Roland Curtains Increases Web Based Sales by over 800% with a Proven Systematic Step-By-Step Plan

What makes a company who has spent next-to-nothing on marketing, decide to invest in a cutting-edge business development strategy?

Pete Johnson, VP and Co-Founder of Roland Curtains Inc. said “Before Brandwise, our growth was only done through our direct sales team. The marketing we did in the past never really grew the business. Our direct sales team delivers the best customer service in the industry. The downside… we have a small team, so we lack nationwide exposure.”

750%

increase in leads

800%

increase in sales 
from marketing

1058%

increase in web traffic

Roland Curtains Inc.

About Roland Curtains

Since 1965, Roltrans Group has been the world leader in the production of side curtains and graphics for the trucking industry. The company began its operations in The Netherlands, serving all of Western Europe. In 1997 Roltrans Group opened up their U.S. operation to better serve the growing demand for its products in the United States. In 2010 the company rebranded as Roland Curtains Inc.

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Case Study: Roland Curtains Grows Lead Generation By Over 750%

Learn how Roland Curtains leapfrogged their previous business development
efforts and starting turning marketing into money.

Quote:

“One of the things that made this such a great experience was the fact that Dale worked with us through all the tough times. He was patient as we drug our feet internally to do the work. Plus our team is not tech-savvy. Brandwise took the time to educate us and held our hands when needed, to help us see the value and results we would get if we just stuck to things. If it wasn’t for the helpful poking and prodding and the ability to keep us on track, this program wouldn’t have worked. Dale helped push us into uncomfortable territory, but we are seeing great results because of it.”

– Pete Johnson, VP, General Manager & Co-founder Roland Curtains Inc.

ABOUT THE COMPANY:

Since 1965, Roltrans Group has been the world leader in the production of side curtains and graphics for the trucking industry. The company began its operations in The Netherlands, serving all of Western Europe. In 1997 Roltrans Group opened up their U.S. operation to better serve the growing demand for its products in the United States. In 2010 the company rebranded as Roland Curtains Inc.

As the US trucking industry looked for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency in their delivery operations both large and small fleets began to embrace the use of side curtains to deliver lumber, building products, paper products, steel, automobiles, glass, beverages and much more.

 

THE PROBLEM:

Roland was wondering how to boost sales from a 10% growth per year to 25% per year in annual growth

 

3 Points of Frustration

  1. Market Expansion with Limited Salespeople
  2. Challenge finding New Product Markets
  3. Unable to Find, Reach, and Engage New Customers

 

Background
After their introduction in the U.S. Roland enjoyed above average growth year to year. However, the price competitive nature of the business began to have a softening effect on annual growth and recent growth had stalled at 10% per year. This no longer met the company’s long-term goals as their business plan called for an annual growth rate of 25% per year.

Previous attempts to increase sales had been ineffective and the sales team was pushing management to add marketing to support their sales efforts and help them expand their market and find new leads. However, the Company had no Marketing Dept and the 3 people in sales largely depended on word of mouth and a website that was rarely updated to help them find additional business. In fact, the total marketing investment in campaigns since its U.S. introduction was very limited. What was directed toward marketing was generally spent on a few trade magazines and several small trade shows and these efforts never produced any real impact on growth.

In late 2014 Brandwise, a national sales & marketing growth firm was introduced to Roland’s Management to create an order form for one of Roland’s clients. After the project’s completion, Brandwise initiated a conversation with Roland’s Management and discovered their disappointment with recent sales growth. They also shared their desire to find new methods to stimulate sales and a way to reinvigorate their former growth patterns.

Discussions over the ensuing weeks and months focused on… advertising’s decline, the changing landscape of buyer purchasing habits, and how marketing, in general, was evolving to adapt to the Internet. Overall, Roland was in agreement with our assessment, but they felt “that these marketing concepts applied to other markets” and “consumer products”. There was no evidence that the trucking industry was ready for blogs, social media or other similar tactics which made it difficult for the client to get excited and go “all-in”. In addition, a 25% increase in sales to match their early growth seemed a bit aggressive given the nature of the sales practices and commodity perception of the products on the market.

In the end, the client agreed that our approach made the most sense, had a little-associated risk and if it worked, would put them in a leadership position, which was appealing. 

 

THE SOLUTION:

A Systematic, Verifiable, and Step-By-Step Process

 

Background
Mr. Johnson said… “At the end of the day, I am a manager. In order to run a company, I need to rely on systems and data. Brandwise’s systematized approach really made sense to me. More importantly, it allowed us to measure our success at all times, not just at the end of a campaign.”

