by David Kirkpatrick, ReporterCHALLENGE
"Our first objective was drive revenue usability. Second objective was build brand while driving sales," states Phil Edelstein, Marketing Director, Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Co., on redesigning the company website.
Two objectives, one problem -- the budget. Two Leaves and a Bud is a small company with eight employees that specializes in premium-priced whole-leaf teas. Its product is distributed internationally to outlets such as Whole Foods, and also offers its products directly online. Edelstein faced revamping an underperforming website and revitalizing the overall brand on what he describes was a "tiny budget." Not an easy task.
The Two Leaves and a Bud site was mired in usability and functionality issues and was not capable of generating as much revenue as Edelstein wanted from e-commerce. He was looking for the online channel to create ten percent of the company's business and knew that number was reachable with a new website. He saw that channel as incredibly efficient and effective for two reasons. First, it is measurable. Changes can be made to the website and those changes can be instantly monitored to track how they affect revenue. Secondly, from a marketing standpoint, the website is a great way to reach customers.
Edelstein, even given the small budget, decided to revamp the company's entire brand, with the new website as a core piece of the entire rebranding strategy and process. Development and design on the new site began in June 2010, and the new website launched in September.
Because the website redesign was such an integral part of the rebranding effort, it also tied very closely into a content marketing strategy involving blog posts, e-newsletters and social media outreach. Find out how Edelstein turned a website redesign into a complete overhaul of Two Leaves and a Bud's brand and marketing efforts on a shoestring.CAMPAIGN
Because a new website was the centerpiece of an entire rebranding and marketing effort, the starting point was the steps taken to turn limited funds into a website that can drive at least ten percent of the company's revenue.Phase #1. Build a new website
Edelstein broke the site redesign into four steps, taking the process from planning to launch over just three months.Step #1 -- Research
A major part of the research was interviews with:
o company employees
Edelstein also conducted comparative competitive analysis to see how the competition was presenting their message. He looked at market data, went to trade shows and interacted with customers.
He says, "I think the experiential aspect is a form of research, because that is the best way to learn." He adds this experiential research allowed him to "glean insights" on what was happening in the world of tea and try to find a niche for the company to fill.Step #2 -- Analysis and internal rebranding
After conducting research, Edelstein went through a period of analysis, pulling together everything he learned through experiential research and determining what was important, and what wasn't. During this step he began developing a more in-depth marketing plan for capturing new customers and began rebranding at the same time.
Another part of this step was building the new brand internally while consolidating all the data from the research stage. The internal rebranding began with instituting office policies that reflect the new brand attitude -- in this case all employees were given a day to take off work and enjoy an adventure of their choosing -- and establishing the new brand with the key stakeholders in the company.
The analysis of information created during the research stage helped create the internal brand now ready to become an external brand, and helped drive development of the new website.Step #3 -- Begin building the site
Edelstein conducted a great deal of experiential research and gleaned insight that led to a rebranding of the company internally, and to a new in-depth marketing plan. As the new website began taking shape, all of this work defined the external branding for the new site and for the company.
At the same time, the Web designer was going through an in-depth discovery process as well.
This process included:
o reviewing the new brand for the company
o reviewing the old site's Google Analytics data
o interviewing the team to find out what each member wanted from the new site, changes they wanted to see made and elements to be left intact
After the discovery process, the Web designer began wire framing the new website. Edelstein worked closely with the designer to plan the site's architecture and determine how the site would be organized, and most importantly, the user flow experience. He gave the designer a set of objectives, the three most important being -- in order -- usability, brand building and product selling.
"We wanted a highly usable, highly efficient, highly effective (website)," Edelstein states, "But we still need to get that brand message across."Step #4 -- Implement research insight
All the information collected by Edelstein during the research stage led to insights to apply to the new website. He found there is a lack of education about the world of tea, so the new site provides deep knowledge about where tea comes from and the different types of tea the company offers.
