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Have you ever thought how hard it is to launch a successful business? Many sources state that more than 90% of all ecommerce startups fail within the first 4 months. Yes, success in ecommerce is pretty tough. But saving a dying business is even tougher.
Now, imagine an ecommerce business with a crippled website: no google rankings, no funnels, no email marketing, no customer support and, as a consequence, no sales. This is the story of Mobile Signal Boosters: an ecommerce shop for signal amplifiers. MSB turned to us to get a strategic booting plan of website optimization for search engines.
Taking the project was quite a challenge, and we embarked on a year-long journey crafting almost every aspect of MSB’s digital marketing strategy and carving seo campaigns for best results.
At the end of the MSB project results, we come to impressive numbers:
There in the Boosters’ company they couldn’t even expect such success in just one year.
Thorough analysis helped our team identify the main issues and challenges, we sought out the most proper solution methods and mechanisms for each problem. All our actions were carefully planned and goals clearly stated.
So, first things first: analysis. It showed that MSB had 4 fundamental problems:
Not to seem unfair, most ecommerce businesses experience at least one of these. That’s mostly because they don’t really engage in strategic planning. Usually they don’t assign this work to specialists or they lack proper knowledge how to run an ecommerce business.
Here, MSB didn’t have a buyer avatar or a general message that spoke to the target audience. It was trying to sell their products to the wrong target market. But to know what your customers want you need to first understand who they are.
Answers to questions like who needs a signal booster? Why do they buy it ? What are their main concerns when buying? will help build a business persona – your customer avatar.
For MSB we used Google analytics, studied public reviews of competitors, their target market, their buyers’ social profiles, etc. This way we found all the answers we were looking for. After, we proceeded to generating a universal message to MSB target market.
The findings revealed the main frustration trigger that united all buyers: low signal bars, so the message became “…from 1 signal bar to 5 instantly!”
Why is what you offer better than the competitors’? There is a need for a reasonable answer to this question. It may be the price, value or the service. Or maybe all at once or even something more.
Value proposition is the innovative, great value, a feature or a service that make your product line attractive to your customers. Thus you promise your value will be delivered to the customers making them expect aqcuiring or gaining the value.
Along with this, unique selling proposition is a marketing concept – a key point in differentiation. Of course, you should always provide great value to the buyers, but without strong USP your potential customers will always be able to find another brand/store/business providing good value and having something unique.
MSB had tried to take advantage over competitors with extensive refund policy of 6 months and a 3-year warranty. But this method didn’t work properly, as it was not dictated by the market.
People abused the offer purchasing boosters and sending back it for a full refund in 6 months.
The main promoted product was an extra powerful signal booster covering a large area. Because of extra power features it was sold for an astronomically high price. This did not appeal to any segment of the price-sensitive market.
Our price-focus strategy turned 6 months refund period to 30 days thus keeping “freebie-seekers” at bay, and reducing warranty period by 1 year matching it to the competitors’ offers.
Earlier research had shown that the biggest market segment was for boosters covering 100-150 m² so we shifted the promotion focus to a good quality booster for areas up to 150 m².
The most competitively priced booster on the market for areas up to 140 m² had a price of £315. We suggested pricing our 150 m² booster 30% cheaper, £205. As expected, this became the bestseller gaining 27% of all booster views.
The focus was shifted from the refund and warranty policies to the price and it turned out to be a great marketing decision.
To sum up the methods and techniques we used, here are four tips and tricks for you to use further in your ecommerce business marketing strategies.
In the beginning, when we just started the “MSB project,” we utilized SEO, PPC (shopping, display) video ads, etc. as main sources of traffic. Later we developed separate funnels for different types of traffic for each traffic type. That produced an increase in conversions by 43%!
After conducting a research based on the initial data we had, we were able to distinguish 3 main groups of signal booster buyers, we will refer to them as cold, warm and hot traffic.
For MSB the hottest traffic is composed of people who are aware of the product: have visited the website, have looked through products and exposed a behaviour indicating a high interest in MSB’s products.
