Elevating an Independent Business Through a Comprehensive, Targeted Campaign

Quick Results

About the Client

The Millshop Online is an independent, family-run business specialising in curtain and upholstery fabric. They supply a range of quality and designer fabrics at competitive prices, allowing customers to cut out the pesky middle man.

The Millshop Online targets those who need supplies for interior projects: both beginners and experts alike. The customer is at the very heart of the Millshop brand, something they showcase through delivering superb customer service at every available opportunity.

Business Challenge

Recently, The Millshop Online switched from selling fabrics from their Northamptonshire warehouse to operating exclusively online. As passionate believers in delivering exceptional customer service, The Millshop wanted to carry the same experience through to the digital sphere. The small in-house team saw the potential in digital marketing investments but needed an agency partner who could take the reins.

As Brexit closed the doors to European markets and the global lockdown invited new competitors into the crafting field, it was time to get creative. Our ultimate aim was to keep existing customers engaged and to inspire potential customers to visualise what they could create with the products on offer. We knew we needed to implement a holistic marketing strategy, to capitalise on the increased demand and search volume across all areas of this industry.

Nurturing Customer Relationships with Automated Emails

We started our campaign with The Millshop Online by focusing on increasing and retaining newsletter subscribers. Our client had never tried email marketing before. To begin with, we set up easy-to-use, customisable templates using Mailchimp. This allowed us to create emails with a uniform approach, solidifying the brand’s message. We created an automated series of emails with a focus on nurturing leads and keeping customers engaged, all the way through to purchase and beyond.

On top of regular email newsletters to shout about the latest offers, we also created a series of automated pathways. These enabled our clients to engage with their customers effortlessly. Our automations included a welcome journey, an abandoned basket campaign, and follow-up emails for fabric sample orders. We targeted users based on their known activity, which allowed us to present content that was strictly relevant to their interests. We combined simple tips, recommended products and links to lengthy guides on the Millshop blog. In doing so, we made sure that, when customers were ready to make a purchase, they felt confident in doing so.

Reframing and Reviving Content

We began our on-page SEO project by conducting rigorous keyword research. We needed to understand how our audience speaks about fabrics in order to reach new prospective customers. The Millshop Online stocks a vast range of fabrics and presents them across numerous category pages on the site. Assigning target keywords for each category page, we optimised the on-page copy to incorporate key terms, increase the relevance for potential customers, and provide useful internal links. We saw a huge improvement in visibility for these priority landing pages, including ranking #1 for many general upholstery and fabric terms. 

Beyond the category pages, we then put our keyword map to work by optimising page titles and meta descriptions across the board. If metadata is Millshop’s shop window, we wanted to make it shout!

The Millshop also maintains a popular blog. Some of the archive items were a little thin and in need of updating. We assessed and rewrote priority articles, adding detailed information and relevant keywords to improve their visibility. We also crafted brand new articles every month, spanning inspiration and ‘how to’ topics from our keyword gap analysis and competitor research. Now the Millshop’s blog represents the brand as an authoritative and trustworthy site in a competitive industry.

Broadening Digital Presence to Reach New Audiences

With a goal of reaching both existing and new customers alike, we decided to ramp up budgets on paid media activity. Targeting users on the most relevant channels - from search ads to Pinterest ads - ensured that we were visible and able to capitalise on the increase in search volumes during the lockdown period. Drawing upon the keyword research and user data we had collated, we targeted users to increase brand awareness and reach new, relevant customers.

We wanted to guide the customer clearly through the purchase journey, as a lot of customers may have only bought in-store previously. Our ads followed the same structure as the website navigation, allowing us to target users with content that reflected the way they shop. In this creative industry, we embraced the opportunity to offer inspiring ad content. We used a video builder to create video ads that showed textiles in use, to inspire potential customers.

Reaching very specific audiences with YouTube and Display ads, whilst using Search and Shopping to increase sales, we managed the paid media budget to deliver returns far above what The Millshop had initially aimed for.


The year we began working with Millshop, COVID altered the client’s business plans dramatically. But, by switching to an e-commerce model supported by rigorous digital marketing efforts, we delivered some outstanding results. We supported the client’s customer-centric culture with our personal and targeted approach, connecting brand and customer when and where it was most important.

We took ownership of activating the relevant channels and delivered a strong performance during a turbulent time. Celebrating more than 66% increase in conversion rather and 200% increase in email-revenue, our impact has been profound for a business that could have struggled during the restrictions.

I felt in safe hands with the CTI Digital marketing team, they took ownership of our digital marketing and this was crucial during the imposed lockdowns to ensure we continued to generate revenue and for the longer-term sustainability of the business.

It’s great to see we have been able to gain so many new customers and sales and this gives us a solid foundation for growth plans in 2022.

- Carl Fisher, Managing Director at The Millshop Online