Chapman Kelly Marketing Case Study


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Chapman Kelly Marketing Case Study

  1. 1. Case Study Series: What’s Working in Marketing & Selling Professional Services  How One Firm Used Google AdWords to Boost Its Web Traffic by 1,000% and Quadruple Its Sales Pipeline on a Limited Budget By Gwen Moran OVERVIEW Boosting the Business Online When the management team at Chapman Kelly created its website in late 2004, the strategy behind it was more “we have to have a website” than “let’s make our website a selling tool.” Prior to that, owners Tony Schy and Mary Chapman and their team grew the now $2 million medical benefits auditing company by word-of-mouth and answering requests for proposals. When the firm’s director of strategic development, Michael Browning, took over marketing in May 2008, he believed that the sales process for business-to-business professional services could be well-served by the reach and effectiveness of Google AdWords, a search-related advertising opportunity, to help prospects find them. Still, before he ramped up the outreach to the firm’s sophisticated audience of companies with 1,000 or more employees, he needed to overhaul the company’s website to be more reflective of the company’s offering and message. However, the company had a limited budget for the project. Was it possible to be effective and inexpensive? The answer, Chapman Kelly found, is a resounding “yes.” SITUATION Walking the Talk The website at wasn’t really producing any results for the firm. “It was something we put up very quickly and didn’t put a lot of design effort into it or thought into the message it was sending, graphically,” says Schy. At the same time, one of the key offerings that the company was selling to its clients, primarily companies with more than 1,000 employees, was the ability to apply technology in a sophisticated way. In no way was the website reflecting the firm’s technologically advanced abilities. Prior to the point when Browning took over the marketing function in May 2008, the firm had done very little promotion. The main reason was the same that dogs most small and mid-sized service firms: Finding an appropriate budget. Schy says the firm wasn’t in the position to hire a big agency and spend tens of thousands of dollars a year on marketing. We Need to Outsell the Competition Still, they wanted to grow the 30-person firm and were facing increasing competition from three categories: small to mid-sized companies that are very similar to Chapman Kelly in their offerings and size; large benefits brokers who sell a broader range of services; and certified public accountants (CPAs) who dabble in medical auditing and get that line of Copyright © 2009 RainToday 1
  2. 2. business from existing clients. They can usually out-sell the latter unless the relationship with the client is very strong. However, they would need a better online image and more targeted outreach to land a bigger share of business when competing against companies with similar offerings and those with larger portfolios of services. APPROACH Overhaul the Website—Inexpensively Browning began looking into website development—and reading books. He knew that his budget would be limited, so he and other company members took on writing copy themselves, defining their three core principles: • Knowledge • Technology • Results “We try to drive those three words throughout the process,” says Schy. “We wanted to make people aware of what we did, but not get into a huge amount of detail. Others who have similar [sites] have a huge amount of detail, and it loses the reader. We also wanted to make it easy to get ahold of us.” Go for the Google AdWords Program While they were working on strategy and copy, Browning and Schy were educating themselves in search engine optimization (SEO) and using search engine advertising. The most attractive tool they learned about was Google’s AdWords program. AdWords are the ads that you see on the page when you conduct a Google search. Advertisers “purchase” keywords and their ads appear when those keywords are searched. The key benefits are the targeted reach and clear tracking—you can see what phrases those who click through on your ad are using to get there. Advertisers can also limit the number of click-throughs per month to ensure that the program remains within budget. Browning and Schy found two go-to books: AdWords for Dummies1 and The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords2. After reading them, Browning says he believes service firms need to have a hand in their own SEO and Adwords campaigns. “For niche professional services, it’s important that you do some of this yourself. With businesses, like office supply stores or auto repair shops, an outside firm may know how to help you sell those. With niche service businesses, there are specific words and phrases people are searching for to find what you do that might not be evident to those outside of the business. You need to know what those words are and incorporate them into your copy and Adwords campaign,” he explains. Identify the Right Keywords While mastering the art of AdWords, Browning scoured Google’s web analytic functions to find search engine terms that customers and prospects used to find the firm. For example, many companies that need benefits auditing services use the term “dependent verification.” However, that is a term that is also used widely in college settings, meaning verifying dependence for financial aid purposes. Fortunately, AdWords also allows setting negative parameters—excluding appearances when used in conjunction with other words. So, 1 AdWords for Dummies by Howie Jacobson (For Dummies, 2007). 2 The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords by Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd (Entrepreneur Press, 2006) Copyright © 2009 RainToday 2