We reached this traffic mainly by retargeting – using mechanism for getting back abandoned customers. We managed to increase the conversion rates of the online store by 473% simply through website optimization and creating user-friendly website-surfing experience.
People already aware of the product but still unsure what type they needed and from which company they should buy it are among the warm ones. As it turned out, the main obstacle for buying was being unsure if the booster can resolve their issue or not. And if yes, was the quality of the boosters high enough, how to pick the right booster, etc.?
We developed a funnel which would tap into the ongoing consideration phase of potential buyers and give them valuable reasons to shop with MSB.
We put together a web-page entitled, “Get rid of your poor signal issue once and for all” and wrote an educational sales copy to outline the main objections and concerns the warm prospects had.
The Biggest segment: unaware of the product but well aware of the problem they had.
While doing our research, we came across a study that claimed that 29% of the UK’s entire population suffers from poor signal issues. That would make tens of millions of potential customers. Yet, the absolute majority was clueless to what a signal booster was. So, we chose to build an educational funnel for turning the cold traffic hot.
Our content management team wrote an article for Mobile Signal Boosters’ website titled “7 ways to improve your mobile phone signal instantly” telling the reader about 6 valid (but temporary!) ways to resolve the issue and presented the 7th option- a one-stop solution for a poor signal: a “signal booster.” When they clicked the button to reveal more, we would keep marketing them the way we promoted signal boosters to the warm traffic.
When we just started with MSB promotion we aspired to generate profits as fast as possible. That’s why we went with the fastest, most reliable traffic-pulling channel — search engine ads.
First we implemented several paid search strategies to see what works best in terms of return on investment (ROI).
MSB had a thin budget, and, to reduce risks, we went for manual bidding strategies instead of automated ones. With automation bidding strategy set on maximum conversions Google would spend as much as required to provide best results. The max cost per click (CPC) we set was $1.5. Manual tracking helped to sort out what works best. Analysis of ROI for each keyword allowed us to remove the useless ones. Due to this manual bidding strategy after just 1-month MSB increased its profits by 400% cutting the ad costs at the same time.
Along with all of this, shopping ads were one of the priority traffic channels. After some minor changes made in the merchant centre feed (product titles, descriptions, etc.) the conversion shopping ads increased by 47% without raising the cost of bids.Shopping ads resulted in a 34% rise in traffic and increased the average order value from £101.3 to £122. Yet, the cost per conversion decreased by endearing 12%!
Our team’s approach to the overall marketing strategy included many visual elements, we started testing YouTube ads — video clips playing before, during or at the end of the YouTube videos. The ROI turned out to be not good enough, so we also tested YouTube banner ads popping up to the target audience during the YouTube video.
This strategy worked great and from September 1 to November 1 video shopping ads brought in 41 additional conversions at a cost of $7.98 per conversion at an average order value of £231!
In general, coupon marketing is just a minor traffic channel, but is totally free! It has brought in 31 additional sales from October 4 to November 4 for MSB at no expense.
Here are the coupon websites we used in promoting our discounts and special offers:
Aside from doing a keyword research for relevant, targeted keywords we also made sure that the following elements of the website are properly optimized. Strategic placement of the images is the main means of communication for products’ visuals, so we changed images on MSB’s website to make sure they clearly convey the idea of what the store is selling. We also changed product images — replacing them with more attractive ones, with higher resolution and better quality. Yet, we also made sure the pictures of products are not too heavy and load fast and smoothly to improve the user experience. That allowed the store gain a higher reputation score with Google.
Metadata is the language of search engines. If your web page has broken links, poorly optimized descriptions, keywords, etc. search engines are going to dismiss it out of hand. That’s where the algorithm called Rankbrain kicks in. Rankbrain shows how users interact with search results and sorts the results to provide the best user experience. According to this algorithm components meta titles and descriptions should not only be SEO-focused but also emotional to attract clicks.
Otherwise called, “cross-linking within inner pages” also in a way improves rankings with search engines. Interlinking is the process of tactically placing on the web pages of your website links to other relevant pages within your online store.
It is also important (SEO-wise) to include links leading to the relevant content on other high-authority websites. For example, to further increase MSB’s rankings we included links to several BBC’s and CNN’s articles about poor signal issues.
