How a failing business outperformed competitors and reached £ 1.5 MM annual revenue

Have you ever thought how is that possible for a nearly dying business to revive and become the absolute dominant in their niche? It’s absolutely real. And it is one of the projects we are so proud of!
PPC, SEO, conversion optimisation and correct traffic segmentation didn’t make them wait for results for long!

Posted on 29.08.2019 | by Susan M.

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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. Why do small businesses fail you may ask? Let’s discuss the details further. And 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 and to see how to save a failing small business.

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, the businesses product roadmap and carving SEO campaigns for best results and answer the question on how to save a failing small business.

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 and such a growth of annual business revenue.

The 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 on how to run an eCommerce business. Thus small business annual revenue stays small.

1) Vague Target Market

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. This is one of the reasons why small businesses fail. But to know what your customers want, first, you need to 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.

Customer avatar example

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 generate 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!

2) Poor Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

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.

A 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 to acquire or to gain the value.

Along with this, a 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. This is another point on why businesses fail – lack of good USP.

Refund & Warranty Policies

MSB had tried to take advantage over competitors with the 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 it back for a full refund in 6 months.

Price Focus Strategy

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.

3) Poor Traffic Segmentation& Targeting

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%! Thus drastically growing the average annual revenue.

After conducting 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.

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 the 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 a user-friendly website-surfing experience.

Warm Traffic

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.

Cold Traffic

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 about 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.


“Quick-Sale” Traffic Channels

Search Ads

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 the 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.

Shopping Ads

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 £149 to £228. Yet, the cost per conversion decreased by endearing 36%!






Video

YouTube Video Ad

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!



Coupon Marketing

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:

MSB Promotions and Coupons


Like a Coupon
Coupons and Deals
Dealspotr
Hot deals
Retail me not
Coupon birds
Gvvds
Offers.com




SEO strategy


Images

Aside from doing 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 to gain a higher reputation score with Google.

Metadata

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 sort 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.

Interlinking

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.

Outgoing links

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.

Content Optimization

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.

Backlinks

Off-page SEO is all the activity that happens 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 the website’s value for consumers. The more backlinks from high-authority websites a store have, the more valuable it is for the customers.

There are digital fraudulent agencies offering backlinks from a 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 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, an additional 300 monthly visitors for the last three months!

Remarketing

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 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.

Display Ads Remarketing

10% Discount as Display Ad

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 the website’s visitors by several criteria like:

  • Specific web-pages visited
  • Time spent on each page
  • Overall course of action (buttons, links clicked, time spent on the page after clicking, etc.)

Due to this, we were able to display highly targeted remarketing ads, offer customized products and discounts for each visitor.


Exit Checkout and 5 Pages View Pop-ups

Exit Pop-Up

These 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. 

Abandoned Cart and SMS Regatgeting

Email Discount

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 on retargeting through email + SMS. The results turned out to be great!




4) Conversion Optimization

There’s a variety of tools you can use to analyze the website’s UX (user experience) performance. Here are the 3 major ones:

  • Funnel analysis
  • Heatmaps
  • Recording user behaviour


Funnels

Conversion Funnel

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 into 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 dropoff in the transition from the home page to the product 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.

Heatmaps

MSB Website Heatmap. Category: Home

Heatmap is a software that allows analyzing what and where do people click on a certain page. For instance, when we determined the problem lies in the category page, we started analyzing 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.

Watching Recordings

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 by watching the recordings through a customer behaviour recording software (we use HotJar). Hotjar allows viewing the recording of how the visitor interacted on the website on each and every page.


Conclusion

So how did it happen that we managed to successfully implement this project? The 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:

All traffic increased by 880%
Organic traffic increased by 1353%
Clients’ database increased by 275%
ROI increased by 450%
#1 SERP positions 
At this moment MSB has over 20.000 customers all over the world
Now MSB revenue is more than £80,000 per month
For every £1 spent MSB now earns £5

Susan M.

SEO is both a science and art. With the right SEO agencies, you will get rankings and full strategy in a short time-period.