Feather & Black search strategy

Covering September 11 - September 12

Search and customer experience strategy drives £17 for every one pound invested.

Building on the success of our work with Feather & Black between September 2010 and September 2011 (their last financial year), when the retailer saw a 46% increase in online revenue, our target between October 2011 and September 2012 was to increase sales by a further 25% specifically via natural and paid search.

Leapfrogg helped Feather & Black exceed this target by almost 10%.

Summary of strategy
Plan, create and execute an integrated search strategy aimed at meeting brand building, customer acquisition and sales objectives, with an emphasis on improving customer experience at each stage of the buying journey.

What we did
Our approach to meeting Feather & Black’s objectives focused on experience as the primary driver to build an engaged, loyal audience. We started with the question, ‘how will this strategy, activity or tactic deliver a memorable and superior experience’, understanding that every aspect of a retail marketing strategy has the potential to make or break that experience.

The strategy was driven by an understanding of the target audience and in particular how buying behaviours and journeys differ by product type. For example, ‘bed linens’ and ‘wardrobes’ have very different paths to purchase. Using insight gathered from analytics data, customer surveys and profiling techniques, we conducted a number of audits to uncover gaps and opportunities in existing marketing programmes for differing product ranges.

For example, our research showed that new customers would often begin their research online before visiting a store to make the purchase. Therefore, the paid search campaign supported in-store promotions and clearance events for high ticket items by targeting non-brand search terms, such as ‘wooden beds’, and displaying adverts within an agreed radius of each store.

Geo-targeted ads, along with down-loadable vouchers offering incentives for new customers, allowed us to join the dots between online activity and store visits, and therefore measure ROI from paid search with greater accuracy.

The natural search strategy also focused primarily on new customer acquisition by targeting non-brand keywords based on their revenue potential. Once keyword targets had been identified, we ran a content planning workshop with key stakeholders aimed at identifying themes, key messages and formats of content to be worked into a formalised plan. The primary objective of content was to inspire, educate and inform new customers as they moved along the conversion path from awareness to purchase.

On an ongoing basis, usability testing, content creation, online PR and social media activity combined to increase awareness, traffic, engagement and conversion rates across multiple channels and touch points.

Creative, experiential campaigns have included the continuation of the ‘Official Kids Furniture Tester’ panel, which we launched last year, where high profile ‘mummy bloggers’ are given ‘F&B Kids’ furniture to take home for their children to test. They regularly provide feedback on the products, write reviews on their blogs and also feature a badge, which includes an embedded link back to the children’s bedroom furniture page.

Bloggers were also utilised for a room makeover contest. Each blogger was given £150 and a piece of Feather & Black furniture to transform a room on a timeless and inspirational theme (two of Feather & Black’s core values). This integrated with the social media strategy as the ‘big reveal’ involved posting pictures on the Feather & Black Facebook page.

To coincide with the launch of the MD’s (Adam Black) book, ‘David the Dinosaur’, we also worked with bloggers to trial dinosaur themed products, thereby increasing exposure for the products and book, as well as garnering links.

In all cases, we have empowered bloggers to create content that drives positive brand exposure, builds authority and delivers a great experience for all the stakeholders involved.

Supporting all of this activity, remarketing campaigns were triggered based on an understanding of time lags between research, consideration and purchase stages, especially for higher ticket items.

Beginning with paid search, year-on-year revenue from this channel was up 24%. Specific ROI targets were set at the beginning of the financial year for the non-brand, brand and local campaigns. The non-brand campaign finished the year 26.83% ahead of target. The brand and local campaigns were on target.

The overall return-on-advertising-spend for the year was an outstanding 1:34.

In regards to natural search, we have delivered significant improvements in search engine rankings for highly competitive keywords, which resulted in a 45% year-on-year increase in natural search traffic.

A localised strategy, where Google Place pages were created and optimised saw an uplift of up to three times the traffic for store location pages. As a result, year-on-year revenue from natural search increased by 28%.

The overall return on investment across both paid and natural search for 2011/2012 was 1:17. However, by targeting non brand search terms, Feather & Black has seen a significant increase in new customer acquisition. With an active eCRM program in place to drive repeat sales the actual value of natural search activity over the medium to longer term will be far greater.

Importantly, like all of our clients, Feather & Black has felt no ill-effect of the recent Panda/Penguin updates. They have also won a number of awards for their marketing and multichannel strategies with Leapfrogg playing an integral role.

What did the client have to say?
“Feather & Black has seen a significant increase in online sales in the last 18 months with Leapfrogg playing an invaluable role. Their creative approach to search marketing, strong understanding of our business and ‘bigger picture’, multichannel thinking, has combined to make a significant contribution to our bottom line.”

Adam Black, Managing Director at Feather & Black

Download this case study as a PDF.