A PPC Case Study
Why we Like this Case Study
PPC, like most aspects of online marketing, is an ever changing landscape and we have learned over time that the only way to keep ahead and maximise profits for our clients is to dare to experiment with new ideas and tactics.
This case study shows how our constant drive for testing new ideas and different approaches with PPC, which is such a versatile and responsive test bed, once again uncovered an excellent business opportunity and considerably increased sales and profits for our client.
Worldwide Experience, owned by the prestigious Mantis Collection of award winning, privately owned luxury properties around the world, is a globally recognised organiser of gap year placements to Southern Africa and other destinations worldwide.
They are specialists in the field of conservation and have built up a bed-rock of unmatched expertise and in-field experience. During their placements, wildlife enthusiasts work at prestigious conservation reserves, such as the Shamwari Game Reserve, where they learn the basics of conservation, assist with vital habitat upkeep, and encounter Africa’s majestic wildlife. They also arrange programmes for veterinary students to work with vets in South Africa for university credit.
As our client for over 5 years, our work for Worldwide Experience included web design and development, paid and organic search marketing and ultimately the creation and management of an innovative social media programme entitled “The Voice of Conservation”, which was pivotal in transforming the brand into a global success.
Worldwide Experience approached LeadGeneratorsDigital to help them completely revamp their online marketing strategy and give them a clear vision for the future. Armed with this vision, they then needed us to ensure that all the various elements of their online activities worked together as part of a fully integrated online marketing programme.
It All Started with PPC
PPC is usually one of the most versatile and flexible online tools for both identifying and testing new strategies and ideas.
For this reason, it made perfect sense for us to start our journey by carrying out some fresh and extensive keyword research, then run a full PPC campaign as part of discovering what works and, equally important, what does not work.
After running and optimising the PPC campaign for the agreed test period, we identified that, as expected, the ‘gap year’ phrases were all the rage. Traffic figures were impressive and the client was extremely pleased with the sales figures.
And They All Lived Happily Ever After?
And with a smiling, happy client, it would seem natural that this is where this successful story should end.
However, this was just the beginning!
Over time we noticed some seemingly insignificant niche phrases in our various PPC campaigns that were rather small in volume but presented us with some very impressive conversion metrics. These were phrases such as “working with animals”, “wildlife conservation”, “animal restoration” etc. When juxtaposed alongside the big hitters such as the ‘gap year’ phrases, they hardly seemed worth mentioning.
However, we have been running PPC campaigns for over 15 years and we have learned to trust our intuition and act on it with our ‘dare to experiment’ approach. So we started to look closer into and work more intensively with these strange key phrases to see what we could do with them.
After running a range of PPC experiments and many discussions with our client, we stumbled across the notion that actually, while many students were looking for a gap year experience, what they really wanted to do was to help look after the world, improve conditions for other people, and save and care for the animals. While a gap year seemed to be the framework, looking after the world and caring for its inhabitants was the real underlying passion.
The Beginning of a Brand New Story
And this is where the strategic online marketing approach for the Worldwide Experience brand changed course completely and led them to superb results.
As part of our experimentation, we began to work much more with finding and promoting more of these ‘passion’ phrases in our PPC campaigns. As the list of these phrases grew, we tested them by increasing the budgets further to see how well they would respond. We were delighted to see that, while the total traffic volume was much smaller that the ‘gap year’ phrases, the conversions and business value for each of these niche phrases certainly punched way above their weight.
It seemed that we were only scraping the tip of a rather profitable iceberg for our client.
As a result of these initial successes, we continued to expand and test new passion phrases and then adapted our SEO strategy to focus on these same new phrases, and we found that this helped generate even more valuable traffic to the site, with the associated valuable conversions.
As a direct result of using PPC as a focussed test bed and maximising the opportunities that we found with an integrated PPC and SEO campaign, we were able to dramatically increase the exposure of our client’s portfolio of experiences to its target demographic.
However, the results did not end there.
To further capitalise on the success of these profitable niche phrases, we then redesigned and rebuilt their entire website with a copy strategy that highlighted the passion element of the gap experience and elevated the visibility of those experiences that spoke to those passions.
And, as a further development of this new strategic refocus, we also began to conceptualise, develop and manage our highly successful “The Voice of Shamwari” social media campaign. But that is another story.
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