  3. 3. Browning was able to purchase “dependent verification,” excluding searches where it was used in conjunction with “college” or “financial aid.” When Browning found effective keywords and phrases, he incorporated those into website copy. Those were also the words and phrases that he purchased. Unlike many newbie AdWords users, though, Schy and Browning didn’t vie for the top spot on Google’s right- hand margin. “You pay quite a bit more for that top position,” says Schy. “There have been some studies where they have found that the sweet spot is the second or third spot. You get the most bang for your buck there.” Target and Test The team was anxious to get started on using AdWords, but didn’t want to direct prospects to the former site. So, they replaced the old website copy with the new copy and then tested a few AdWords placements. “Just changing the text made it more relevant. We started to see results right away,” says Browning. From there, the team hired The PR Store, a franchise marketing services company that offers affordable web design options. The company redesigned the site to better connect with Chapman Kelly’s sophisticated audience. For specific offerings, AdWords placements link to specialized landing pages—pages that are not visible to the public, but which only link to the AdWords, allowing the company to speak directly to a prospect’s area of interest without requiring them to click through on the site. Browning continued to test everything and modify the AdWords program based on what he found successful. “You have to see what words are working,” Browning says. “Right now, I spend about 15 to 30 minutes a week monitoring the site, seeing what keywords and phrases people are using, and making sure everything is working as well as it should.” RESULTS Watch the Numbers Rise The most amazing thing about this effort was the impact that a small budget had. Browning estimates the cost of the website redesign at “between $1,500 and $2,000.” The cost was kept extremely low by using The PR Store’s affordable services and writing the copy themselves. At the same time, the company prepaid its AdWords account, putting “a few hundred dollars in there every few weeks.” Browning says that ends up being anywhere from $13.00 to $60.00 per day. However, the firm can set a limit of overall number of clicks or per-day clicks if it chooses. With the overhaul has come significant results, including a 1,000 percent increase in web traffic—from zero to five visitors per day to 50 to 100 on some days. Unimpressed? In just six months, open bids—bids that have been presented and are being considered by the client—increased by 60% with 20% of all new business coming from leads brought in through the website, and Schy expects that to grow significantly over time. This, in turn, has quadrupled the number of clients being pitched at any given time, Schy estimates. While the company had about 15 open bids between July and September last Copyright © 2009 RainToday 3
  4. 4. year, it had 70 in the pipeline for that same time period this year. With each bid worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, that’s going to translate to a $500,000 revenue increase this year for the firm, which was recently named one of the 50 fastest growing companies by a local business publication. “That’s a big enough shift that I’m kicking myself for not having done this years ago,” says Schy. Additional Insights Shared by Chapman Kelly • Go organic. Getting ranked isn’t just about AdWords. You have to use the right keywords and phrases in your web copy so that search engines naturally find you. Browning finds customer testimonials to be an effective way to get keywords into the website in an effective and subtle way. • Watch your analytics. Chapman Kelly had met with a large prospective customer about more than a year ago, without much success. While reviewing web analytics, Browning noticed that the company had recently been on the website and spent 10 or 15 minutes there. “That caught our attention,” says Schy. He made a point of calling the company at an unscheduled point in the sales cycle, well before the typical four- to six-month wait. They got the appointment. They submitted the proposal. They got the project. “We wouldn’t have done that if we hadn’t been paying attention to the people who go to our website,” says Schy. • Don’t stall. Schy regrets not starting his efforts sooner and advises others not to do the same. Start by educating yourself about search engine optimization and online marketing by reading and speaking with low-cost providers like The PR Store, he says. You need to promote your company and it doesn’t have to be expensive. RESOURCES: • Chapman Kelly website [] • The PR Store website (web design) [] • Before image of Chapman Kelly's homepage and after image of Chapman Kelly's Homepage • Before image of Chapman Kelly's services webpage and the current Chapman Kelly services webpage • Chapman Kelly sample Adwords ad Copyright © 2009 RainToday 4