Swan | Case Study - How Castle Helped Swan

1. Objective

Swan Brand wanted Castle to generate more traffic and increase sales through the Swan website. Swan set us the objective of increasing revenue through the website by 50% in 12 months. This objective was far exceeded, achieving a 250% growth in sales in just the first year, followed by a further 361% increase the following year, and a further 30% increase the year after. This was achieved through improving conversions on their site, increasing traffic using paid advertising, which had previously never been done, and increasing sales. We also needed to work on developing their brand identity and increasing brand awareness, particularly through social media.

2. Solution

Swan set Castle an objective of increasing revenue through their website by 50% in 12 months. Castle far exceeded this goal, as in our first year working with Swan, we provided them with a 250% increase in revenue through online sales compared to the previous year.  This growth was achieved by increasing traffic by 115%, increasing the conversion rate from 1.7% to 2.1%, as well as increasing the average order value (AOV) by 48%.

Compared to 2020, however, this is nothing. In 2020, Castle increased Swan’s sales by 361%, with a 337% increase in traffic compared to the year before. This is, in part, due to the increased conversion rate of 2.7%, which increased by 40% compared to the previous year. This resulted in Swan making more revenue through their website in a single month than they had throughout the whole of 2018.

Through efficient marketing strategies, we were able to make Swan’s budget stretch further whilst increasing revenue through the website substantially. Castle achieved unprecedented growth year on year for Swan over several years. By first focusing on making vital improvements to the website to increase the conversion rate and implementing a cross-selling strategy to increase the AOV.

This led to a 250% increase in sales for 2019, with just a 115% increase in traffic, a 361% increase in sales in 2020, with a 337% increase in traffic and a 30% increase in sales in 2021, with just a 10% increase in traffic. This meant we had to spend less money on promotion as we converted more of the leads Swan was already getting whilst also increasing the amount each converted person was spending.

A Mac displaying Swan's website

3. Website

First of all, we focused on making necessary improvements to the existing Swan website. We wanted to make it more user-friendly and efficient to help increase conversions. Swan was already generating a good amount of traffic, but the customers weren’t converting, which is why we focused on conversion rate optimisation to start with.

To improve the user experience on the Swan website, we increased the website speed and made the checkout much faster, so it was simpler to complete a purchase. We also made the search bar more prominent so it was easier for users to find the products they wanted. This significantly reduced the bounce rate on the website and led to fewer people abandoning their purchases halfway through the process. This resulted in a 10% increase in conversions in the first year.

In 2020, we designed and built Swan a brand-new UX-friendly website equipped with a wide range of user-friendly features, which helped to increase the conversion rate on the site by a further to 40% in 2020 and a further 16% in 2021.We also implemented a cross-selling strategy across the website to encourage those making purchases to spend more. This increased revenue generated from customers who were already converted, increasing the average order value across the site. For example, we created promotions such as ‘if you spend £150, you get a free steam cleaner’ and advertised this on the website. This encouraged people to spend more, increasing the average order value by 48% in 2019 and again in 2021 by 16%. After improving the website to increase the conversion rate, we then started to focus on further promotion.

Website improvements we made:

    • An innovative search facility that strips back the high visibility, colour-coded, headings sections
    • The ability to share all news items, spreading influence
    • Relatable articles, meaning site visitors stay longer, increasing conversion rates
    • In-frame video capability
    • A secure comments section
    • A mega menu facility through hover
    • Individualised social link connectivity
    • A blog and newsletter signup to capture more people that could be marketed to via email
A MacBook and screen of Swan's website

4. Social Media

Castle worked on developing thriving social media channels for Swan with engaging content that followers could interact with. We focused on increasing their following across Instagram, Facebook, and X (Twitter) initially, and used these channels to promote the brand to a wider audience and increase brand awareness. Castle successfully grew Swan’s following on Instagram from 8,000 in 2018 to over 102,000 in 2020. This led to a 1933% increase in traffic from social media from 2018-19, a 684% increase in sales from social media in 2020, and an 84% increase in traffic through social media in 2021 compared to the previous year.

It is incredibly difficult to create viral content on social media, so we focused on posting user-generated content and content created by influencers. This kind of content is much more real and, therefore, leads to higher engagement rates. By asking customers to tag Swan in their product images and by connecting with influencers and reposting their content, we were able to build up a large bank of user-generated content, which we can post across all of Swan’s platforms. This not only saves Swan time on creating their own content but has helped to increase engagement and brand awareness.

