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Case Study

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Small Businesses

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Rob and Lisa's Story

Rob and his wife Lisa have been running their Hi-Fi store for over 30 years. Although well established, they’ve been feeling the brunt of increased competition especially in the last 10 years. Most acutely, says Lisa, after the smartphone explosion in the late 2000s.
While they initially resisted setting up an online shop or signing up for social media accounts because, “We wouldn’t have a clue on how to run these doo-dads”, they realized it was a necessity when customers kept asking for their website, Facebook page, and then Instagram handle.

While they’ve hired a website designer and online store builder in the past, they’re left scratching their heads wondering why it’s been slowing down like crazy in recent years and perturbed as to why nobody buys anything from it.

When I first chat to Rob and Lisa, their main concerns were not their website however, but the inability to make the same amount of profit as they used to, due to the increasingly competitive AV prices seen around the country and overseas.

The constantly slimming margins means that selling HiFi gear today, returns much less profit than equivalent products would have years ago.

Always the creative souls with an eye for design and heart for customer service however, Rob and Lisa have received rave reviews on their custom home system installation work and get most of their customers for these projects through word of mouth referrals.

Short of printing out flyers for a letterbox drop, they’re not too sure how they can advertise their most sought after and highly rated service, especially with a website that barely moves.

Upon looking at their website, it was clear to me that it had been installed as a template and neither the template nor its plugins had ever been updated over the years.

On top of that, the design was no longer current, but clunky and sorely lacking in any kind of aesthetic. It was no wonder that the peak of traffic they ever had in one month was 23 visitors!

Knowing we would have to start from scratch, all I wanted to know before getting to work on fixing their poor online presence, were their goals for their business.

Both were adamant that they loved the customer service side of their custom projects best, and greatly enjoyed the rapport they had with long-term clients – people who came back to them every time something needed a repair, upgrade, or overhaul; and were always receptive to their recommendations.

Besides, with the way prices were plummeting, they were certainly ready to head away from the lower end of the market. Their longer term goals were to get into high end gear while adding value for their more discerning customers through design and installation work, as that’s where they made their best profits.

Rob and Lisa would have to sell a lot of Debut Carbons to make the same amount of profit as one small home theatre job after all! However, in order to stock higher end wares, they’d need to make sure they can shift that gear first!

For Rob and Lisa, the goal is expression!

They wanted everyone to know what they do – and that they do it ridiculously well!

After scrapping their old website, I paid them a visit one early, sunny, spring morning to catch the best light, and got to work photographing their showroom. As well, I got shots of some of Rob’s best home theatre installations and videod Rob and Lisa at work – greeting their customers and answering calls – while trying to catch that comfortable, familiar, playful vibe they had developed working with each other over the years.

Media done, I set about redesigning their website. It needed to be very visual, fast, and easy to navigate. After years of battling with their old clunky website, they wanted quick relief for themselves (and online customers!). Together, we decided on a minimalist design to match their warm, laid-back, no-frills, salt-of-the-earth personalities.

Once the website was loaded up with pictures and products, I could get down and dirty with reeling in Rob and Lisa’s first boatload of leads and sales.

The copywriting was key in making this happen. You see, copy isn’t solely designed to support photography and video, or describe products and services.

Because customer service is so important to Rob and Lisa, my copy for them was targeted for two things – search engine optimisation, so the business can show up on the first page of Google for their kind of services and locality; and customer engagement – so people KNOW that when you call on Rob and Lisa to get one of their custom home HiFi systems set up, you’re getting a job well done. There’s no “love ‘em and leave ‘em” attitude with these two!

Within a month, Lisa was on the lookout for more part-time staff to take care of repairs back at the shop so Rob could do the fun home installations.

Within six months, they had a waiting list 3 weeks long and had to rope in their son and son-in-law to help out over the weekends.

Within 12 months, Rob and Lisa’s website traffic had gone from a measly 23 views a month to 2000 hits per month!

That was back in 2019. Today, Rob and Lisa have more demand than they have the staff or energy for, yet somehow they’ve never been happier!

When I asked them if they’d like me to run some advertising campaigns to bump up the sales volume for AV gear or custom installations this year, I was met with two resounding “NOs” – in stereo!

As long as they’re happy, I’m happy!

This is Jen!

Jen was one of the first SLPs to open up shop in her area and is well-known in her field as a leader in voice modification.
While she works with clients of all ages over multiple issues, her passions are accent neutralisation, and voice therapy for individuals with gender dysphoria.
She’s always been very vocal about helping people belong, and loves the rewarding feeling of facilitating the immigrant and LGBT+ community feel included and at ease, through her talents and methodology.

