Case Study: Lowering Cost of Lead Gen for Cardinal Expo


Cardinal Expo, a New Orleans-based trade show services company operating nationwide, had the unique challenge of revamping and broadening their online presence using SEO in the middle of 2021, while in-person events and expos were still recuperating from post-COVID numbers. After initial success, Cardinal Expo’s leadership sought to further leverage the optimization work Online Optimism’s SEO team had already done by bringing in pay-per-click traffic to generate qualified leads.

As Cardinal Expo aimed to generate a higher volume of qualified leads across its major service areas nationwide, they sought the expertise of Online Optimism.


Online Optimism’s Content team had already constructed more than a dozen organic and conversion-optimized service area landing pages for mid-sized markets where Cardinal Expo excels, enhancing user experience and establishing a scalable digital infrastructure. Without prior Google Ads data, Online Optimism developed a comprehensive Ads strategy, leveraging their Cardinal Expo brand knowledge and industry insight.


Starting with a Brand and New Orleans-specific campaign, Online Optimism optimized campaigns for lower cost-per-click using SEO insights. The Digital Ads team expanded campaigns to Las Vegas, Chicago, and Orlando, strategically targeting medium-sized markets like Dallas and promptly withdrawing from unprofitable areas like Anaheim when the cost-per-conversion no longer justified their presence. A hyper-localized ad strategy, paired with intensive search term analysis and exclusions, further reduced cost-per-conversion.


Growth in Organic Traffic

After engaging with Online Optimism for a SEO work, the Cardinal Expo website saw immense organic traffic growth. Comparing the first 6 month period in 2021 to the same 6 months in 2022, organic sessions increased:

From 909 to 2,313

Expanding Markets and Increasing Relevancy

Following early campaign expansions, CTR and impression share decreased. Online Optimism responded by aggressively analyzing search terms and implementing negative keywords to capture more relevant traffic.

Month CTR Impression Share
09-2022 7.20% 55.30%
10-2022 10.53% 34.17%
11-2022 10.78% 48.47%
12-2022 8.89% 35.73%
01-2023 11.52% 29.32%
02-2023 10.28% 35.45%
03-2023 10.33% 25.48%
04-2023 11.10% 26.03%
05-2023 12.26% 24.42%
06-2023 9.70% 23.34%
07-2023 9.91% 25.49%
08-2023 12.31% 22.20%
09-2023 12.96% 24.11%
10-2023 11.46% 42.95%

Higher Conversion Rate and Lower Cost-Per-Conversion

Month Conversion Rate Cost per Conversion
10-2022 5% $173.24
11-2022 10.83% $82.79
12-2022 5.65% $170.03
01-2023 6.55% $111.31
02-2023 6.75% $104.46
03-2023 10.23% $72.22
04-2023 10.46% $75.61
05-2023 10.13% $74.57
06-2023 9.94% $78.52
07-2023 11.19% $71.52
08-2023 9.74% $78.66
09-2023 15% $55.71

From the Client

Partnering with Online Optimism has been a game-changer for us. What began as an SEO project has evolved into a holistic marketing campaign. Online Optimism optimized our website for search, and then drove targeted traffic right to it. Their SEO and PPC expertise have given us incredible results.

Thomas Samuels
Cardinal Expo
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