 

The Game Plan
A game plan was created that would attack the Company’s goals in three phases:

    • Phase I – Website Redesign: The objective was to create a more modern and sophisticated look and begin educating prospects on the value of curtainside trailers. This phase was estimated to take about 2 months but that stretched to 5 months before the new site was actually launched.

    • Phase II – Traffic Building: To increase sales we needed to get more traffic to Roland’s site. This phase focused on traffic building, tracking activity and search engine results and took 3 months to rollout.

    • Phase III – Lead Generation: As we increased traffic our plan was to implement a conversion process to encourage site visitors to take action. This means getting visitors to download a white paper, download a case study, and/or request a quote. Tracking activity and results is more important as we review visitor site behavior and which allowed us to continually determine which type of offers are working the best. This took another 3 months to rollout and will evolve and improve over time.

 

The overall Business Goal was simple: Increase sales by 25% over the previous year. This number represents the type of growth Roland experienced in their early years and management felt was still possible given the potential within the overall trailer market.

 

 

THE IMPLEMENTATION:

Set a Baseline, Clearly Define Target Audience,
Work a Solid Methodology, Build Traffic, Generate Leads,
and Continue until Goals are Reached

 

Getting Started

The game plan centered around implementing inbound or content marketing driven first by a re-design of the client’s website followed by the implementation of various inbound marketing strategies designed to separate Roland from their competitors in the minds of their prospects and customers.

The Company’s website design looked dated and the content was not current. The new website would be fresh and professional with clean lines, updated graphics and photos. The main focus was to portray Roland in a light that was much more in line with their products and brand. The goals for the new site included:

  • Improving SEO (search engine optimization) and increasing monthly traffic to the site
  • Focus on increasing Organic search traffic with specific pages directed toward key market needs
  • Publish regular blog articles to increase page count and attract new visitors via search
  • Improve lead generation:

    • Offer downloadable content in the form of ebooks and other content with an industry focus to appeal directly to the major buyer personas in the industry.
    • Add forms and Call to Action buttons to encourage action on the part of visitors
    • Create several videos to highlight specific product advantages and educate customers and prospects
    • Launch an email newsletter to existing clients.

 

In addition to website improvements the game plan included social media; something the client had never used and was rarely used by any manufacturer in the industry. The plan with social media included:

    • Identifying the social networks that were being used by buyers and drivers in the industry.
    • Use social media to distribute the new content on a regular basis.
    • Track results, evaluate the data and make course corrections as needed.

 

Hubspot Analytics was used to monitor, track and report on key metrics including traffic, keyword activity, and page performance. Other measurement areas included:

  • Regular monitoring of each social media network to measure growth of followers as well as social interactions
  • Additional feedback came from HubSpot’s Website Grader to compare scores versus the baseline or existing performance.

  

 

THE RESULTS:

Short-term: Generated Qualified Sales Leads, Ranked on Search Engines, and Out-Performed Roland’s Competitors.

Long-term: Get to 25% Annual Growth.

 

Phase I Results

The goals going into Phase I were more focused on the site’s design with an emphasis to make it easier to navigate, improve SEO to make it more search engine friendly and improve its usability. The initial results were promising. A comparison of the before and after homepages below illustrate the dramatic improvement in overall design.

Homepage side by side comparison:

Before

Pre-Brandwise Website

Roland Curtains Pre-Brandwise Website Design

After

The Brandwise Website Redesign

After the soft launch of the new site the Website Grade increased from an 18% to 60%. This grade will improve over time as the site is builds traffic and we further optimize the site for search engines. Site usability was much improved and navigation is easier to understand.

One unexpected result was a new closable sale. The website attracted three new leads in 2 weeks and one of the three leads closed new business almost immediately and before the site was fully live and promoted via the tools used in Phase II.

 

Phase II Results

In Phase II we wanted to continue to track the Website’s Grade but more importantly place a focus on building traffic and utilizing social media.

Our overall results were:

    • The website grade improved from the 60% in Phase I to a 64% starting in Phase II.
    • Our traffic goal was to triple the current traffic and reach 300+ visitors per month. We averaged 399 visitors per month.
  • As a bonus Phase II generated more leads. We collected 16 new leads and closed 1 new client deal.

 

 

Phase III Results

For Phase III we planned to continue to improve our Website Grade; increase traffic and place a greater emphasis on Lead Generation.

