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In a world where more and more people are searching and shopping online, companies need to have an effective presence on the Web. Having a website that best represents your values, services and products is even more important for all those types of businesses that make innovation and technology their competitive advantage.

There are still many companies that fail to match their online corporate image with the identity built up over years of growth and experience in the traditional market. As a consequence, the website fails to properly represent the team's know-how and the quality of the services offered, and the company risks not to take advantage of all those business opportunities that could derive from the Web. In order to avoid losing potential customers, Mec, one of the world's leading players in stone splitting, got in touch with NetStrategy in 2017. What activities was this collaboration based on? What results did the strategy lead to for Mec? In this article, we go deeper into the characteristics and fruits of this successful collaboration.

mec-case-study-1THE CUSTOMER

Mec is a company based in Scurelle, in the province of Trento, specializing in the design and construction of splitting, cutting and crushing machines for stone and concrete. The company's history began more than twenty years ago, in 1996, when Giuseppe Nicoletti decided to make available the expertise he had acquired over the years in Switzerland to penetrate a still underdeveloped market: that of stone processing. His intuition was right and, within a few years, Mec became a leader in the sector, not only in Italy, but also across the border: today the company is present with its machines in more than 70 countries around the world.

With the arrival and spread of the Web, the Mec team understood the importance of transferring the values that have made the company famous in the traditional market to the digital one. Being effectively present also online would have allowed to spread Mec's image on a new channel, and, consequently, to acquire new potential customers from all over the world.

With this aim, in 2017 Mec got in touch with NetStrategy, which structured a tailored web marketing strategy for the company. The latter included activities aimed at acquiring new customers online, but not only; it was also given importance to the ways to make traditional marketing strategies profitable, such as participation in trade fairs.

At the beginning of the collaboration, at the end of 2017, it is defined as a macro-objective to acquire new business opportunities from all over the world. To achieve it, strategic actions would be applied in multiple online channels: website, search engines, newsletters and social networks.

#1 WEBSITE RESTYLING

The starting point of the strategy was the restyling of the website www.mecs.it, an essential step to be able to subsequently apply actions aimed at increasing visits and contacts. Initially, the Client's website was not graphically aligned with the most advanced graphic standards; moreover, it was not effectively viewable from mobile and did not allow a satisfactory User Experience. All these weaknesses caused an increase in the bounce rate and the loss of important business opportunities: users abandoned the site and entered the competition's one.

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Today, the website fully reflects the values pursued by Mec. The visitor who lands on the homepage immediately sees the corporate video, an emotional content that presents precision, power and customization as the distinguishing features of the brand.

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These values are developed in an appropriate paragraph, always located on the homepage.

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In order to make the user's navigation more intuitive and satisfying, in the menu there is a section dedicated to Mec's machines: here it is possible to browse the rich catalog of the Trentino company and to discover the technical features of the machines. And for those who, instead, are looking for a solution for a specific material, there is a section completely focused on materials. If a visitor wants a machine for the realization of floorings, window sills and other elements, he can click on finished products.

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This subdivision, in addition to being perfectly in line with the User Experience, allows the site to be positioned for multiple keywords: some are more specific, such as the name of the machine; others are more generic, such as "marble processing machines", "sanpietrino processing machines", "stone coating processing machines".

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The website tree also gives plenty of space to the services offered by Mec: in this way, the user is aware that the company not only sells machines, but also makes the team's knowledge available to its customers, by means of catalogs, videos, e-books and so on. To further emphasize the importance of offering a high quality service, the website has been integrated with the possibility of starting a chat: thanks to a pop-up that appears in the lower left corner - without disturbing the navigation - the user is redirected to WhatsApp, where he can ask questions and receive answers in real time.

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Over time, the website has been translated and duplicated in the languages most relevant to the Client's business and today it is present in

  • Italian
  • German
  • English
  • American-English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Polish
  • Russian.

In this way, any visitor entering the site can find the information they are looking for in their native language.

In spite of all the changes and additions made to improve the user experience, it would have been difficult to receive visits if a meticulous SEO strategy had not been at the root of it all.

