How we helped a US manufacturer double their traffic in 8 months and get 449 quote requests in August 2020

- and how to translate that into your contracting business.

- How to leverage customer feedback and data to make decisions and write engaging copy

- Making little changes to create compounding outcomes

YourBoxSolution is a family-owned, custom printed box manufacturer from Oregon. It combines state of the art machinery with top-notch engineering to produce a quality and affordable custom printed box – made in the US.

At the end of December 2019, YBS hired us to fix its hemorrhaging traffic issue. Our promise was that we’ll double their traffic in 12 months. We did it in 8 along with a huge list of compounding improvements that led to an influx of sales.

This article provides an in-depth look at what we’ve done and actionable steps that you can apply to your contracting business.

With an initial plan to double the site’s traffic in 12 months, we hit the goal 4 months faster. 

We helped them rebuild the website from the ground up. Streamlined the customer journey and created continued growth of leads from online at no extra cost.

Why you shouldn't build a website and leave it unmanaged

YourBoxSolution built their online presence in 2014. Back then, if Google determined you’re niched on a specific topic, they gave you instant relevance. They jumped to 1330 visitors a month on the site’s first month since launch. 

All from direct search.

In time Google perfected its search algorithm. Now, it accounts for Natural Language Processing and semantics. It understands both context and content on a webpage. 

It also focuses on other changes that deliver their visitors a great user experience. Search engine results that users are looking for. 

Traffic to the site reached a peak of around 5000 visitors throughout 2017. In December 2019 traffic decreased to 3000 visitors and it was continuing its downward trend aggressively.

Doing a quick audit using Google Lighthouse we can see that the site was in a bad shape:

There is also an influx of Chinese manufacturers branding themselves as US-based companies. Not far behind – heaps of resellers entering the market, reselling the same Chinese printed boxes. 

The market became a mess, leading to the decline in traffic and leads that the site was bringing in.

Identifying the biggest opportunity, and determining the course of action

When we take on a project we want to assess the current state of things. 

Is it worthwhile to resurrect what already exists? Or is it faster to create a new website that incorporates all best practices out of the block?

We’ve used these steps not only for contracting websites, but for any company that is looking to expand into the online space. The outcome is less about the website and more about creating an impeccable user experience that leads to more sales.

There are four big areas to assess at any website:

If we take action in any of the areas listed, we’ll get an improvement. If we improve in multiple areas we get a compounding effect. And this is what we’re looking for.

For example, if we only increase the site speed – this will decrease the rate at which people leave the website. To put things in perspective:

You can check your site’s loading speed using the free tool at

After assessing the 4 areas we notified the customer that a complete overhaul was the way to go. There were too many loose ends in the first 3 areas of the assessment. The backend area they had was decent.

With an average customer lifetime value of around $3300 and average order value of about $1200, sales were doing a great job at establishing trust and converting quotes and sample requests into clients.

An intimate look from the visitors’ viewpoint, and making their decision to act easier

It’s good practice to take a look at your website from a visitors’ perspective:

If we take a look at the screenshot of the old website we can see how many areas impact each other negatively. When someone visits your website their focus and attention should flow.

Direct it where you want it, not let them figure it out on their own. This is not to say you should manipulate your visitors. Instead, reduce decision fatigue which creates a negative experience for your users.

Let’s break down all interaction on the old website:

1. There were 3 types of main navigation with 15 possible choices

2. The value proposition was animating between different options and wasn’t clear

3. A ton of slideshow slides with different value propositions. All conflicting the value proposition from #2 as well as different calls to action on each slide

4. Another place for them to make a choice out of 3 possible options

So we have a slow loading website riddled with security holes that makes the visitors’ visit a nightmare. 

There’s no trust created with the visitor, no actual copy to get the user to act. 

It’s somewhat a miracle that Google decided to send the site a bit of traffic every month. I’d relate this to people having a big enough need and not that many options. 

So they end up spending more time on-site, which is a ranking factor.

And 80% of websites I’ve seen out there follow the same patterns.

Getting to know the customer better and understand what they actually search for online

80% of a website's strategy is giving people what they want.

80% of the strategy when creating websites is taking a look at what the customers are actually looking for. 

Does the company that’s going to serve them offer them quality service? Should they trust the company? Do the products or services that this company offers solve their problem? 

This thought process usually takes a few seconds and then they either connect or move on.

All companies need customers to thrive. 

The path of least resistance is to give people what they want. 

Perhaps you’re aware of Henry Ford’s quote: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”. 

This may have been true in the past but nowadays there isn’t a product or service that hasn’t been seen before. Especially in the contracting space. I’m pretty positive that you’re not the only contractor in your area. 

