Creating a European challenger bank with SEO

A case study in an SEO only market entry.

The Xace Brief

Searched were invited into the preliminary discussions on not only the brand but the entire business proposition. Having developed the business plan and USP, we set about developing the requirements of Serched.

Brand Building

Searched setout to create a brand story for Xace that would set them apart from any other challenger bank – a brand that would fight on the behalf of customers who are unable to bank with traditional finance. Warriors.

Website & SEO

A front end website was needed to sit within the neo bank industry while progressing the quality seen within the high risk banking brands to adopt the right type of customer. Progression.

Marketing Strategy

Searched lead the way with a strategy that would be low on budget prior to product launch, but high in growth. The route was clear via content marketing and optimised technical and content delivery. Strategy.

Banking Applications & APIs

We needed to build modern, secure and engaging web applications for both our customers and our in-house teams integrating account and payment providers using the latest web and deployment tech. Development.

Developing the foundations of a high growth brand from scratch.
Achieving growth and customer sign ups pre-product without marketing spend.
The Searched methodology.

At Searched we’re advocates of getting shit done. Be quick to market with product development, prepare for launch way in advance and build value from day one with your website.

Xace is not only a client case study, it’s a case study in our own internal philosophies, which is to build the foundations early for long term growth.

We’ll explore how we did this below, from preparing for growth, achieving growth pre launch, developing great products and launching to an existing audience and straight to revenue.

How we set out to turn Xace in to Europes leading challenger bank for crypto and gaming industries

Only on rare occasions have we had the project opportunity to lead strategy on marketing and technology from the foundations of concept to delivery. This was a big strategy, started just a couple of weeks before a national pandemic lock down and one that successfully went live with paying customers just 4 months later. A journey of getting shit done, for the right reasons.

Growth Strategy;

(n) [not just a buzz word ]

Growth and strategy are thrown around a lot, we’re guilty of it too. But in this case, we could see what our strategy needed to be immediately. Strong brand story, optimised and well created content, healthy web technology and fast application development to get to market in the shortest time possible. On Plan.

Website structure;

(n) [ which is..? ]

The website turn around needed to be fast to make use of the 3-4 month application development time. Over that period, we would need to find customers and create a whitelist for onboarding, with a structure that would scale for years not just the next few months. Two week turnaround, Xace was live online with a structure formed from our strategy. Speed.

Content & Delivery;

(n) [easy and hard! ]

Content was indeed going to be king when it came to winning customers before we had a product. We set about creating content while our dev team powered through development and API integration. Who said Open Banking was easy? Our targets online scaled within weeks, sign ups soon followed. App launched 4 months from start. Goals Achieved.

The Brand

The name was chosen for us, the rest was up to us to define.

Xace was born from very dedicated founders solving a very real problem for industries they knew inside and out – gaming and crypto. They had spent over a year battling regulators and taking on legal challenges to get to the point where they could provide licensed accounts to casinos and blockchain businesses across Europe.

There was no way we could overlook this story for the brand and so Xace became a Warrior brand, out there to take on the establishment for the better of these emerging markets, and breaking down barriers that were constantly erected by traditional finance.

xace-logo-w

A simple type logo that can be utilised recognisably as a single X was the chosen route.

The Initial Strategy

Identify, discover, capture and grow an audience – from 0.

We’ve this before, many times. Starting a website from 0 traffic is incredibly tough but so rewarding, with the added advantage of getting it right first time, rather then time 3, 4 or 5 as so many brands do who focus too much on design and tech.

  1. Build a website that’s structured around our target markets – gaming, crypto, bitcoin etc
  2. Create a design that suits the required function laid out in our strategy
  3. Implement design with a speedy CMS that the client could edit as easy as a word doc – Webflow.
  4. Fulfil the requirements of the data – use the research to create optimimal content for our primary sales pages.
  5. Develop supporting article content on mass to suit the targets of the strategy alongside financial writers.
  6. Internally link up all content in our structural verticles.
  7. Outreach for just a few homepage links, to let Google know Xace.io exists.

The initial result

This was pretty mind blowing stuff for the client.

