A Case Study on Unicycle.com
There’s never any shame in asking for help. During this time of extended indoor isolation, I’ve been taking on a lot of new projects to keep myself busy. I’m building a coffee table, rehabbing some of my old leather furniture, and learning more about how to use Photoshop. The only problem is, whenever I take on one of these new projects I don’t know left from right, top from bottom, in from out. I would be paralyzed trying to get started if it wasn’t for some of the friends I have in my corner. I’ve been unabashed in asking for tips and tricks from my friends who do these things professionally, or at least, a lot better than me. Things go a lot smoother when you have a professional helping you, and the same goes for eCommerce digital marketing.
When 1Digital Agency designed Unicycle.com’s new website they had been the foremost name in online unicycle sales for 20 years. People in-the-know already turned to them for unicycles and parts, but they had never done any professional eCommerce digital marketing outreach. Like a lot of eCommerce merchants, they tried their hand at a Google marketing campaign using what they could glean from the resources available to them. “We took lessons and a seminar,” said Amy Drummond, President of Unicycle.com. “I never had time to figure it out. The lessons made me realize just how much work it is.” When 1Digital finished up launching the brand new website, we asked Amy if she would want our help getting her digital marketing on the right path. With the strength of the Unicycle.com domain, all it took was a little professional set up and management to get marketing working for them. In the last 4 months, the results have been nothing short of phenomenal!
Google Pay Per Click Marketing
“Usually we try to get a lot of feedback from the client upfront,” Bobby P, PPC manager at 1Digital, told me. “The problem was, that Unicycle didn’t have a lot of history with PPC.” Whenever 1Digital starts a new Pay Per Click campaign we look back into the historical data. The more data we have the more of a head start we can get. We can see what products worked in the past. We can see what times of day or devices to bid on. Most importantly, it gives us a goal. A number to beat so we know we’re giving the client an improvement on what they could get simply managing the account themselves. For Unicycle, we didn’t have this historical data to go off of. “They had turned a Google campaign on in the past, but it was on autopilot,” Bobby said. “The tracking wasn’t set up and the budget was low. Essentially, we were looking at a campaign rebuild, and rebuilds always take time.”
The first thing we do, whenever we rebuild any new eCommerce digital marketing campaign is we take a look at the site and make sure that if we bring traffic back to a site it can actually turn that traffic into sales. Now, we had just rebuilt the Unicycle.com site from the ground up so we knew they had things on the site well in hand. For anyone considering eCommerce digital marketing who hasn’t just had their site redone by 1Digital Agency, here are a few of the things that we look out for:
- Ease of Checkout – Can your customers checkout the way they want to? Probably the most important thing for converting traffic. If you’re on a well-known eCommerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify this is usually taken care of for you. Make sure you have many types of payment options available, as well. Including PayPal, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay.
- Phone Orders – Is your phone number readily visible and useable? We want to make sure customers can order over the phone if they want to. Though these types of orders can be hard to track for digital marketing purposes, they’re an important component for many merchants.
- Add to Cart Options – Are they plentiful and easy to spot? Not just on the product pages but on the category pages as well, for products that allow it. Also, a quick checkout button is always advisable if your platform allows it.
Once the site is ship-shape, we need to start collecting the data we didn’t start with. 1Digital PPC campaigns are often kept at a low budget for the first month or so in order to collect data that can be used to make decisions about the shape of the campaign. At first, we need to try things out and see what works and what doesn’t. The bids that do see Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) we push farther, while the bids that don’t perform get pulled. Bobby advises patience for the first few months with a rebuilding PPC campaign. “The first month is all collecting data, and the second month is evaluating if those moves we made were the right moves. A rebuild should expect a 4-5 month timeline to start seeing the campaign take off.”
Fortunately for Unicycle, their campaign took off much more quickly than that. In the four months that we’ve been optimizing the Unicycle.com PPC campaign, they have already increased their advertising budget twice because of the return on ad spend that they’ve been seeing generated by the campaign. As of April 2020, the campaign is sitting at an average ROAS of over 1500%, meaning that for every one dollar spent on the campaign, fifteen dollars is coming back in transaction value.
This is an average figure for all the different ad groups we run. When setting up an eCommerce PPC campaign it’s advisable to break your strategy down into component ad groups so that you can change up your bidding strategy slightly depending on the type of product or search term you’re bidding on. You can see that some ad groups, pictured below, are showing a return of twenty-five or thirty dollars to one.
