Prospa’s Digital Growth Strategy

by Alex Cleanthous - Get more articles like this sent to your email here

Have you heard of Prospa?

They’re the #1 online lender for small business across Australia and New Zealand, and they’ve been so successful that they listed on the ASX in 2018.

So we decided to take an in-depth look at their digital marketing to see how they’re approaching digital.

This isn’t going to be a case study on everything that Prospa is doing digitally – instead, I’m going to pull out just the parts of their digital strategy that are actually driving growth.

This case study is going to be concise, and written in a way that you can scan it in 5 minutes and ‘get’ what they do.

Don’t have 5 minutes to scan this case study? Check out the 10-Second Summary.

With that in mind, let’s get into it…

  1. PROSPA’S WEBSITE
  2. PROSPA’S GOOGLE PAID SEARCH
  3. PROSPA’S GOOGLE ORGANIC SEARCH
  4. PROSPA’S FACEBOOK ADS
  5. PROSPA’S EMAIL MARKETING
  6. THE 10-SECOND SUMMARY

1. THE WEBSITE

Prospa doesn’t have a big website, but what they have works (and works well)

Prospa have 3 pages that do most of the heavy lifting

  1. The Home page
  2. The Small Business Loans page
  3. The Line of Credit page

The action they want you to take is exactly the same on each page – the only real difference is that they change the main banner and one or two of the sections on the page.

Prospa’s home page focusses on ‘business loans’

Prospa has a page that focusses on ‘small business’ loans

…which is pretty similar to the home page with a few extra sections targeted to small business owners.

Prospa has a page that focusses on ‘business line of credit’

…which is pretty much the same as the ‘Small Business Loans’ page with just a few changes in wording.

The main reason they would have 3 pages that are pretty much all the same is because they want to rank for those keywords.

The main action they want people to take is to submit a simple form

And it’s the same on every page (at the bottom of the page):

No long form. No excessive details. Just enter 4 details and you’re done.

Oftentimes (especially for high volume businesses like Prospa) getting somebody on the phone with a sales consultant is the best way to create new customers.

They use landing pages to drive better performance from Google Ads

Like any good Google Ads campaign, they use dedicated landing pages for Google Ads – and they are EXACTLY the same as the pages on the main site, except the form is above-the-fold (ie visible before you scroll) and the top navigation has been removed.

They have 2 pages that do all of the heavy lifting for their campaigns:

  1. Small Business Loans landing page
  2. Business Line of Credit landing page

Small Business Loans landing page

The only issue with this landing page is that they link to other pages on the site, where there really shouldn’t be any way to leave the page except to submit the form or leave:

They could simply update the buttons to say ‘Apply Now’ and link to the form instead.

Business Line of Credit landing page

What website performance insights can you take away for your business?

You don’t need a website with a lot of pages to drive growth with digital – all you need is one or two (well designed) pages and you can drive your entire digital strategy from there.

Counterintuitively, the more pages you add to a lead generation website (without strong reason) the worse it will perform.

Oftentimes, you can get better performance from a one-page website than you will from a multi-page one (at least that’s what we find at Webprofits).

Need help improving the performance of your website. Get in touch with Webprofits for a quick chat to see how we can help.

Prospa Dominates Google Paid Search (with a little Bing)

When trying to find businesses that want loans, nothing beats Search.

And when it comes to Search, Google is the dominant player by far with more than 94% of the search engine marketing share in Australia.

That’s where every lender needs to advertise, and Prospa is dominating the space.

Prospa bids on keywords related to ‘business loans’ on Google Ads, and spends between $50k and $300k/mo

Here’s a sample of the keywords Prospa is bidding on Google:

Source: SEMRush

Here are the SEMRush Keyword Reports for both desktop and mobile.

They use all of their main features and benefits in the ads

Here’s a breakdown of the ad:

  • “Prospa Small Business Loans” – the keyword they are bidding on + the brand name
  • “Funding Options Up To $250,000” – how much money businesses can borrow
  • “Beat 2020 With No Repayments On Back To Business Loans For The First 6 Months” – main benefit
  • “Min 12 Mths Trading Required” – qualifies the businesses they can help (to save $$$ on the click)
  • “Australia’s #1 Online Lender To Small Business” – establishes credibility
  • “Govt SME Guarantee Scheme” – major feature
  • “Why Prospa” – in case people want to learn more about them

They’ve nailed the ad (but of course they have considering how much they are spending on Google Ads, and how important it is to get this right).

They test different angles and messages to improve Google Ads performance

Here’s a sample of other Google Ads they’re running:

Source: SEMRush

Here are the SEMRush Ad Copies Reports for both desktop and mobile.

Prospa advertises on Bing too (but not as much as Google)

Here’s a sample ad on Bing:

They use the same wording as their Google Ad (they probably use the Bing-Google import feature).

