Nature’s Shade Tree Care is a 12+ year old family-run business serving East Gwillimbury, King City & Newmarket. They provide emergency tree removal, tree & shrub pruning, tree planting and cabling & bracing. The owners at Nature’s Shade made contact with MK-Way because they questioned how their existing ads were performing and wanted more local support and someone that could help educate and provide additional agnostic marketing advice to grow their business.
Website Presence - NaturesShade.ca
Nature’s Shade was using a single page website or landing page. Many local businesses use landing pages with Google Ads to send predictable targeted traffic to the website. It’s a great way to build a local service business.
What is a landing page? It’s a single web page that funnels inbound website visitors into actionable call-to-actions (ie., call the business, get a quote, book a meeting, etc). They wanted to continue growing their business with paid ads traffic, and also wanted a more holistic website that could support more information sharing about their services, company, team and careers.
Paid Ads for Lead-Gen
Nature’s Shade wanted to generate high-ticket leads through Google Ads. The challenge was to get the best results out of their relatively modest monthly budget in a competitive advertising landscape where they were competing against bigger and well-established tree care companies.
We inherited the account from a previous agency, our challenge was to seep through what was previously implemented into the account and find opportunities for optimization in order to improve their return on investment and thus help grow their business.
Organic Traffic (SEO)
Nature’s Shade wanted more organic website traffic. They had become frustrated by their monthly investment in paid ads during the off-season. If you’re an arborist in Ontario, your off-season is from approximately November – February. Website leads and calls become far and few and most Arborists hibernate or have snow plow side businesses for their main business. Natures Shade was interested in improving their local search marketing. They wanted to become more visible in local search and weren’t sure how to do it. Their website was averaging approximately 10 new organic visitors per month during the off-season, and 50 organic visitors during the peak season (mainly from word of mouth marketing).
The incumbent didn’t want to give the business owner access to their own website, so we built them a new one that they could use for paid traffic & organic SEO. We chose to use WordPress as the website platform and Elementor Pro as the page builder technology. The combination of the two allowed us to educate the business owners and give them full access to manage their website (on their terms). We designed 5 website pages, and collaborated with our client to provide content for their homepage, services, about their family-business, contact us page, and other pages.
We started by creating a high-fidelity mockup design which went to our client for approval. Once confirmed about their choice, we started web development and building the pages, elements, and content that would become their website.
We started by performing a full Google Ads account audit. We went through our PCC best practices checklist, analyzed their main KPIs (CTR, Conv. Rate, Cost-Per-Acquisition, Search Impression Share, Quality Scores) and came up with a game plan for how to optimize their account’s performance.
We defined the optimization opportunities that will make the most positive impact on their return on Investment and proceeded to implement them.
Table of Contents
We created a Google Ads strategy that is tailored to our client’s specific business needs and proceeded to set up an account structure that is better suited for them; their previous account structure was only comprised of one ad group under one campaign that harboured all of their services and dozens of keywords which is a major Faux pas in the PPC universe.
We optimized their Keywords by using the appropriate match types; they previously had all their keywords in Broad Match with no negative keywords for traffic sculpting which was one of the main reasons for their ad spend waste. We improved their Quality Scores which lowered their costs by splitting ad groups, finding more targeted keywords and testing different ad copy.
We believe in real marketing here at Mk way which is why we designed a strategy that had a healthy blend of top and bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns; We supercharged our conversion-focused search ads with awareness display ads.
Our in-house designers created stellar ad assets to be leveraged for Nature’s Shade Display ads in order to drive awareness around the brand in addition to remarketing efforts to stay top-of-mind and on Nature’s Shade’s customers’ radars.
We optimized their search ads’ relevance by creating customized ad copy for each service offered by Nature’s shade; they previously had one generic ad that was served to all possible leads no matter what service they were looking for – We do not believe in “generic” at Mk Way!
In addition to the above, we saw an opportunity to improve our clients’ reporting practices. They did not have a reporting dashboard to capture their most important KPIs.
