CASE STUDY: Financial Services Marketing

The Challenge

Merchant Services LTD is a high-volume credit card processing company headquartered in Miami, FL. The company, founded by Chapman Ducote, has been delivering premium service for over a decade. In such a highly-competitive space, it is hard to stand out, but Merchant Services LTD sets itself apart with low rates, exceptional customer service, and on the ability to provide tailor-made payment processing solutions for even the most unique merchant accounts.

Traditionally the company had grown through referral agreements and sponsorship-related promotions in motorsports, but with customer acquisition becoming more difficult, they needed an additional source of inbound sales leads to keep their pipeline full.

The Goal

  • Develop a digital program to drive sales qualified leads in the competitive b2b credit card processing industry
  • Manage inbound leads using marketing automation to more effectively nurture & prioritize deal flow
  • Maximize budget by leveraging search engine optimization as a primary marketing channel
  • Position the company as an authority in the industry by becoming digitally prolific
  • Build a foundation for future online initiatives & prove the value of inbound lead generation for b2b merchant services
  • Establish KPI’s and detailed reporting to measure deal flow & overall program success

The Solution

Gold Promotion was enlisted to create a modern website & content-focused inbound marketing strategy for Merchant Services LTD. Search marketing was the primary focus for lead generation and we relied heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) due to the cost of AdWords advertising and the potential for high ROI over time.

Website Design & Development

We re-created the WordPress website using the Genesis framework; designing the site to cater to the typical user interactions and providing the necessary elements to keep Google happy as well. User engagement & user experience was a priority, so we included several features such as a dynamic glossary of terms and an SEO optimized knowledgebase software. The site was built with a mobile-first approach, and although it has high-quality imagery and dynamic features, it is still fast and responsive to the device.

Caching/CDN Implementation

Website speed is essential to a positive user experience and is now an important factor in Google search rankings. The Merchant Services LTD website was built with speed in mind, with optimized images, minified CSS & javascript code among many other enhancements to increase the website speed. Since we were limited by the Bluehost shared hosting account, page caching & the StackPath CDN to speed up the website and provide additional firewall protection.

Content Writing

We developed a content strategy based on extensive keyword research which accounted for thousands of user queries, with associated search volume, cost-per-click (CPC) data & keyword rankings difficulty metrics. We primarily focused on informational queries ie adding value & answering the questions that come up when prospective customers are researching a credit card processing provider.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

After completing an SEO audit along with comprehensive keyword research, we decided to first focus on longtail search and then eventually, as the domain gained authority, rank the website for competitive terms like “merchant service provider” and “credit card machine”. Throughout the campaign we continued to optimize technical SEO & amp; on-page elements as well as improve content. A large emphasis was placed on link acquisition as an offsite SEO measure, and we focused on methods such as outreach for guest blogging & content promotion, citations building, press releases, and sponsorship opportunities to gain exposure and earn link equity.

PPC Advertising

Given the high cost of pay-per-click advertising in the credit card processing vertical, we were very selective in our media spend, using PPC only for select high-ROI keywords that are very b2b focused. We crafted highly-targeted campaigns using the single keyword ad group (SKAG) methodology with a variety of filters to enhance traffic quality, along with the latest AdWords features to enhance the ads visibility & attractiveness. AdWords traffic was sent to web pages which perfectly matched the visitor and search intent, using dynamic elements to personalize the landing page images & text.

Remarketing Ads

Remarketing advertising on both Google Search & Display was used to re-engage visitors that had found the site through organic search (SEO) or traditional PPC but did not convert into a contact or lead. We use retargeting ads tasteful so as not to overwhelm the user or tarnish the brand’s image through overly aggressive advertising.

Fraud Protection for Ads & Form Submits

Web forms are protected with advanced javascript to detect bot activity and require the Google click-to-verify reCaptcha for submission. Each advertising platform has inbuilt security measures for click fraud detection, but we layered on additional protection with third-party AdWords click fraud detection software to mitigate any bad actors.

Data Enrichment for Contacts & Leads

Web leads were e-mail validated & enriched with third-party data upon submission to help verify the inquiry & improve quality. This process is used to improve overall lead quality as well as assist with accurate verification & lead scoring; especially in industries that have issues with fraud like credit card processing.

SharpSpring Marketing Automation

The SharpSpring marketing automation system was used to segment contacts, prospects, and leads into various lists using lead scoring and rules-based automation before initiating an email nurture sequence designed to help push the prospect closer down the path to purchase. The system also measures the effectiveness of digital campaigns allowing visualization of the full sales funnel, from traffic statistics to the granular measurement to understand the value of marketing efforts through lead generation to sale.

E-Mail Drip Campaigns

E-Mail sequences were developed to introduce the Merchant Services LTD & their various credit card processing offers. E-Mail templates were set up for regular company correspondence as well as for 1-to-1 sales outreach.

24×7 Live Chat

Initially, the client opted for Drift chat and used their in-house team to handle incoming chat requests, but the increasing volume and demand for service at all hours lead to the implementation of the LiveTransfer.io chat service; providing 24-hour coverage and a real human being to assist with customer inquiries.

The Results

First-page organic search rankings for dozens of highly-competitive financial keywords with buyer intent related keywords as well as pay-per-click (PPC) and display advertising on hand-selected websites for awareness and remarketing which lead to traffic increases of more than 400%.

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