Case Study: How a Family Business Successfully Combined Traditional & Digital Marketing

Marketing is changing.

The way we browse, research purchases and make choices is changing, and marketers have never had to work harder or smarter to keep up. I want to share a case study about a family owned business that found a way to connect the best of the old (personalized service with a smile from people you trust) with the best of the emergent digital landscape. 

Twenty years ago, the way to find a local plumber was through the phone book, and the local grocer was just a short walk around the corner. Then along came the internet, and now smaller businesses need to blend cutting edge digital technique with the smile and personal touch that has kept them humming for generations.

This case study is an integrated marketing approach for small businesses that has consistently yielded great results and tripled the revenue of the family owned, multi-generational Debug Pest Control.

Search Optimization – Make Great Landing Pages

Debug did the smart thing and built out a quality site, with landing pages for all the niches they served, focusing on well-written, useful, and relevant content for different geographical areas, different pests, and different markets (commercial and residential). See this guide from Moz to help with your efforts. 

The results: when users were looking for a solution to their very specific problem, Debug was right there. And that’s the secret to modern SEO—make great landing pages for every niche so you are exposed to the ‘long tail’ of buyer queries (Yoast explains more about long tail keywords here), and then use smart PR to get links to those pages for other quality sites.

Those ‘long tail’ niche themes might not see as much volume as more general search phrases, but there are two factors that make this approach a winner for small and medium-sized businesses: first, someone who enters a longer, more specific phrase into Google knows what they want. They are close to making a final purchasing decision and because they have spelled out exactly what they’re looking for, you can be sure to have it right there on the page for them. Second, there is an awful lot of SEO competition around very general phrases. It’s easier for the little guy to rank well for more specific terms.

Conversion Rate Optimization – Experiments That Work

To stay afloat in the savagely competitive online world, efficiency is key. Getting eyes on your website costs money and time so it’s essential to get the maximum value from each and every session. This is the science of Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO.

CRO professionals combine a mix of detailed data analysis, psychology, and functional design to create variations of an existing page. Performance can then be tested.  You measure which variant performs better, and, once you are statistically confident in your result you choose that one. Then you iterate and do it again, continually improving all sections of the purchase or booking funnel. 

Debug found that by putting warm customer testimonials on their website they were able to create more trust with new website viewers, immediately letting them know that here is a company that gets results and cares about service. These signals increased contact rate by 30% – that’s real, tangible revenue for the business, and something we can build on in future tests.

Trust & Visibility in the Social & Search Landscape

There is good more news- the game is changing again. Where just a few years ago Google was the place to go find that local plumber, internet users are increasingly swinging towards real advice from real people. That means social media, reviews, and comparisons. We no longer have to take the Google algorithm’s word for it that Mike the Plumber is the best in town. We can now ask our own networks quickly and easily, or see reviews from other users. It’s all about trust.

This new trust-based search landscape offers more opportunities for local, bricks and mortar companies with strong service values to shine again. Debug used a synergistic combination of SEO landing pages, social and review platforms like Google My Business, and remarketing (a cheap paid advertising option where people who had already been on the site without converting were shown ads), to lift traffic to the website by about 330% over the last three years. In the image below, you can see a report in how these factors all combine and connect.

So, to review, we recommend modern family businesses take a four part approach to modern digital marketing:

  1. Develop useful, visually compelling pages for your niche. You have expert knowledge of your field- share it!
  2. Use a tool like VWO.com to perform conversion tests. Get expert help if you need it- a good CRO expert can step up tests fast.
  3. Get likes, mentions, and reviews on social media from friends, family and happy customers. Don’t be shy about asking your contacts for help.
  4. Use retargeting to give potential customers a friendly nudge after they leave, but while they are still about to buy in your market.

Combine those four with the skilled service and smiles that have kept your business going for a generation, and you’ll be poised to grow for years to come.

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