Marketing health and weight loss products in the era of Google’s consumer protectionism is nothing short of an uphill battle. However, it is possible to be successful if you simply focus on making conversions and providing upstanding customer service.
Okuma Nutrituonals sells a tea product for weight loss, an offer that’s found exclusively online. It’s an industry that has been hit hard in the last two years as a result of Google’s algorithm changes; in fact, their site www.wulongforlife.com lost more than 80% of their traffic just last year, however, the company still managed to grow their revenue in those dire times. The trick to their success—a massive focus on conversions and customer support. Here to share the story is Russell Lundstrom of Okuma Nutritionals.
By: Russell Lundstrom, Okuma Nutritionals
Assuming you are familiar with the changes Google made last year—they changed the entire landscape of the internet—Penguin, Panda, and a host of other changes essentially brought many internet sites to a standstill. Ours was no exception.
When we were first throttled by Google last year in the Penguin update, our focus was too narrow around the initial conversion of prospects to customers and the transactional value from that activity.
Our website traffic fell off almost 85%. Imagine a store where 85% of your customers stop coming in the door? How would you survive?
First, we focused on taking great care of our current customers. They are the true lifeblood of our business. We modeled Zappos and other leaders in customer service and implemented frictionless customer support backed up with pretty intensive training. When a customer calls or writes into our company, we try to go the extra mile and not only solve their problems, but put a little whipped cream on their day, so-to-speak. Make them smile.
Next, we had to take the few remaining visitors to our store and give them exactly what they wanted. We spent the entire year testing, talking to, and working with these visitors to find out exactly what they wanted and then create a web experience that will give them what they are looking for. Usability testing, A/B testing, simple surveys, we have tried it all.
In our internet marketing world, we were sensitive to the cost of customer acquisition. For example, our average initial transaction was $100, with say a 40% margin, so this means we had to acquire customers for less than $40 each to run a profitable campaign.
Finally, all this was possible with the understanding that immediate sales was not what is important. Too many businesses focus on that initial sale. It isn’t a great secret, but often forgotten, that the initial sale is simply the beginning of the relationship. We took a step back and calculated the lifetime value of our top 20% customers (80/20 rule). This turned out to be several hundred dollars with a greater margin than 50%. Our focus now is on lifetime value of a customer and when you expand your vision to prioritize that it makes the important decisions rise to the surface. Under this new light, we were able to look different marketing avenues which we initially believed to be losers. We now, with careful monitoring via Salesforce, could successfully spend more money acquiring customers and nurturing that initial relationship.
The bottom line is having a great willingness to try and fail, nurtured by the long term vision of what we are doing is what brought us through the year. Knowing the lifetime value of our customers was one of the greatest lessons we learned last year. Our traffic has only marginally returned, but we are well above sales from this time last year.