One would argue that small businesses cannot benefit from having a website. After all for things like power products, people simply go out in the market and buy. There is no role of website for a local store. It would be more of an overhead for the business owner.
Our client’s online marketing success story can dismiss all such arguments. Today this local battery store gets more than 50% of its business through online channel. And their website is yet to be e-commerce enabled.
The competition has become fierce in the local market for the power products. Margins have gone down for this client with squeezed profits throughout the distribution chain- from distributor to retailer. Traditional media marketing like newspapers are not giving returns which they used to at one point of time.
The client had recently moved out from manufacturing into retail business model with distribution of major brands. With a new retail outlet, they were struggling with sales.
OH! Digital team proposed organic SEO to create an alternate source of sales through online channel.
In this post, I’ll be covering the following aspects of the case study.
-Why we proposed SEO
-Summary of results
-Our approach towards SEO implementation
Why we chose SEO as online marketing strategy?
- We found that within local client base, many have started accessing local listings and online search to find sellers. They want to inquire about product availability and pricing before they set out to make the final purchase, avoiding travel and pain of physically finding vendors and places.
- SEO was chosen keeping long term goals of creating an alternate source of business leads for the client. Other option was Paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Although SEM was a better option to generating leads, but it is expensive. SEO has a positive impact on organic traffic. It takes time, but works well as a long term strategy.
- The search engines display the results based on geographically related keywords used in the search query. Local SEO gives an opportunity to this brick and mortar client to be visible exactly when the potential customer searches online with target location.
Summary of Results:
- More than 60% of client’s B2B business is generated through online channels. B2B customers are fewer as compared to B2C but are larger, as they give higher rupee value of the sale.
- Promoted website reached more customers than would ever be able to simply walk through their doors. Business inquiries from other parts of the country have skyrocketed. These leads are mostly for the products which are not available in the enquirer’s location or state.
- Conversion rates have improved because of the online profile
- Increased daily local B2C inquiries over and above in-store footfall.
Step 1: Improve conversion rate of business inquiries coming through existing channels
- As first step, our team created a website for this client to create the foundation of their online marketing.
We started online marketing of this site much later. Before that, the client started sharing the new website link on other existing marketing channels and in B2B proposals.
Result: Website helped improve the conversion rate for client.Providing the link of a professional looking website to potential customer increases the chances of influencing their decision.
It takes time to improve visibility and increase traffic on website, but it proved worthwhile.
- When we were gearing up to start website design, our client asked us:
“Why not use a Facebook or Google+ page instead of getting a website? It’s free.”
Website is an owned media. Client owns the code, its content, design and its future enhancements. Platforms like Facebook are borrowed media, where who sees what is controlled by algorithms and we are dealing with third party’s terms and conditions. What if tomorrow Facebook deletes the account or changes how information appears on the page?
Client has no control.
Secondly, company website and social media pages are meant to achieve different marketing goals. Instead of trying to replace one for another, online marketing strategy with a combination of both would be more rewarding.
Step 2: Optimize the website for search engines
I won’t say step 1 and 2 were mutually exclusive. While we were working on the information architecture of the website, we also did the following:
- performed keyword research and competition analysis for SEO.
- developed search engine friendly site structure
- We optimized content for local SEO and for product related shortlisted keywords.
- We also added custom forms to all product pages to capture leads. Sometimes people find it simpler to just submit a form for inquiry instead of calling.
Result: Few pages started ranking with on-page optimization. In Google Analytics, we saw a slight increase in organic website traffic.
Step 3: Promote the website to push the rankings up in search results, especially for local customers
Among other off-page SEO techniques, we promoted this website in local listings and business directories.
Thousands of people visit online business directories everyday to find product or service providers they are interested in. When an online visitor sees your website link in an online directory, they are be able to click on it and be instantly re-directed to your website.
Once on the website, optimized content and overall experience has the potential to generate the business inquiries.
- The client started seeing an increase in online business generated. At present, 50% of all their revenue is generated through all online channels combined.
- Although our primary target was to increase B2C sales, client started getting more B2B inquiries as well.
- Direct B2C and B2B inquiries from outside the target city have increased considerably. Earlier dealer network was the only source of out-of-town sales.