Jen already has a reputable business and employs 3 other SLPS. Over the years however, she’s noticed that a lot of competition has popped up all over the country.

While business is running along comfortably, Jen realises that it’s not growing. Since she’s currently at the height of her career, Jen wants to bite the bullet and make her business boom as far and wide as it can go!

Jen calls me up one day, and gets straight to the point.

She wants to expand her business to 3 clinics within 5 years.

In order to make this happen, she needs a significant boost in clientele.

As well, she realises that the COVID19 pandemic has created massive opportunity for telehealth.

Apart from her brick and mortar clinics, she also wants to make a name for herself online and offer her services Australia-wide and to people in the UK and the USA – English speakers who are most badly affected logistically by the constant lockdowns and social distancing requirements.

Jen’s situation is the kind that really get me excited to roll up my sleeves!

She’s eager and willing to invest in her business and her expectations are what I do best – profit and publicity.

For Jen, the goal is transformation.

I get straight to work, doing a sweep of her website – redesigning sections to improve the user experience, updating her copy to engage clients and rank on major search engines; then linking it all up to various social media channels so her customers can reach her in whatever way is most convenient for them.

To really expand her business and boost her revenue, we break out the big guns of GoogleFacebook, and Instagram ads. These are specifically targeted to her ideal clientele so I can ensure high conversion. I track every dollar spent on advertising so Jen has a clear idea of how much it costs to book each new client – a process that can be repeated again and again.

To make sure Jen’s potential clients know that her experience, skills, and methods are the perfect fit for their individual situations, I create search engine optimised landing pages to not only sell, but educate readers so they’re aware of what her mission, abilities, and processes are.

This way, we can keep Jen’s presence genuine, true to her cause of wanting make a significant difference in people’s lives through speech training, and allow people to make informed decisions through accurate content instead of hype.

I’m impatient to see the kind of change we can make to Jen’s life’s work, and roll out these changes within a month.

While I expected to see a substantial influx of queries and new clients almost immediately, I was not prepared to see how well Jen’s new website design, copy, and advertising would resonate with so many people all around the world!

Today, Jen’s clients come not only from Australia, UK, and the USA – but even China, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad, and places I’ve never even heard of before!

As it turns out, speech and language services rank particularly – no, exceptionally well throughout the world, especially in countries where English is spoken as a second language.

I am happy to report that Jen now has new problems on her hands – trying to find enough SLPs to hire to cope with the flood of new clients looking to book appointments with Australian SLPs!

Jen’s project has my personal favourite ending – my client is over the moon, and I, get to learn something new!

Meet Samantha

Samantha has been working as an SLP for around 6 years before finally deciding to venture out on her own as a mobile SLP.
She works primarily with school-aged children who have been referred to her by word of mouth. Parents love her hands-on approach and how great she is with their kids and tell other parents about her.

Although excited and knowing she has a lot to offer these children, she’s nervous that she might not have enough regular clientele to float her own practice. She’d also like people to find her on their own as she doesn’t want to be accused of poaching!

As well, because she’s currently a one-man-band of sorts, she also finds that explaining her process over and over and answering the same questions again and again to new clients, takes up a lot of her day.

As if that wasn’t enough of a time-suck, she also needs to carve out some time to stay on top of her session notes, invoicing, keep her bookkeeping tidy for the taxman, and get her clients personal files organised.

This leaves her less time than she’d like to actually treat her clients!

Samantha’s case is one I’ve seen so many times.

There are always worries that the work will dry up.

She doesn’t have an online presence and even if she did, no one would know about it!

Her processes aren’t streamlined so she’s losing time trying to tackle admin.

What I did for Samantha was sit down with her for a chat over a cup of tea.

Samantha told me her worries about getting clients, her concerns about making enough so she can cover her expenses, and her need to free up a little more time in the day so after working, driving around, and doing admin, she gets a few hours a week for herself.

For Samantha, the goal is creation.

I designed and made Samantha a website, to showcase her services, unique talent working with school-aged children, and her personal style.

Samantha didn’t have pictures of her working, and she thought it was important that parents know her process. So, I did some professional photography to show off her work in its best light. A beautiful and visual way for potential clients to see her in action!

Samantha has a vibrant and warm personality, bursting with character. I wanted her website copy to reflect her approach, dedication, and enthusiastic spirit.

With her new home on the internet built, Samantha and I now had a place to tell people who she is, what she does, how she does it, what her costs are, and to answer all those other frequently asked questions that she’s been answering client by client, cutting down time spent on FAQs.

Samantha was very clear about wanting a “small and cozy” operation. She wanted to work alone, with a few select core clients while leaving a couple of slots available per week for drop-ins.

