The issues were corrected and additional website marketing helped the company go from $30,000 to $970,000 net over eight months.
The company had a decrease in the number and quality of contacts they received from their website due to several poor marketing decisions including a redesigned website. This caused their sales pipeline to dry up over several months which was the opposite of what they expected from their redesign. Without those sales, and with heavy investment in the redesign, they found themselves in a tough spot financially.
The individuals that contacted us didn’t know the detailed inner workings of their lead generation. They were financial numbers people. So the initial work had to focus on learning about the business, how it generated leads, how it turned these leads into sales and how the website fit into this process.
We needed to:
- Understand how marketing, sales and the website performed when things “were good”
- Understand how marketing, sales and the website performed now that things “were bad”
- Identify issues that caused things to “be bad”
- Develop a solution to correct the issues
- Implement this solution over a period of time
- Monitor improvement in the situation over time
The first step we took was performing a website audit. We used Google Analytics, Screaming Frog, AHREFs, a text analyzer for word frequency and human page-by-page review to analyze the content and context of the website. Context is important because the words you use, don’t use and how you use them can work for or against you with search engines.
We looked for answers to these questions:
- How has the website historically generated contacts and sales?
- How was this affected in recent months?
- Did the redesign cause these changes?
- What else could have caused these changes?
Issues & Solutions
Decrease in relevant searches
Our audit showed that there was no significant decrease in organic search engine visits. However, there was a ranking shift for keywords with specific intent. Instead of customers, they had window shoppers. And, alarmingly, this was intentional.
The strategy behind the new website branding was a common one: position the company as a luxury brand to justify higher pricing. The new website removed all mention of where the company performed their services because the location was seen as only appealing to price conscious shoppers. This was a poor strategy because their entire industry caters to low income buyers. If the individual had a higher income, they would choose a local provider. This strategy caused the company to lose visits from people who were most likely to become customers.
Instead they received visits from people searching for similar services who had no real intention of visiting the client’s location. These people contacted the company less often but when they did, they wasted the sales team’s time because the website wasn’t clear about what the business offered. The new visitors didn’t realize the company, despite having a national presence, only performed service in a specific area that required travel.
An SEO company would likely miss this. Taking a step back and looking at the whole business allows you to understand the real issues that affect revenue.
We corrected this by performing a search engine optimization and content campaign over eight months that included:
- Adding the location information back into the website’s copy including adding it back to their logo’s tagline
- Re-optimizing all pages on the website for search engines to include the location information
- Adding 65 pieces of supporting content around their primary service offerings and location
- Increase of 432% year-over-year for organic search engine traffic and top three spots in Google for their core services.
Shift in advertising to poor performing channel
Another change, and likely the largest negative impact on their business, was a shift in advertising.
The company was spending $25,000 per month on Google Ads and had 10 leads per day. When they redesigned their website, they broke connections between the website and Google Ads. This made their ads perform poorly, costing the same amount but delivering half the leads. That equates to at least $135,000 in lost revenue per month.
This continued for three months. Without knowing the cause of the problem, the company’s marketing director decided that Google was no longer worth investing in and moved their ad money to Facebook advertising.
The intent behind Facebook and Google is very different. Someone on Facebook isn’t actively searching for something. You’re putting a billboard up in front of someone you think might be interested. Someone on Google is quite literally searching. There’s a big difference in how these people will interact with your website and how much information they’re willing to give you.
Despite spending the same amount of money to generate four times the traffic from Facebook, the number of qualified contacts from Facebook stayed the same. This caused the company’s sales to slide because they moved money from something that was working, although half as well, to something that was not working at all. This resulted in an additional $135,000 minimum in lost revenue ($270,000 lost since stopping Google Ads) since they were not driving new qualified leads from Google Ads or Facebook.
We corrected this by:
- Reconnecting the links between Google Ads and their website.
- Setting up conversion data properly.
- Moving their ad dollars back to Google Ads using an initial test budget of $8,000 per month until we could make the investment profitable.
- Scaling the ad budget up to $50,000 per month while maintaining at least a 500% return on investment.
- Finding a suitable re-targeting vendor that could run re-marketing ads in a restricted category that Google Ads would not allow.
- Building a nine-month weekly email drip campaign to stay in front of prospects during the long buying cycle.
- Increased conversion rate from Google Ads by 235%, going from an average of 5.71% to 13.42%, while driving an additional 890 leads per month for a nationwide healthcare service with a minimum sale value of $4,500.
- Estimated minimum annual increase in revenue of $4.8 million from Google Ads with an ad budget of $600,000.
