At a glance

  • 95.72% increase in new users on Homes website
  • 93% increase in customer sessions
  • Increased number of leads for the estate business – 300% increase in leads from Feb ’20 to Feb ‘22
  • Improved lead quality for the estate business

Bidwells’ diverse expertise in the property consultancy space


Founded in 1839, Bidwells has an extremely rich history as a leading property consultancy based in the U.K. Bidwells is a 500-strong team, with teams in England and Scotland, that manages £5.2bn in property assets for investors across North America, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Europe. 
The company manages a staggering 1 million acres of residential and commercial countryside, rural land, and coastlines in England and Scotland, providing advice and expertise to its clients centred around maximising opportunities in forestry, renewables, and the sustainable environment sectors.

Bidwells has a significant presence in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc (a high-growth economic area that supports 2 million jobs and adds £110 billion to the UK’s GDP) and has grown to become the largest property consultancy in the Arc region. Bidwells also acts as a consultant to the government on developments and investments in the Arc region.  

The company’s areas of expertise are science and technology, Oxford and Cambridge colleges, land and estate, development, sustainability and investment.
Due to its multidisciplinary nature, Bidwells works with its 130+ partners to serve a variety of client types including developers, investors, landowners and homebuyers.

Bidwells revamp online digital experience to reflect energetic company culture

Bidwells wanted a website that accurately represented its fun, energetic and passionate culture whilst providing its clients with a clear user journey based on company type and easy-to-digest editorial content and advice. However, Bidwells’ website redesign not only reflected a cosmetic facelift; it represented a Herculean internal cross-collaborative effort with the overarching goal of a complete redesign of the company’s business and service offers.

Digital Marketing Manager at Bidwells, Chelsea Jarvis, shared that its old website tried to cater to all customers on one single website. This resulted in diluted messaging that focused more on describing Bidwells’ own services and internal structures than its clients’ needs. It was pivotal that any new website clearly spoke a language that its customers could understand while reflecting Bidwells and its partners’ passion for their work. 

With its wide and varied consultancy offering, Bidwells aimed to ensure that its online digital experience clearly emphasised its service and value proposition to prospective customers and highlighted success stories with its partners.

One of the biggest pushes for Bidwells’ digital transformation was the lack of visibility on its site visitors and how users interacted with its website. On Bidwell’s previous website, the team had been using Google Analytics, which had helped them to capture basic data and information about its users.

However, Jarvis shared that the ideal Bidwells website would provide a personalized digital customer experience and flexibility to make swift edits.
In addition, Bidwells wanted a website that was extremely secure, not susceptible to security breaches and integrated well with internal systems that housed information like customer data and internal property portals. 

a building with windows and a sign in front of it

Building a customer-centric digital solution

The Bidwells team set out to look for its ideal digital solutions provider and narrowed it down to Adobe and Optimizely.

Bidwells held numerous meetings to evaluate its options. The team wanted to run more data-driven campaigns with its website and realized Optimizely’s Digital Experience Platform best fit their needs and requirements.
 
Jarvis shared that the Optimizely team’s dedication to understanding Bidwells’ business needs sealed the deal for the Bidwells team.  

The first order of business for Bidwells was to secure its website. The Bidwells team achieved this with Optimizely’s partnership with Cloudflare, ensuring the reliability and security of its external-facing and internal resources.
 
To tackle its diluted messaging, the Bidwells team leveraged Optimizely’s Visitor Groups to target website content to selected user groups. Bidwells customized its criteria for different persona groups and leveraged the geographic location function to personalize for its Scottish market.
 
Unexpectedly, Bidwells discovered the potential of Optimizely Recommendations’ customer-first capabilities in improving business operations. It decided to change its service offer to coincide with the launch of its website.
 
The change meant Bidwells’ messaging and content spoke directly to the needs of customers instead of focusing on its expertise.  
 
Once its website’s foundation was laid out, the Bidwells team utilized the Optimizely Data Platform to harmonize customer data from different sources for a holistic view that guided their data-driven campaigns.

Bidwells selected Optimizely partner Novaspark to help with the implementation of Optimizely’s CMS and back-end integrations needed to make the website revamp a success.

Novaspark’s team, led by CTO Stuart Toller, was critical to Bidwell’s success, providing knowledge, guidance and support to the Bidwells organization. The strong partnership built between Novaspark and Bidwells allowed for continuous progress during the difficult COVID-19 period where communication and consensus on important decisions had to be executed remotely.

Toller shared that Optimizely’s Multisite capability helped ease Bidwells’ site creation workflow. The Bidwells team can quickly duplicate sites and easily edit based on individual site objectives. Bidwells now has three websites on the same code base hosted on the same platform, making integrations easier than ever. 
  
One of the three websites is Bidwells’ land and estate website. As these customers are highly distinctive, it was of utmost importance to have a designated view of the site’s traffic and audiences in one place while ensuring the messaging is tailored to them. Bidwells overcame the challenge of appealing to both B2B and B2C users by ensuring the content and navigation was tailored to their needs. 

Novaspark helped Bidwells implement the necessary integrations to ensure that their Optimizely CMS neatly integrated with their other back-end platforms. Some integrations included Netsuite and Cascade as well as other finance, supply chain management, HR, and location-related integrations. From a developer’s standpoint, Toller shared that Optimizely’s user-friendly interface made it easy for him and fellow developers to get work done. 

Companies like us that have multiple campaigns happening concurrently run the risk of diluting the brand and messaging. By using Optimizely’s Visitor Groups and Recommendations, we can negate that risk.

Chelsea Jarvis
Digital Marketing Manager, Bidwells

Bidwells’ successful bid at its digital transformation  

Whether it’s to nurture existing clients or win new clients, Bidwells reaped the benefits of delivering personalized customer experience to different customer groups with Optimizely.
 
Despite varying concurrent campaigns, Bidwells successfully delivered tailored content through a logical user journey without confusing site visitors.
 
By providing a unique digital customer experience to its residential estate customers, the team achieved its valuation leads goals by increasing the number of leads while improving lead quality.

The value of Bidwells’ new and improved digital experience was not only recognized by its customers. In 2022, Bidwells’ website won the Best New Website category at the Property Marketing Awards for their website.

Developing Bidwells’ digital estate to further business goals

Bidwells has plans to increase its £50m business to £70m by 2026. To achieve this ambitious goal, Jarvis shared that the team plans to keep a finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving MarTech space to further Bidwells’ digital transformation. With support and guidance from trusted partner Novaspark, Bidwells aims to maintain its premiere digital customer experience by continuing to enhance its website.
 
Optimizely’s AI-powered Recommendations will play a critical role in Bidwells’ 2023 digital strategy to improve site engagement through better content suggestions.
 
The Bidwells team will also highlight its capability to build needs-specific sites for its developers using Optimizely’s Multisite capability. This value-added service will give them an edge over their competitors.

Industry

Retail and consumer

Products used