Setting Social Media and SEO Targets
I’m nearly 3 months into my new job at Nature’s Laboratory. It’s been a fairly hectic few weeks. Amongst other things we’ve organised and run and international conference. I’ve also built software to help manage payroll and holiday allowances and two other members of staff have joined the team.
Having been caught up in all kinds of other projects, I’ve finally found time to get on with the task I was hired for. Namely, optimising our websites and developing a plan for online marketing and SEO.
Today we assembled our ‘communications team’ and discussed our plan for the next few months. I’m not a fan of acronyms or labels, but I find the SMART methodology is helpful when it comes to forming this kind of plan.
Here’s how we’re using the concept of SMART to guide our SEO and social media strategy.
We have identified the 4 key websites which we believe offer the greatest opportunity for business growth sustainability. These are:
Herbal Apothecary is one of the UK's leading herbal medicine wholesalers. We sell a wide range of Western Herbs, Chinese Herbs and Ayurvedic Herbs along. We produce herbal tinctures and fluid extracts and food extract capsules. We also sell natural skincare products and propolis products from our Sweet Cecily's and BeeVital brands.
Sweet Cecily's is a natural skincare brand. We have developed a range of skincare products using natural ingredients which are both kind to skin and to the environment. Our natural hand creams are popular both as an everyday moisturiser as well as for soothing tired and irritated skin. We produce a wide range of lip balms in all kinds of flavours.
BeeVital is our propolis brand. Propolis is a substance produced by honey bees. They use it to provide antibacterial protection for their hives and it has well-documented health benefits in humans too. Our CEO, James Fearnley, is a leading expert in the use of propolis. BeeVital products include propolis tablets and capsules, propolis tincture, a range of propolis products for oral health and propolis cream.
Futurehealthstore.com is the ecommerce arm of the physical shop, located in Whitby. We sell a wide range of health related products - everything from food and drink to herbal remedies, from natural and ethically sourced clothing to teas, coffees and freshly baked bread! The website is undergoing redevelopment and will be re-launched later in the year.
We’ve set goals for the levels of website traffic and revenue we would like to attain for each of these websites. We have set specific targets for both of these metrics for each of the four websites.
These figures are based on a few things. Firstly we have existing data for Herbal Apothecary and Sweet Cecily’s which will guide our expectations of what’s possible. Secondly, the team at Nature’s Laboratory have a lot of experience working in the natural health sector and an understanding of potential growth areas. Finally, I’ve been building websites for well over a decade and have a pretty comprehensive understanding of white hat SEO techniques and practises.
We’ll measure the impact of the project in a number of ways, but we’re keeping things simple. We’re basically measuring:
- Website traffic
- Website revenue
We’ve setup shared Google Docs spreadsheets to log the relevant data. However, we also have direct access to both our website analytics platform as well as our sales data via the individual websites. I hope we’ll see a direct correlation between traffic and revenue. But if we don’t we’ll dig deeper in the data to see what’s going on and try and work out why things aren’t working as we expected.
By combining my experience of SEO projects with the industry-specific know-how of the Nature’s Laboratory team we’ve been able to forecast figures which we believe are reasonable within the timeframe set. There is always an element of guess work and presumption at play when making forecasts in this way. However, a key aspect of our growth strategy is reaching a much wider customer base through organic search traffic.
There are two larger aims, which are more difficult to achieve. But you’ve got to aim high, right? The first is that we end up dominating the first page of Google results for a search of ‘propolis’. The second is that we get sweetcecilys.com onto page 1 for a search of ‘natural skincare’. These are quite big challenges, but not insurmountable.
Nature’s Laboratory is a for-profit company. As such, tracking website traffic and revenue is key to our commercial success. There are other things which are important to the business. Currently, most of our revenue is generated through wholesale orders to herbal practitioners rather than direct sales to end-users. So there will be other metrics we may begin measuring as time goes by, such as telephone or email enquiries which may not feature in our e-commerce strategy.
This particular project will run for 6 months, and we’ll be monitoring progress throughout as well as reviewing everything we learned in February 2022. We have determined a series of monthly foci which we will use to guide the things we write about, the videos we create, the stories we tell. And each month we have specific targets for both number and frequency of social media posts as well as word count targets for website content.
We’re now planning our content strategy. We’re planning a series of long-form articles which will act as cornerstone content on each website. These articles will generate robust rankings and hopefully drive substantial amounts of traffic to our websites. Alongside these, we’ll regularly publish shorter articles with an emphasis on link-building between our websites.
By the end of July we’re aiming to have our article titles set out and much of August’s social media content written. My hope is that we’ll be working roughly 1 month ahead of ourselves, allowing time to produce videos or arrange photo shoots where required.