02-16-2017, Sales and Marketing
by Antoni Zolciak
How We Grew Product Sales By 300% Thanks to Web Development
The main goal of our client, AskAboutValidation, was to grow its sales. The community surrounding the platform was (and still is) rather specific: it consists of life sciences and healthcare experts sharing their approaches to ensure regulatory compliance. In short – scientists.
At first, we just helped the platform’s owners to increase security and provide customization whenever needed for more than 30,000 monthly visitors.
Originally, AskAboutValidation’s web presence was divided into three parts. The main website served as a blog. The content of the articles was top-notch, although the design as a whole was not very modern.
Then, there was the e-commerce part that sold e-books, PDFs, and more science-related stuff. This was the main online revenue driver that needed to be improved.
Last but not least, there was a vBulettin discussion board, which later became the beautifully integrated community of learnaboutgmp.com.
AskAboutValidation.com did its job well. It was a perfect example of how good and valuable content can serve people even if the whole digital solution is not as intuitive as it should be. The most annoying thing was the lack of SSO (Single Sign-On) between the three parts of the site, followed by no possibility of scaling and very little flexibility in the design.
Also, our client believed that AskAboutValidation had more potential when it came to selling educational products. They were right.
70% bump in sales after a couple of tweaks
Here’s what we did after a few months of working with the client:
- Introduced several solutions and tools for the most demanding readers, such as SSO.
- Restructured and redesigned the whole thing from the ground up.
- Ensured scalability and flexibility by designing for the mobile screens first.
- Increased the ease of use.
That resulted in a sales increase of 70%. We did well, and achieved what we set out to accomplish.
Nevertheless, when the market is saturated, you may experience difficulty in coming up with yet another way to serve your customer with anything else of value. Be that as it may, we started to think of additional methods of increasing revenue for AskAboutValidation through web design and web development.
Know your customers and help them grow
If we were sure about anything, it was this: we were creating solutions for 30,000 scholars. Most of the people associated with AskAboutValidation spend their lives constantly learning. In this kind of business, the ongoing process of studying and analyzing becomes your daily bread. You need to be continuously updated on the most recent FDA regulations. You have to offer an excellent service to get ahead of the game from a business perspective.
Consequently, we created a separate e-learning platform based on the e-shop that already existed. AskAboutValidation already had plenty of courses, books, and webinars that generated an interest within the life science community. Sales results confirmed our initial assumptions.
What the whole thing lacked was a proper distribution center – one that would make the selling process as intuitive and user-oriented as possible.
Once the idea started to turn into a real product, we were sure we were on the right track.
The design builds trust initially. Content ensures it
It was a massive project for each of the parties involved. It came to life in 2014 as Learnaboutgmp.
During the first few phases it required creating hypotheses regarding the user experience, and then conducting exhaustive A/B testing through more than 40 mockups. In all of them, the general idea behind the design was the visual cleanliness.
Here’s what we offered initially for specialists from a variety of scientific disciplines:
- Online courses.
The market reacted in the most positive way possible. We believe that would not have happened if it weren’t for the optimization against every platform that exists. In short, it required full responsiveness, attention to SEO from both the technical and content sides, implementation of the most smoothest possible payment service, and more.
25% of learnaboutgmp’s community access the site through mobile, so that experience is essential for them
By the way, creating a page that fits Google’s extremely strict standards resulted in generating a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, search-optimized site. At Learnaboutgmp:
- 87,6% of traffic is from search.
- 99,83% of those 87,6% are organic searches.
Keeping in mind that GMP is a rather narrow branch, organic search results are one of the most important traffic-drivers. Oh, and also:
A 300% increase in educational product sales
So, that worked. Having separate platforms for sales and the community turned out to be a good move. Our visitors learned where to go for information, and where to go to buy stuff. What’s more, it turned out to be much more intuitive for them.
Our client was quite satisfied with the results. We accomplished a massive traffic redirection and almost none negative feedback from the users. Given the scale of the job, we consider it something to brag about.
Full disclosure: we were dancing on a different table.
In case you got lost along the way, let’s do a short recap:
- AskAboutValidation published articles, sold educational stuff, and had a forum community around it.
- We redesigned it to make it responsive and more useful while integrating some technical tweaks as well.
- That resulted in a 70% sales increase.
- Then, we created a separate platform (learnaboutgmp.com) that served as a go-to educational resource for the AskAboutValidation community.
- Learnaboutgmp served solely as a library of courses, books, and webinars for specialists of various scientific disciplines.
- Traffic redirection and implementing a separate sales solution resulted in a huge 300% sales increase.
One to rule them all
Having two platforms – one for sales and the other for community – seemed like a practical idea. In spite of that, our client wanted to have both of them integrated.
This time, we set out to make learnaboutgmp the primary brand. AskAboutValidation was about to become obsolete. We were setting out to provide a complete overhaul of the company.
As Graham, our client, describes it:
Having one platform simplified the message for our members and allowed us to bring to the front that we are an online training platform and not just an online community.
Want to know what happened next? Head over to the learnaboutgmp case study!
What helped us along the way
Nowadays, a website is a whole lot more complicated than just a simple combination of code and design. That’s the core, sure. You still need proper CMS and a shopping platform. You have to take care of the security, personalization, user friendliness, the content, appropriate imagery, SEO, the speed of the service. While we do create custom solutions, there’s no need to write all the code yourself as there are plenty of plugins and pre-made software that just needs some optimization.
The list of supporting tools goes on and on. Here are the highlights:
A subscription-based protection, security and backup service for WordPress websites. We used it solely for real-time backups of the platform, leaving the security aspect to…
It includes a reliable firewall and a functional security service for a website.
We customized WooCommerce so much that it became unrecognizable. It satisfied the needs of Learnaboutgmp perfectly, as we were selling mostly e-books and courses. We also embedded a monthly subscription service.
Moving from the ancient vBullettin to Discourse was a no-brainer, really. It allowed us to come up with a fully integrated solution for Learnaboutgmp. You can check out the result of our work at community.learnaboutgmp.com, where more than 15,000 users talk with each other.
While WooCommerce is a neat platform for this kind of an e-commerce businesses, Stripe is the perfect choice when it comes to processing payments.
That’s it for now! If you’re interested in a more in-depth analysis of Learaboutgmp rebranding process and the solutions we used, read this case study. It’s already waiting for you!