Think for a second, if I had to break into the most heavily dominated market in the country and make a ruckus, how would I do it? Ecotricity was attempting exactly this. Poised as New Zealand’s first carboNZero electricity provider, breaking down the barriers around eco-friendly alternatives, Ecotricity was performing a David and Goliath reenactment and were armed with their desire for a renewable future.
Regardless of the purity of their mission, breaking into such a congested market isn’t an easy feat. They needed to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but also get their message out to people. Being the leaders of change is all good and well, but how are people going to hear your story? And more importantly, where are they looking for it?
When Ecotricity approached Inbound, their goal was clear. Grow their business, improve their digital presence, create a ruckus. Combined, we set a lofty target. A 10x return on their investment. While most agencies are pushing for 2x, we thought bigger. This was unprecedented not only for us but for the marketing space in general.
We identified that Ecotricity’s core market was broken up into 3 different groups or ‘personas’. Those who viewed themselves at the forefront of the Eco-friendly movement, those who wanted to decrease their expenditure and do their part, and those who wanted to support locally owned businesses and community.
The core group we chose to focus on here, were those who viewed themselves at the forefront of the Eco-friendly movement. These were our early adopters, and those who would jump at an opportunity to join a carboNZero provider. Rather than spend budget early on focusing on educating and swaying an audience that may not be ready to convert yet, we identified those who were ready, and put our attention there. We also identified that these people would be actively looking for eco-friendly alternatives, rather than waiting for the information to find them. Our focus, therefore, was to utilise 3 main channels to reach, engage and convert these prospects. Content/SEO, Paid Search, Paid Social.
Our focus on SEO was in two different areas. To help better develop a website flow for googles crawlers, and to help people find Ecotricity, through a focus on long-tail keywords, short-tail keywords, non-brand terms and brand terms. Competing against powerhouses in the Energy market means standing out through creative, intuitive and consumer-focused strategy.
We developed an extensive keyword strategy that identified the keywords people would be searching for when it came to energy providers, but also ethical consumerism. Because Ecotricity’s offering existed in such a unique space, we knew that reaching out to the people who related to their mission, would engage an audience that showed a unique intent to join the movement, and would drive conversions.
On top of this, we developed a comprehensive content strategy, focusing on Energy, Sustainable Lifestyle and Electric Vehicles. This content formulated the strength of Ecotricity as a ‘thought-leader’ in their respective industry and vaulted them up the Google rankings.
SEO was always the long game, but our work generated results quickly, and effectively. We saw 55 core keywords increase in rank and optimise, 36 of these making it into the 1-10 range, where 90% of search volume comes from.
In one year, our Organic SEO work delivered 46,138 NEW visitors to Ecotricity’s website. This was a 23% increase on the previous period and 27% for visitors in general. From this, we also saw 845 new customers of Ecotricity, showing how effective our work was at reaching the consumers, most interested in converting.
Our engagement with Paid Social was to share the message of Ecotricity to a new and undiscovered audience. As a new provider in the scene, Ecotricity didn’t have the reputation (good or bad) that many of its larger competitors did. However, they were quickly developing one as a leader in the Eco-friendly movement. Not only were they creating a discussion around carboNZero energy, but also around Electric Vehicles. We worked on sharing both these messages out to the audience, through a range of paid social campaigns, with incredible interactive content such as their comprehensive ‘EV Buyers Guide’ and EcoNEWS video series.
Over the period of a year, we generated a reach of 636,881 (in a country of only 5 million!) and 54,811 clicks to the content/website. This click statistic alone was a 374.55% increase on the previous year, showing how engaging the content was with the audience designed.
This was our gold mine. We knew that while SEO was going to be helping us achieve long-term success, we wanted to understand our market better in the short term and develop, optimise and improve our language, targeting and audience engagement so when we began ranking in the 1,2,3 for key terms, we had our messaging perfected. We also wanted to drive short term results, so that Ecotricity could keep growing and develop its digital presence. We developed a highly targeted strategy, focusing on standard short and long tail keywords, and also worked on developing a dynamic campaign that incorporated those exact keywords, into our language. By developing a formulated mix of both, we engaged a market, poised to make the switch to an Eco-friendly provider, and the results spoke for themselves.
In one year, we decreased the CPA 4x.
You didn’t read that wrong, we helped Ecotricity quarter the cost of bringing on new customers. On top of this, we increased their Click Through Rate from a weak 0.77% to 1.97%, showing that our ads were resonating, and our targeting was reaching the right audience.
Across all platforms, we blew expectation out the water. Setting the bar at an incredibly lofty 10x ROI was a risk, but when the numbers came in, this is what they had to say:
- Average 121% increase in CTR
- 92.5% increase in goal completion rate (GA)
- Cost per acquisition decreased by 4x
- 12.9x ROI
- 1481 NEW households completing onboarding (SEO + Paid Search)
- 36 new keywords ranking 1-10 on Google (55 Optimised)
- 673% growth in search queries
Competing in a market as saturated and solidified as the Energy Provider market requires something special. Ecotricity proved they were willing, and we were excited to help them achieve it. To be able to deliver a 12.9x ROI was a culmination of a brilliant team effort, and a brilliant client alongside.
It’s safe to say that this David and Goliath story isn’t going away any time soon. And with the current momentum (and us alongside), this fight is becoming more even, day by day.