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Case Study: How we Leveraged PPC to Help Accelerate This Brand’s Digital Growth During the Pandemic

Find out how Swanky’s digital marketing experts helped drive valuable traffic to the online store of The Recycled Candle Company, delivering a 11.18x return on ad spend and supporting this Exeter-based business to develop their digital presence.

Written By
Catherine Partridge

Overview

The Recycled Candle Company (RCC) is a characterful highstreet business that has been busy turning digital over the past 12 months. The business was founded by Richard and Sargon in 2015, and gives new life to old candles, recycling the wax to create their stunning range of candles. This small business has a big personality, one that shines through in their colourful website design and content. 

As the pandemic hit highstreets across the world in 2020, RCC turned to Swanky to help them increase the online sales of their new website. 

In a tight turnaround time, Swanky designed and implemented a creative, persuasive pay-per-click (PPC) campaign that provided an impressive return on ad spend.  RCC managed to not only meet, but exceed their initial Black Friday objectives, and drive valuable, meaningful traffic to their site. 

The challenge

Prior to the pandemic, RCC’s main revenue stream came from their wholesale business, as well as their highstreet store and in-person candle-making courses. So, as pandemic-induced lockdowns forced their own store and those of their wholesale customers to close, the brand faced a significant challenge.

Quick to adapt, the founders of RCC turned their attention to their online store to ride the wave of these changes.

The company had just started to dip their toes into ecommerce when they approached Swanky. In an increasingly competitive ecommerce environment, they needed an expertly implemented PPC strategy to quickly gain visibility, traffic and sales over the Black Friday weekend. And as a local business facing the financial pressures of lockdowns, the campaign needed to provide a great return on investment (ROI) to ensure their budget was well spent.

“It was the people at Swanky that attracted me more than anything. There was an immediate understanding from Swanky about our business and the challenges we were facing in the current market – that we couldn’t afford to not have the online sales. Swanky’s focus has always been on generating income for us through increased sales, not simply PR and exposure. This gave me the security to know that we would get results.”

Sargon Latchin, Co-Founder of The Recycled Candle Company

The target given to the Swanky team was to increase paid traffic from new and existing customers by 20% over the Black Friday weekend.

The approach

Swanky’s PPC experts aimed to strike a balance between bidding on branded terms and non-branded terms to increase brand exposure whilst maximising ROI

Whilst SEO on the new website is still being built-up, PPC is a useful way to ensure that if anyone searches for RCC, their site appears at the top of the search results.  

Next, the team started to test pools of potential audiences to see how they performed. Audiences were based on interests as well as generic non-branded key terms such as “scented candles” or “recycled candles”. Once we ran these tests, we were able to identify areas of potential growth and optimise our PPC strategy based on trends of how certain search terms were performing. This approach is invaluable for ensuring that the ROI of RCC’s ad spend remains high, investing only in terms that perform well. 

“I was surprised at how well PPC worked. But it has had a huge impact on sales and the email marketing has worked really well too. I was also surprised at how easy the whole process was for me. Swanky provides all the specialised knowledge and every meeting results in clear action points for us to work from. The Swanky team always offer new ideas for how to improve our results, such as the current plan to pivot our PPC from Facebook into Pinterest for better audience engagement.”

Sargon Latchin, Co-Founder of The Recycled Candle Company

The PPC strategy functions as part of a wider marketing campaign from Swanky’s Growth Accelerator team. All marketing activity is planned around a calendar of key retail dates – for example Black Friday – with unified campaigns to promote incentives for these events. All the learning gained from the PPC testing on search term performance and purchasing behaviour is then used to optimise the wider marketing strategy.

RCC has the benefit of a strong brand story. Communicating the environmental element of their products gives them a great edge in their market. The Swanky marketing team works together closely to ensure the brand is delivering a consistent message across all channels, with the same tone and styling maintained in emails, social posts, blogs and paid advertising. 

The solution

Our strategy for this PPC campaign was to target two different audiences – splitting the budget equally across both audiences. Firstly, we selected a target demographic for new customers. Secondly, we focussed on remarketing to previous website users and those on RCC’s mailing list.

Black Friday Landing Page

To generate interest in RCC’s Black Friday deals, we created a dedicated landing page for the ads, featuring a countdown timer to when the offers went live. This created a sense of anticipation and urgency, encouraging customers to explore the site before Black Friday and make advance decisions about their purchases. 

Once the deals were live, the countdown timer was replaced with products, meaning users were taken directly to Black Friday offers with minimal barriers to purchase.

Focus on USPs

RCC has sustainability at the heart of all they do, producing candles made from 100% recycled wax. They sell luxury products that come in a range of good quality, perfumer-designed scents. 

So these key USPs became the focus for the Black Friday PPC campaign. Customers could purchase environmentally friendly products without sacrificing quality.

As an additional incentive to purchase, we highlighted that RCC offers free UK shipping, something that makes a real difference to online customers

Upselling

With every campaign, the Swanky team looks to improve the ROI of the campaign for our clients by increasing their average order value (AOV) for every conversion. With our Black Friday PPC ads for this brand, we focussed on upselling – encouraging customers to buy more through offering incentives and promoting product bundles

As a result, the AOV of the campaign was over 80% higher than their AOV throughout the rest of the period.

Ad copy

For this campaign we designed ad copy that stayed true to the relaxed, friendly tone of the brand, at the same time as communicating the urgency of the Black Friday deals. In particular, we wanted green-minded customers to know they could support an ethical UK business whilst benefiting from great discounts over the Black Friday weekend. 

The results

Enabling RCC to diversify and thrive during such a challenging year for retail has been a great achievement for the Swanky team who worked hard to quickly design and implement a PPC strategy. 

The campaign delivered a 52% increase in clicks from the previous period, an achievement that was reached whilst also reducing the cost per click. This resulted in fantastic sales numbers across the Black Friday weekend, that were 45% higher than the brand’s original target.  

The Black Friday Google ad campaign delivered 11.18x return on ad spend for RCC, smashing their revenue target by 44.7%. But this has just been one part of a wider campaign.

“Swanky’s input has helped all angles of the business, not just retail. Through PPC we started to get wholesale customers as well. People who saw our ads started to contact us to say they had seen our stuff online on Facebook or Instagram and wanted to stock it. Before working with Swanky we got those sorts of enquiries perhaps once every six months, whereas now we get contacted at least once a day from a wholesaler. And we’re also getting more leads for wax recycling which is an important element of our business.”

Sargon Latchin, Co-Founder of The Recycled Candle Company

What now?

The success of their online sales has made owners Richard and Sargon rethink their strategy for the future. The brand is growing rapidly, and ecommerce has moved from an additional revenue source to a central part of their business plan

Over the coming months, Swanky’s Growth Accelerator team will help the founders to continue to strengthen their digital brand, communicating their brand message throughout their website and wider marketing campaigns. The brand has big plans to refresh their website, diversify their product range and expand their marketing budget to continue their rapid growth trajectory, and, ultimately, carry on reducing landfill waste through the creation of their stunning, eco-friendly candles.

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