Royal Mail's award-winning B2B drive explained
Royal Mail and the7Stars won the PPC for B2B category at The Drum Awards for Search. Here's the award-winning case study.
A Royal Mail worker
Royal Mail operates across a wide variety of business units. As well as just your standard postal service for consumer, there is also the B2B arm which serves businesses by helping them meet their postage and delivery needs. The7stars took on Royal Mail’s business in early 2023, towards the beginning of their financial year.
Economic Uncertainty: Due to the various economic factors that are currently affecting businesses, such as the cost of living, Brexit, and business rates increasing, the climate in which we operate has become increasingly difficult to navigate. The number of small businesses alone has fallen by 6.6% since coming out of COVID 19 and leaving the EU, which has not only seen the size of the market shrink but made it more difficult for businesses to fulfil delivery quotas with a depleted workforce.
Had To Look For A Different Approach: Taking these difficult market conditions into account, we had to make tweaks to the paid search approach this year to ensure that more leads could be converted to sales in order to drive more revenue across Royal Mail.
OBJECTIVES: The overall objective was for us to drive high-quality business parcel leads that could then be converted into sales in order to aid revenue generation across the business. Due to the current market conditions, we were tasked with driving growth YoY despite only having a budget that would remain static.
There was also a secondary objective to ensure that, where leads were not qualified and/or meet the threshold for a Business Account to be open, they were transferred to the Royal Mail Consumer Parcels team, so they could still be converted as Royal Mail customers for a standard postage service instead.
Measurement: Across paid search the measurement we use is: Floodlight tracking via Campaign Manager, this also allows us to optimise using SA360. The conversion point online is a web form that prospective leads will submit. After doing so, those details are then passed onto a leads management team.
From here, the lead management team is able to qualify these leads and close the sale; the details of which help us to then assign values to our paid media.
STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION: As Royal Mail is such a large business with multiple delivery arms, as well as business units which could cause overlap, the first task after onboarding the account was ensuring all these business units were appropriately split out into their respective accounts, and more importantly that there was no keyword cannibalisation. The biggest issue with this undertaking was ensuring there was no overlap with the standard ‘Royal Mail Consumer Parcels’ activity, as the majority of search terms outside of those with a core B2B intent very much sit within a grey area between the two service providers.
The Grey Area: One of the ways this was achieved was by utilising what is referred to as ‘The Grey Page’. Any search term where the intent was not clear and could just as easily be a consumer-based keyword or a business variant, was directed toward this page, where a series of questions and options help each user determine whether the Royal Mail Consumer parcels service or the Business service would best suit their needs, then directing them to the appropriate page upon completion of the questions.
Managing Account Overlap: Once the re-allocation of search terms between consumer, business, and grey was complete, we had to also ensure there was no overlap between any other Royal Mail or Parcelforce account. We had to prevent any cannibalisation which would not only inflate CPCs but send people to wrong pages, which in turn would either drag down CVR, and/or mis-attribute conversions across Royal Mail activity.
A More Joined-Up Approach To Bidding: Once the correct structure was in place, we had to then set up multiple bid strategies to ensure we were able to efficiently optimise towards our web leads target across the various keyword segments. This was simple enough to do across the standard Business parcel keywords, however needed a slightly more complex approach when it came to the grey activity. As grey could be for either business or consumer users, we had to factor in both the standard Consumer audience and business segments, by applying monetary values.
RESULTS: In properly breaking out the account, we saw significant reductions in CPCs, as well as great uplifts in ad relevance and CTR. We were able to drive traffic much more efficiently, seeing clicks increase by 58.7% YoY and a CTR uplift of 66.7%. All this was driven with only an additional 2% spend YoY.
As a return, we were able to drive an additional 169% web leads YoY, which led to a CPA reduction of -62.15%. The additional web leads driven also resulted in additional closed sales, with 17.94% more sales being recorded YoY. This resulted in a 21.3% revenue increase and an 18.95% increase in ROAS.
CLIENT QUOTE: “We are very pleased with the quality of leads driven from paid search. Since collaborating with the 7 Stars we have been able to not only improve efficiencies across the business but also unlock incremental growth in revenue.”