Our research showed that topics about poor signal issues in general and signal boosters in particular would interest MSB’s visitors. We made a decision to hire a writer specialized in the exact same area as the article topic to make sure to deliver the highest-quality content written by a person who really “knows the drill” and is able to communicate the subject of interest in the way most comprehensible for the target audience.
We got a useful, educational, interesting and thus it succeeded to provide high value to our reader: it resulted in many visits and was shared many times.
Off-page SEO is all the activity that happened out of and away from your website and still works to raise your website’s ranking.
The importance of backlinks is dictated by the way Google’s algorithm calculates website’s value for consumers. The more backlinks from high-authority websites a store has, the more valuable it is for the customers.
There are digital fraudulent agencies offering backlinks from high-authority website, but that “black-hat” SEO is a trigger for Google to blacklist a website. That’s why we implement exclusively white-hat strategies. We get backlinks by reaching out to high-authority websites which are relevant to your specific niche. We pick websites manually to ensure there’s no mistake and the it really has high authority.
For MSB we turned to the world’s top outlets and managed to provide MSB with a backlink and an article from the Huffington Post. That one backlink has been providing MSB with highly-targeted, additional 300 monthly visitors for the last three months!
Having a steady flow of customers coming through paid search ads we made sure we don’t lose them forever. It was decided to build a whole remarketing plan to various channels to get back the customers who left without buying. We created remarketing lists for of visitors who have left specific pages on MSB’s – a different strategy depending on from which page the visitor left.
We broke down the lists into categories — the higher the priority the higher the chance the visitor would come back and buy, and targeted them by recentness so that we could show different ads with different bids.
We started running display ads for Mobile signal boosters in March and in one month MSB’s traffic had increased by 30%, the conversion had increased by 12%! We segmented website’s visitors by several criteria like:
Due to this we were able to display highly targeted remarketing ads, offer customized products and discounts for each visitor.
This pop-ups are triggered whenever a person reaches the checkout page and decides to leave it or views 5 pages.
When the visitor tries to exit, a pop-up offers them to leave an email and get a 5% discount. Here we achieved a sign up rate of 32%.
5 pages view pop-up provided us with a subscription rate of 11%. They met the criteria of indecisiveness (surfing more than 5 pages). This number was taken from an analysis of how many pages a buyer views before purchasing a booster.
All who left their email and went away without buying were set separate campaigns depending on their behaviour. Retargeting people who reached the checkout page but left without buying via a whole separate set of emails, calls to action and even tools proved to be particularly effective.
After testing a number of abandoned cart solutions, we settled for retargeting through email + SMS. The results turned to be great.
A funnel analysis is conducted in order to see the overall buyer journey to the purchase in the eyes of an expert. It also gives an insight on the way the user interacts with the website. After, we drill deeper to spot any weak links in the funnel. We noticed an enormous user drop-down in transition from the home page to the funnel page. That meant that the intermediate step, lying in between the home page and product page (the category page) carries a flaw which should be fixed.
Heatmap is a software that allows analyzing what and where do people click on a certain page. For instance, when we determined the problem lying in the category page, we started analysing the clicks on that page. This could be a hint on what a page needs to work to its fullest and what it doesn’t.
This is the deepest level of UX analysis. After discovering where exactly the funnel malfunctions and what causes the malfunction it’s time to see how that malfunction shall be removed. We do this through watching the recordings through a customer behaviour recording software (we use HotJar). Hotjar allows to view the recording of how the visitor interacted on the website on each and every page.
So how did it happen that we managed to successfully implement this project? Thorough analysis helped our team identify the main issues and challenges, we sought out the most proper solution methods and mechanisms for each problem. The carefully implemented strategic planning allowed us to achieve grand results in small portions, constantly testing ideas and solutions.
MSB project results, we come to impressive numbers:
Organic traffic increased by 1353%
Now MSB revenue is more than £80,000 per month
Customer database increased by 213%
At this moment MSB has over 30.000 customers all over the world
ROI for organic traffic increased by 1200%
For every £1 spent MSB now earns £8