MerchantWarehouse.com Changes Credit Card Processing Industry: Uses Paid Search To Get Results, Is Returning To Organic SEO Roots With New Hire
Henry Helgeson was a credit card rep knocking on doors in the mid-90’s, he became dissatisfied with the industry, Henry thought the margins on the merchant credit card equipment were too high for many merchants.
At a crossroads between getting out of the industry, and changing the industry, Henry rolled up his sleeves and decided to change the industry with a little thing called the web. Founding MerchantWarehouse.com in 1997 with partners, Henry’s team launched the industry’s first website to offer low cost merchant credit card processing equipment and software in 1998.
Henry’s company makes up for lower prices on equipment by reaching a wider market through the web. MerchantWarehouse.com has also provided better customer service and efficiency in the industry, so that today, the company is getting thousands of client referrals a year. Many customers and vendors in the industry credit MerchantWarehouse.com for completely changing the industry from the 90’s to where it is today.
Henry found time to chat with me recently about his company’s Internet marketing strategy. The company started out working on getting traffic by achieving rankings on the organic search engine listings. Henry remembers finding a website called searchenginewatch.com in the early days and reading every page to help follow the rules of search engine optimization to get a high ranking. In those web search pioneer days it was fairly easy to get a high ranking, the engines were not all that sophisticated. As MerchantWarehouse.com grew, the company could afford to try some paid online advertising. They started off with a company called GoTo that became Overture and is now owned by Yahoo!
With the success and consistency of paid search, MerchantWarehouse.com migrated away from organic search optimization to paid search. The change was because paid represented consistency of traffic delivery. Optimizing the website took a lot of time, and there was no guarantee of results, it was easier to pay the paid search costs.
Paid search still consists of 60-70% of the marketing budget for MerchanteWarehouse.com with a mix between Google & Overture. But Henry tells me the company has grown to the point where they are again looking at organic search engine optimization, with over $2 billion merchant transactions a year, Henry has hired a new marketing manager to manage the organic listings of the company’s website and all other marketing programs.
Having worked at 48hourprint.com, an online printing company, as a marketing manager, I knew the importance of customer service and a company’s telephone center. Henry tells me customer service staff provides most customer service over the telephone. 60-70% from telephone, 15-25% by email support and 5-10% through live chat. They use saleforce.com for managing customer relationships.
One marketing aspect of their telephone center is the relationship with Click Path Media, the company helps drive many customers to many different 800 numbers on the web through pay per click keyword advertising. Each keyword will have its own 1-800 number, meaning the company can track results in its telephone center by keyword.
Lastly, Henry tells me the real secret to his company’s success is treating his employees well, so much so, MerchantWarehouse.com has a very low employee turnover, only 2 people have left in the last 18 months out of 80 employees. Henry believes that by treating his employees well, they will treat customers well, and customers will respond with loyalty and referrals, and that’s just what’s happening.
Posted by johncass at August 24, 2005 11:03 PM
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