Reaping the Benefits of an International Website
Teagle is a third generation family business that designs and manufactures a comprehensive range of machinery for livestock & arable farmers and horticultural growers. The business was established by the grandfather of the current Sales Director, Tom Teagle, in 1943, and now employs over 150 people at their site in Truro, Cornwall.
In the mid 1990s, Teagle embarked on an export strategy, carefully selecting and managing one distributor in each country with potential. “It’s a strategy that has worked well for us”, explained Tom, “and currently over 50% of our turnover comes from export sales”. However, the business is keen to grow this still further, “the world is such a large place that exporting is an obvious way to develop our business; it’s also very exciting!” Teagle’s export strategy remains clear: to work with distributors in areas of potential and develop them, “It’s a waste of time ‘scatter-gunning’ your message all over the globe and hoping it gets through!” explained Tom.
Teagle knew their website would be crucial in fulfilling this strategy and wanted to use it as a means to build connections with their distributors and their consumers – the people operating their machines. However, as Tom explained, they struggled to know how to achieve this, “our existing website was rather basic with limited functionality. We’d interviewed numerous perspective web designers but were feeling somewhat overwhelmed by their different approaches and suggestions”.
For many years, Teagle had worked with UKTI (the government body supporting export business) and enjoyed the support of an International Trade Advisor (ITA) Colin Piper. It was Colin who recommended the Export Communications Review (ECR). The ECR provides practical, impartial and straightforward advice and can help companies improve their online visibility in overseas markets, including devising an international website strategy. Each review is conducted by a communications expert and is tailored to the company’s individual requirements.
Susan Roe, a registered Export Communications Consultant met with Tom and undertook the ECR: a thorough review of the Teagle website in light of their export strategy. This was followed-up by a comprehensive report of recommendations. Some of the key recommendations included:
- Sourcing and appointing a web provider: “We were worried we could end up presenting an open cheque book to a web developer, but Susan’s report helped up define precisely what we needed!” explained Tom.
- Creating a strategy for dealing with international enquiries: Tom had already decided that the website would be an important tool for continuing to develop Teagle’s relationship with their distributors and the ECR enabled Tom to create a plan to do this.
- Presenting targeted information to international visitors: including ensuring the technical nature of the translations was done well. The report recommended using registered translators and then enlisting the distributors’ skills to proof-read and adapt the appropriate technical language.
- Creating clear website navigation:to specific country/language pages from the home page and ensuring the Top Level Domain was appropriate.
The ECR helped Teagle to create 18 website localisations in 8 difference languages. Within 6 months, the number of visitors to the site quadrupled, 80% of Teagle’s distributors now regularly use the site and register their customers (enabling Teagle to monitor which products are selling where and adapt their sales approaches), in addition, customers are starting to login to the Teagle owner’s club, receiving merchandise and advice and providing addresses and potential future sales leads. Susan also highlighted an important point, “Interestingly, the ‘History’ page has been the most visited, probably due to Teagle being a long established family business – a crucial consideration in many relationship-focused overseas markets”.
“The ECR provided clarity to us when we were out of our depth”, explained Tom, “It enabled us to develop a really comprehensive and specific brief from which to appoint a web-developer. As a consequence, we’ve been able to control our budget and the results are amazing!”
If you are thinking about reviewing your communications for an international audience then maybe an ECR could help you too?
The Export Communications Review
The Export Communications Review (ECR) is delivered nationwide by a network of specially-trained accredited Export Communications Consultants. Together with the client, the consultant puts together a programme of reviews to suit the needs and complexity of the exporter and their goals. Each review costs £500 + VAT, however, established companies with fewer than 250 employees may be eligible for a UKTI subsidy of £250 towards the cost of each of their first three reviews.
For more information, please visit www.ukti.gov.uk/ecr or contact the ECR team at the address below.
UK Trade & Investment is the United Kingdom Government’s lead organisation for supporting UK companies in overseas business, and attracting inward investment.
For more information please contact your ECR team on 0845 0342111 or [email protected].
Please follow this link to see how other Companies have benefitted from the ECR