We all know what it’s like to want results now. But when you work with us, be careful what you wish for! Read on for a case study of a client who asked us to tone it down just 20 days into their launch—because they just couldn’t fulfill all the service requests they were getting from their website.
Earlier this year, an established masonry restoration company was ready to create a spinoff company to deal with stucco repair and remediation. Stucco Today was the company that was created to deal with the high demand they were facing, and it needed a full brand identity and online presence. The company was already into its busiest time of year, so we had no time to waste in creating the site and getting it in front of the target market.
We made sure that the client knew that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not magic. You will not see results overnight. Depending on the competitiveness of your keywords, you may never see your site at the coveted first position in the Google search results (although if anyone can get you there, we can). However, SEO does work, and you will get results in time. If you need results immediately, we can get them for you with AdWords, since we’re experts there as well.
Stucco Today was ready for their results yesterday, so we jumped right in with an AdWords campaign and a plan to create video testimonials that potential clients would find irresistible.
Video Makes It Happen
First things first. Before advertising can be effective, a solid brand identity needs to be created. The logo, letterhead, and sales collateral—all the fun design stuff—needs to be conceived and approved. We did that at lightning speed, and the client was over the moon with our creative. And, of course, the most important ingredient in the success of any Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign is a website that is designed according to the latest best practices and—most importantly—turns website visitors into paying clients.
You may be wondering: what was the rationale behind creating video content for a stucco restoration company? It probably doesn’t immediately strike you as the sort of content that goes viral, right? Well, as we do with every client, our team put their heads together to come up with a marketing plan that was tailor made for Stucco Today and the needs of its market, and when we really thought about it, video content made perfect sense.
Think about it: contractors are much more likely to be loathed than they are to be loved. Even when they do quality work within budget and within the timeframe originally specified, it’s difficult to establish a great reputation when there are so many contractors who create frustration and unnecessary expense for their clients. We decided that testimonials could help bridge the gap.
The decision to create video content around these testimonials became obvious the more and more we thought about it. Video was the best solution to communicate the drama and excitement of taking a construction project from inception to completion. Written content was completely inadequate to communicate what success looks like with one of Stucco Today’s many success stories. Throw in the clients beaming at the quality of the work and raving about the ease of working with Stucco Today, and you’ve got a winner. Check out an example below:
Once we had the video testimonials we wanted, we had a design challenge: How could we incorporate the material into the new website in a way that invited prospects in and led them seamlessly to view these all-important pieces? Go to stuccotoday.com to check out our solution. The full screen video background at the top of the home page along with the video- and image-rich project pages serve to keep our testimonial strategy at the top of prospects’ experience of the site. Needless to say, it worked.
Getting There Fast
After two months of shooting video, we got down to brass tacks. With the website launched, it was time for the detail work. The phenomenal video content we captured had to be SEO’d, geotagged, transcribed, and uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo, then linked back to Stucco Today’s new site. We built profiles for the client on Google My Business, Houzz, Facebook, and many others. Finally, the videos were uploaded to stuccotoday.com, resulting in beautiful and compelling pages like this one.
With our target keywords identified, we used Google AdWords to drive immediate traffic to stuccotoday.com. Refining ad copy and negative keyword list building will contribute to the success of the campaign, as will the use of accumulated performance data (assuming that the campaign is performing well, of course). Ranking in organic search is a longer-term play, and we devoted (and continue to devote) resources to building valuable content that will in time rank.
Since the client was willing to spend more in order to learn lessons quickly, our Adwords efforts paid off faster than they would have otherwise. Targeting stucco remediation (a very high value service), we instituted automated bid adjustments targeting the first position, and we paid more for locations with high wealth concentration. Just five days into the campaign, we had an average click through rate of nearly 10% for the whole account, with a bounce rate of only 33% and an average time on site of 256 seconds for Stucco Remediation related visitors (data averaged from 5 days post launch until the 20-day mark).
While the stats may seem overly technical, any small business owner will be able to relate to the real-world results. In less than 3 weeks, we received an email from the client, who informed us that Stucco Today was booked solid for more than the next two and a half months! Given that, we needed to decrease our AdWords spending, since otherwise they would need to start turning away leads they were paying for. Great problem to have!
We decreased the AdWords spend by 80% and dropped down to the last ad position on the first results page instead of the first ad position. PPC traffic is still robust, however: cost per click came down about 60%, and overall traffic fell by only about 30%. We attribute the continued success to the quality of the ad copy, which was refined throughout the campaign.
Organic Traffic For the Win!
Stucco Today’s AdWords campaign was a major success, but it is no substitute for a content strategy that will ultimately rank organically. It turns out that we didn’t have to wait long for this part of the plan to take root, either.
Our efforts at creating excellent video content really paid off. In only two days, Stucco Today ranked on the first page for its top services for each location that had an accompanying video. In just one day, long tail keywords started to rank on the front page! Those results continued to improve over the subsequent three weeks, with additional keywords and locations moving up in the rankings for Stucco Today.
The inclusion of video and photo stories in our content plan had an additional and very important benefit over and above the relatively quick, high rankings that we were able to achieve. As of the current writing, Stucco Today owns #1 and #2 in the search results for the phrase “Stucco Remediation Pipersville, PA” (for example). The second of those results is from stuccotoday.com. The first result is from the project video on YouTube, and a little further down the page, the 6th is the photo story that appears on Houzz. The importance of owning multiple results at the top of the first page cannot be overestimated!
Visually interesting assets like video and photo-intensive project pages ensure that you’re giving your prospects a reason to click—and a reason to stay on the page to learn more, which in turn helps your rankings.
Thinking about the short, medium, and long-term reach of your content plan is, as you can see from the above case study, absolutely vital. A clean and appealing brand identity, an aggressive and smart content creation plan, an effective AdWords strategy, and a consistent SEO effort are all necessary elements of a marketing plan that will pay off both now and into the future. Stucco Today is one of the many success stories that keep our clients coming back again and again, and which bring new clients who want the same kind of results for their own small business.