And that is OK, competition is healthy for a healthy marketplace.

Getting to know why people buy your services is crucial. 

Do people buy a Ferrari because it gets them from point A to point B or because of status? 

Why do your customers want a new bathroom, kitchen or patio? Maybe they want to bring the family together. Perhaps they want to show off to their friends. 

Whatever their motives, understanding them will make your messaging powerful as it talks directly to their wants. 

It will make your sales calls a breeze.

You can get the other 20% of your websites strategy by looking at your competition

For the other 20% of the strategy you can take a look at the competition.

What they’re doing right now, how they’re talking to their customers and what makes them stand out. 

Are they investing in their online presence and if so how? Are they doing any SEO or actively maintaining their website and updating it with fresh content?

Identify where you can penetrate the market with the least amount of resistance.

Imagine weightlifting. 

If you try to bench press 300 pounds from the start it may be quite challenging. But if you start with 50 it’s going to be easier. As you progress, you keep on adding weights until you’re the biggest and baddest at the gym.

The same thing applies for your online presence. 

The less resistance there is, the less effort you needed to establish yourself as a valuable player. So the question is: Where’s the biggest opportunity for you and what areas should you be approaching first?

The customer & competitor strategy phases applied

Let’s see how we approached the process of getting to know YourBoxSolution’s customers. Lessons from their competitors and how you can apply them in your own business.

1. Information from the customer

To get into the minds of the customers we added a question to the existing quote and contact forms on the website. 

The focus was to understand what they’re looking for. 

From their packaging itself and the manufacturer. Because there weren’t that many quote requests we decided to run one question for a month and the other question the next month. 

We got around 300 answers. If you’re short on time, you can speed up this process by running ads to a survey.

The questions were:

a. Why do you consider packaging important for your product?

My gut feeling was that the number 1 desire of the customer from packaging is to get more sales. This accounted only for 4% of the answers. It’s a clear sign that you can’t always trust your assumptions and you should always try and understand what your customer wants.

Don't create your strategy based on your assumptions. Always try and understand what your customer wants.

50% of answers concerned the brand, look & presentation that the packaging offers. 

Adding legitimacy to their product. Creating a brand and brand image. Because in their perception, “brand sells”. It makes a statement. It can showcase quality and value and can bring recognition to their company as a whole.

30% of answers concerned the product. It’s the first sensory contact point with the product. It elevates the marketing and brings the product to another level. Packaging makes the product look more presentable. More professional.

9% of the answers focused on the need to protect their product. Either from shipping & handling or from UV rays.

b. What’s the #1 thing you expect from us as your packaging company?

My assumption here was that people are price shopping and price is an important factor when choosing a packaging company. And there I was – wrong again.

It turns out that 45% of respondents were interested in the quality of their packaging. Because having a quality box was more relevant to them and it aligns with having a better brand perception. Only 18% were interested in having affordable pricing.

If we are to think of how we go through life we realize that even we always choose quality over price. And your contracting customers will care more about the quality than your prices.

When you’re looking for a surgeon, who are you actually looking for? 

You’re looking for the best. The best rated, the highest recommended. 

What are the contracting customers looking for? The best rated and the highest recommended. See the pattern?

The Conclusion:

Customers would pay more for quality work rather than choose a cheap option and regret their decision.

Customers care more about having quality work done on their home than price. 

Sometimes they do go with the lower price and end up regretting their decision. They end up paying twice the price to get it done right. 

They’ll turn to the company that can promise them the results they were actually looking for.

After we did a break-down of the answers, we transposed the words the customers used. A quick way to craft compelling messaging throughout the site.

YourBoxSolution built their online presence in 2014. 

Back then, if Google determined you’re niched on a specific topic, they gave you instant relevance. They jumped to 1330 visitors a month on the site’s first month since launch. All from direct search.

In time Google perfected its search algorithm. Now, it accounts for Natural Language Processing and semantics. 

It understands both context and content on a webpage. 

It also focuses on other changes that deliver their visitors a great user experience. Search engine results that users are looking for. 

Traffic to the site reached a peak of around 5000 visitors throughout 2017. In December 2019 traffic decreased to 3000 visitors and it was continuing its downward trend aggressively.

2. Information taken from research

To understand search intent better we can leverage a lot of online tools. 

Tools that give you insight into questions that people have on your product or service. What they actually search for online and what the volumes are for their searches.

A free tool to get insight into what your customers are asking search engines is Answer the public.

You type in the topic you’re interested about and you’ll get a huge list of what people are looking for.

