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This chapter is from the book

Online Sales Engine Success Stories

We also quote several case studies throughout this book, which are from real life and relate directly to the subject of each chapter. Let's wrap up this chapter by looking at a few case studies of companies that have applied the online sales engine to improve their bottom lines.

Case Study: Moving into New Global Markets

One high-tech company, spun out of a major research university, develops high-performance cell-analysis systems at a fraction of the cost of competitors. This new start-up company needed to break into an existing and highly competitive market: life-science research equipment.

They needed to build a U.S. presence and break into the international community for their market. The strategy entailed SEO and ongoing paid search in the United States, South America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.

Landing page testing and analysis was part of the package, ensuring that the target market for each country found just what they needed, when they needed it. Advanced strategies with Google Analytics were applied, to measure progress in new geographic markets. The company adapted this same data to inform offline marketing decisions and new target areas.

By applying the online sales engine metrics tools, they are able to follow their online traffic all the way into their CRM system. This way, they know which efforts have the biggest payoff in each country.

After working on these efforts for 2 years, they saw their cost per lead decrease by 64% and their conversion rate more than double. The results from their online lead tracking combined with in-depth website analysis is guiding their Internet marketing strategy for the coming year.

Case Study: Manufacturing Company Improves Sales

A manufacturer and installation service company for custom security systems needed to expand its reach and drive new sales. The new website just wasn't pulling in the target number or quality of leads they were hoping to garner, despite aggressive marketing efforts.

The strategy to drive more traffic involved focusing on the Google AdWords account to help the company realize return for its advertising expenses. The advertising funds weren't being spent as wisely as they could have been. The AdWords account was reorganized to focus on the keywords that would deliver the best leads back to the company. Expensive keywords that weren't entirely relevant to the business were eliminated, making advertising an effective driver of sales leads.

The impact of online advertising was further increased by more effective landing pages. Many savvy marketers miss the importance of a landing page that delivers, in a compelling way, the exact information a person is seeking when clicking an ad.

The website copy was also improved, adding keyword-rich text throughout, to improve search engine visibility. The effort also included redesigning the company's website and appropriately indexing the website with Google, to support organic search results.

The end effect was that the organic search rankings improved dramatically. More important, they began driving sales for the first time from their website, achieving just under $2 million in online sales by the end of their first full year with the new strategy.

This translated to nearly $20 in sales for every $1 spent on advertising. The following year, continuing optimizations allowed for an additional 40% increase in revenue with only a 30% increase in advertising spend.

Case Study: Large Childcare Provider Increases Web Conversions

A large provider of early education and care services to children between 6 weeks and 12 years of age wanted to leverage the web to deliver new business leads in a slow economy. With multiple brands, more than 1,100 schools (corporate and franchise) serving over 100,000 children in the United States and internationally, the company was using its brand websites as the primary point of contact to communicate both with prospects and existing customers.

Initial efforts after the initial website launch involved website analytics, paid search, and SEO, although the company was unsatisfied with the outcome of those efforts. They wanted to improve both their online presence and marketing efficiency.

Paid search improvements were tackled first; website-based lead generation was the primary measure of success for the project. A costly website redesign was avoided by identifying ways to rearrange and edit existing website content for increased effectiveness. Paid search was also integrated more fully into existing online marketing efforts, as part of a comprehensive online strategy.

Conversion rates were improved by applying usability improvements. These came from directly assessing website visitor behavior and interviewing both users and the sales team. Paid search campaigns were moved beyond just Google to Yahoo! and MSN, and the conversion rates improved by creating geotargeted landing pages.

The result from these usability, landing page, and paid search campaign changes was that the cost per conversion steadily declined in all three paid search programs and conversion rates increased overall by 35% over a 2-year period. In addition, advertising costs were reduced by 5% for a competitive keyword marketplace.

Case Study: Major Software Company Grows Sales

One of the world's leading organizations in optimizing application performance, this computer industry leader provides software, experts, and best practices to ensure applications work well and deliver business value. Supporting 46 of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies, and 12 of the top 20 most visited U.S. websites, the diversity of their products, services, and target audiences demands a measured, integrated visibility strategy.

Their initial goal was to appear on "page one" for search engine results listings and paid search results. They also were posing great questions among themselves, such as "How can we build upon and improve our existing online marketing efforts?"

Many strategic online elements were already in place: a successful website, analytics tools, a paid search program, and a talented team poised to implement a profitable visibility strategy. A plan focusing on earning the top spots in online search for multiple languages emerged. Additional objectives included elevating specific company solutions and reinforcing an international presence.

Three key components drove the success of their new online marketing initiative:

  • A review of the infrastructure for search engine optimization: Search engine visibility improved significantly for nonbranded terms through implementation of a structured strategy for URL taxonomies, page redirection, page design, link building, and more.

    With numerous complex websites within the corporate global network, evaluating and leveraging existing content is key, as both the organization and its websites continue to grow.

  • Integrating online lead tracking into their CRM system: Integrating search marketing activities with lead source tracking now links how customers are finding the company online and the effectiveness of their online marketing activities in converting online interest into sales.
  • Paid search arbitrage: Building on existing successful paid search campaigns, the next level adds depth using a word market strategy and provides a strategy for the aggressive optimization of individual campaign elements, particularly landing page optimization.

    You learn more about the word market in the section "Speak Your Audience's Language: The Real Search Engine Optimization" in Chapter 5, "The Audience Is Listening (What Will You Say?)."

The company has deepened their level of expertise in the area of search marketing. In addition to investing in online marketing efforts, they are now getting a return on those efforts through metrics: tracking, analyzing, and measuring data. Their newly created online sales engine uses the web to drive and convert customers.

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