't understand. We were saying things or talking about parts of the test that I don't think any of us in this room would understand unless they really understand the space in the eye.

So we just changed all the language to be very simple. An acuity test – I don't know if any of you guys know what that even means. So really changing the language to be direct, simple, informative. And then, we decided to do a lot of email campaigns coming from our founder Dr. Lee or one of our other doctors – we work with so many of them.

These are the doctors that are reviewing the results and these are the doctors that are writing the prescription. So if I'm a consumer – if I'm a patient – I would want to hear from them. I would want to know that this is legitimate. There's a doctor reviewing this. It's not someone behind Opternative looking at my stuff and coming up with a prescription.

So kind of to end, we just did some kind of small iterative updates to really lead to large changes down the funnel. Our initial goal is to increase by five percent by the end of the year.

We'll see what next year holds. But again, I think, as you optimize, as you A/B test, as you really focus on content and always just sending relevant content – depending on where they are within the cycle of the test – we should see a huge improvement. And again, just making everything simple and clear, and then design at the forefront.

I'm a big believer in content, and having relevant content and messaging for your appropriate audiences. So, that's all I have.