#2 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

One of the micro-goals established at the beginning of the strategy was related to the acquisition of new visits to the website, which had to be qualified, i.e. in line with the products and services offered by the customer. To achieve this goal, NetStrategy's SEO department carried out an in-depth analysis of the keywords suitable for the company. In the end, the best performing keywords were selected, i.e. those keywords that had a higher search volume and a lower level of competition. This activity was carried out not only in Italian, but also in all the other languages of the site, in order to ensure that the customer would acquire ranking on Google for its target markets.

Therefore, an appropriate page was created for each keyword: the pages had text and images optimized for SEO. In addition, meta tags (meta title and meta description) were written and manually inserted, which had to be persuasive for the user and clear and concise for Google.

In addition to all these activities, a technical optimization of the site was also carried out: the goal was to identify any friction that could negatively affect the organic positioning. For example, the site has been made perfectly viewable from mobile: now, the images adapt to the screen resolution and the user is not forced to zoom in and out continuously. Problems related to 404 errors have also been resolved, redirecting old URLs to new ones.

Once filled all the technical gaps on the customer's website, a new sitemap was created to be shown to the search engine to speed up the process of indexing and positioning of the new pages. All this has led, as we will see later, to a year-over-year increase in organic visits and in the number of qualified contacts from search engines.

#3 CONTENT MARKETING

During the keyword analysis phase, generic keywords had been identified that were suitable for an audience still far from contact with the company. On the basis of these keywords, an editorial plan for the blog was created: publishing articles on a regular basis would have allowed the company to position itself for new keywords and, at the same time, to educate the user about the company's products and services.

The blogging activity turned out to be highly effective, thanks also to a constant comparison between the partners involved: Mec offered NetStrategy ideas on some topics that could have been interesting for the website visitors; for its part, our team researched the best keyword to frame those topics and created the textual content. Once approved by the customer, the articles were published on the blog in Italian and English.

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In addition to SEO-optimized content, NetStrategy produces, when necessary, real press releases of the company: these texts have the objective of informing customers or potential customers about the news regarding Mec. For example, after the lockdown resulting from the Covid-19 health emergency, an article was published about the hygienic measures adopted by the company. This was a way to reassure customers and, at the same time, to further improve the company's image, because Mec was sensitive to the issue of safeguarding the health of the team and of its customers.

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Still in the field of content marketing, a new section of the website has recently been implemented: the one related to success stories. Through in-depth case studies, we can now tell how Mec has improved the processing and efficiency of its customers. This can make the difference when the user is looking for a company to rely on: his choice is oriented towards the company that has already worked in contexts similar to his own, achieving important goals.

In order to convert a user who is not yet ready to purchase, articles and case studies are accompanied by a consistent and persuasive call to action, which encourages the user to click to get in touch with the company. Once the required data is entered, the contact will become part of Mec's database on HubSpot's CRM and will begin receiving a series of newsletters that will bring the contact even closer to the company. In this way, the relationship between the parties will remain warm and active even after months, waiting for the potential customer to decide to contact the company to receive a quotation.

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#4 E-MAIL MARKETING

A strategic action of great importance for Mec is represented by e-mail marketing: thanks to this strategy, it is possible not only to keep alive the relationship with the potential customer, but also to retain existing customers. This allows to obtain the maximum profitability from every contact in Mec database.

The website was initially integrated with HubSpot, an inbound marketing platform that allows you to monitor the performance of the strategy at any time: for example, you can track the behavior of potential customers on the website; the number of clicks on calls to action and the conversion rate and so on. Thanks to HubSpot, it was possible to automatically segment the database of contacts, which in the case of Mec was divided between "potential clients" and "collaborators". The first ones have already had one or more interactions with the company, but they haven't converted into a purchase; collaborators, on the other hand, are Mec's resellers and agents who need to be constantly updated on the company's features and news.

According to this subdivision, newsletters can be sent more informative or promotional: in the first case, important corporate communications are highlighted; in the case of promotional contents, a sense of urgency is created in the potential customer, who is encouraged to buy through offers with a short deadline.

As part of email marketing, specific activities were also carried out to acquire new contacts to whom to send newsletters. One of these concerns the implementation of an exit intent pop-up, a message that appears the moment the user approaches the "X" to leave the site. In this way, a potential loss (the user who was about to leave the site) can be converted into a new business opportunity: the user subscribes to the newsletter service, remains constantly updated on Mec and, when ready to buy, gets in touch with the company.

