Case Study: A Multi-Year PPC Adwords Campaign for CBS Sheet Metal

How We Increased Our Client’s Paid Conversion Rate By 60%

When it comes to developing a digital marketing strategy, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Meeting your goals and maximizing your ROI is a process that requires research, testing, and experimentation. If you invest in the long-term, you’ll ultimately gain much more.

There’s no better example of this then our work with CBSSheetMetal.com is a non-ecommerce B2B and B2C website that drives leads for their business, Creative Building Supply, which manufactures, fabricates, and sells sheetmetal nationwide. They have been a client of IntuitSolutions since 2013, when they hired us to fully redesign their site and then engaged our Digital Marketing team to help outrank their competitors who were appearing above them on Google and taking their leads.

We were tasked with putting together a plan that entailed a combination of Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search Advertising, and User Experience improvements, none of which the company had ever done before. In this Case Study, we will be focusing on the results we’ve achieved in their Paid Search campaigns.

Phase One: The Initial Stages Of Setting Up A PPC Ad Campaign

Collecting Data For Digital Marketing Campaigns

The first step to driving more leads to CBSSheetmetal.com was to ensure that were collecting useful and accurate data. We set up contact form submission and phone call goals in Google Analytics, allowing us to better understand what ads were driving the majority of their contact forms submissions and calls. Once we began collecting data. we were confident that the impact of the changes we were going to make could be tracked properly.

Streamline the Process With Client-Agency Communication

CBSSheetMetal captures a unique audience by selling both B2B and B2C, so it was important that we understood what products should be targeted to each group. By establishing a clear line of communication and doing our research ahead of time, we ensured we didn’t have to waste time in back-and-forth about what products the client wanted us to sell during specific times of year.

Conducting Adwords Keyword Research

A key aspect of running an effective Adwords account is Keyword Research. Keywords are how businesses and consumers find your ads. Since we were starting from scratch – and because CBSSheetMetal sells niche products – we decided to place our focus on competitors’ keywords. This gave us insight into what potential customers might search for and helped us strategize how to stand out. Since launching in 2014, we have honed and refined the ads and keywords with the goal of the getting the best return on ad spend (ROAS).

Phase Two: Driving Adwords Traffic to Collect Relevant Data

Our goal in this first year was to drive as much traffic as possible (without breaking their budget) so that we could learn what worked, what didn’t work, and how we were going to best target the audience that CBSSheetmetal wanted to attract. In this first year alone, we nearly doubled their traffic (with paid search taking about 39% of their traffic share) and were also able to convert some of that traffic into sales. We had a somewhat lower conversion rate of 0.47% for Paid Search, but again, our goals was to drive a lot of traffic and collect data that we could use to better target our audience.

In year two, we focused our efforts on applying the data we had collected in year one. This is where our PPC strategy was able to drive even more traffic and more importantly, more conversions. CBSSheetmetal wanted to focus on B2B. Knowing this, one of our main goals was to drive more contact form submissions being that we discovered businesses tended to submit contact forms rather than call in. As you can see in the tables below, the percentage of goal completions grew about +550%, from 46 to 298. However, this increase in contact form submission cannot only be attributed to our Paid Search efforts. Over the course of 2014, we focused heavily on UX by making the contact form more accessible and adding copy to each page.

CBS Metals Yr 1+2 Conversion

Exhibiting the conversion rate difference between year one and year two.

Phase Three: Reduce Wasted Spend To Drive Better – Not More – Traffic

Year three is when we began to really see results in our campaign. Below is a graph of how our efforts over that third year, 2016, compared to our efforts in our second year, 2015.

CBS Metal 2016 Graph

In the graph above you can see that Organic Traffic, Direct Traffic, and Display Advertising continued to rise. However, if you look at their Paid Search, you’ll see that their traffic actually dropped in 2016 vs. 2015. Why is that? Isn’t that bad?

