FuelDefend Global Limited produces fuel theft devices and other safety and security products for a wide range of vehicles. Based in Buckinghamshire, the business was established in 2006. From the outset, FuelDefend Global planned to sell internationally through a distributor network managed by a small, high calibre team in the UK.
In 2009, the business underwent a strategic review. “We had a fleet customer database of many hundreds, but wanted to focus our resources – and to go global”, explained Russell Fowler, CEO, “So we decided to stop selling directly to end users and instead target solely the distributors”. Russell knew the FuelDefend Global website was a vital communication channel with their customers; however, he was also aware that it was far from the best! “Before our strategic review, the website aimed to promote our products to end users and we’d simply tweaked it over the years. With our new strategy, we knew a complete website review was required”. Russell wanted the new website to attract distributors from a wide range of countries and to act as their support tool to help ensure the appropriate products were used for each vehicle.
FuelDefend Global had worked with UKTI over the years and was exporting successfully to many countries including mainland Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the USA. Knowing Russell wanted to overhaul the website, the company’s International Trade Adviser, Steve Polkinghorne, recommended the former Export Communications Review (ECR). The then ECR (now replaced by the ICR) provides practical, impartial and straightforward advice and can help companies improve their online visibility in overseas markets, including the development of an international website strategy. Each review is conducted by a communications expert and is tailored to the company’s individual requirements.
In January 2012, Notburga Preining, International Communications Adviser, met with Russell Fowler. She spent the morning with Russell and his web developer reviewing the existing website in light of the business’ aims and objectives. A wide variety of issues were covered:
• How would an overseas, non-English speaking customer navigate through the site?
• What local domains would be required?
• How could potential customers be redirected from other similar domains in each country?
• Which pages should be translated and into which languages?
• How could the USA and German websites be specifically adapted to support distributors in these high-performing markets for FuelDefend Global?
“Notburga made us step back and review our business in the widest sense”, explained Russell. A week later, Russell received Notburga’s report including thorough, step-by-step recommendations to help the website attract and suppo”rt both existing and potential distributors globally.
Russell explained one of Notburga’s recommendations, “She helped us to think about what our customers would want from our website: for example she asked us to imagine a ‘mythical’ man in Chile who has patchy English and wants to understand which of our products to fit to his customer’s truck.” Notburga helped FuelDefend Global to create a website with simple navigation, using pictures and logos with clear messages in local markets. Fowler adds “and this approach has created a much clearer navigation for viewers in our own home market too.”
FuelDefend Global have been delighted with the results of the new website. Previously, the company enjoyed very few good leads among lots of poor quality, speculative enquiries from unlikely countries. Since the new website has been launched, FuelDefend Global now receive many good quality leads from countries of interest every week.
Russell was very happy to recommend the Review. “Notburga did a great job!” he explained, “She really understood our business and her recommendations were practical and achievable – we’ve gone only part of the way and have many new web developments imminent – and Notburga’s recommendations as a checklist for all future web amends now. We also liked that she was independent and had no ‘angle’ or alternative agenda – she simply wanted to help us improve our export communications!”