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Sew Essential

Sew Essential is a market-leading online sewing and haberdashery superstore with a rapidly growing international brand following.

The Challenge

A stitch in time

When we first engaged with Sew Essential, it quickly became clear that their website was not fully communicating the brand’s value or stature. Firstly, the design was quite old and was starting to fall behind contemporary best practices. Secondly, the outdated user experience was lacking in several areas and this was causing the site to lose sales. It was not mobile friendly, the category structure had become unnecessarily bloated and there were opportunities to include more community-building incentives to drive loyalty and mind-share.

At the same time, a concern was raised that domain authority was slipping and so were rankings for certain key search phrases, resulting in traffic and revenue falling year-on-year. After further investigation it was noted that some low quality off-page signals had accrued over time and they were holding the site back in search results; plus competitors were starting to invest heavily in their SEO, making the landscape a lot more competitive. Clearly a content marketing strategy was needed to earn more high quality links and to grow and protect the site’s SEO.

Finally, we also felt that the site could be doing more to help the client with warehouse management. As a high-volume low-price business, we felt that even seconds shaved of the processing of each order could rapidly add up to considerable efficiency gains. Following discussion with the client, it was therefore identified that the main goals for our partnership were:

  • to improve the UX across all devices so both users and search engines would be happy;
  • to regain lost visibility in search engines and to roll out a comprehensive post-launch SEO campaign;
  • to implement a wider digital strategy incorporating content marketing to drive social, email, outreach and link-earning opportunities;
  • to improve warehouse management through the integration of customised tools;
  • to increase customer retention and brand loyalty through community-building.

The Solution

The first step with the new site was to streamline the user journey by boiling down the category structure as much as possible. We then created a simple yet elegant ecommerce design for the new site, partly to cement the positioning of Sew Essential as a fashion brand and also to ensure that the design elements would not distract users on a category-heavy and product-rich site. The UX itself is therefore linear, clearly defined and straight-forward on all devices. It incorporates multi-currency, customer login areas, customisable products, PayPal integration and a range of community-building functionality including social integration, a WordPress blog and MailChimp newsletter sign-up forms.

We also customised the Magento login area for Sew Essential to include several pieces of functionality aimed at improving warehouse management. We added a barcode scanner to reduce admin time spent on order fulfilment, a SKU-checker to enable more advanced stock management, and bespoke functionality simplifying the process for reordering stock.

Since launching the new site, we have managed a digital strategy designed to nurture and grow brand awareness in the long-term while gaining ‘quick commercial wins’ in the short-term. We have provided ground-up consultancy on a range of topics and initiatives including price-point and augmented product development, outreach campaigns, link-earning, social media, email marketing and tactical campaign ideation. We have also provided advice around paid media, from Google PPC to offline PR and advertising.

However we knew from our initial analysis that the best ROI would come from natural search. As such we have been careful to ensure that all ancillary activity is carried out in a way that also benefits the SEO.

Full of enthusiasm and ideas backed up with experience – they give you the confidence to try something new.
Lucy Regan, Director

In the initial months, the SEO campaign incorporated a lot of on-page keyword optimisation as well as remedial off-page work to fix the inherited back-link profile. Since then we have spent a lot of time proactively growing the back-link profile size, quality, relevance and overall authority.

The link acquisition strategy that we have developed is designed to identify and capitalise on the safest, most effective high-quality linking opportunities. Many of the link-earning tactics are underpinned by content marketing campaigns which we also help to design and roll out. We regularly provide advice on outreach opportunities, help with the formulation of tactical competitions and giveaways and offer advice on engaging with valuable new marketing partners, helping Sew Essential to steer negotiations for the best SEO outcomes.

The Results

After the first 12-months of the campaign, the previously noted decline in organic visibility, traffic and sales was fully reversed and the SEO had already generated considerable growth. The number of users finding the site through organic search grew by 118% year on year resulting in 91% more sales. Further to this, the outreach work and link profile optimisation—both integral parts of the SEO campaign—meant that referral revenue also grew by a staggering 302% in that same initial 12-month period.

The first part of our work was aimed at the ‘long-tail’, meaning we got the site ranking well for a huge variety of longer search phrases in order to deliver quick wins from less competitive areas. Since then, we have ensured that the site dominates many crucial ‘short-tail’ search results, consistently sitting at the top of national search results for hugely popular queries such as “sewing” and “sewing patterns” – regularly beating household name brands such as John Lewis and Hobby Craft to the number 1 slot.

Outside of the SEO, the new website has given the client the confidence to seize a more authoritative and involved role in the industry. This new platform, along with some advice and guidance from us, has allowed Sew Essential to grow their visibility and mind-share among major players and influencers in the sewing world. These new brand alignments along with our campaign suggestions, the content strategy and the improved customer experience have together resulted in the social community growing rapidly. Commercially-speaking, the revenue from social media traffic grew 512% in the first 12-months of the campaign.

Attain Design are a great company to work with for SEO and digital marketing.
Lucy Regan, Director