April 1st = 2 visitors / 2 total new users / 0 applications

June 1st = 40 visitors / 637 total new users  / 143 total applications

Xace was off to the races with leads just 4 weeks after STARTING the build of their website.

The Website

Bringing our brand message to life, in just a few days.

The design and build of the Xace webflow website was just over 1.5 weeks, from preliminary wireframes to online, optimised website ready for leads. We removed all over design influences and controlling forces from the process to just focus on the get to market strategy – this was a very good decision by all involved. And one we appreciated from the client.

Webflow off the bat is a good CMS, not flawless but it would provide a very sound base for Xace for a solid couple of years. We worked around some of the limiting URL configurations, working with a complex array of collections but a setup that would provide the topical segmenting we really wanted to have in place.

Right now, the website delivers 15 leads per day on average from Gaming and Crypto customers.

At the time of writing, no PR, no advertising, no promoted social media. Just content and SEO = 2000 leads.

The SEO

The most powerful part of Xace right now. The killer SEO.

Many new brands rush to social media promotions, buying likes and Google adwords to get their brands moving from the 0 customer base point that is so intimidating at first. This is not a bad thing, but it’s costly and sometimes unsustainable. We always preach to start SEO from the initial wireframes of a website, the wins will be a no brainer.

The SEO for Xace moved on from the structural and technical configurations to the content and filling in the areas we needed content. We wanted topical content that our potential customers would be looking to read, such as informative, well researched articles to guides and industry statistics. In fact the strongest article so far has been picked up as a featured snippet for virtual debit cards and provides 3% of all traffic.

Xace organic visibility and traffic has flown, consistently since launch. Notice the weekend dips then new growth week. This is content, structure and ultimately SEO driven growth.

Xace has gone from 0 traffic in April, 2020 to averaging 160 on weekdays, 2000 leads and hundreds of account sign ups in Sept, 2020.

Bank Integrations & App Development

From no bank to bank – in 4 months.

As with the marketing, the technical development of the Xace banking applications had to be rapid, for multiple reasons. Firstly, this was not an unlimited budget technical masterclass, this was customers needing bank accounts, where the high street continued to ignore them. So we had to plan to work fast, hard and put in the technical masterclass as well.

Integration of account and payment providers for small payment institutions is relatively straight forward, with the usual teething problems that can eat up the time when it comes to CI/CD, environments and flaky documentation and error codes from the providers – but you get there in the end. Not only did we get to live with 20 customers banking inside the first 2 weeks, we also immediately began our second bank integration to further the offering of Xace.

This tech project was delivered on a minimal budget, at speed, with a dedicated small team from Searched. We’re genuinely unsure if this could have been achieved for a lower budget or in a quicker time frame – hats off to our amazing CTO Barrie for taking this on.

The world is their oyster now for Xace, with a winning SEO strategy, an easy to maintain and high growth website, booming inbound leads, 2 banking integrations in just 7 months and hundreds of paying clients.

Searched are the sole integrated marketing agency at Xace on a long term contract. Result.

Why Searched?

The journey you’re brand is starting is a long and challenging one, that will often require support and guidance to overcome many obstacles but it’s one that will deliver amazing experiences to your users and ultimately bring change for a new generation through blockchain technology. We believe in the power of blockchain and we understand what’s required for your journey to be successful.

You + Us = a Team

Your goals become our goals, working together with you to provide the experience, expertise and reassuring shoulder to lean on every step of the way.

+ our partners = a Network

We love building relationships so much, that if our shoulder isn’t the one needed for any aspect of your brand building, you can be sure one of our friends will step up for you, and us.

Inspiring Your Development

We bring our knowledge across marketing and business development into a collection of easy to understand and educational posts, distributed regularly through our newsletter. Involved.

Who We’ve Worked With

Having been supporting the development of blockchain marketing and cryptocurrency strategies for brands since 2016, we have a slick portfolio of clients. Mates.

Airswap

Cryptocurrency Taxes

Xace Logo

Xace Bank

decentraland vr world

Decentraland

payed logo

Payed

BlockFi

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