Now you can create content based around those questions. 

If you do a good enough job, a part of that search-engine traffic reaches your site. If your answer does a good enough job on educating, you’ll win both a customer and some search-engine love.

Another great free tool to research keywords and things that people search for is Ubersuggest

It’s a tool created by one of the top SEO guys in the world, Neil Patel. The tool will tell you how much a specific search term / keyword / phrase is searched for online. It will also show you how much people are spending right now in Google Ads to get their ad displayed and more.

For example I can find out that for “contractor new york” there are:
– at least 390 searches every month on Google
– it’s moderately difficult to write content around the topic and rank online to get leads
– you can pay around $7.42 per click to have your ad displayed on Google for this search term. This means that people that are searching for that are actually in buying mode. It has to make sense for the advertiser to advertise at that rate.

You can also find related searches that people also search for like: general contractor new york city (720 searches), general contractor new york (480 searches), contractor in new york (390 searches), electrical contractor new york city (260 searches), roofing contractor new york (260 searches) and more.

We also use paid tools to do some advanced wizardry. Checking for keyword opportunities, keyword gaps between client and competitor. In-depth content analysis and more.

3. Insights taken from competitors

When thinking of competitor analysis and strategy most marketers come in heavy with fancy acronyms. SWOT, PESTLE, Porter’s Five Forces, and other models for strategic analysis. 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with these but from my own experience, most of the time… they’re a waste of time.

This is accurate for contractors and we proved it yet again in the work we did for YourBoxSolution.

For the fun of it we started a crusade against the Chinese competitors and Chinese resellers. 

Entities that are plaguing the industry polluting the online space. Most of these websites have been using images stolen from YBS’s blog. Most of these websites stole content from our client. 

It was pretty easy to hit them with a DMCA takedown.

To be clear, I don’t have anything against Chinese manufacturers and resellers. But when all their product images are OUR product images, they’re scum. 

They’re deceiving potential customers while also hurting the honest player.

What we discovered though was shocking. 

We sent takedowns: sites, pages, Medium articles – once taken down another 10 took their place the next day. So if you intend to fight the game this way, be ready to spend copious amounts of time and money.

Focusing on your strengths and opportunities works better than going at war with your competition

Because the client’s resources were very limited, we decided to shift our focus. 

Create more valuable content for the potential customers and let Google’s algorithm punish the copycats. And it worked out great for the client.

The strategy lesson here is that you can study your Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. 

But it pays better to focus on your strengths and opportunities and go all in on those.

Creating a stellar experience with the brand

If you couldn’t tell until now, I have a healthy obsession towards customers.

They are the backbone of any business. Getting to know them on both macro and micro levels will make your life easier.

The customers’ journey

The first decision we had to make concerned the action we want to move the visitor towards.

This could have been any of the following options:

  • Send them to a library of boxes from where they can get a quote for a specific box
  • Send them to a quote page where they could request a quote
  • Send them to request a sample
  • Send them to the contact form page to get in touch.

Make the customer's journey as easy as possible.

Your purpose in designing the customer’s journey is to make it as easy as possible. 

Make it easy for them to choose what they actually want. 

If you have a contracting website where you showcase that you can do 20 services you’ll end up scaring them away. Chances are the visitor will not want to browse all your options. 

So make it easy. 

Focus on the actions you want them to take.

In case you do offer 20 services, make a list of the number of customers you had for each service. You’ll notice a trend and the best selling service will outshine all the rest

So if 80% of your customers get in touch with you for kitchen remodeling, focus your message towards that. 

Lead your customer towards that action.

There are riches in specializing. 

I mean you wouldn’t want your neurosurgeon to operate on your prostate now, would you? I’m sure he could, but his specialty is fixing your brain – literally.

Look at this pocket knife by Victorinox. It’s got 83 functions. But it’s basically useless. You can’t do any work with it. It’s an overpriced collector’s piece.

When I want to go camping, my pocket knife needs to be lightweight, cut, saw, and open a beer bottle in case of an emergency. And that’s it.

Image source and link to the product (if you’re sadistic) here: Swiss Champ XAVT.

If I’m looking to have my bathroom remodeled, I could go for a roofing company that offers bathroom remodeling. BUT I’m 90% more likely to go with a company that specializes in bathroom remodeling. 

Makes sense?

So that’s what we did for YourBoxSolution. We decided to specialize the customers’ journey and point them to get a quote. 

The highest converting of all the actions they could take. 

A quote page that we infused a bit with the functionality of the library page so we bring more value to them.

The first experience with the brand

When you load up a website, you usually see a part of it.

A piece.