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#5 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Being present in a constant and persuasive way on social networks is essential: these platforms attract millions and millions of users every day, who use them not only for entertainment, but also to research companies, products and services. And so, starting a social media marketing strategy is fundamental, because it allows not only to acquire new business opportunities, but also to improve the company image online. An active and coordinated profile in all its elements (profile image, post graphics and so on) is synonymous with professionalism and reliability in the eyes of users.

Today, NetStrategy manages Mec's Facebook profile. First of all, a coherent brand image was created: the profile image contains the logo, which is also reflected in the images of the posts, so that they are visible and recognizable when users casually scroll through the home page. The textual contents of the posts are perfectly consistent with the tone of voice adopted by the company: a professional communication style close to the user, which creates empathy and involvement. As for the website, not only the innovative features of Mec machines are presented, but also the assistance services offered by the company. Moreover, the articles published in the blog are shared again, with the aim of making them gain greater visibility.

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A professional profile also depends on a good number of interactions to posts. If the number of "likes" and "followers" is high, it is likely that the company is considered more credible in the eyes of users. This is the reason why sponsored campaigns are started on Facebook Ads: the objective in this case is to make the profile visible to a qualified target, who will then "like" and follow the company with curiosity. This will affect both the authoritativeness of the profile and the acquisition of new and important contacts that could later buy from Mec.

NetStrategy's team also took care of the setting up of Mec's Instagram profile. Since a few years, this channel has been gaining more and more popularity and also companies are relying on it to meet new potential customers. Thanks to the publication of quality posts and the strategic use of hashtags, Mec can reach and retain an increasingly large audience.

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In addition to creating editorial plans for Facebook and Instagram, the videos that the company uploads to YouTube are also optimized. In fact, this platform works exactly like a search engine, guaranteeing a higher ranking to quality content that is optimized for keywords searched by users. Thanks to persuasive and captivating texts, as well as to the use of the most effective keywords and tags, Mec's YouTube channel manages to gain notoriety and becomes a useful tool for increasing contacts and, consequently, turnover.

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#6 SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING (SEM)

The SEM (Search Engine Marketing) strategy represents an excellent support to SEO: thanks to paid ads campaigns on search engines, the company can acquire in a very short time the first positions for relevant keywords for its business.

For Mec, it was decided to create different types of ads, with the aim of reaching new qualified contacts and, at the same time, "stealing" visibility from the competition. Thanks to a series of campaigns focused on competitor brands, when a user searches for a competitor brand, he actually finds Mec itself. Here is an example:

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This allows you to direct a user to your site who would otherwise have gone to your competition, effectively converting a loss into a new business opportunity. Still pursuing this goal, through remarketing display ads, the site reappears to the user if they have already visited the site but have not converted to a contact.

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In addition to these 2 types of ads, there are lookalike campaigns, which allow to intercept a target similar to the one already acquired by the company. In this case, the ads are shown only to an audience that has similar characteristics and interests to those of Mec's customers. The campaigns perform well, precisely because the company manages to capture the attention of a segment of the public potentially interested in its products and services.

#7 TRADE FAIR DIGITALISATION

Nowadays, in order to truly be a profitable channel for companies, participation in industry events must be combined with well-rounded digital communication. Mec participates in numerous industry events around the world every year; therefore, in order to make this investment worthwhile, the company's target audience must be aware of its presence at a trade fair. During the event, then, it is necessary to accelerate the activities of collecting data from potential customers and be timely in communications with them.

How to do it? NetStrategy first creates an article that will be published in the "events" section of the website: here Mec's presence at the event is announced and, at the same time, information about the event is provided. The article is translated into Italian and English and shared on Facebook and Instagram, with the aim of gaining greater visibility. In this way, those who are interested know how and where they can find Mec; those, however, who do not know this brand yet, are attracted by specific sponsored ads on Facebook and Google, oriented to the Italian and foreign markets.

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In addition, an invitation e-mail is sent to the entire database of the customer.

During the event, posts are published on social networks with images and videos that constantly remind the user of the presence of Mec's stand at the fair. To ensure that the salesman can quickly and easily acquire the data of the potential customer, a customized landing page is created on HubSpot for each fair. This page contains the logo of the event and a contact form: in this way, it's the potential customer to fill out the form directly from a tablet, avoiding typing errors in the data writing and accepting the privacy policy of Mec, in full compliance with GDPR.