Another piece of insight came from looking into the retail channel. Edelstein found when ten boxes of a type of the company's tea was on a grocery store shelf instead of five, sales doubled. He dubbed this the "billboard effect," reflecting that the larger amount of product on the shelf acted as a billboard for the tea.
The billboard effect was replicated on the website with a navigation bar at the top of the page showing images of boxes of every type of tea the company offers.Phase #2. Marketing the new website
Once the new site was built and launched, the budget constraints really began to show.
As Edelstein puts it, "We wanted (our customers) to do our marketing for us because we don’t have the budget to (heavily) advertise."
The result was a marketing effort that largely relied on an enthusiastic customer base to share their love of the company and its products.
Edelstein encouraged sharing through a number of offers and strategies:
o $5 gift certificate to send to a friend for a website sign-up
o customer reward points for sharing with friends
o customer reward points for purchasing
o utilizing the Facebook "like" button
o a homepage widget promoting blog, Facebook and Twitter content
The overall marketing strategy involved three main areas.
#1. Content marketing
Content marketing became a major element of the effort to encourage customers to share their love of the company. The idea was the more meaningful the content the company provided, the more the company expected customers to share that content through social media channels.
Content comes via email, four or five blog posts a month created for the company, and active use of social media to offer promotions and encourage communication with customers.
Edelstein says a future goal for the content marketing effort is to develop a content sharing or distribution model where the company has blog partners and publication partners for informational and educational content instead of only promotional content for SEO and link-building purposes. The idea is to share and leverage the company's content in a manner that quietly promotes its products.
#2. Rewards and incentive programs
Currently customers can receive rewards points that result in a $10 gift certificate for 100 points earned. Points are earned in three ways:
o 10 points for signing up for an account
o one point for every dollar spent at the website
o five points for every shared gift certificate redeemed
This program works threefold -- it builds the customer database, it drives sales and it is a major piece in the effort to promote sharing as a marketing effort.
Before the site redesign, the company was using email about once a week, but the email content was heavily tilted toward promotions and discounts. For a premium brand, too much discounting can be detrimental to the image. Edelstein was aware of the issue, but the promotional email sends were driving revenue.
After the website redesign, the frequency of email hasn't changed. The type of email has, however, changed as part of the new marketing effort. The company now still sends promotional email, but also sends transactional and content email as well. This means the frequency of promotional email has been reduced dramatically. And Edelstein is finding content and transactional email sends both drive open rates and actual sales.
Given the budget constraints, and short timeframe, for the website redesign, rebranding and revamped marketing effort, the results are very impressive. These numbers compare pre-launch of the new website to post-launch (September-December 2010)
o Overall revenue is up 34%
o Conversion rate increased to 5.79%, a 63% increase over pre-launch numbers
o Returning visitor conversion rate increased 20% -- from 6.24% up to 7.49%
o New visitor conversion rate increased 17% -- from 2.77% up to 3.26%
o Organic (non-paid) search traffic conversions increased 85% -- from 2.14% up to 3.98%
o Bounce rate decreased 14.5% -- from 42.11% down to 36%
o Overall number of page views increased 20%
o Average page views increased 6.34% -- from 5.33 up to 5.67
o Exit rate decreased 9.62% -- from 20.37% down to 18.41%
o Days when e-newsletter were sent out, sales were 300% higher than average daily sales
o 14% higher open rate for content based emails over promo emails: 3.56% open rate for content vs. 3.135% open rate for standard promo emails
o Blog visits are down just 3% (Edelstein expected an increase), but value-per-visit up 350% from $.69 per visit up to $3.11 per visit -- this metric is based on Google Analytics, the dollar figure is the average amount of dollars spent per visitor to the blog
o Increased by 135%
o Facebook fans increased 10% since site launch
o 13% of $5 gift certificates sent out to new customers through the refer-a-friend system were redeemed
o 15% of newsletter signups were redeemed and turned into sales Useful links related to this article
1. Old homepage
2. New homepage
3. Consumer newsletter
4. Old promo email
5. New promo email Two Leaves and a Bud
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