  • Our target for the Website Grade was 80% and we fell just short of this at 77%.
  • Our target for traffic was 500 per month and we achieved an average of 586 visitors per month to a site that was seeing far less than 100 visits per month when we began.
  • For Lead Generation we hoped for 2 – 4 qualified leads per month starting in Phase III (totaling 6-12 leads for Phase I – Phase III). We averaged 5 per month for a total of 30 new leads (nearly tripling our projections for lead generation).
  • We wanted to see if, by this time, we would rank #1 versus Roland’s competitors in website grade and #4 on indexed pages. Roland did achieve our #1 ranking on website grade but we fell short of our goal on indexed pages based on identifying some new competitors that we could not exclude from the competitive analysis reporting mix.
  • We also expected to publish and promote a white paper, premium offer but time constraints limited us to just completing the white paper and doing promotion the following quarter.

 

Bonus Results

Our bonus results were very encouraging:

    • Averaged 586 visitors per month, exceeding expectations by 125%.
    • 30 new leads more than doubled our projections
    • A total of 8 new clients with paid projects were added to the books.

 

In addition to these results we continued to track other metrics:

  • We began an email newsletter that achieved a 37% open rate and 10% click rate
  • 62 keywords ranked in Top 3
  • 80 keywords ranked in Top 10

 

After we completed Phase III, Roland’s Management shared this with me…

“When we first signed up for this program Phase I through Phase III, I was going to quit after Phase III. However, Brandwise has delivered such impressive results and strong strategy moving forward that we plan to continue on with you guys and see what kind of performance we continue to get.”

 

THE FUTURE – 1 YEAR RESULTS:

After Phase III we continued on at a month-to-month basis. The goal is to continue to strive for more traffic, more keyword ranking on search engines, more qualified leads for the sales team, continued growth of leads that turn into business and a continued goal of getting to 25% growth year-over-year. We have had some big wins with a great industry white paper, an amazing client testimonial and case study. We are currently rolling out improvements to the Products pages on the site, customer understanding of the diverse line of products, and sell sheets to support all the products.

 

Beyond these new areas we are implementing, here are some of the standard results all the previous 12 months delivered:

 

• 60% of web traffic is coming from Organic (traffic from Search Engine visitors see traffic report below) 

• Organic Traffic continues to grow month-over-month (see traffic sources report below)

• 118 Keywords rank in the TOP 3 links in search engine results (see keyword report below)

• 167 Keywords rank in the TOP 10 link in search engine results (see keyword report below)

• From 0 to 602 Social Media Visits to site – (see the report below to see the growth over the last year)

THE FUTURE – 2 YEAR RESULTS:

After the relaunch and continued promotions mentioned above the site continues to perform.  At the 20 month mark, the client put things on hold to regroup and refocus. Although, I never recommend stopping your campaign, especially when you are seeing continued progress, sometimes it is necessary.  This was one of those cases. In December of 2016 we stopped any promotion of the site (basically stopped writting articles doing SEO or much of the physical work that goes into building this kind of system). That being said… Janary through March the momentum we had built continued to build and traffic and leads both boosted higher than the client had seen before. Starting in April we started to see a bit of a drop off. Currently we are not sure if this is leading to the demise of all the hard work put forth or just a common dip. Even last month (June 2017), at it’s lowest traffic and leads this year, the traffic is higher than it was any month in 2016.

Here is a sample of how the traffic has progressed over the last two years – 

Organic traffic is still performing very well even with the mild drop off the last few months – Especially considering the site had NO organic traffic at all two years ago. It has more than double last years organic traffic.

Now for keywords the site is ranking for. Check out this jump from last year – 

Last year we had…

• 118 Keywords rank in the TOP 3 links in search engine results, but the site now has 165 keywords ranking in the top 3 search results. (see keyword report below)

• 167 Keywords rank in the TOP 10 link in search engine results, and now this has nearly doubled to 226 keywords ranking on the first page of google and other search engines. (see keyword report below)

• Organic Traffic over the last 30 Days: last year at about this time the site was getting 313 visits per month. Currently the site is getting 822 visits per month. That is nearly trippling the traffic from last year via search engines.

2 YEAR WRAP-UP:

So although we put things on hold for the last 6-7 months at this point, it is awesome seeing the site still performing and making continued progress. To be honest, this will not continue forever, but being committed to this level of marketing promotions obviously adds a ton of value since it will continue to build and will hold it’s status for a while. That is until a competitor starts chipping away at your progress and rankings. Let’s hope that is not something we see here.

Stay tuned for future reporting on the status of this marketing program.

 

 

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