When you know who is using your site, how they got there and what actions they’re taking when at your site, you can begin to measure your returns. Leading web site marketing company, First Rate, has created a unique web site marketing methodology along with supporting software that helps drive targeted, profitable traffic to their clients’ web sites.

Chief Executive, Graeme Frost, shared more about First Rate’s services by way of a case study about Wild Poppies – a Ponsonby-based florist that’s on its way to becoming an international franchise.

A partnership that’s delivering substantial online revenue growth

Wild Poppies was established in 1990 and quickly grew to five retail stores. Five years later, a changing market saw founder, Kerry Bradburn, make a sea change – to a single retail store and a business largely based around a web site.

Seventy percent of Wild Poppies’ business is now done online and the business is growing at a rate of 40% each year. First Rate has worked with Wild Poppies to drive that growth, using astute online marketing tactics and innovative software that First Rate developed.

One component of First Rate’s online marketing strategy for Wild Poppies was ‘search engine optimisation’. Since search engines attempt to present users with the most relevant web sites for their search, you want to ensure that your site is optimised – that its content and purpose are as strong as possible.

Initially, First Rate conducted research into what words and phrases people use when searching for florists online. Knowing how the different search engines assess the content of a site, they then tuned the Wild Poppies site to ensure that it gets the best possible rankings for its key phrases. For example, a description or title bar should always contain words that people are likely to search for. In Wild Poppies’ case, their title bar is Wild Poppies Flowers – New Zealand Delivery, Anniversary Gift Baskets, Birthday & Wedding Gifts – it’s full of the search words people type.

‘Search engine advertising’ is another Wild Poppies tactic. Search engine advertising includes the ‘sponsored links’ that you see on search results pages. When a ‘free’ premium search position is not possible through optimisation – due to heavy competition – Wild Poppies appears in the ‘paid for’ section of search result pages produced by engines like Google. As Google only charges you when a searcher actually clicks on your advertisement and goes onto your web site, this medium is a very cost effective way to advertise.

Search engine advertising has proved highly successful in driving online business revenue, with 71% of new visitors to Wild Poppies’ web site coming from these advertising initiatives. First Rate monitors search result rates on a daily basis to ensure the site is maintaining its growth momentum.

Wild Poppies also uses a First Rate product called ‘Media Tracker’. It’s a tool that’s unique in its ability to match each component of a marketing spend to actual online business results.

Wild Poppies uses Media Tracker to understand the sales process and visitor behaviour from first visit to sale. Media Tracker shows how visitors arrived at the web site, what they did there, the direct revenue result of that visit and the subsequent lifetime value of that newly acquired customer.

The graphic designer who manages the look and feel of wildpoppies.co.nz is intimately involved with the Media Tracker results. The designer works with First Rate to monitor and track the results of email campaigns, and to detect and redesign any area of the campaign that’s not delivering.

Because First Rate takes the time to familiarise themselves with their clients’ industries, not just individual companies, they see what competitors are doing and where their clients sit in the rankings.

A new world of opportunities

While Wild Poppies’ is now an established brand, receiving regular repeat business and referrals from satisfied customers, the company’s business growth comes from their web site marketing programme.

And it’s a programme that will continue as Wild Poppies gets ready to move to the next level, which is to franchise and have a global business. The company plans to establish concept stores nationwide, then in Australia. Like the original Wild Poppies store, the lion’s share of the stores’ revenue will come from internet customers.

Looking for even more aggressive growth, Wild Poppies is now building a brand new web site, using First Rate on a consulting basis to ensure the site is built around the needs of search marketing.

That’s the main goal of First Rate’s service – to achieve business returns from web sites. They study all the stages of the process – from how the site can attract visitors, through to converting the visit into a sale. Most importantly, they establish a long term relationship with their clients and the client’s customers to ensure those customers will return to the site again and again.