Top Bar Hive Supply Website – In House Marketing Success
This post was written by Matt Reed, a good friend of Zebra Kick. It was great to hear that his website is dong well so I asked him to write a bit about the progress of his top bar hive website. You can read more of his posts at his Bee Keeping Blog.
Our business grew from a hobby in our garage, shipping a few top bar hives per month in December 2009, to a full-fledged, alternative beekeeping supplier in March 2010, shipping more than 4 dozen hives monthly, almost entirely due to Search Engine Optimization and Google Ads. Alternative beekeeping — top bar beekeeping in particular — is a niche market, with many options for a simple, cost-effective search marketing campaign. Making use of a technical background, a minimal ability to perform SEO on our Joomla-driven website, and some glaring failures by the competition in our SEO market, we were able to quadruple sales with an investment of less than $150 per month.
We started with a Google Ad budget of $50 per month in conjunction with Google Analytics, monitoring the results and adjusting the ads accordingly. During that time we also began researching SEO and tweaking our website to improve our SERP for our most important search terms. We chose very specific search terms in order to improve our conversion rate and reduce wasted ad clicks. At the same time, we also began making helpful posts on relevant blogs and forums, as well as working with related sites to swap links. The results came quickly, as we saw our Pagerank rise from 1 to 4 in a matter of only a few months. By March we were seeing over 6,000 unique visitors per month.
Today the competition is increasing, but our early and continued foray into SEO continues to give us the edge over competitors. While we’ve been busy the past few months, we cannot stress enough the importance of fresh content through blog posts, and outreach through Facebook, Twitter and other marketing avenues. We monitor daily our most important search terms through Google Alerts, and work diligently to stay current with trends in our industry and the campaigns of our competition. As traffic, sales and our ad budget increase proportionately, we continue to monitor our Google Ads, SERP, and content to ensure there are no issues.
At the same time that we are running an online campaign, we are beginning to focus more on local advertising through numerous avenues, and it is paying off. A combination of word-of-mouth, donations to sustainability-focused non-profits and locally targeted Google Ads have shown an overwhelming increase in local interest. It has been an interesting and amazing jump from a small online store to a viable business that is beginning to ponder the idea of a brick and mortar storefront.
Thanks to a little elbow grease, a monthly-coffee-budget-worth of Google Ads and some Search Engine Optimization, we believe Bee Thinking will grow to be a significant portion of our family’s income, if not our sole income in the next couple years!