— Our company was created in 2007. Its name consists of two parts: the English word “forklift” and the Russian abbreviation “NTK” which stands for “new technologies from China”. We sell and service warehouse and road construction machinery from different brands.
In the early 2000s, the choice of warehouse equipment was very small: there was either high-quality, expensive machinery or cheap machinery manufactured in former Soviet factories. The middle segment was completely empty and we decided to occupy this niche by starting to import loading machinery from China. We chose products from China’s largest companies that manufacture machinery for large international brands and maintain high quality standards. After some time, we added products from French and Swedish manufacturers to our stock. We did this to satisfy all of our clients’ demands.
We didn’t open at the best time: the 2008 economic crisis started and our part of the market shrunk five-fold. Construction on warehouses stopped and demand and purchasing power for machinery fell sharply. But there was a positive aspect in this: buyers started to count their money. The client understood that commercial machinery should be profitable: it can be high-quality, convenient, and inexpensive. Our offer proved to be in demand in this regard. While many companies cut back staff and even went bankrupt, we steadily developed.
We initially pledged our stock into our business model. This helped us to more quickly react to the demands of clients who need a product “yesterday”.
— Yes. At that time, our market department consisted of only two people. They did everything on their own without turning to an agency’s services. We had 40 ads and we rotated them without any geographic targeting.
At first, we paid very little attention to Direct, but we soon realized that Direct works a lot better than SEO (search engine optimization): we created an ad, paid for it, and received the first calls that very same day. Optimization does not give such quick results.
Currently, around 60% of clients come to us from Direct. What’s more, Direct is very mobile and flexible. For example, we conduct various offers and they are often directed at a specific region. That’s why Direct’s geo-targeting advertising is very important for us.
We eventually understood that we could not physically conduct a large number of ad campaigns and gave this task to an agency. Now we have about 60 active ad campaigns which each have around 700 ads and 2,000 search phrases. The agency’s task is to constantly track the ad campaign’s indicators, specify keyword phrases, add negative words, and evaluate the effectiveness of placing ads in different positions.
We still don’t have many employees working in our marketing department. The main team consists of 7 people who act as the brain. We perform most of the routine tasks using external contractors.
— Metrica helps us make the site’s work more efficient. We conduct experiments, look at users’ behavior, and study the click map. We optimize our site based on this information. We’ve redone the site’s header more than five times.
We have analyzed the order form on the site using Metrica tools and understood that it’s too long. The only thing we didn’t ask about was the client’s blood group! We reduced the amount of fields and, as a result, the amount of orders has increased.
— Yes, 90 percent of clients call us first. And the main task that we give Direct is to make the client call us. The sales manager should understand the client’s needs, accurately explain the advantages of a given product, and reorient a client based on their needs and requirements. It’s not possible to break some stereotypes when a person reads a script.
We even decided to stop providing online consulting on the site. Clients are only interested in the price and availability of machinery. That’s where the conversation with the consultant ends. Now a client calls us to ask these questions and everything else depends on the consultant’s professionalism.
Now we track call statistics in conjunction with an agency. We change our contact numbers on the site depending on which advertisement the client came from and then look at the call statistics for each number. We currently have around 20 telephone numbers. We use different numbers for different ad campaigns in Direct, a separate number for banner advertisements and for traffic from search results. By doing so, we understand which advertising source the call came from. If we don’t have a precise picture, we buy up the numbers and check various hypotheses.
We also randomly listen to telephone conversations recorded with the client’s approval. This often helps to provide a real evaluation of effectiveness. For example, a banner is placed on a good site, people click on it, and calls come in from this number. We listen to the calls and it turns out the client didn’t even need our product. We understand that, even though calls are coming in, the conversion rate from them is very low. That’s how we made the conclusion that a large number of calls does not guarantee a high conversion rate. We have to look deeper.
— We have main key effectiveness indicators: the cost of attracting one client and the number of clients attracted. After this, we tie these indicators to how much we earn from these clients and we calculate ROI.
Of course, we also calculate CTR when composing ads’ text, but this is not a main indicator of effectiveness for us. Because CTR for low-frequency requests can reach 100%.
We currently spend most of our marketing budget on internet advertising. We spend more than half of this money on Direct.
— It would be like a violin. If you tune it well, you can draw people in by playing it. If you don’t tune the violin, you can scare everyone off when you play it.
Even an expensive instrument in the wrong hands sounds bad. If a campaign is poorly targeted or an ad is poorly composed, it doesn’t matter how much money you put into it. Even the best “violin” won’t help. It's important to know how to tune it or how to ask an expert for help.