Organic Traffic (SEO)
When MK-Way got involved, we ran a site-wide content audit that analyzed their on-page, off-page and technical SEO. We found the clients Domain Authority (DA) was low (on a scale of 1 to 100, they ranked a 2). For a 10+ year old business website, it meant their website pages were neglected or never truly optimized for local search. Their On-Page SEO score was poor and they couldn’t make updates to their existing website because it was a single landing page used exclusively for Google Ads. What is On-Page SEO? It’s also known as On-Site SEO and involves optimizing text or elements on a website in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from Google Search and other search engines.
We educated the client on our approach and reflected on the differences between their paid ads program and local search marketing. To increase local presence we analyzed their website for keywords and implemented a content marketing strategy. Our approach was focused on three pillars of success:
1. Creating a blog section on the website
2. Writing 1-2 articles per month, 800-1000 words in length
3. Optimizing 1-2 blog articles to rank on local search
We wrote 4 articles over the first 90 days from November 2019 to February 2020, and saw tiny blips on Google Analytics from new visitors traffic.. We also added some additional backlinks to their website to help float the site and improve overall ranking. It wasn’t until approximately the end of March 2020 when our SEO tool captured a massive spike (500% increase) in organic search traffic to one of our blog articles.
One of our blog articles caught the attention of page 1 of Google for gypsy moth infestation in Ontario and local searchers were finding Nature’s Shade blog for answers. This lead to an increase in organic traffic and attributed to gains in phone calls and form fills (contact form submissions).
We stopped writing in April 2020, and this supernova spike wasn’t sustained long-term, and traffic fell to 200-300 visitors per month (still a 200% – 300% increase) in traffic.
Our customer became so busy over the period of 2020 from organic leads (and paid leads) that they couldn’t sustain fulfilling all their website quotes. Our client was turning down quotes for new business and asked us to stop content marketing and help them improve processes to hire additional crew members and expand their business operation.
Even though we stopped writing in April, our blog articles continued to outperform on Google Search. Despite our customer entering the off-season late into November 2020, his organic website traffic continue to climb higher.
Why? Success builds on success (and until a local competitor enters the marketplace to outrank you with their content).
Organic Website Traffic
Website traffic hit record highs in 2020, and continued to soar in 2021. The quality of the content was superb and visitors stayed on the website longer to get all the information.
Off-Season Organic Traffic: 200-300 visitors per month
Peak-Season Organic Traffic: 300-800 visitors per month
We identified the most important micro & macro conversions for our client and defined the most relevant KPIs for measurement. We proceeded to create a bespoke report for Nature’s Shade that can be accessible 24×7, in real-time. We used the Google Looker Studio (previously Google Data Studio) tool that captures data from their advertising platforms, GA4 (Google Analytics) and Google Search Console (GSC) accounts to reflect these KPIs.
Campaign objective: Lead Generation through Form submits or calls
Traffic generated: 1,31k
Conversion rate: 12.22%
Data range: May 3rd, 2019 to Dec 16th, 2022
Campaign Objective: To drive brand awareness and reach.
The target audience: Was an In-market audience of people actively searching for tree care services offered by Nature’s Shade.
Creative Assets & Copy: Our in-house designers created assets for this campaign. See the presentation here.
Click-through-rate: 0.73% – it reached up to 1,3% during the last month
How we interpret our own results for this Display campaign:
In order not to get lost in vanity metrics, it is important to understand how to interpret the most important KPIs.
Traffic on its own doesn’t say much about performance, however, the trend of traffic over time within the same budget is what we were aiming for – Our goal was to get the most traffic possible within the same budget.
The CPC: This is how much one pays per click – Our goal was to see this decrease over time.
The CTR: The Click-through-rate is a measure of relevance – The higher the CTR, the more relevant people find the ads to be. This speaks of the quality of targeting and the quality of the ad assets themselves.
We judged our CTR by comparing it to (i) the industry benchmark and (ii) past performance. In this case, the industry benchmark for DISPLAY campaigns is around 0,14% for home services: landscaping. Our achieved CTR is 0.73% which is way about 0,14%!
Tech we used
Analytics & Measurement:
- Google Tag Manager
Website Build & Design:
- Adobe XD
- Elementor Pro