Chicago Steak Company had a problem that many online retailers share. The steak and seafood seller offers high quality products at impressive price points. But if you haven't noticed, a lot of companies sell steak online. Looking to drive traffic toits web site, increase visitors and reduce the cost of customer acquisition, Chicago Steak found its single Google AdWords campaign lacking.
The brand needed help both identifying and managing larger amounts of keywords. Finally last year, it started working with a third party to help make its search strategy more granular. The result? Lower costs per acquisition, boosted traffic to the company website and increased conversions. I spoke with Matt Crowley, the company's vice president, to find out how they did it.
What are your main issues branding your company in search?
We are aware that consumers have a wide variety of choices, but we have great pride in our product and guarantee that our steaks are the finest in every way from marbling to packaging. We age our steaks for at least 28 days and guarantee each box with a registration number to confirm this promise of excellence.
If you Google “steaks” you will find companies such as Omaha Steaks, Kansas City Steaks, and Allen Brothers. We use a variety of avenues to brand Chicago Steak Company online. Some of these include CPC, CPA, email marketing, affiliate marketing, sweepstakes, social networking, SEO, discounts, and promotions.
What about free shipping?
We understand consumers’ perception of shipping costs when shopping online. It is because of this that we have done everything we can to meet, and even exceed, customers’ expectations when it comes to shipping. We offer several free shipping promotions throughout the year to encourage new customers to try our products.
What was your approach to search last year?
It was unmanageable. We sell a popular product to a broad audience. There are thousands of relevant keywords and we were attempting to group them all under one campaign. In addition, having multiple Campaigns and AdGroups enabled us to capitalize on cost savings offered by Google (keywords in adcopy etc.)
When did you decide to go to a third party agency to help with search? What was the result?
In the third quarter of 2009. Comparing February 2010 to February 2009, we were able to raise our conversion rate by over 1 percentage point.
How did you do that?
We were really surprised at how much of an impact getting more granular with keyword grouping had on our performance. We saw an increase in both Quality Score and click-through rate. We were also able to take advantage of WordStream's negative keyword tools to cut out wasteful spend, increasing our negative keywords by 300%! This in turn cut our cost per conversion significantly, allowing us to hit our target cost per conversion.
Did the results meet your expectations?
What we were looking for in a solution was really to streamline the PPC workflow process while keeping transparency in the account. WordStream allowed us to do this because of the way they manage keywords and suggest an architecture for the account. It was very difficult to do this manually,