PPC Case Study: CNI Locates

cni-locates-logo www.cnilocates.com
PO Box 7740
Bonney Lake, Washington 98391

WebRanking Client

Since 2011

Industry

Local Service

2016 » 2017

67.8% 67.8%  Year over Year Increase in Organic Traffic

Year over Year Increase
in PPC Leads

CNI Locates is a local Underground Utility Detection and Inspection Service Company, located in and serving Western Washington State, including Seattle, Tacoma and Everett.

When Larry Gasser, the owner of CNI Locates, approached us back in February of 2010, he initially signed up for an SEO campaign to increase his organic exposure.

As the SEO campaign began to take hold and produce results, Larry decided that it was time to expand his reach as he noticed many of his competitors were utilizing Google AdWords and showing up above his organic listings. Larry elected to enroll in one of our PPC programs starting in 2011.

Objective

The objective of the CNI Locates PPC campaign was to increase phone calls and free estimate requests from potential customers in the Western Washington area. This was to be accomplished through paid exposure through Google AdWords for the keywords that potential customers used to search for the underground utility detection services offered.

Challenges

Several of the keywords for the services offered by CNI Locates overlap with the free underground utility and leak detection services that are offered by the public utility companies. These “call before you dig” services are heavily advertised, which meant that our ad messaging needed to be clear that CNI’s service was for private property, not public property.  We would also need to be vigilant in our negative keyword research and implementation in order to avoid visitors looking for the free service.

Another challenge we faced was that some of the services we were to promote were obscure and the end user either didn’t know the proper service they needed, or the keywords they would need to correctly search for it.

Not only did they implement a plan of attack to funnel new customer traffic our way, they also took the time to learn the inner workings of how our business operated in an effort to better understand how they could then best meet our needs. The increased customer traffic was noticed immediately and the new business saved us from having to close our doors due to the severe drop in business brought on by the economic depression. We now have an updated web site, SEO campaign and a pay per click program that is paying dividends.

It’s nice to see that regardless of the times, good or bad…the WebRanking team always seem to continually adapt and change with the times and see to it that their customers have that extra competitive edge.

Solution

Comprehensive Keyword Research
The first step for the PPC campaign was to conduct comprehensive keyword research. While we already had a solid list of keywords from our SEO efforts, we needed to dive deeper and determine the variations on how potential customers were searching for the services offered by CNI Locates, along with the cost per click and other valuable data points.

We also needed to know what keywords we needed to avoid, or implement as negative keywords in the campaign to avoid paying for traffic that wouldn’t convert.

Focus first on top services
Initially we looked to build out campaigns targeting the most profitable and searched for services offered by CNI Locates. This allowed us to slowly turn on the campaign, generate solid data to be used for campaign improvements, while also seeing a good initial return on the investment for the client.

Clear Messaging
As CNI Locates caters to a very specific type of client and offers a very specific type of services, our text ad messaging needed to be clear and define the service in a short amount characters. We didn’t want to waste the client’s ad spend on visitors that they could not provide service for.

Send Visitors to Landing Pages that Convert
As we were promoting multiple services for Larry and CNI Locates, it was imperative that the landing pages directly matched the keyword intent of the visitor. We also wanted to utilize landing pages that employed Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) techniques designed to maximize the number of visitors that converted into leads.

Review, Refine, Repeat

As CNI Locates offered multiple services, it was important to constantly review the results, test new ad copy, increase our negative keywords, and add newly discovered keywords to maximize the return on the investment for all the services being advertised in this campaign.

As CNI grew and added new equipment, we also needed a campaign that was able to grow with the client.

Results

cni-results

The initial PPC campaign for CNI Locates was developed and launched at the start of 2011. From 2011 through 2014, the campaign saw a steady increase in leads each year, while simultaneously reducing the average cost per lead, and increasing the conversion rates.

Year over Year Lead Gains

2011 » 2012

123.1%123.1% Year over Year Increase in PPC Leads

Year over Year Increase
in PPC Leads

2012 » 2013

37.1%37.1% Year over Year Increase in PPC Leads

Year over Year Increase
in PPC Leads

2013 » 2014

15%15% Year over Year Increase in PPC Leads

Year over Year Increase
in PPC Leads

Year over Year Cost per Lead Change

2011 » 2012

-16.8%-16.8% Year over Year Decrease in Cost per Lead

Year over Year Decrease
in Cost per Lead

2012 » 2013

-31.8%-31.8% Year over Year Decrease in Cost per Lead

Year over Year Decrease
in Cost per Lead

2013 » 2014

-7.68%-7.68% Year over Year Decrease in Cost per Lead

Year over Year Decrease
in Cost per Lead

Conversion Rates

2011

15.8%

2012

19.4%

2013

24.9%

2014

25.2%

In 2015, Larry purchased new equipment which now allowed him to offer more services to his client base. Due to this he elected to increase his ad spend budget for the campaign and we began to create new campaigns and ad groups focused on keywords related to ground penetrating radar, structure and concrete detection, imaging and scanning and leak detection.

These changes significantly altered the campaign, as we were now promoting keywords with a higher average cost per click and more aggressive competitors. This was completed in early 2015. The results of the new campaign were as followed.

Year over Year Lead Gains

2015 » 2016

14.3%14.3% Year over Year Increase in PPC Leads

Year over Year Increase
in PPC Leads

2016 » 2017

67.8%67.8% Year over Year Increase in PPC Leads

Year over Year Increase
in PPC Leads

Year over Year Cost per Lead Change

2015 » 2016

-5.1%-5.1% Year over Year Decrease in Cost per Lead

Year over Year Decrease
in Cost per Lead

2016 » 2017

-16.5%-31.8% Year over Year Decrease in Cost per Lead

Year over Year Decrease
in Cost per Lead

Conversion Rates

2015

20.8%

2016

22.0%

2017

24.2%

The only time this campaign has not seen an increase in leads coupled with a decrease in the cost per lead, was from 2014 to 2015. This was caused by the increase in the ad spend and overall expansion of the campaign. Once we had time to analyze the results, we were able to quickly get the campaign back on track and once again see improvement each year.

This campaign speaks to the importance and value of having an actively managed PPC campaign, in order to see continued growth in leads, while paying less per lead. Ongoing keyword research, negative keyword implementation, ad testing, conversion rate optimization, bid adjustments and competitor analysis, are key to a campaign that improves in performance year after year.

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