Therefore, paid advertising wasn’t necessary in her case. Instead, I rolled out a strategy for organic traffic by optimising Samantha’s website to rank on the 1st page of Google search and using social media to get those potential clients in the door.

Within the first two weeks of rolling out our plans for Samantha, she got her first 10 leads and I’m happy to report – now has a full schedule! So full in fact, that she’s considering taking on a partner to expand her mobile practice a little more (but still keeping it as cozy and personal as ever!)

Geoff, Rach, and Mike's Story

Meet Geoff, Rach, and Mike.
These three friends are Audiovisual specialists and enthusiasts that set up shop 5 years ago.
When getting together to start this business, they had one thing on their minds – a common goal they all shared and wanted to achieve one day:
Own and run a thriving business that paid all the bills!
As a result, they started out small – each putting in whatever they could afford, and working long days, into the night, and over the weekends.

They knew that to keep the business profitable, they had to keep the shop open as much as they could, email and call customers constantly to try and get them back in, and use as many avenues as possible to get seen by potential customers.

It became apparent early on, that focusing on the lower end of the market meant that they would have to partake in price wars around the country to get any sales.

Exhausted with slaving over peanuts from tiny margins, they decided to diversify by selling a larger range of brands from various distributors, selling direct to businesses as well as end-users, and even creating and importing their own HiFi brand for distribution to other retailers.

This obviously resulted in an insane amount of products to keep up with in terms of description and price. As well, the pressure was now on to shift products as fast as possible to avoid having anything sit in their warehouse for too long.

These 3 owners came to me a couple of years ago with one request:

Sell more… so we can sell more!

The race was on!

I had a look at their website first, which, while wasn’t bad at first glance, wasn’t anything to write home about either.

They had a lot of text descriptions for their products which had been copied from their distributors’ websites in painfully eye-watering format.

While they utilised social media, their posts were few and far between and not optimised for reach, engagement, or conversion.

Their website structure lacked organization and intuitiveness, thereby leaving visitors with an uninspired and strikingly forgettable user experience.

While they were branching out from the business-to-consumer arena into the business-to-business side of things – there was little, if any mention of how they intended to take care of their business clients, leaving potential B2B customers wondering if there was any benefit to working with our trio.

It’s no wonder that over the last 5 years, they had never managed to break 1200 views per month!

My mission was clear – transform the website from blah – to inviting, smooth, and user friendly. Then, use all the tricks in my bag to snag those sales!

Since a major part of their copy relied on distributors’ descriptions, I coded an automation process to format every single one of their product descriptions, so they looked appetizing to the eye and could be consumed by potential customers in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks.

From there, all I needed was one proper photo shoot and a touch of professional copywriting to change Geoff, Rach, and Mike from nameless, faceless, random AV salespeople – to a true, blue, Australian company that not only has the goods; but the gumption, expertise, and Ozzie can-do attitude to get both their B2B and B2C customers whatever they want, when they need it.

With branding done, and website copy optimized for engagement and conversion, my next step was to ensure their lower end products, which they held the most stock of, were moving along.

That was easy – knowing that the lowest price would win, I coded a price tracking strategy into their website so we could scan the local scene for the going gear rates of the day – or every 4 hours to be exact.

Once determined, their prices would be dynamically and automatically changed to reflect a price lower than all their competitors – while still retaining a minimum gross margin, and certainly never below their cost price!

Now they could woo customers on the lower end of the scale without even spending any time or brain space on it!

Finally, I couldn’t wait to see what a good email campaign, social media strategy, and paid advertising plan could do for these guys.

It took me a good 30 days to roll everything out and collect enough data to analyze, but the results were worth the wait!

Within one month, they were ranking on the first page of Google and their online store was selling 264% more than the month before.

Within one year, their website which previously couldn’t break 1200 views, now had 6000 views – a 500% traffic increase!

The year after that, traffic rose to 10,000 visitors per month, and just in October 2020, broke the 20,000 visitor mark – a total increase from day 1, of over 1667%!

To top it off, now that I’ve built a sizable email list over the last 3 years we’ve been working together, I also run email campaigns for these guys twice a month and for all big holiday events.

Each carefully crafted and perfectly timed email is a revenue boost on its own as they consistently boast open rates of up to 40%, and rake in revenue to the tune of $15,000 to $42,000 per email.

I believe the pinnacle of Geoff, Rach, and Mike’s success – which really brought home how much positive change they’ve experienced since our journey together – was the year they won the coveted Sound + Image Awards, after we released a strategic marketing campaign specifically for this competition.