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How to Get 6800% ROI from a Single E-commerce Marketing Campaign

Hayden Sutherland

Back in 2014, my consultancy had an e-commerce client who was having a couple of major issues:

1) The Return On Investment (ROI) from their Affiliate Marketing efforts using voucher codes was highly variable, having a significant effect on sales margins

2) Conversions rates were falling at key points in the checkout process, as customers were entering invalid voucher codes collected from across the web

The challenge was to take ownership back of the voucher code arena and develop a marketing program which would meet the following objectives:

  1. Test and develop a voucher code campaign that users would go to directly and increase the ROI from Voucher Code usage
  2. Reduce the impact on shopping checkout abandon rates where customers entered a voucher code
  3. Encourage these voucher code users to join the e-mail marketing program, to encourage voucher code users to become regular customers
  4. Devise and test a specific e-mail marketing program for this list of customers to increase the likelihood of purchasing again

So, what happened?

It was established that users searching on Google for voucher codes were the best group of potential customers to target.

The Process

The first step was to test and develop a Google AdWords campaign based around keyword searches by potential customer using a range of brand name and voucher code related terms such as “<brand> code” and “<brand> discount code”.

Then, several adverts and discount offers were tested and optimized within the Google advert copy. This was done to see which would provide the best rate of return and to evaluate the propensity to sign up to an email marketing program. The impact on the shopping checkout rate was also monitored.

An e-mail marketing program was subsequently devised for this specific list of customers and tests conducted to see which headings, offers and promotions encouraged them to buy again.

The Results?

  • The Google AdWords Voucher Code campaign produced a staggering return on investment of over 6800%.
  • The drop-out rate at the shopping checkout stage for those attempting to use voucher codes halved.
  • Over 30% of customers recruited from the Google AdWords Voucher Code campaign went on to join the e-mail marketing program.
  • Over 55% of customers joining the e-mail marketing program have purchased again within 2 months.


While the results we obtained from this campaign seem incredibly high, these figures are not achieved thanks to any magic formula or insider market information. They were reached by simply observing and analyzing customer behavior, and carrying out a targeted campaign that caught the customer just at the right time.

It is therefore my belief that you could also be able to deliver similar results and also claim such a significant return on investment. Good luck!

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Hayden Sutherland is the owner and director at Ideal Interface, a digital strategy, e-commerce and marketing consultancy based in the UK. He and his team provide digital transformation, delivery and online marketing help to organizations primarily in the retail, travel and tourism, and financial services sectors.
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Tristan Bailey
Hayden, interesting tactic, can I confirm these were valuable discount codes the company wanted to give out. Not that the brand found a proportion of customers were searching for voucher codes before purchase each time so they wanted to get some small value ones out there to mop up this wavering traffic in search?