This piece of visible website that you see when the page loads is referred to as “above the fold”. And the rest of the page when you start scrolling is called “below the fold”.

The “above the fold” part of your website is the most important one.

Around 90% of the people visiting your site get to see it. At the same time only about 25% of visitors end up scrolling all the way to the bottom of your website.

So it’s very important to make a powerful statement right out of the bat.

When a user visits the website he should “get it”.

What you’re about, what it is that you do and if you’re worthy of their attention.

Your website should have a compelling message your visitors understand fast.

We ended up showcasing a sample of their work as imagery. 

For copy we used one of their desires as well as a big call to action button that points them to get a quote.

This is a good rule of thumb to use in your contracting business as well. 

1. Have a compelling message your visitors understand fast.
2. Add an image that lets them imagine how it could be for them.
3. Followed by a call to action button that stands out.

User experience throughout - decision making

Once the visitor has their first contact with the brand we want to chart the course for them. 

In the case of our client, this was the quote page. If you’re browsing the website, it will always be the most prominent call to action.

Your website user experience should simplify the decision-making process

Once the visitor has their first contact with the brand we want to chart the course for them. 

In the case of our client, this was the quote page. If you’re browsing the website, it will always be the most prominent call to action.

In the header or in the content of the page, all actions lead the visitor to the quote page. This makes the decision process as frictionless as possible. And users end up on the page and place a quote while browsing 3 other pages, tops!

By simplifying the decision making process we were able to get 7% of the site’s visitors to place a quote. More than doubling the 3% conversion rate that was happening on the old website.

Going mobile-friendly

Since 2017, approximately half of web traffic worldwide is from phones. Looking at trends, the future of the internet is mobile.

In 2015 Google made it clear that they will use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for their search results.

What you need to realize is that they push out algorithm changes in relationship to what users expect. And these updates are gradual – meaning that they will not affect the website outright.

As you can see in the case of YourBoxSolution, in 2019 their mobile traffic decreased to 756 visitors in November. A slow decline.

Since we launched the new website, mobile traffic jumped to around 1500 visitors. Then Covid hit and traffic plummeted. In two months traffic returned to growth.

You can check if your website is mobile-friendly using Google’s tool here.

Building Trust and Authority - fast

When making decisions we look for cues if what we’re looking to buy was already qualified for us.

Phrases like:

  • “More than 80% of dentists recommend Colgate”
  • “Carlsberg, probably the best beer in the world”
  • Trusted by xxx homeowners on Angie’s List

That’s why we look for reviews and clues. That’s why your customers do it too. 

We’re always shooting for the safest option there is. We’re constantly looking for “the best”.

YourBoxSolution has a customer base of over 4000 clients. So we decided to use that to build trust with our visitors. 

The logic behind it is “If 4000 people trust them, I should trust them too”. It’s a form of social proof. 

It gives the new user the confidence to try it themselves.

As one of the greatest marketers and founder of permission marketing, Seth Godin, said: 

“People like us do things like this. 

There is no more powerful tribal marketing connection than this. 

More than features, more than benefits, we are driven to become a member in good standing of the tribe”.

We want to fit in. 

We want to make the right decisions fast and painless.

Getting More Visitors On The Site

The quickest way to scale any business is to drive more traffic to it.

Even if you have a leaky bucket that’s completely filled with water, chances are you’ll still end up with some water inside at your destination.

If you have 3000 monthly visitors and 3% request a quote you still end up with 90 quotes. If you up the traffic to 6000 monthly visitors at the same 3% conversion rate, you’ll end up with 180 quote requests.

Not bad.

At the same time you don’t want any random traffic. There are many shady websites out there promising you all sorts of traffic. These kinds of services only end up hurting you in the long run.

If people are looking for a chiropractor but end up on your contracting website, they’re going to leave 100% of the time.

So you’re looking to match the search intent to the right information on your website. 

You want these visitors to actually find what they’re looking for. A solution to their problem.

And that is exactly how we solved this challenge and how you should look at it.

Our client has decided to embark on a 12 month long-term commitment for our SEO service for contractors at $3k/mo.

Besides working on the website content we also started publishing content on the blog. 

I’m proud to say that one of our articles brought in 513 visitors last month. Another one brought in 460 visitors. 

That’s almost 1000 extra visitors from only 2 articles.

The more relevant your content is, the more your authority in the market grows in the eyes of search engines.

The cool thing about SEO is that it’s evergreen. If the content is good, Google will show it to its users. 

The more relevant content you put out, the more your authority in the market grows in the eyes of search engines. 

The more valuable the content, the more people will find value in it, leading to even more exposure. 

