Helping Hands is an award-winning provider of live-in care services. The family-run company has provided high-quality care to customers across England and Wales for more than 25 years, and boasts a five-star rating on NHS Choices.
ClickThrough Marketing has worked with Helping Hands since 2013, providing expert support for its SEO strategy.
Following an in-depth analytics audit in June 2014, Helping Hands noted that a significant proportion of its website traffic came from mobile users.
The company realised a website redevelopment was crucial. Their new website would have to cater to these mobile users, whilst improving conversion rates.
"The key objective was to get a responsive website to give our customers a better user journey.”Dal Dosanjh
Marketing Manager, Helping Hands
Helping Hands was also having trouble with its content management system (CMS). The platform they were using… “Wasn’t very user friendly,” says Dal.
“Most of the time we had to ask our existing web agency to do things. Even adding documents, or PDF downloads to the website was difficult.”
In terms of design, Dal emphasised it was important that Helping Hand’s new website had a “fresh, modern appeal”, whilst maintaining the brand’s established ‘look and feel’.
"The brief called for evolution, rather than revolution. We wanted to retain the existing look and feel but put a responsive, mobile-friendly design in place.”Dal Dosanjh
Despite already having a web development agency on board, Helping Hands decided to take the project to pitch. On the strength of their existing relationship, Helping Hands invited ClickThrough, along with its existing web development agency, and several agencies it hadn’t previously worked with.
ClickThrough’s pitch focussed on its metric-led approach to web development – supported by its five-phase, 35-step web build process.
The 35-step process is built on years of marketing and web development and experience, and is designed to ensure every aspect of a website supports its marketing goals – from planning to design to delivery.
Whereas most web developers focus on design, the 35-step process puts planning, scoping and research first. This means even the smallest design or technical considerations are focussed on improving user journeys and fostering better results.
Alan Rowe, ClickThrough’s head of web development, explains:
"With regard to design, we know that most customers like to see the design as early as possible. We appreciate this, but find this to be inefficient. By having the design process quite late in the 35-step process, it ensures we have thought long and hard about the challenges of a new website.
“By the time we start working on the design, we’ve already considered what target audiences are looking for, and how they might behave. We’ve already thought about how we can organise information to keep the user journey as simple as possible, allowing quick and easy access to information. And we’ve already scoped out how we can support SEO strategies.
“Having gone through the planning process, we are in a much better position to know what the website should look like. And, invariably, get it right first time.”
Despite strong competition, ClickThrough’s structured web development process, and the strength of its existing relationship with Helping Hands convinced the care company that ClickThrough was the right choice.
"We only invited a couple of agencies that we hadn’t worked with before. One of the pitches was absolutely fantastic, but ClickThrough was by far the best.
“What was really impressive was that ClickThrough was very, very structured. We liked that you could always look at the 35 steps and see where we are in the timeline. That was impressive.
“We also liked the fact that all key members of staff were present at the pitch. All directors, and all specialists made the effort to come along and get involved.”Dal Dosanjh
A key facet of ClickThrough’s 35-step process is integration between separate marketing disciplines – from design to content, from conversion optimisation to SEO.
This approach ensures that every website ClickThrough creates is built to technical, conversion and SEO best practices – but necessitates tight communication between teams, and with clients.
Having worked together on SEO for more than a year, Helping Hands was confident ClickThrough could deliver on organic search. However, the new website presented a new challenge – how to implement conversion rate optimisation (CRO) techniques in a uniquely challenging market.
"The first point of contact for many of our customers is usually through online advertising. By the time they visit our site, they’re in a position where they’re at a very emotional point in their conversion journey.
“Obviously, it’s important that we are compassionate to these customers, whilst also being a trusted source of information and a viable business. The website needs to play many different roles to be successful. After all, 70% of our business is online.”Dal Dosanjh
ClickThrough also had a tight deadline to deal with. Helping Hands’ peak season was fast approaching, so the entire project would have to be delivered in just three months.
ClickThrough delivered the project to deadline and to brief. The finished website used a responsive design that presented Helping Hands as a modern family-run business – supported by the detailed technical and marketing considerations laid out in the 35-step process.
The feedback from Helping Hands was outstanding.
"The ClickThrough ‘A Team’. Give them a challenge, they’ll get it done. Give them a deadline – ‘yep, no problem’. Ask for the plus-1s in service – already there. That’s our experience of working with ClickThrough and we offer our sincere thanks for a job well done. It really has been an absolute pleasure working with you all.”Jo Wright
Head of Marketing, Helping Hands
Alan Rowe explained that by ensuring as many people across disciplines were involved in key stages of the build, we were able to work together with CTM an extension of Helping Hands’ marketing department as a single team, all working to close off snags to reach the end game.
As for Helping Hands’ content management system, ClickThrough identified at an early stage that a simple, easy-to-use platform like WordPress would suit the care company’s needs. Helping Hands’ team were frustrated that their current CMS prevented them from editing content themselves, and they had no need for a complex e-Commerce system that would require extensive training and investment.
ClickThrough built the website using WordPress, and according to Dal Dosanjh, “It’s so friendly to use. From a user perspective now, I’m instantly very clear as to where I’m at on the site.”
The final challenge to overcome was how to optimise the site for conversion, whilst being sensitive to the needs and emotions of Helping Hands’ user base. ClickThrough’s previous experience creating Helping Hands content, as well as the built-in audience research of the 35-step process, ensured this wasn’t an obstacle. Richard Chapman, ClickThrough’s conversion and analytics manager, explains:
"Helping Hands’s website was particularly challenging. It had to communicate to and convert multiple and very different personas – growing business, showing empathy and recruiting new staff. For websites like this, you have to be able to adjust what you do based on the specific challenges of the client, user base and sector.
“That’s why our 35-step process includes in-depth persona analysis at an early stage. This ensures our audience research informs every step of the design and conversion processes.
“Through careful use of empathetic content and imagery, we were able to satisfy the needs of Helping Hands as a business, and the emotional needs of its users.”
For the final word, we’ll turn to Dal Dosanjh:
I’m still in love with the website. I think it’s great.”