Although if that were the case they would probably be appearing for ‘business line of credit’ as well, and I couldn’t see them advertising for it.

What Google Ads insights can you take away for your business?

Nothing beats Google Ads if your customers are searching on Google. And oftentimes, Search is the only way to find the businesses / people that are interested in what you sell.

Because of that very reason, Google Ads can be expensive (and thereby unaffordable) if you don’t have a solid landing page or website that converts searchers into leads for your sales team.

Using a landing page (or a one-page website) can often be the best way to make Google Ads profitable. And if you can do that, you’ll be able to add a new revenue stream to your business that will continue to perform for you over many years.

3. GOOGLE ORGANIC SEARCH

Prospa Dominates Google Organic Search

With the amount being spent on Google Ads, it makes sense to invest in an SEO strategy to capture as much of the ‘free’ organic traffic as possible. And that’s exactly what Prospa has done…

Prospa ranks #1 on Google for ‘business loans’, ‘small business loans’ and ‘business finance’

…which means they are appearing at least twice in the search results for their top performing keywords.

Prospa builds links through their ProspaPay service

ProspaPay is a service that Prospa has developed to offer equipment finance for small business, where it partners up with equipment suppliers so they can offer it to their customers. It’s like AfterPay for business.

How does this build links?

Because when a partner integrates ProspaPay into their site like this:

Prospa gets a link like this:

And when we look at how many of these types of links they have, you can start to see why they rank so well on Google:

Source: SEMRush

You can download the full SEMRush Anchor Report here.

Prospa is an ASX-listed company that gets a lot of media mentions

…which means the types of links it gets are of editorial quality (ie the hardest links to get), like this one:

 

Are Prospa using ‘toxic’ SEO tactics?

You wouldn’t think they would need to. But looking at some of their recent links, I’m not so sure.

Here’s one of the pages they get keyword rich anchor text links from:

And here’s another (note how both sites use the EXACT SAME TEMPLATE):

And when you look at the source code:

Whoever did this has stuffed 10 links in this post and is hiding the fact that they’re links.

Looks like a blog network to me, probably from their (hopefully old) SEO agency.

Strange why anyone would do this, considering they have such good links from other sites on the web.

I get if this was an old SEO tactic no longer being used (as SEO has changed a lot over the years) but based on SEMRush, these links were built in the last 12 months:

Source: SEMRush

You can download the full report for ‘apply for business loans’ links here (note that there are other keyword reports that show similar links however I have not included them in this analysis).

Maybe these links helped Prospa get their amazing rankings but maybe not. And is it really worth the risk considering the value of their top SEO rankings?

Personally, I’d stay away from these links like the plague and get them removed from those sites completely.

Prospa uses the ‘noindex’ tag on all of the articles on their blog

After crawling the site using Screaming Frog SEO Spider we found that nearly all of the blog pages were ‘noindexed’, which is telling Google not to add that page to their index (which means it won’t appear in the Search results).

Counterintuitively, just because it’s not indexed it doesn’t mean it doesn’t help their SEO – in fact, it can actually help INCREASE rankings – and oftentimes it’s used to ‘fix’ years of producing thin content.

Here’s an example of one of their older blog posts:

This article is not really related to ‘business loans’, is quite short (just over 600 words), and doesn’t add too much value to the person reading it (comparative to other content on the web).

With that in mind, people who land on this site will bounce very quickly which may reduce the perceived quality of the site in Google’s ranking algorithm. So removing pages in bulk can (and looks like it has) helped with Prospa’s rankings.

This can get quite technical (and you should be very careful implementing anything like this on your website) but if you want to learn more about this, check out this article from Neil Patel.

What SEO insights can you take away for your business?

If you’re investing a lot of $$$ in Google Ads and it’s a strong revenue stream for you, then it’s worth investing in SEO for at least 18 months to rank at the top of Google for your most valuable keywords.

Start by doing a full review of your website and backlink profile and clean up any issues that will hold you back from ranking, and then execute a legit link building strategy designed to get high-quality editorial links pointing to your website.

And if you can find a way to integrate link building into your business-as-usual (BAU) operations like Prospa did with ProspaPay, you’ll be building links while growing your business (which is the pinnacle of link building strategies).

4. FACEBOOK ADS

Prospa uses Facebook Ads at different stages of the customer journey

Prospa uses Facebook Ads to drive awareness and consideration by promoting case study content

Here’s an ad they use to promote content:

And here’s the page it goes to on the Prospa blog:

What’s great about this approach is that Prospa is advertising content that actually sells the reader on how using Prospa to get funding can help drive growth in the business.

Prospa only advertises content on Facebook, Messenger and the Audience Network

…most likely because that’s where content is consumed most (ie not on Instagram).

