Whippletree labradoodles needed a website up and running quickly. They needed a format that would give instant results as well as provide the foundation for future growth.
Angle designed a “newsletter” website to capitalize on content Whippletree was already creating for their customers. Early sales came from integrating this content with social media promotion as well as some paid Google advertising.
Within the first year of business Van Isle Labradoodles was sold out six to ten months in advance. Their biggest problem was not sales, but meeting demand.
Social Media Strategy
Whippletree labradoodles was founded in 2004 as a side hustle, but closed in 2009 when owners Claire and Renald Desrochers quit their busy city jobs in Calgary Alberta to run a seasonal burger joint in Christina Lake BC! While they enjoyed their time away Claire and Renald realized their real passion was for labradoodles.
In 2014 they contacted Jeremy at Angle to help design and develop a website for the re-launch of their labradoodle business after moving to the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island BC.
They understood success would not happen overnight and were prepared to make a commitment to sustained content marketing, but they still needed quick results.
Whippletree needed a fast, short term marketing strategy to get their business online. They didn’t need anything fancy, but they didn’t have huge amounts of capital to spend on a final product. Things like a logo or other identity design would have to wait for later.
Due to their five year hiatus Whippletree had no online presence and because they were starting over they had a very limited budget. Angle had to prioritize those projects that would immediately show a return on their investment.
Getting ranked on Google can be tricky. SEO is a long term, always developing project for any business. It that takes time and patience.
In 2014 consistent content was key to ranking on Google. Whippletree needed a reliable content strategy they could run themselves.
The website’s design appealed to Van Isle’s client base by displaying Claire and Renald’s commitment to both their puppies and customers with quality information and litter updates while reflecting a “mom and Pop” design.
During the “discovery phase” of building Whippletree’s website Angle learned that Labradoodle breeders send regular updates to families that receive their puppies. These newsletters became the inspiration not only for Whippletree’s content strategy but their web design.
Angle suggested Claire publish these emails on her website to fill the need for new content. Because the content was directly relevant to families receiving a puppy they were guaranteed visitors that would stay on the page to read the full update; visits and time on page are two key metrics for Google rankings.
The site was designed so that blog posts were automatically posted to the Homepage based on tags and categories for news, litters, moms, anoucements and general labradoodle information
As an added bonus not only was Whippletree repurposing content they already had, but they were also showing potential customers what it is like to be a Whippletree customer.
Angle built Whippletree’s website around this theme of a newsletter by featuring the latest puppy updates on the homepage. This allowed for a lot of cute puppy pictures, topical news items and an intimate look at what being a Whippletree customer looked like.
Paid Google Ad Words and Facebook campaigns got the ball rolling and put their brand out in front of potential customers. Driving up Facebook likes on their page created social proof they were trustworthy and is often a necessary first step for new businesses. It also has the potential for your content to be shared more readily early on.
While paid campaigns can be very successful marketing strategies this was not the long-term goal. With Angle’s direction Claire started writing valuable content on labradoodles and published these articles to a blog portion of the website and to the Facebook page. The articles were keyword optimized by Angle based on extensive research.
Ongoing content creation ensured Google had material to crawl and index. More importantly, the content allowed Van Isle Labradoodles to showcase their commitment to their customers and animals through open and transparent communication.
Dynamic ongoing valuable content with keyword optimization is the most effective marketing tool for small businesses looking to market online. Keyword optimization is important, but it is also important the content you produce is valuable to your readers. Content with high bounce rates (users navigation away quickly) can actually hurt your Google performance.
Claire and Angle then worked on integrating social media into her marketing efforts. Claire was a natural at Facebook and didn’t require very much direction once she got going and cute puppies make for excellent Facebook marketing!
In 2018 they were taking deposits for puppies one year in advance and sell out litters within hours of posting to the website. The website has 12,000 visitors a month and we are currently working on ways to monetize that traffic in other ways.
In the four years since launching their website it has seen tremendous success. Claire and Renald cannot keep up with demand and their biggest pain point is making enough product.
Check out their Content Strategy Case Study to see how in 2018 they raised their prices 20% more than any of their competitors and still sell out a year in advance.
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