Way back in 2008, the Scottish Water market was deregulated (the first country in the world to do so) and since then, there have been vast improvements in service, customer service and efficiencies have been enjoyed by the most important element of any market - the customer.

In April 2017 the water industry in England was just about to go through the same legislative change which would impact the way businesses in this space operated - meaning they needed to be far more commercially minded than they had historically been. Water providers were now being forced to rethink their approach to selling water to businesses.

Affinity for Business Advert to encourage users to switch

With this in mind Affinity for Business reached out to After Digital to help with their digital marketing activity as well as a digital transformation project (which you can read about here). Our team worked collaboratively with AfB’s digital marketing team to produce some great results!

The Challenge

Affinity for Business was launched in April 2017 to cater to the new legislation change and specifically target SMEs in South East England offering clean water supply, wastewater and dual water supply services.

As a newly formed arm of Affinity Water, the main focus for AfB was to drive brand awareness, increase acquisition of new customers, and upsell their new service - wastewater. Internally the team also had a huge drive on customer retention.

The main challenge working within the water utility industry is that the water market is not massively competitive, so it is difficult to encourage businesses to switch supplier. Luckily for us, Affinity for Business deliver truly excellent levels of customer service which really set them apart from their peers.

Our Approach

Our work with AfB covered PPC campaigns, paid social media and an element of strategic advice on both UX and SEO.

As our main goal was to acquire new customers and upsell their new service (wastewater), we created a strategy utilising a mix of brand, non-brand keywords, competitor targeting, display remarketing.

We also utilised an In-Market Audience to target prospects with display ads, this allowed us to reach prospects who were most interested in the services AfB sell. So for Affinity for Business, this allowed us to target people displaying traits (classified within a precise segment) which suggested a higher likelihood of wanting to switch water supplier.

This led to an impressive 71% increase in referral traffic from paid search within 12 months.

Screen shot of Affinity for business Facebook post about wastewater service payable by Direct Debit

Our social media strategy hinged on promoting AfB’s excellent customer service as their key differentiator - moving from a B2C, Facebook-focused strategy in 2017/2018 to a B2B, LinkedIn-focused strategy in late 2018, early 2019.

Across both LinkedIn and Facebook, we tested various forms of media to narrow down what appealed specifically to Affinity for Business’s customers; with infographics, light-hearted graphic imagery and nature-based photography all proving to engage the end-user. However, it became clear that strong imagery and customer testimonials drove the most traffic and engagement. Whether it was from a B2B account or a B2C account, positive feedback on the service provided by Affinity for Business brought in the most results. As we focused more on the B2B element of the business, we took note that LinkedIn users tend to favour thought-led, rich media content. So, with this in mind, our marketing team focused on how we could bring together LinkedIn-focused content and what would appeal most to their target audience.

95% of people between the ages of 18-34 read reviews before buying from a business and 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written recently (within the past two weeks). To focus mainly on customer testimonials, we had to ensure that we had a constant source of strong reviews.

Utilising their frequently used, 5-star (at the time of working with the client) Trustpilot page, we were able to have a stream of fresh reviews to harness and turn into ad content - with the design team at Affinity for Business often using the reviews as the main basis for their imagery. This allowed the customer testimonials to feature front and centre and also gave us space in the copy to highlight the key USPs of switching to Affinity for Business.

During our period of time working on Affinity for Bussiness’s LinkedIn marketing, sessions via LinkedIn rose by over 46% when compared to the previous period and conversions via LinkedIn rose by over 95%.

This led to a 5% increase in conversions via social media when compared to the previous year.

Affinity for business Facebook Ad , wastewater service payable by direct debit

The results

375%

INCREASE in 'Get a quote' submissions within 12 months

71%

INCREASE in users generated via paid search

5%

INCREASE in all goal completions via social media referral

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