How one website feature delivered 15% new leads to a franchise group
For many digital marketers, the formula for generating leads for their clients is simple: build an online campaign, funnel traffic back to a website and convert that traffic into customers or leads.
But most marketers will only focus on one part of the equation – increasing traffic. The AdWords campaigns get set up, and the Facebook PPC ads put into place. Once things are in motion, marketers find it easier to increase client advertising spend rather than improving the experience for visitors who land on a website.
In other words, there’s often too much focus on generating traffic and too little focus on increasing the rate of customer conversions. Research suggests that for most companies, as little as 5 per cent of marketing budget is allocated to optimisation activities.
A ‘conversion’ happens when a site visitor completes a desired action. Normally, this is when they become a legitimate lead – that is, they make a sales enquiry with the business. It’s simple enough to increase spend, generate more traffic and get more leads. That approach, however, wastes an opportunity to increase the rate of conversions on existing traffic.
Instead, marketing budget can flow into a tactic called conversion rate optimisation, or CRO. Generally speaking, CRO is the practice of using analysis and testing to see how a specific change to a page, ad or asset will affect the rate of visitors converting into leads.
CRO is often a smart investment for a business, as optimised conversion assets will pay for themselves over time. A successful optimisation will mean the same amount of leads can be generated using less budget. Savings can then be reallocated to fund new CRO programs, and the benefits build up like compound interest in a virtuous cycle.
This is how we approached a CRO task with one of our clients, Sheen Group. It was 2015, and the client had just started their digital strategy with our team – a strategy that would double their leads in 2016 and eventually land them a story in the Herald Sun.
At the start of their journey, the development of a new website was central to the digital strategy. It needed to cater to the needs of individual franchise locations while leveraging the trust in the Sheen Panel Service brand name. A number of assets were developed across the website, including SEO pages for each store location.
During the website scoping phase, it became clear the website and the customer experience needed to stand out from competing panel beaters. We asked ourselves, ‘How could the new site make Sheen customers’ lives easier?’
For this, we looked at the experience of finding a panel beater online. We found the normal process of getting a quote for smash repairs was difficult. To receive a quote, customers often have to get to the location for an assessment. Sheen had tried to tackle this problem with a mobile service which provided remote assessments. But could there be a digital solution instead?
After exploring these customer and business problems, we developed the ‘Upload Your Smash’ concept. The feature allows a website user to upload two photographs of their damaged vehicle, along with their contact details and location. We made it a central feature in the primary site's navigation, as well as a component on major product pages, such as store location pages.
After the user uploads their photos and information, their enquiry is sent to the closest Sheen store. Their photographs are then assessed by a local Sheen customer service member. The store gets in touch with the user, where they discuss the next steps and answer any further questions.
By developing Upload Your Smash, we were helping the client address a customer pain point: how to get a smash repair quote easily and conveniently. However, we were also creating a business asset which would generate relevant leads for the group. It was a win-win for both the business and Sheen customers.
Over 15 per cent of new customer enquiries were coming through the tool in the first few months of launch.
The Upload Your Smash feature was developed and launched with the new site in mid-2015. While the site was a success, individual elements such as Upload Your Smash were standouts. Immediately, the feature received a high level of use, with over 15 per cent of new customer enquiries coming through the tool in the first few months of launch – translating into tens of thousands in potential new revenue for the group.
However, our work was not yet complete. One of the core principles of CRO is ongoing testing and experimentation. Admittedly, we did not get everything completely right the first time. For most cases in web development, consistent iteration and optimisation is the key to ongoing success.
The Upload Your Smash page, along with others, had to go through multiple iterations as we learned about the user behaviour through data analysis. We learned what messages worked, the pain points for the customer and how the experience changed on mobile devices. Over 50 per cent of the Sheen audience access the site on a mobile device, so building for a mobile-first experience was a central design factor.
We used a number of CRO techniques and tools to determine the effectiveness of the page and how it could be improved. This included click-stream analysis from Google Analytics, and click maps, scroll maps and visitor recordings using other analysis services such as Hotjar.
After our first analysis, we discovered a better order for the page content. Previously, we had assumed users needed to understand the tool and read instructions before being able to use it. The page was heavy on text near the top of the page with the form lower down. Our assessment proved that our initial assumptions were incorrect and that most users wanted to use the tool immediately. Too much content was decreasing, not increasing, the experience.
After this analysis, the text was optimised, reduced and moved further down the page, mixed with supporting information about the business. The upload form took top position and was stripped back, allowing for a clean, easy experience for the user.
These simple changes resulted in a 13.2% increase in conversation rate and over 26% more form completions. When it came to the Upload Your Smash feature, clarity was the most effective tactic for a busy, mobile-first audience.
The Upload Your Smash feature is just one aspect of the wider digital strategy for Sheen Group, which includes SEO, web development and optimisation, content marketing, search marketing PPC and social media PPC.
The digital strategy has been a key contributor to the recent growth of the business, which has opened five new stores since 2014. The growth of the business even attracted the attention of mainstream media, with the Herald Sun writing a newspaper article about Sheen's recent digital success in February 2017.
The success of the Upload Your Smash page hasn't just been noticed by the client and the media. Competitors have also picked up on the power of digital tools. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, with Upload Your Smash clones appearing on the websites of competing panel beating businesses.
Sheen Group is staying ahead of competitors by continuing their investment in digital. The focus of the current digital strategy is delivering a better experience for customers. Meanwhile, opportunities for the future include better integration of website data into CRM systems and discovering new expansion opportunities through analysis of search data.
Interested in finding out more about digital strategy and the role of conversion rate optimisation? Speak with a digital specialist today.