- Increase organic search visibility on key non-trademark terms, supported by blogger outreach, which in turn was underpinned by a content marketing strategy
- Improve clickthrough rate via implementation of rich snippets, a type of on-page mark-up that provides the consumer with persuasive info, such as reviews, price, etc. and thereby helps with content promotion
The technical challenges faced in the project were:
- a highly bespoke, archaic legacy content management system (CMS);
- an external web development agency that had multiple priorities and who were restricted to making changes to the website only twice a year;
- unfinished SEO projects by both internal and external teams;
These issues resulted in a poorly optimised information architecture on the UK website.There is also an important commercial challenge in the footwear sector: an inherent barrier to purchase footwear online. Customers, in particular women (62%), prefer to try on shoes before buying according to a recent Mintel report.
Between 2013-2014, the footwear sector itself experienced significant changes as clothing chains, grocers and sports shoe retailers grew their share of the market. Six of the top ten footwear retailers are now non-specialists, and in 2013, the specialists’ share of category spending fell below 50% for the first time.
I created a strategy for Clarks which leveraged the key principles of a solid, integrated marketing strategy: communication, integration, powerful data and analysis (insight) and creative thinking.
In terms of actual tactics this involved identifying and helping the client fix or bridge key technical website infrastructure flaws, then building authority via blogger outreach, underpinned by an off-site content marketing strategy.
My first step was to immerse myself and the team in the Clarks brand, culture and business processes. I met as many stakeholders as possible face-to-face in order to establish personal relationships with everyone we were going to work with.
In terms of strategic insight, I then conducted extensive SEO competitor analysis and keyword research, leveraging my in-depth knowledge of the brand. This analysis helped benchmark the client within its marketplace and enabled me to provide them with a detailed level of reporting going forward. I produced an accurate SEO technical audit of the platform, which in turn resulted in prioritised, ROI-focused recommendations for the improvement of the site within realistic timeframes and budget.
The team’s in-depth knowledge of the brand aided them in identifying the best bloggers to approach and build genuine relationships with them around Clarks products. One of the major technical amendments included adding rich snippets to Clarks’s product pages, which enhanced search results by displaying persuasive content such as price and reviews.
As a testament to the quality of the bloggers used in the outreach activity, I was asked to invite some of the most established bloggers to the Clarks’ 2014 press day in order to learn about new styles and to hopefully give more exposure to the brand through reputable and influential sources.
- 77% year-on-year increase in non-trademark traffic (2013 vs 2014)
- 176% year-on-year increase for August 2014 versus the same month in 2013
- 44% year-on-year increase in non-trademark orders (2013 vs 2014)
- 196% year-on-year increase for August 2014 versus the same month in 2013