Case Study: Zero Waste Scotland, helping Scottish businesses be more energy efficient

By Olivia Atkins, Writer

June 25, 2019 | 4 min read

Dog Digital was briefed by Zero Waste Scotland to promote and increase applications for its SME Loan Fund which encourages businesses to make more energy-efficient improvements. The campaign helped Scottish businesses plan for a more resource efficient future.


Zero Waste Scotland’s ‘Resource Efficient Scotland’ programme is designed to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) lower costs and cut carbon by saving energy and water, reducing the use of raw materials and managing waste efficiently.

Zero Waste Scotland approached us with a brief to promote and increase applications for the SME Loan Fund – which allows Scottish SMEs to apply for loans in the region of £1k-£100k, with zero interest, to them to make energy efficient upgrades to their business.

With funding from the Scottish Government, to encourage resource efficiency within Scottish business - in turn, efforts will make a significant contribution to the achievement of the Scottish Government’s strategic economic objectives, energy efficiency, climate change and zero waste targets.


From the brief, it was clear that the main objective was to drive leads and increase demand for the SME Loan. Considering the budget, objectives and target user group, we developed a robust paid media strategy across multiple channels utilising budget carefully for a soft launch in late 2018, and a higher frequency push in 2019.

This image demonstrates what the Zero Waste Scotland blog article looks like.

To showcase the strong results, we also had to understand any limitations via site tracking which would hinder reporting results. A full audit and rebuild process allowed us to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics 360 pushing leads directly into the CRM.


After discussing requirements with Zero Waste Scotland, we decided to move forward with a phased approach allowing us to gather learnings to inform and improve tactics for phase 2.

Phase 1: The first phase was largely exploratory, where we tested our methodology to refine and improve the scope for phase 2; using manufacturing as a focused industry. We proposed a launch on LinkedIn and Google Display Network. Each channel had a different but complimentary objective – one to drive leads from the key industries outlined in the brief and one to increase overall awareness of the SME Loan.

Phase 2: Moving into phase 2; we began to utilise core recruitment channels – via paid search – in lieu of phase 1 awareness via display. This strategy allowed us to capture those who were showing greater intent via their search terms. We rolled out strong ad copy, which differentiated the ads from generic SME Business Loans – helping to minimize irrelevant clicks. This was evident in the low bounce rate achieved.

This image refers to the ads that were used in the Zero Waste Scotland campaign.

Due to strong performance from the outset, approximately mid-way through phase 2, the client made the decision to invest more budget into the campaign to capitalise on these results. This allowed us to further expand the campaign into other industries and channels including LinkedIn.


This was a strong campaign for Zero Waste Scotland, with performance exceeding all prior SME Loan campaigns. A focus on continual optimisation and active management form the Dog team allowed us to increase the conversion rate by 29% from phase 1 to phase 2, even considering the notable difference in size and costs for targeting the various industries.

Overall the client benefitted from nearly 350 new leads. The businesses who take this forward will see an immediate impact via the opportunities the loan will afford them; notably lower energy costs in the region of an average 24% saving.

The larger impact to Scotland? 350 more businesses engaged with Scotland’s environmental charter for a resource efficient future.


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