K9 Meals on Wheels is one of our smaller, local clients. They came to us following a chance meeting at a local business networking group – which demonstrates why old-fashioned face-to-face networking still has a place in our modern world… They told us they had a website but not an online shop. The business sold one particular premium dog food brand – ‘Simpsons Premium’ – via local delivery in the Plymouth / Saltash / Liskeard area.
K9 came to us to ask if we could turn their basic website into an online shop so that they could take orders online and deliver nationwide, even though they didn’t have the budget for a whole new website. We were able to do that. Their site was built using the WordPress content management system, and so we used the popular WooCommerce plugin to add the shop.
Of course things aren’t as simple as clicking on a button marked “Install plugin”. (If they were, there would be no need for web developers…)
Creating a good web shop (one that makes things easy for people to spend their money) involves a lot of decisions on the part of the business owner. How should products be categorised? What payment gateway should we use? (Hint: unless you’re a big business that can afford to pay serious money to information risk consultants, you don’t want to use one where card details are ever handled by your site – let the banks and the gateways handle that.) How much should we charge for shipping? Free above a certain amount? By weight? Are we going to sell overseas? How about the Channel Islands?
Just thinking about those kinds of issue is a big step up for a small business that has previously only sold by personal delivery in the local area.
And then there’s the inevitable bug fixing. Why do those thumbnail images look blurry? Why isn’t this particular puppy food showing on the puppy food page?
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we were able to help with all of those things and convert a simple WordPress website into a proper online shop for less than a whole new website would have cost.
Clearly the best online shop in the world isn’t much good if nobody knows it is there except for your existing customers. Certainly people search for ‘Simpsons dog food’ etc, but Simpsons is sold by Simpsons itself, major pet food suppliers like PetPlanet and Zooplus and various sellers on Amazon and eBay. Those are all bigger companies than K9 and they also have more of a history. Getting on the first page of search results using organic search engine optimisation would be difficult.
However, a very targeted Google AdWords campaign could well pay dividends. Our client’s budget isn’t big enough to advertise on very broad search terms like ‘dog food’ – most of the people searching for ‘dog food’ will end up buying something other than Simpsons, so it’s just not worth paying Google for them to click on a K9 ad. However, someone searching for ‘Simpsons dog food’ or ‘simpsons premium dog food’ probably wants to buy Simpsons Premium dog food. And that’s all that K9 sells.
So what happens now if you search for ‘simpsons dog food’ on Google? Well there’s a very good chance that right at the top of the search results, you’ll see the ad for K9 Meals on Wheels – ahead of all the larger companies. This shows how AdWords is a great way for a small company to level the playing field with big advertisers by really concentrating on one niche.
That isn’t quite the end of the story though…
We noticed that the AdWords campaign was performing very well in terms of things like click-through rate and lots of other statistics that we PPC consultants tend to obsess about. However, the percentage of clicks converting into actual sales was lower than I would expect. What is more, a surprising number of them seemed to be from the local area. Why would this be?
This is when Google Analytics helps. It showed a surprisingly high bounce rate. That is the percentage of visitors to a website that see the first page then leave without clicking anything else. We could see that the sort of search terms people were using were exactly what we wanted – ‘simpsons dog food’ etc. K9’s prices and delivery charges were certainly competitive, and the shop was easy to use. So why were people leaving the site straight away?
And then we saw the obvious mistake.
We’d only added the shop to the existing site and hadn’t considered the text in the header at the top of every page. It still said “Delivering Simpsons Food In Plymouth/Saltash/Liskeard Area”. What does that say to someone from Glasgow or London or Liverpool? It says, to quote ‘The League of Gentlemen’, “This is a local shop for local people. There’s nothing for you here!”
So K9 changed the message. It now says:
“K9 Meals on Wheels – Delivering Simpsons Premium Nationwide
Delivering Simpsons Premium to your front door around the UK with FREE delivery from £32.49”.
Much better, don’t you think? And it has had the desired impact on sales. From a standing start of not selling anything outside of the local area, now more than 70% of K9’s online sales come via Google AdWords advertising. And because people don’t just buy one sack of dog food and never return, each of those sales is probably a long-term customer who will come back again and again.
But it does go to show that tiny changes to your website can make a big difference to your AdWords campaigns.