Oh, and did I mention that it continues working even if you don’t put money into it anymore (like ads)?

BUT it does take time. 

And it may seem that it costs a lot. Although the cost pales in comparison to the ROI that you get for the investment. 

In YBS’s case they went from 20 new customers per month to 40 in 8 months. 

At an average customer lifetime value of around $3000 that’s an extra $60000 each month. That’s a 1900% return on investment. 

An extra $720k per year? 

I’ll take it! And this will continue to grow as time goes by and Google indexes more of the new content pages.

There is an amazing opportunity to be had in the contracting space in relationship to SEO. 

Very few contractors choose to look so far ahead and invest in a long-term strategy. 

But the ones that do and have a clear plan, cash in big time.

Think of it this way: if you do a job for $14k at a 50% profit margin that’s $7k. 

One job alone can feed your SEO system for two months. 

Now if the system brings in only 1 extra customer each month, the service pays for itself. It leaves money in your pocket too.

Soon you’ll have an article that brings in 2 new clients per month. Another piece of content brings in another client. Now you’re at $18k profit after the $3k investment. In a year, it all starts adding up.

I always recommend my customers to go for at least a 6 month commitment when doing an SEO project with us. 

At the same time this loophole is what shady SEO providers leverage. 

Unfortunately not all SEO providers have your best interest at heart. Some charge ridiculous amounts with nothing to show for after the allotted time. By the time you catch on – they’re gone.

Always ask for details on strategy, reports, and numbers. 

We offer these as a given.

Optimizing the experience and increasing conversions

I mentioned above the fact that if you double your traffic at the same conversion rate you’re in a great place. What’s better than that is increasing your conversion rate as well. 

Take that 3% to a 7% and you’ve more than doubled your output.

Here are a few things we did for YourBoxSolution and tips on how you can leverage the same tactics in your contracting business.

1. Set up accurate tracking

The biggest oversight businesses have is not looking at their numbers. 

I’ve seen this in all industries and verticals under some form or another. If only the business would have tracked their KPI’s (key performance indicators) – they would know what actions to take. 

But they don’t. 

Now they’re as blind as a bat, trying to make business decisions from a place of emotion rather than logic. And that’s not a great position to be in.

In the case of YourBoxSolution, the client was confident about the traffic that some of the pages were bringing in. 

After a quick analysis in Google Analytics we could see that the assumption was wrong. 

We could now decide to get rid of those pages and not rebuild them. Use their budget and resources to build-out the articles that matter, making this a win-win for both parties.

Here at Contracting Empire, tracking is part of our DNA. 

We’re constantly looking at inputs and outputs to assess the best course of action. From traffic, to goal completions up to site health score. 

Making sure that we get our clients to rank among the first 3 positions on Google for the stuff we work on.

2. Increase site speed, security & performance

We already talked about the importance of speed at which a website loads at. 

The Lighthouse report above says it all about the results we delivered for YBS. The fact that we got their site to load in 1 second is something I’m particularly proud of.

Even if your budget is smaller, we always shoot for a WordPress site to load in under 3 seconds. 

Below is a report from one of our latest contracting clients.

Creating an impeccable customer experience will eventually lead to increased relevance in the eyes of search engines. 

Their main goal is to create a better user experience, and what better way of creating a better user experience for their visitors than to send them to a website that creates a flawless experience.

And that’s something you can control.

3. Optimize for conversions

One of our goals in a web project is to increase conversions. 

Whatever the goal may be. We’re looking to squeeze the most amount of juice from the least amount of orange. Because as you’ve seen, by getting an extra 20 customers each month we can add $300k to the bottom line.

There are conversions done to the pages themselves or the process as a whole. 

Some of the changes will be more strategic while others are more tactical.

Here are a few page conversion questions:

Here are a few process questions:

I’m not going to take credit for the job the sales reps do in a company. 

They lead to the successful conversion of the prospect into a paying customer. YourBoxSolution has some amazing sales reps that have been very open to suggestions. How to improve their processes. 

The results didn’t delay showing up.


This article only scratches the surface of the expertise we can bring into your business. 

Although your business may be more or less intricate that the project presented, we’re always ready for a challenge – big or small.

The best way to get to know each other is to get on a call with me. We’ll talk about the goals in your contracting business and see if we’re the best fit to help you reach those goals.

Eduard Boka and his kids

Article by Eduard Boka published on September 2020

An entrepreneur since 2004, he eats marketing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

His biggest skill lies in transforming his expertise (from working with big businesses, and huge projects) into an applicable form for contractors. 

Helping them win big, fast, and long-term.