Source: Facebook Ads Library

Prospa uses Facebook Ads to drive new business enquiries (ie conversions)

They use Stories ads for Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories and Messenger Stories

Here’s one of the ads they use:

Source: Facebook Ads Library

You can view the video ad here.

And note that these ads link to the same landing page as they use on Google.

They use standard ‘square’ ads and carousel ads for the rest of Facebook

Here are some of the ‘square’ ads they run:

And here are some of the carousel ads they run:

Source: Facebook Ads Library

They only run these ads on Facebook (not Instagram).

And note that these ads link to the same landing page as they use on Google.

Which Facebook Ad is best?

Here’s the ad that’s doing best (in my opinion):

You can view the video ad here.

Here’s why:

  • The square dimensions fit best across the Facebook network, which means it gets the most exposure across the platform
  • The square format really ‘pops’ when you see it in the feed
  • The text above the video is short, punchy, and focuses on the main features and benefits
  • The headline below the video says what it is (ie ‘business loan’)
  • The text below the headline focuses on the main benefit
  • There’s a button that says ‘Learn More’

So yeah, I think this ad is performing best.

Sidenote: If you’re from Prospa, please do me a ‘solid’ and post a comment letting me know if I was right or not 🙂 

What Facebook Ads insights can you take away for your business?

Facebook advertising is one of the best ways to grow your customer base by moving people through a journey from awareness, to consideration and conversion.

By using case studies in your awareness and consideration ads, you get the dual benefit of promoting information that gives your audience ideas they can apply to their situation while simultaneously ‘selling’ the benefits of your service.

Using ads designed for the different placements in Facebook (eg stories, feed etc) can help you get the most out of each placement.

If you’re not already advertising on Facebook, then you should be. It’s a no-brainer.

Need help executing a Facebook Ads strategy that drives growth for your business? Get in touch with Webprofits for a quick chat to see how we can help.

05. EMAIL MARKETING

Prospa uses email marketing to build trust and stay engaged with their audience

Email marketing should be a core marketing channel for every business, and Prospa takes full advantage of it.

Not only is email free (aside from the cost of the software you use to send emails) but it’s one of the best way to communicate with your audience, especially if you are selling to businesses.

Here’s how Prospa uses it:

Note: this email marketing review is based on data provided by MailCharts, with the most recent email being tracked on 22 March 2019.

Prospa sends emails with tips for small business growth

You can view the full email here

Prospa sends emails with news that affects small business

You can view the full email here

Prospa send emails to generate new loan applications

You can view the full email here

What email marketing insights can you take away for your business?

Use email marketing to engage with your audience on a regular basis, but don’t just try to sell them something every time.

Focus on adding value as much as possible, and only ‘sell’ to them sporadically.

Plus, once you have somebody’s email address, it’s one of the only ways you can stay in touch with your audience for a fraction of any other digital channel (the only thing you pay for is the subscription to your email marketing software).

6. THE 10-SECOND SUMMARY

Prospa is #1 online lender for small business across Australia and New Zealand, and they’ve been so successful that they listed on the ASX in 2018.

So we decided to take an in-depth look at their digital marketing to see how they’re approaching digital.

In short, they’re doing an awesome job with their digital growth strategy – they’re hitting all of the major platforms hard, and they’re doing it well.

Here’s the summary of their digital growth strategy:

  1. Use a simple website to drive one action (ie apply now)
  2. Use landing pages to get maximum performance from digital advertising
  3. Focus hard on Google Paid Search
  4. Capture maximum market share through Google Organic Search
  5. Build awareness, consideration and conversion through Facebook Ads
  6. Stay connected with email marketing

It’s important to note that this is not everything they are doing in the digital space but it’s definitely where they are generating the most growth from their digital strategy.

And of course, this doesn’t take into account partnerships or anything that happens outside of the digital world.

DISCLAIMER: I have no association with Prospa or their founders (yet). This review has been completed using publicly available information on the Internet. If you would like to get in touch with me, click here.

Seeing you made it this far..

This growth study is an insight into how we think at Webprofits.

We helped one company grow from $25M to $190M revenue in 4 years, and we work with challenger brands that want to make a serious impact in their industry and have the resources (and the will) to make it happen.

If you want a growth strategy that leads the way in your industry, find out how Webprofits can help you transform your digital marketing.

Alex Cleanthous

Alex Cleanthous

Director of Strategy + Innovation at Webprofits
Alex Cleanthous is an entrepreneur, writer, technologist, and marketing leader. He is Co-Founder of Webprofits, Australia’s largest private digital consultancy. With more than 20 years experience in the digital space, Alex stays at the forefront of digital innovation, strategy, and execution identifying new markets, platforms, and tools to keep pace with the exponential expansion of technology.

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