Not in this case. In the third year of our campaign, our primary focus was on improving their PPC conversion rate and reducing their Cost Per Conversion. That means better (not necessarily more) traffic that results more conversions. The chart above exhibits that while their Paid Search traffic dropped by -6.5%, their Paid Conversion Rate increased by +57.91% and their Goal Completions increased by +47.65%. The ratio of traffic and conversions was much better because more of the people visiting the site were actually ready to convert.

Phase Four: Refine Processes to Improve PPC Goal Completions

Below is a graph of how our efforts thus far in 2017 compare to our efforts in 2016 during the same time period. As we continue to improve the performance of CBSSheetmetal.com, we follow the process of driving traffic, collecting data, and then implementing changes to the website and ads. As you can see in the graph below, their traffic has grown in all channels.

2016-2017 CBS Metals Graph 2016-2017 CBS Metals Chart

As we continue building new pages, making changes to their site structure, and adding new on-site content, we have continued to create new ad campaigns. These campaigns are used to collect data about what further changes we should make to these new pages and to the site in general. This is the philosophy that we continue to practice year over year.

Our Proven Strategies For Adwords Campaigns That Convert

Great Campaigns Start With Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the best ways to understand how customers are seeking out what you sell. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should start stuffing pages with keywords. It means that those keywords shed some light as to what content you should create: What questions are being asked? What information would help a customer make a buying decision? (Data sheets, product comparisons, product reviews, product use cases, etc.)

Our ongoing effort to understand search trends allowed us to not only improve the keywords we were targeting in Paid Search, but it allowed us to answer questions and provide information that would help a customer make a buying decision. This on-site content not only helped improve CBSSheetmetal’s Paid Search performance, but it drastically help improve their Organic Rankings and overall website conversion rate.

Using Research To Improve User Experience

Since our developers designed and built CBSSheetmetal.com, our team had the background and knowledge of what was built and for what reason. As we collected data and began to better understand what customers were looking for and why (through keyword research, page performance analysis, and paid ad analysis) we were able to make educated decisions about what changes we needed to make to the site in order to provide a better user-experience and improve the website’s conversion rate, organic rankings, and paid search ads.

A few of the changes we made over time include:

  • Overhauling the category structure in order to improve navigation and organic landing page potential.
  • Improving the header of the site to better attract conversions and highlight the subject of the website.
  • Updating the homepage to better call out the products that customers are looking for.
  • Creating an Idea Book that shared ideas for what their products could be used for.
  • Improving the information collected in their contact form to make it as easy as possible for customers to fill out, while also providing CBSSheetmetal with the information they need.

Location-Based PPC Ads Help You Spend Smarter

Location is a major tool that is untouched by many PPC accounts, however we understood how much of a benefit location targeting can be, especially when you’re selling products. To maximize CBSSheetmetal’s clicks and conversions, a geographical heat map was used to find out what cities and states were buying the most products and what ROI those areas drew. This has two major advantages. One, it exponentially saves money in states where we don’t have customers, giving us the ability to increase budget & search share in the states that do. Two, it gives us much better data for retargeting in the future. Much like a physical brick and mortar store, location is key. If you’re running a PPC campaign properly location of where your customers reside should be incorporated into your plan.

Developing Your Digital Marketing Strategy Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

CBSSheetmetal is a perfect example of how understanding that the process and importance of making educated decisions and allowing those changes to take effect will pay off over time. While it’s important to consider return on investment when it comes to Digital Marketing, it’s also extremely important to understand that sometimes the best way to get a return on your investment is to invest in Digital Marketing best practices. Understanding that Digital Marketing, and the race to the top, is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Internal Resources and Marketing Specialist

Emma studied English in college, then later discovered the world of technology through her work in nonprofit marketing and communications. Inspired by the power of the web, she began teaching herself to code. She brings those skills, plus a background in content creation and an interest in human-centered design, to a role where she seeks elegant digital solutions to problems of all sorts. In a former life, Emma taught ESL and worked as a freelance writer on a variety of projects ranging from natural health newsletters to poli-sci textbooks.