Nuts & Bolts - Case Study: The Scooter Store Mobilizes Paid Search
Challenge: Dominate search engine results pages.
Solution: Team with a digital marketing firm to create and manage a new website to help occupy top search result links.
Wisdom may come with age. But the propensity to choose large print books and enlarge print on Web pages seems to arrive at the same time.
Marketers at The Scooter Store, headquartered in New Braunfels, Texas, were hoping to capitalize on both of those tendencies when they decided to dominate the paid search listings for "Scooter Store." The reasoning was that consumers interested in the motorized wheelchairs and scooters it sold might only see the paid results—three of them—and the organic listing with zoomed-in text. So it was important to dominate all of that real estate, says Quinn Britt, vice president of consumer marketing at The Scooter Store.
But at first, Britt didn't accept what he later determined was sage advice from Response Mine Interactive (RMI), an Atlanta-based digital marketing services firm.
Three years ago, RMI proposed creating a third site in addition to The Scooter Store's main site, thescooterstore.com, and its e-commerce arm, thescooterstoreonline.com.
What would become electric-wheel-chairs.com seemed like flawed thinking, because Britt was sure The Scooter Store would be bidding on its own keywords twice.
However, after some convincing, The Scooter Store partnered with RMI and brought the third site live about two years ago. Britt says what finally won him over was realizing that consumers would have a different user experience on electric-wheel-chairs.com, which would be copy-heavy and display an entire form that didn't involve clickthrough for home page visitors. Plus, he says, "we didn't see [the site] cannibalizing and just increasing our paid search cost, generally."
The RMI-managed site helped The Scooter Store acquire 8 percent to 9 percent more leads in 2011 vs. 2010, according to Britt. That's an incremental lift, not just leads who would've come through the other two sites, anyway, he says.
Most importantly, Britt says, he was able to ensure the third-party site didn't violate any Medicare, insurance or search engine rules. For instance, Medicare rules mean The Scooter Store can't legally cold-call prospects who may be interested in scooters or motorized wheelchairs. So the site provides the phone number or a way for visitors to opt-in to be called—by filling out a form. (He says speaking with customers is important, because working through the Medicare and insurance process is a bit involved.)
"It gave us another way to get our message out there in the paid search listings," Britt says. "Usually, in the third position."
But The Scooter Store, after all, is a business. So the considerations about building this third site weren't completely about the end-user experience. Britt points out that "scooter" is a bit of a general term, and the first products that come to mind are the children's toy and two-wheeled, motorized scooters—such as Vespas. And The Scooter Store does have direct competitors, which Britt wants to keep "further down the page in the paid listings."
As an unforeseen advantage, Britt says RMI shares the results of its site testing, which allows The Scooter Store to optimize its primary sites. As of presstime, The Scooter Store dominates the paid listings and its primary sites come up as the first three organic results on a Google "scooter store" search.
Britt believes The Scooter Store will keep the third site program going. "It's been very productive for us."