The Lifehouse

Brand, technical consultancy, SEO strategy, systems integration, wickedweb CMS, design

The Client

Wickedweb are the lead digital marketing agency for Lifehouse spa, and have enjoyed working on their website launch and full technical systems integration. Distinct brand values underpin our mission; integrity, experiential, genuine and modern – which seek to position an innovative spa experience and fuse the unusual combination of heritage and contemporary. Lifehouse spa nestles within the listed gardens of Thorpe Hall in Essex. With grounds covering 130 acres, guests can enjoy this contemporary residential spa and treat themselves to a life enriching experience.

The Challenge

This case study focuses on an interesting challenge: the marriage of brand positioning, technical consultancy and creative execution. There were a range of objectives that needed to be considered as part of the brief spanning functional, business and creative requirements. The solution executed by Wickedweb skillfully weaves these together.

In addition, Lifehouse spa was not visible online. At the start of our work there were no keyword listings and little brand awareness beyond their name. Therefore, an SEO strategy would be essential for future success.

The solution implemented has yielded incredibly impressive results.  Read on to discover how we did it…

The Strategy

Wickedweb’s recommendations focused on two key areas: the new website launch and the SEO strategy.

• Website and systems integration

During this phase of work for Lifehouse spa, Wickedweb were very mindful of the business objectives.  It was key that the website contributed to raising awareness of the brand and this new spa destination, which in turn would generate enquiries and registrations.   It was also essential that there was a mechanic in place to allow interest in vacancies to be easily registered.  As a core sales channel, the website is responsible for retailing memberships, day and stay packages, products and treatments.  

Currently this is managed by a booking form that is emailed to the spa, however Wickedweb are about to roll out an integration solution which links the website to the live booking system.

To support the creative objectives, Lifehouse spa website had to convey top end positioning in relation to its competitors.  This was achieved in the creative execution, and the photography played a key part in portraying brand values.  This was bespoke and commissioned specifically for the site.

The design treatment was looking to evoke real desire to spend time in a treatment room or thermal spa to drive data capture and conversion to sale. 

The tone of voice across the site reflects the holistic ethos of the spa and supports the nurturing theme. Overall, the vision for Lifehouse  spa is to be an iconic  destination for those looking for escapism and quality ‘me’ time. 

The functional specification for this website was comprehensive, and our work entailed a robust technical strategy.  Wickedweb provided technical consultation from the outset which included application integration with spa management, hotel management and database systems.   A usability study was implemented as part of the online booking rollout which is coming soon.

The Lifehouse spa website was delivered on the award-winning WickedwebCMS which is an intuitive, powerful and proven CMS.  The e-commerce module is built into the site in preparation for Phase 2. We have brought to the fore interactive and engaging media options such as blogs, news / press releases, photo galleries, send to a friend and the forum.   The forum powers a user community facility to allow members to discuss their experiences.  There were a number of additional modules executed across the site, including links and bookmarks to social networking sites and partners and a search facility to ensure the site delivers a responsive user experience.

The website also supports data acquisition requirements with newsletter sign up functionality.  This gives the client the ability to download a CSV file to integrate with their forthcoming CRM system, which Wickedweb will be rolling out soon.  The contact us enquiry form involved integration with existing spa systems.

In order to push repeat visits to the site, Lifehouse required the ability in the CMS to update the offers section.  These offers will in turn be fed in to the digital marketing activity.  In addition, call outs direct to the competition activity which also contributes to the data capture objectives.

Furthermore, Wickedweb created a members only area of the site in order to target member communications and promotions.

• Search Engine Optimisation Strategy

Running alongside the website developments, Wickedweb made strong recommendations with regards to the SEO strategy.  Our approach was to focus on organic search engine traffic to develop brand awareness (PPC was not an option given the immediate budget requirements and long term objectives).

Wickedweb’s challenge was to lift Lifehouse spa from search engine anonymity towards having visibility across core category search terms.  The client provided a range of terms that they felt were pertinent to their brand, and Wickedweb completed extensive online analysis and came back with a more comprehensive strategy that took into account:

1) Their position – high end luxury spa.

2) Their objectives to generate higher value bookings rather than high volume and lower value

3) Short term and long term objectives – the need to be positioned most accurately in the short term and then create a mass presence in the long term.

The net result was an SEO campaign that focused on deliverables/objectives on a 6 month and 12 month level. Many of the target keywords rank successfully and brand awareness is improving, with traffic and bookings growing from SEO keywords.

The Results

This has been a very successful case study and the results showcase the impact of the website and the SEO strategy.  Top line statistics are listed below to illustrate how the different elements have performed.

• Increase in monthly traffic from 3,676 visits/month prior to launch to 34,380 visits in June 2011 

• Search engine traffic increased from 2,505 visits in October 2010 (prior to launch) to 20,448 visitsin June 2011 

• Keyword traffic (non-brand) has increased from 25 average monthly visits to over 1,200 monthlyvisits and growing – this is fantastic considering the length of time it takes to generate keywordrankings (3-6 months) and the fact that they didn’t rank on the first 10+ pages of Google for anykeywords

• Page 1 rankings for “weekend spa breaks” (8th in Google – primary keyword) and “spa breaksEssex” (9th – short term/priority keyword)

• Page 2 rankings (and improving) for long term objective keywords: “spa breaks” (16th in Googlewith 50,000+ monthly searches); “spa break” (13th in Google with near 6,000 monthly searches);and “health spa breaks” (14th in Google with 3,000+ monthly searches)

• Average page views increased from 2.56 pages/visit to 8.54 pages/visit – shows high quality andengaging content

• Time on site has increased by 121%

• Bounce rate has decreased by 52% to around 20%, which is way above industry standard

• Approximately 100 average monthly bookings via the web – increased from 0

Wickedweb have an ongoing relationship with Lifehouse, and are currently implementing a digital marketing strategy to continue to drive traffic to the site.  This includes further SEO, link building and social media.  Furthermore, we are looking forward to rolling out their CRM plan and development in the near future.

Client testimonial

"Wickedweb have provided  us with invaluable support, guidance and creatively in launching the website. The team have been a true extension to the marketing department and play an integral role in the development and evolvement of the site. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them and we look forward to continue to drive traffic to the site and future developments."

Stacey Hedges - Marketing Manager

Lifehouse 1 Lifehouse 2 Lifehouse 3 Lifehouse 4

Click to enlarge