Unicycle already had a strong brand name, and industry-leading quality. They put themselves in a position to have these kinds of results through years of building their business. When it comes to eCommerce digital marketing, sometimes all it takes is a few adjustments from someone who knows what they are looking at to unlock all-new revenue streams.
eCommerce SEO Marketing
SEO marketing for Unicycle followed a very similar trajectory. When we took the campaign, nothing had been done on the site previously in the way of professional SEO work. “We never had anyone work with us on SEO before,” Amy said. “We weren’t sure what, if anything, needed to be done. You don’t know what you don’t know.” In fact, Unicycle was doing very well already in the absence of professional SEO work. They had many first page and first position rankings due to the longevity of their domain building its authority over the last two decades. We knew that we could parlay this authority and simply give it more direction, to capture keywords for Unicycle that they had their eye on ranking for.
First, we want to educate anyone new to SEO about how a campaign with 1Digital Agency works. We like to have our clients as involved with their SEO work as possible, so they know what’s being done and can provide us valuable insight as experts in their own industry. The first thing we’ll do is select a keyword list. The bigger the keyword list, the more work to target each keyword, the bigger and more aggressive the campaign is. Based on that keyword list we then choose pages on the site which will be our targets. These are the pages we select to push up the rankings for the relevant keywords. This is almost always a category page. SEO work takes time to build. So while individual products may come and go as availability changes, it’s a safe bet to increase page authority for a category. Once the pages are chosen we begin to optimize. We set headings, title tags, meta titles, etc. for the keywords we want that page to rank for. This stage also includes fixing technical errors that exist on the site that Google may frown upon. Then we begin to create content and backlinks. The bulk of an SEO campaign is showing Google that you are a reliable publisher of content, and that other sites reference your expertise in the content they create. After all, Google is a search engine. The best way to get in their good graces is to show that you can provide their users with the information that they are searching for.
Though that might seem like a lot, we try to make it easy for merchants new to SEO to get on board. “I would say it was a very easy process,” Amy told me. “Whenever content came in we tried to make the time to check it. I love having our meetings, I love that you guys are great at communicating.”
For Unicycle, we wanted to go after a suite of keywords they didn’t already have. Amy mentioned that their sales of Penny Farthing bicycles, bikes with one large wheel up front and one small wheel in the back, had been slower than they would like. We took a look and found that for keywords related to Penny Farthing, Unicycle was consistently ranking outside page one of Google. So we set our sights on it. We devoted a good portion of our keyword list to Penny Farthing related terms and optimized their Panny Farthing category to rank better.
As you can see above, thanks to a few months of concentrated SEO work, the Penny Farthings Category Page is now second only to the home page for bringing organic search visitors into the Unicycle.com website. The transactions brought in from organic search users landing on that category page has increased by 137% in the past 2 months.
Overall, organic traffic to the Unicycle site has increased by 43% in the last two months (as compared to the previous two) and revenue from organic search traffic has more than tripled! It increased by 264% in the last two months. As with PPC, Unicycle had a strong domain coming into this campaign. All it took was a few professional touches to give that authority a direction and put it to use where it could be most effective.
Starting a New eCommerce Digital Marketing Campaign
If you’ve been handling your own digital marketing in the past you may not be unlocking your site’s full potential. Help from professionals, who study these things for a living, can make improvements to your strategy that you simply would have no way of identifying without a certain level of expertise.
When I asked Amy about her experience with a digital marketing campaign so far she told me, “It’s been great! Because of the great job that you guys have done with the SEO and the PPC people are finding us. Most of our sales are coming from people who have never purchased from us before.” And she continued with her advice for anyone in eCommerce who had never tried a digital marketing campaign before. “I would say all in all it’s totally worth the money. It’s absolutely worth it to have someone professional running it for you. We’re all so busy running our companies. It’ so great to have someone who can do all the things I knew needed doing, but couldn’t do myself.”
If you’re interested in seeing what a laser targeted digital marketing campaign could unlock in your site please give the eCommerce digital marketing professionals a call at 1Digital Agency. We look at each site individually and determine the best way forward for each client, based on where they are and where they want to go. Let us take a look at your strengths and weaknesses and help make your site what it ought to be.
- Joe Chilson
- April 30, 2020