Competitions and giveaways

A popular strategy we used to increase Swan’s social media followers was to arrange competitions through social media where followers could win free Swan products. To enter the competition, users would have to tag multiple friends in Swan posts and also ensure they all followed the page. This helped to increase the followers across the social media accounts to create a large database of people Swan could then regularly promote to.

Castle also created a messenger bot system through ManyChat where users could gain access to exclusive Swan discounts by signing up for alerts through Facebook Messenger. This allowed us to build up a large bank of people, similar to an email marketing database, we could quickly and easily promote to. These promotions are far more successful than email marketing, due to the fact the messages appear on your phone as a notification from Facebook Messenger, so people are much more likely to take notice, leading to a 98% open rate.

Due to these tactics, in 2020, we generated a 575% increase in traffic through Instagram and a 643% increase in sales, a 1900% increase in traffic through Facebook and a 2700% increase in sales, and a 194% increase in traffic through X (then Twitter) and a 2900% increase in sales.

Two phones displaying Swan's social media

5. Paid advertisements

Castle also set up paid advertisements for Swan through social media and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google AdWords. This was something that had previously not been done. Our PPC campaigns allowed the Swan website to gain an advertisement placement at the top of Google when people searched for keywords and phrases relevant to the brand, which we bid on.

We also implemented shopping campaigns where Swan products would display in the Google shopping banner at the top of Google when someone searched for a relevant product, e.g. a kettle. Every time one of our advertisement links was clicked, we would pay a small fee to the search engine, but this fee was trivial as the visits to the website were often worth much more than the fee itself. For example, one click could cost £1 but result in a £150 sale.

We also set up Facebook advertisements using a circumstantial targeting model to increase the reach and visibility. This consists of running paid advertisement campaigns targeting customers based on their circumstances rather than just basic demographics. Castle created tailored advertisements for Swan products and targeted these adverts at specific groups of people who would be more likely to purchase these products.

For example, when advertising cookware and kitchen appliances we targeted the advertisements at mothers. This is because they are the people who are more likely to be cooking family meals or baking at home. We would, therefore, target this ad for women aged 28-40 with interests such as baking, cooking, and home décor. This way the advertisements would be more likely to reach the correct target audience, leading to an increase in traffic and higher conversion rates.

We designed eye-catching graphics and wrote convincing ad copy to attract people’s attention when scrolling through social media. We’d promote high-performing and popular products and add discounts to encourage people to purchase. We also set up effective retargeting campaigns across both social media and PPC, so we could retarget people who had already interacted with our ads or been on the Swan website before. These ads would be displayed on websites or come up on social media and keep showing to them, keeping Swan and the products they’re interested in front of mind, encouraging them to purchase. This helped us to achieve a 76% returning customer rate in 2020, which increased by a further 21% in 2021.

These paid advertisements through Google AdWords and Facebook advertisements led to a 908% increase in traffic from 2018 to 2019, and a 523% increase in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. In 2020, there was a 442% increase in sales through paid advertisements alone.

Two phones displaying Swan products on Google

6. Affiliate marketing

Another strategy that led to instrumental change was the implementation of an affiliate/ambassador programme for Swan. We ran this through social media and the affiliate platform AWIN. This involved creating a network of influencers on Instagram and Facebook and inviting them to be Swan affiliates. These affiliates then advertise Swan products and the Swan brand on their social media channels to their large followings. Each affiliate would receive their own unique UTM tracking code to use when posting promotions on their channels and directing their audience towards the Swan site.

The affiliates are paid on commission through a cost-per-acquisition basis, so for every sale they make through their promotions, they would receive 10% of the profits of the final sale. The more people who purchase using their code, the more money they would receive. This has generated a huge amount of traffic on a no-risk basis. It has allowed Swan to increase brand awareness through advertising to hundreds of thousands of new people they previously may not have been able to reach. And they only have to pay out a relatively small amount when a transaction is made.

Through the implementation of these strategies, sales from social media increased by 5,695% in the first year compared to 2018. They increased a further 684% throughout 2020, compared to 2019. In 2020, there was a reported 734% increase in sales through Awin, and in 2021, this increased again by a further 8%.

As a result of developing strong social media channels and implementing social advertising campaigns, Castle has helped to create a strong, recognisable brand identity and increased brand awareness for Swan. As a result, Swan has benefitted from a huge increase in traffic and sales from the website, benefitting from unprecedented growth year after year.

Two phones displaying Swan's social media

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