Once the event is over, the main need is to be prompt in communicating with potential customers: an automatic thank you email is therefore sent to the acquired contacts. Directly from this email, the user can request a telephone appointment or a meeting with the salesmen of Mec.

The entire process allows you to maximize the probability of response and, therefore, the chances of acquiring new customers. At the same time, thanks to HubSpot, the effectiveness of the strategy is constantly monitored and, year by year, it is possible to identify the fairs that perform best and make a meticulous skimming.

RESULTS

Thanks to a strategy applied to multiple online channels (website, newsletter, search engines, social networks), today Mec has a new tool to increase its customer base and turnover. To be visible online in an effective way and worthy of the importance of the company means in fact to reach new potential customers from all over the world, beyond any geographical boundaries.

In the first 3 years of collaboration between NetStrategy and Mec, the overall volume of visits to the site has increased significantly, as we can see below.

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The chart compares data from January to September 2020 with the same period in 2017, when the strategy had not yet come into its own. Traffic increased by 56%: an astonishing number, if you also consider a physiological decline during the lockdown. Indeed, hardly, between March and May 2020, Mec's target audience searched on Google for keywords related to its business: the instability of the period did not favor the idea of investing in the purchase of new machines. However, thanks to a solid strategy behind it and the sending of targeted communications, it was possible to minimize the negative consequences of the health emergency.

To demonstrate this, let's consider the period after the company's reopening, at the beginning of May 2020. Compared to the same period 3 years earlier, we can see that the increase in traffic has been remarkable, settling at +88%!

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The visits that Mec's website receives today are qualified: this is indicated by the conversion rate, growing year over year, as shown in the following table, referring to the data from May to September 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

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This comes mainly from SEO optimization for keywords in line with the core business of the customer. Mec, in fact, appears among the first positions for the keyword "stone crushing machines".

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In addition, when the user types "stone crushing machines" he finds not only the page, but also the videos of Mec from the YouTube channel. This result is the consequence of content optimization on this platform.

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And what about the foreign market, an important target for the company? A good part of the traffic comes from foreign countries, thanks to an SEO optimization also oriented to this target. Just think that mecs.it is in #1 position on google.de for the keyword "Granit Verarbeitung" (granite processing).

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Regarding the Anglo-Saxon market, the company is among the top positions for the keyword "Stone working machines".

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Thanks to a targeted SEO optimization for the sector and Mec's needs, therefore, the organic traffic in the last 3 years has increased by 80%, from 2,360 visits in 2017 to more than 4,000 in 2020.

But let's also take a look at social media marketing activity. Also in this case, although with lower numbers, there is a remarkable increase in visits coming from Facebook: 50 in the last 3 months, compared to only 5 in 2017. These data also confirm the importance and effectiveness of attracting careful and constant communication on social networks; it is not enough, in fact, to be simply present in order to benefit from the large audience that populates these platforms on a daily basis.

Finally, let's also evaluate the performance of newsletters, which always come with call-to-actions that direct the user to the website. In the last 3 months, the traffic coming to the site from these channels has increased by 30% compared to the same period of 2019.

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As shown by the results obtained by the strategy, today the Customer has really an extra arrow in its bow: the digital channel has become an important tool to acquire new business opportunities from all over the world. Thanks to this, the collaboration continues to be profitable even today, thanks to a constant and proactive comparison between the parties: Mec provides ideas and input from the relationship with its customers; NetStrategy responds with a strategy based on flexibility, which can adapt and change according to the results of the activities, the needs of Mec's customers, the particularities of the period. And so, the success is assured.

Case Study

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Stefano Robbi

C.E.O. di NetStrategy. Appassionato di digital marketing con forte propensione all'analisi quantitativa dei dati, ha dato vita al cuore digitale di NetStrategy® nel lontano 2009. Alla passione e alle competenze maturate sul campo nell’ambito del search marketing, Stefano può accostare una formazione specifica di marketing strategico, acquisita nel M.Sc. in Marketing Management all'Università Bocconi e nella pregressa esperienza presso Microsoft Italia.

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