Tools Used: Google Tag Manager, Google Optimize, Google Analytics, Canva, VS Code, Google Docs, Google Sheets
Results: Went from one lead every other month or so, to 3-4 leads a week
Company: Con-Agg Companies / Columbia Ready Mix
Time to Results: 6 months
Ok here’s a step-by-step rundown of how I created substantial lead growth for Con-Agg Companies in about 6 months.
I’ll get straight to it:
1. Analytics phase
First, I dove into Google Analytics (GA) to find opportunities. I usually start looking at my clients’ most popular pages and discovering what the most common path is for visitors.
Our site navigation menu was broken down into a few categories – Aggregates, Ready Mix, Warehousing, and more.
For context: Con-Agg is a materials company. They own most of the rock quarries in Missouri and many in Arkansas. Aggregates is another word for rock materials. They also supply ready mix concrete, and have other business units as well.
At first I found the usual suspects – homepage is the most popular, Aggregates was 2nd, looked at bounce rates, etc, etc.
The interesting part is that we had about 50 branch pages – pages for each of our quarry and concrete locations.
At first glance, the individual location pages account for only a tiny percentage of total pageviews.
But what about all of the location pages totaled together?
So I whipped up some GA data and plopped it in Google Sheets:
Turns out that all quarry location pages totaled together, outnumbered even the homepage!
Ok so that’s interesting. Could be an opportunity. Their quarries are the most significant part of Con-Agg’s revenue.
Plus, I also know that the Aggregates page is extremely popular. So the Aggregates page should easily guide people to the quarry location pages.
Come to find out, it doesn’t. Not really.
Here’s what they had before on the Aggregates page:
That’s real, real bad!
- It’s wordy
- There’s multiple links
- It’s just plain complicated
So that confirms it – I had a big growth opportunity on my hands. The quarry location pages are the most popular pages on our website, and the Aggregates page was in the top 3. And they weren’t connecting to each very well.
Then I made a hypothesis that if we could make this path easier for visitors we could see more leads.
2. Brainstorming copy and mockups for redesign
Next I had to do something with all that copy. It had to be simplified ruthlessly and structured so that’s it’s easy to read.
After 5 pages of brainstorming some copy, I ended up with this:
Crazy how all those words from before can be reduced so drastically.
And this is a good design for readability because the text lines get smaller as they go down, forming a reverse pyramid. Reverse pyramids are much easier to read.
Then it’s on to mockups. How do we make it look good, and fit in with the surrounding website?
So I went to work in Canva (XD or Photoshop is not necessary for something this small), and decided on this:
Pretty slick if I do say so. Got some nice looking icons, good color combos, drop shadows, etc, etc.
3. Installing Google Tag Manager (GTM) and coding the a/b test
This is pretty self-explanatory. Just had to code the mockup using VS code.
There were some obstacles in this phase though:
- I didn’t have FTP access so I couldn’t code this by overwriting the page file itself, which means I also couldn’t use the website’s actual CSS file
- So, I had to use inline CSS instead
Other than that, Google Optimize makes it pretty easy to add in the code to a test variant.
I also had to get our website providers to add the GTM container and anti-flicker snippet, which wasn’t a huge deal. From there Google Optimize connects to GTM super easily.
4. A/B Testing
Again, Google Optimize (can I just call it GO?) is really easy to work with, so nothing too crazy here. Diverted 50% of traffic each to the control and variant, had to set up test objectives, etc.
I did have to tweak how I set up the test objectives in GO. (btw: objectives are just the goals that the test is set up to optimize for)
Initially I set up the objective as anyone who goes from the Aggregates URL to the Service Locator URL (the Service Locator was the page that lets visitors find the quarry location nearest to them).
Aggregates > Service Locator > Quarry Location
But if I were to leave it that way, GO would count any visitor that goes to the next page as a conversion. They could get to the next page from the nav menu, the test element, or any other place that links to the Service Locator page.
So I had to create an HTML event, and add it to the Call-to-Action buttons. That way it would only count clicks from my test element as conversions.
After running the test for 1 month, the test won with 96% significance. Noice.
5. Adding a contact us button
For some reason, our location pages didn’t have a contact us button, only a phone number. Gasp!
So I added one.
So then the visitor path becomes:
Aggregates > Service Locator > Quarry Location > Contact
6. SEO phase
Onto that mysterious, black magic marketing channel they call SEO.
Just kidding, it’s really not that hard once you know the basics.
After making the SEO changes I list below, we doubled website traffic in about 6 months. 6 months is also about how long it takes for any SEO change you make to affect your rankings.
Here’s what I did:
Google likes it when you improve the user experience on your site. They look at session duration, pogosticking (whether your visitors click the back button to get back to the Search Engine Results Page, or SERP), and bounce rates.
Luckily the winning A/B test we just added made a major improvement to our UX. So that’s cool.
Improved Site Speed
All we did was add a content caching plugin to our site, and our site speed loaded several seconds faster. Site speed not only drives revenue, but is also an SEO signal. Every second matters!
Updating region targeting
So there’s this HTML element on websites called a language targeting tag. This is important especially for local SEO, because it helps Google know what geographic area you should get ranked for.
For some reason the language targeting on our site was set to English / Great Britain. Pretty sure that’s not helping us! So we changed it to the US.
Backlinks were the biggest driver of SEO success for us, and usually is for most people.
When an authoritative website links to you, Google basically counts that as a vote for your website. So when other sites vote for you, you get more traffic.
Ideally, you’re creating valuable blog content that gets backlinks from the people who see it. But Con-Agg didn’t have a marketing department before I came on – no blogging and very few social media relationships.
So what’s a scrappy marketer to do? Ask for backlinks from any memberships and associations your company is connected to.
Luckily we were involved in a good handful of them. So I emailed them directly and asked for a link, and made sure they weren’t
Boom goes the dynamite. That’s all it took to create a lot of growth in a short amount of time.
I think the cool part about this case study is how a lot of small, strategic changes can add up to big results. Just takes a little bit of research and digging to find low-hanging, but big opportunities.