- Increased sales conversion rate by 20% for an estimated minimum annual increase in revenue of $1.2 million.
Responsive website but not mobile friendly
The previous website was a non-responsive desktop website. When people viewed the website on their phones they would have to pinch-zoom to move around different areas of each web page. 80% of the company’s website visitors were using their mobile phones. The decision to redesign the website using responsive design was a great idea, however it was executed poorly.
The new website was much slower. The homepage took 24 seconds to load and received a 9 out of 100 on Google Pagespeed’s mobile friendly test.
The slowness was due to:
- Self-hosting the website on an outdated web server that couldn’t run WordPress efficiently.
- The number of full resolution photos on webpages.
- Custom scripts placed in the header of the whole site to do basic functions on a few pages.
- A bloated WordPress theme.
- Too many WordPress plugins.
We corrected this by:
- Migrating the website to a new hosting environment that was HIPAA friendly which reduced their liability with their patients’ private health information.
- Reducing the file size of photos by compressing and re-uploading them. We also setup GZIP compression and other website caching.
- Replaced the custom scripts with less resource heavy solutions. For ones that couldn’t be replaced we used Google Tag Manager to fire them only on necessary pages.
- Worked around the theme using a less resource heavy page builder for key pages.
- Removed unnecessary WordPress plugins.
- An improvement of 58 points on the Google PageSpeed mobile test.
- A reduction in load time of 20.5 seconds (new load time: 3.5 seconds)
Prices removed from the website
With the website’s new strategy of focusing on a higher end consumer, the decision was made to remove all pricing on the website. The problem with this strategy, as previously mentioned, is that the majority of customers were making their buying decision on price.
Not listing their prices on the website caused visitors to:
- Leave the website out of frustration
- Contact sales people just wanting to know how much the service cost
There is an argument to be made that prices should not be listed on the website and by leaving them off the company could generate more basic lead information.
However, the issues with this line of thought are:
- The company’s industry caters to low-income shoppers who have dozens of options and they make their decision largely on pricing first.
- By listing pricing on their old website, the company gave people who could afford the offering an indicator that they were in the right place. This was missing on the new website.
- Anyone who sees the pricing as too high for them might leave, but they are not the company’s target customer.
- The sales team had a process that involved calling every lead five times and emailing them three times. They were overwhelmed and had low morale from pursuing less qualified people who just wanted price information.
We corrected this by:
- Adding user testing software to the website so we could monitor how people interacted with the website.
- Testing a new menu item called “Pricing” to the top navigation that sent visitors to a page breaking down what was included for the pricing.
“Pricing” menu item received 500% more clicks than other options in the top navigation which kept people on the website longer and increased qualified contacts with sales.
Contact form field length increased
This problem is a great example of how multiple factors can lead to poor decision making that affects marketing.
As discussed earlier, the intent of the visitors changed. Due to turning off Google Ads and starting up Facebook ads, the volume of leads increased but the quality decreased. This was in part because the new ads were targeting people based loosely on what they were interested in, not what they were searching for in the moment.
The leads on Facebook were generated using a lead generation format that asked for two pieces of information: name and email. These ads flooded the sales team with hundreds of low-quality, poorly educated consumers per day.
This experience caused the sales team to demand stricter contact forms and they made their main website contact form have twenty-four required form fields in an effort to screen out “tire kickers.” Their previous website had a simple contact form with seven fields. That’s a 342% increase in fields. If the old form took four minutes to fill out, you might expect it to take thirteen minutes now. This caused the number of conversions to drop site-wide, not just for Facebook, as even qualified people thought this was too much information to submit in the early interest stage.
Better alternatives would have been:
- Adding the existing seven-field contact form to the Facebook ads
- Adjusting the targeting of Facebook ads to get more qualified individuals
- Shifting money back into Google Ads
- Experimenting with more targeted advertising
We corrected this by:
- Negotiating with sales to reduce the form fields to fourteen
- Creating a “tabbed” contact form that broke the long form into smaller chunks of information
- Increased the conversion rate of contact page visitors by 101% over the previous form.
We were able to partner with this client in the success of their business. They had many technical and strategic marketing issues that caused them to be unprofitable. By developing a strategy and process to fix the issues, we reduced their risk and maximized their profits. The website redesign was the starting point of many bad decisions that we were able to reverse.
Aside from what was listed above we were able to help them save $240,000 per year in unprofitable marketing expenses, find an IT partner to reduce internal labor costs, become HIPAA compliant, provide sales collateral and offer on-demand marketing consulting and best practices.