One of my current tasks is to catch up on introducing more of our OM4 client websites, and take the opportunity to talk about what is working well for them. Hopefully this gives you some ideas about what you could do for your own business online.

Auspen MarkersToday I’m introducing Auspen Markers, a Melbourne based company that manufactures and sells refillable whiteboard markers. It is a great idea isn’t it, hundreds of millions of white board marker pens (our American friends call them dry erase markers) are sold, run out and are binned each year. With Auspen, you get a neatly boxed set of long lasting aluminium pens that you can refill over and over (with Xylene free ink, an important innovation from Auspen at the time).

Auspen already had a website before we worked with them, but it wasn’t getting much traffic other than people typing in their own brand name. The old site was indexed, but it wasn’t search engine friendly, so that meant the search engines had no idea they sold white board markers, just refillable markers.

Keyword research quickly revealed there were a lot of searches for white board markers, whiteboard markers and dry erase markers, and that these were competitive terms.

We did a lot of work simplifying the site, making it easy to understand what the product was and what you could buy. Sounds easy, but time and time again this is what delivers the biggest benefit for a business online – make it easy to buy by taking away as many barriers as you can. Julia and Judy (one of our freelance copywriters) started from scratch to tell the Auspen story, and had a lot of fun in the process.

The new Auspen site launched with a search engine friendly structure, and now gets search traffic from a wide range of search terms other than Auspen. We also launched an AdWords campaign to get visitors from highly competitive search terms such as dry erase markers, where some of the largest stationery product marketers were already entrenched. The blog helped build content for the site that earned links and more trust from Google.

Auspen started to get regular enquiries and online sales, initially from the AdWords visitors but progressively from organic search visits as well. The story told by Google Analytics was very helpful – one of the objectives was to build the level of traffic from the US, and within about 3 months I was able to point to Analytics when more than half of their website visitors were coming from the US.

They also started to get a small but strategic stream of enquiries from distributors. One of those enquiries led to an agreement with a distributor in a strategic market. Great result for a 50c ad!

For online sales we used the PayPal shopping cart. PayPal isn’t the ideal shopping cart (they sometimes confuse people into thinking they have to have a PayPal account to buy, and that costs in terms of sales). However other approaches also have pros and cons, and on balance PayPal has worked well for Auspen.

After the site had been live for a while, Auspen used one of their in-house designers to re skin the website using the self-managed design features, and did a great job. That was a gratifying moment, as we had put quite a lot of effort into self-managed design, so to see the new design appear without our involvement was excellent.

All in, I think the Auspen site is a great example of taking a unique product to the world using a simple but effective business website.

Website: Auspen White Board Markers