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case study overview

Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals builds, rents and manages beautiful luxury private cabins in a natural mountain setting in Georgia



2.3 x increase in leads from organic search


Adwords Spend

40% decrease in AdWords spend



37% lead to customer rate from direct traffic

The Process

In 2006, Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals CEO Tom Telford started building a new development. The concept was to build, rent and manage beautiful luxury private cabins in a natural mountain setting with lots of great views, hardwoods, and best of all, peace and quiet. Cedar Creek Cabin Rental’s mantra is for guests to walk into a gorgeous and clean environment that immediately triggers a feeling of comfort. As a result, a large majority of Cedar Creek Cabin's current guests are either referred or repeat visitors. Cedar Creek offers more than 40 cabins in the area surround Helen, GA and the company’s goal is to provide the best possible experience at any of these luxurious mountain cabins.

The Challenge

Cedar Creek spent over $100,000 per year on paid search with Google. At first the results seemed great because they were getting a lot of bookings, but the more they used it, the more costly it became. In many cases, they ended up losing money, as they were not getting enough bookings from Google paid search in comparison to what they spent.

They did some SEO work, but as a one-time paid initiative, with no means to track the results. It was disappointing for them to pay money for only a short term benefit, especially one that was not measurable other than waiting for the website to move up in the rankings.

Cedar Creek tried a variety of the marketing tactics but nothing gave them the peace of mind they needed. They were disappointed in their email marketing services. They knew that email blasting didn't work, but their email list was too complicated to manually subsegment and target potential customers.

The Process

Cedar Creek used a Blogging Tool to optimize their blog content quickly and easily. They could then track their blog page views, inbound links, and comments in almost real time to evaluate what resonates and what does not.

They utilized an Email Marketing Tools to target their email recipients differently based on form fills, lead scores, geographical area, or anything that helped them best tailor a specific message to a specific group.

By taking advantage a Keyword Grader, Cedar Creek was able to monitor their organic rankings, identify new keywords to target for SEO and determine which strategies were working. At the same time they were able to gauge how much money they were saving on paid search.

The Results

Cedar Creek attributes their high organic search performace to producing a blog that resonates with their online visitors' vacation rental needs. They have grown to over 5000 page views a month from their blog alone.  That number of course, translates to increase in bookings to their cabins. 

Cedar Creeks Biggest win is to have gone from $100K spend with Google adwords in 2010 to $80K in 2011 and tracking towards only $40K in 2012. Over the past 2 years they have lowered their Googl spend by $60K and yet have seen an 89% improvement on organic traffic, from 10,000 to 30,000 with a total reach and inbound leads over more that 4,000 in just 10 months. 


  Tom Telford / CEO, Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals

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