From the beginning, this historic client has seen yearly return on investment never drop below 10x. And inbound marketing continues to grow and grow after years of success.
Have you ever been to Shannon?
It's home to a pretty historical airport. The first transatlantic flights used to stop there en route to Europe from North America. Also, it apparently had the world's first duty-free shopping, was Europe's first airport to offer pre-clearance for entering the US (love you, Wikipedia) and has an inexplicably eclectic collection of model aeroplanes on display.
Shannon's also home to Shoes For Crews Europe Ltd (SFCE) - Digital 22's oldest serving client and have been with us since day one, seven years ago and counting.
The relationship started with SEO and PPC. After successes there, Tom Larkin, SFCE's Marketing Controller, and his team wanted to expand.
The challenge was proving returns on inbound investment.
From the off, it was made crystal clear that any inbound marketing spend would need to be just as trackable as anything done via PPC.
In came, what I'm sure is a cliche with HubSpot stories, the platform offering full end-to-end reporting and lead attribution the client was looking for.
Founder and Director of Digital 22, Rikki Lear, headed back to the west coast of Ireland to SFCE's headquarters. He was armed with a plan that showed HubSpot would prove the ROI Tom's Financial Controller and the Shoes For Crews bosses over in America needed.
That was all well and good, but another challenge was selling the idea of producing inbound content in itself.
The solution was keyword-driven and highly-specific to personas.
And keywords had reliable volume behind them.
Keywords that formed the backbone of our first inbound campaign's together were firmly from the inbound marketing playbook:
- Specific to well-researched and highly-tuned personas.
- Contextual to the research phase around pain points they experienced.
- Early and evergreen enough into the buyer's journey that they could bring in lasting traffic numbers.
In the video, you'll see how Tom and Rikki recall the conversations around the fact there might not always be a massive amount of searches behind a particular keyword, but you just know your persona would like the content.
But results earn trust.
The result is inbound drives retail growth and ROI has never dropped below 10x.
We started blogging twice a week and producing a download every 90 days. We targeted personas who were Head Chefs, Waitresses and Bartenders, respectively.
"Within the first year, our ROI was 10:1," says Tom. "We were happy and our Financial Controller was ecstatic."
And we've never really looked back.
Within 12 months, inbound content was driving 46% of SFCE's website traffic. A year after that, the content had driven over a million website views - an increase of 380% from when we started inbound.
These are all impressive numbers and content plays a huge part in this success story, but HubSpot was also utilised in other ways. An API integration was built to enable abandoned cart emailing from HubSpot.
Workflow automation means customers are contacted when the expected lifespan of the innovative safety shoes is reaching its endpoint. Also, a visitors experience is personalised and so are the emails they receive, once we learn which persona bucket they fall into.
And, lastly, on emails, click-through rates to product pages has grown to 24.5% from single figures thanks to prolonged A/B testing.
The clincher was always proving our worth, however.
ROI started at 10x and has never dropped below that figure, reaching as high as 13x. And when it comes to the bottom line, SFCE's eCommerce channels have grown from €402k to over €1.1m+ and with more growth to come, thanks to inbound marketing.
The impact is trust and a lasting partnership.
We can hang our hat on the fact more growth is going to come because four years of constant inbound blogging has thrown up some interesting insights.
- Traffic compounding effects are real. Seriously. Year on year, the blog traffic continues to grow and it seems every period is better than the last.
- They have total SERP domination when looking at key persona keywords. This means time is spent looking at optimising and improving existing content further. Which Google loves anyway.
A case in point is our most successful blog together; 20 interview questions for waitresses and how to answer them. Once this blog gained traction, we revisited it again. And again. Over the years, we've employed the following optimisation tactics:
- Added more questions and answers (started at 7, it's now 20).
- Added hyperlinks to jump to other chapters.
- Revisited photos and added original content from a shoot we did with SFCE for another project.
- Gated the blog once traffic was regularly high enough to warrant it.
And this has resulted in just one blog post generating over 10,500 contacts.
Why this post in particular has been singled out isn't just the amazing numbers. Think about the title. It can't get any earlier in the buyer's journey. Not only is the reader not thinking about buying shoes to wear at work, but they also haven't even got the job yet.
But if we can help them get the job in the first place, I'm willing to bet they'd jump to the decision stage pretty quickly.
And that justifies the decision to ignore any worries in the early stages about whether inbound content was worth investing in and if we could get value from producing content which wasn't product-specific. And it helped Tom and his team fully trust us,
"We could just trust you guys more and more. It made working with each other easier.
We've worked with Tom and the team at Shoes For Crews Europe for so long, it feels like we're all part of the same company. If you'd like a lasting partnership like this, check out our services and take a look at our prices...