From 0 to 250 sales per month. History of one European site

If your task is to build an offline business in Europe, or you are a marketer in such a business, well, or you are just wondering how to succeed there ... This article is for you.

In this case, read about:

  • analysis of market features;
  • a strategy for building sales through a website in a narrow overheated niche, with a narrow and extremely distrustful audience.

Introduction to the project

Our regular customer moved to Slovenia for permanent residence, where he decided to open a retail business and entrusted us with the technical support of the project website and building online sales.

The idea is this: we sell tiles and everything for bathrooms, we choose SEO and PPC as the main channel (among the all tools, we used only advertising in Google search, because the budget was limited and sales were needed “for today”)

Let's say a little about the region of work and its features: Slovenia is small. This means that the population of ALL Slovenia is smaller than, for example, the population of Kyiv, only 2 million. You understand that our goods are needed only by some part of these 2 million, and even then not every day. Therefore, we will assume that the customer works in a narrow niche, where there is already sufficient competition, and there are not so many potential buyers.

The situation was not facilitated by the mentality of the local residents. Slovenes trust Slovenes, and even better, neighbors, acquaintances, acquaintances of acquaintances (remember about a population of 2 million) and much faster and more willingly buy from the son of their mother’s friend, in extreme cases, the fourth cousin’s nephew from the mother’s side, who has exactly what they need.

On the other hand, long deliveries are accepted here (ordered today - received in a month), market players do not worry that nimble Ukrainians will start breathing in the back (Slovenian will go to Slovenian). That is why Slovenian sellers can allow slow and unpretentious service, lack of goods in stock etc. And they can manage without shopping online too much - come to the store, we will show you samples :) Who knew that because of the pandemic all offline stores will be closed for many months...

The owner knew all these features (well, except for the pandemic). We decided to use this slowness of the main players on the Internet.

For clarity, we have collected all the pros and cons of the project in a table:

What interfered: What helped:
  • The owner had no experience in the country, niche;
  • A very conservative market. It is difficult for a newcomer to inspire confidence, especially if he is not local.
  • In addition to contextual advertising and SEO, other methods of attracting customers to an offline store did not work (vouchers, big boards, handouts)
  • The market is overheated - there are many offers.
  • Narrow niche and a small number of potential buyers.
  • The project had to be done in Slovenian: texts, semantics, announcements.
  • Knowing the disadvantages of competitors and separation from competitors.
  • Customer focus.
  • Active work on Internet promotion, unlike competitors;
  • Investing in SEO and context brings beneficial results
  • Quarantine and lockdown.

 

What was done:

  • launched a website
  • set up Analytics
  • optimized and brought the site to the tops of Google for a wide range of search queries
  • filled and optimized the entry in Google My Business
  • supplemented the site with the function of generating an export file for working with other sites
  • launched contextual advertising in Google
  • worked out the appearance of site snippets in Google search results (added markup rating and FAQ)

Looking ahead, we’ll immediately say that after the successful launch of the site in Slovenia, two years later, the customer launched the same project in Croatia, opened offline stores in Ljubljana and Zagreb, and now we are working on an online store for these regions.

Work on the site

Let's say right away that the visualization of the project leaves much to be desired, but it was ordered not to change anything because “Slovenians like it”, from our side we do not lose hope that we will finally be allowed to redraw the design.

site view from admin

The site https://pegasus-pro.si/ was created on the CMS Sprava (we do majority of the projects on our admin panel, as we have adapted it to the requirements of search engines as much as possible and, in our experience, part of the success of our projects in the top search engines is due to our admin panel). Especially for this project, we have developed a CMS in Slovenian.

In addition, even at the site development stage, we provided for compliance with all usability requirements, which made it possible to simplify navigation on the site as much as possible for the user and reduce possible loss of leads.

Site optimization

Since the site was made from scratch, we had the advantage of immediately laying down the site structure that would correspond to the semantic core as much as possible and allow us to build the site in such a way that an increase in the assortment does not require significant adjustments.

user session dynamics goal conversion rate

At the moment, clicks from organic search results are the main source of orders on the site.

As the product range expanded and new sections appeared, we expanded the semantic core. For 4 months, the site reached the Slovenian top for a number of product groups, and people began to come to them in a physical store, learning about it through the site.

In conversions and benefits, it looks like this

  2019 2020 2021
Conversion rate 2,5 3,1 4
Number of orders from the site (average per month) 130 250 380

 

Google My Business (Google Maps) Entry Optimization

Since at the time of the start of work the site was new and significant traffic from search engines was a matter of a rather distant future, in order to increase traffic, we created, filled and optimized the company's entry in Google Maps as much as possible.

