Since its inception in 1967, Smalley & Company has made it their mission to provide a wide range of quality construction products and top-notch service to each and every one of their customers. They have been very successful in doing so, but realized in early 2015 that their website was not providing an experience to online shoppers consistent to that which they would get in-store or over the phone. Built on a clunky stack of technology, the website underserved their audience and was underutilized as a result. They needed to overhaul their website and they looked to us for help.
With serious efficiency gains on the line, in addition to an enhanced user experience, we set out to completely overhaul the website with a brand new look, a streamlined ordering process, and significantly improved backend functionality.
With Opportunity Comes New Challenges
As the massive website redesign of over 1,200 pages was getting close to completion we began discussing next steps. Driving awareness seemed absolutely necessary. Several weeks ahead of the targeted launch date, we posed a simple question:
How should we introduce the new website to their existing customer base?
The majority of their customers had never shopped online, instead relying on traditional methods for placing orders such as calling or walking in. We simply had to come up with a way to drive attention and awareness to their new tool if we were going to generate return on their investment into the large website redesign.
While their email database contained somewhere around 6,000 contacts, most of which had either never ordered online or not been ordering online regularly, we knew that relying on email marketing alone with this audience would not produce the results they were looking for. Instead, we set out to assemble a multi-touch, multi-channel campaign that would outdo any that we had pulled off before.
The Smalley & Company team had already run some calculations to determine the savings realized across online orders. Considering their baselines and internal goals, our objectives became clear:
- Add 45 new online ordering accounts over 90 days
- Enhance the online buying experience for existing online customers
- Build a solid foundation for future marketing efforts
Building a Game Plan That Couldn’t Lose
Unlike many of our strategies that focus on attracting the attention of new prospects, we instead were focusing on their current customer base. Since many of those folks had either had a negative online buying experience or were well-rooted in their offline ordering methods, we would need a compelling hook to get them to at least try the new online ordering system.
Our teams agreed that a 10% discount on their first order under $5,000 should do the trick.
During our initial strategy session on the whiteboard, we identified all the possible/realistic channels we would use to target our audience and came up with these five:
- Email: using their existing MailChimp setup, we would map out a workflow series of touches that would only target individuals who had not yet registered on the new site and send those that did complete an online order a thank-you email and a SurveyMonkey survey.
- Phone: we would work closely with their inside sales team to develop a script for outreach to those individuals that we did not have an email for with the intent to get their email address and give them a heads up on the new website.
- Social media: to date, the company had not had a legitimate presence on any of the social media platforms despite the fact that many of their competitors had already grown their own followings. While less specific to their customers specifically, building out accounts for them would help us round out their digital presence.
- Direct mail: though not one of the channels we use on most of our campaigns, it was important to include this one based on the audience. Contractors and their office managers get their attention pulled in multiple directions constantly, but keep a close watch on the mail.
- In-store signage: perhaps the best way to target the current customers coming in to place their orders or pick them up, a combination of standing banners, countertop vinyls, and tear pad slips to include with orders would get their attention.
With the number of channels and touches slated for this initiative, we would effectively be spinning a marketing web that our target audience could not avoid. Because it would be critical to capture their attention without completely annoying them, the timing of each touch would need to be carefully considered along with tracking and criteria to prevent new users from receiving additional messaging:
To track which channels were most successful in generating new online users, we created custom promo codes for each that were tracked on the backside and tallied accordingly. In addition to helping determine ROI on the overall campaign, it would help us better understand their audience for future marketing efforts.
Delivering Goal-Crushing Results
We were tasked with increasing their online-ordering customer base by 30% and exceeded that goal at the end of the 90-day campaign with an actual increase of 38%. And since the end of the foundational campaign, the shift toward online ordering has continued with a total of 278 first-time online orders – a whopping 179% increase over their previous online-ordering customer base.
Here are a few other key takeaways from the campaign:
- Before launching the new website and marketing campaign, Smalley & Co were accumulating new online-ordering customers at a growth rate between 4% and 18% year-over-year; post-launch, 2015 saw a 30% increase year-over-year in online-ordering customers
- The breakdown of promo code usage indicated that the phone calls and postcards generated a majority of new online customers with email coming in at a close third; this strongly suggests that outbound marketing can be strategically integrated with inbound marketing methods in some industries. It was critical for us to understand the audience!
- The follow-up survey emailed out to first time online-ordering customers had a 10% response rate with insightful feedback the team leveraged to make ongoing improvements to the site; considering the industry, this was a relatively high response rate.
By understanding the toolset, the audience, and the objectives, we were able to drive meaningful bottom line results for a traditionally brick-and-mortar store expanding into the eCommerce market. If you think you might need help integrating your strategies and technologies to meet crucial goals and boost business, we’d love to discuss your challenges and ideas.