Google My Business Entry Optimization
Google My Business Entry Optimization part 2

Our goal was to maximize quality organic traffic (as the cheapest channel), so we created the most complete profile among our competitors. We have added all the information necessary for a potential buyer: address, contacts, opening hours, photo of products, photo of the store. This will allow any person who has familiarized himself with the company Google My Business profile to get answers to their questions and the likelihood that he will contact is much higher.

company reviews in Google My Business

In addition, our client actively worked with customers to add reviews and, importantly, responded to all those left. It is worth noting that having real reviews from your clients is a major factor in trust. If you receive feedback with a suggestion to improve something in your business, respond to it too. It shows that the opinion of your customers is important and valuable.

organic search on query

As a result: for almost all targeted queries that are of interest to the customer, the site is displayed in maps above organic search results.

in which Google services customers can find a company

And the dynamic of visiting website through the Google maps profile is growing. That is, we get traffic simply by making sure that potential buyers get all the information they need to make a purchase.

We stand out in the search result

In addition to collecting traffic from organics, maps and context, our task was to stand out as much as possible in the search results, which is especially easy and pleasant to do in Google search results for Europe (you remember, yes, that local guys don’t really care about how their sites look on Google.)

organic rich snippets

What does this give us:

  • our client's website becomes more visible in the search results, there are more clicks to it, sales are growing
  • the site's CTR increases, click-through factors for its site improve, which positively affects the site's position
  • the site increases its awareness for potential buyers

Contextual advertising in Google

We had two main tasks:

  • more sales with condition of decreasing the cost of one lead
  • increasing company awareness

In order to use the allocated budget as efficiently as possible, we decided at the initial stage to limit ourselves to companies in the search.

Basic principles of working with context:

  • working on the most complete list of queries
  • creationing of separate ads for each group of queries
  • putting the most important information about the product and offer of the campaign to the title and sitelinks, as they are more noticeable when viewing an ad
  • displaying emoji in the URL while Google was allowing such ads (we generally try to make the most of the opportunities and / or loopholes that are possible to use at the time of launching campaigns)
  • the most accurate account of the efficiency of the context and the redistribution of budgets for the most effective queries.
Contextual advertising in Google for the project

Thanks to this, we achieved a cost per click of 0.11 euros, and a cost per lead of 8.7 euros, while the bounce rate was 26% when viewing more than 3 pages per session.

channel group conversion path for multichannel sequences

It should be noted that often the two main channels worked together, for example, the visitor made the first visit through the context, and bought after he found the site in the search results, or vice versa, first, the visiting from the organic search, acquaintance with the product and the company, and the repeated visiting to the site from the fee paid search ended with a purchase. Below are the main conversion paths in April 2021.

Growth in crisis

Everyone remembers what happened in March 2020 (yes, it was PANDEMIC).

And it turned out very handy that our client’s online sales had already been built, the channels for attracting visitors to the site were working, and when everyone switched to online shopping, his company was fully armed.

While the market leaders had to transfer their sales from the usual offline trading to the Internet, the site of our client took orders. Thus, the current situation made it possible to increase turnover due to the miscalculations of competitors. For now offline stores have already been opened in Slovenia. Regasus are no longer new on the market, they are already known. Slovenian were bought from them. So that Pegasus has become familiar in the Slovenian market.

What is most important for us, as for the agency that accompanied the company at all stages of project growth, is the efficiency of our work, therefore it is especially important for us that at this stage the client decided to repeat the path of project development in a new market - in Croatia, about which we will write a new case, read us.

Feedback from the customer about the work:

Ilya Shestakov:

We are satisfied with the work, especially considering that we started from scratch. The site was made immediately with an eye to promotion, which allowed us to double the turnover for each year of work, and especially our bet on online sales proved to be effective during the pandemic. Now the main orders go through the site, sales have grown, and literally after two and a half years of work, we decided to repeat this path for a new market - we opened another store in Croatia, where we use the same online sales scheme.

Comment by Tatiana Zewega, Head of SEO at Sprava

We love interesting challenges! - In short, about how we had to work with languages that none of the seo experts knew.

How we were able to manage:

  • Slovenian and Croatian - belong to the Slavic group, that is, many words are intuitive (and translators help to control themselves);
  • close contact of the team that worked on the project - the client became our guide to the local mentality and language, which made it possible to avoid language “blunders”.

The work boiled down to the fact that the seo expert spoke out what was needed, and the client helped to adapt this information to the target audience. Yes, it took a little longer. But these are trifles if there is a goal and it is clear who is responsible for what.

And then we used the mechanisms and technologies that work in Google from anywhere in the world

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