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New website helps Trufab bounce back from COVID-19 impact

Digital Transformation support has helped Trufab bring in £10,000-£50,000 of new business a month, with the real value ‘much more’ according to the Rochdale manufacturer.

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Trufab Limited, metal fabricators from Rochdale, have been focusing on delivering quality for over 35 years but found it difficult to ensure that their website reflected that focus. After an unsatisfactory relaunch, they got in touch with GC Business Growth Hub for help.

Hub Advisor Judith Ross supported Trufab in completely revamping their digital offerings, resulting in a big increase in sales through the website.

General Manager Josh Hickford (pictured below) tells us how this has helped them recover from the impacts of COVID-19 on their business.

Quality is at the heart of everything we do – but you couldn’t tell from our website

To sum up, what we do very simply, Trufab makes things out of metal, taking a flat sheet and turning it into whatever you want. We provide a range of metal fabrication services, including CNC (computer numerically controlled) bending, CNC laser cutting and CNC punching.

We specialise in the upper end of the market, that’s our niche in this sector and we’ve built our reputation on quality. Our guiding principle is that you can’t go somewhere else and get a higher quality product than you can here.

However, when I first started as General Manager, we had an absolutely terrible website that did nothing to promote that feeling of quality. It was dark, mostly black on white, and had photography that didn’t demonstrate at all that this was a high-quality workshop.

The general journey on the website was extremely poor, hard to navigate and resulted in basically no interactions through the website. We received no enquiries and had a terrible ranking on Google. This meant we were relying on customers having prior knowledge of us and word-of-mouth to get new business in; our website was effectively doing nothing.

We found that ‘better’ isn’t always good enough

Clearly, we needed a new website and went into the process of changing to a new supplier on our own at first. We got a package deal on a website and a marketing strategy, including social media and SEO, which seemed like a no-brainer. At the very least it was giving us a website that would clearly be an improvement on what we had been working with before.

However, the process was painstakingly slow. It took months to go live and when that happened it was half-finished, full of errors and with imagery that still wasn’t relevant or impactful. After all that work, we still had a dated-looking website that wasn’t a big enough step forward. It did start to bring in some new business, but we found it very difficult to find out more details about the performance of the website and social media, which was hugely frustrating.

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The new website had paid for itself within the first two months and we’re now getting between £10k-£50k worth of enquiries a month through it already. All we ever needed from our website was to get us through the doors of a new company, which it’s now doing for us.

Josh Hickford, General Manager

Getting the right support on our journey was crucial

At that point, I started talking to GC Business Growth Hub, because I was made aware that they had advisors who could help us, and that was how I first met Judith. One of the first steps was to have a meeting with her, and she quickly helped confirm that the website was not up to scratch and that we weren’t getting value for what we were paying.

We went to the market with Judith’s recommendations. Her approach was really methodical, and every single step of the process made sense. She laid out a template for us, crafting a user journey with a real flow, but let us have the final say on what it needed to look like, giving us the guidelines that got us where we are now.

She took us through the Digital Supplier Selection Process to enable us to provide a brief and content outline for the new site, which went to seven digital agencies. Judith then helped us understand more about what each proposal delivered, and how that matched our ambitions and requirements. Then it was up to us which supplier we eventually went with.

Our new site is fantastic and the funny thing about it is that it doesn’t seem like a massive website. Our previous sites were full of pages and pages of information, making them seem like huge overbearing things, whereas now we’ve got a lean website that still gets all the right information across, but in the right way.

The new website had paid for itself within the first two months and we’re now getting between £10k-£50k worth of enquiries a month through it already. All we ever needed from our website was to get us through the doors of a new company, which it’s now doing for us.

If we can get that order done to the right level of quality, we’re going to get repeat business from those customers, so to actually work out how much value it’s brought would be extremely difficult. The real value of the website is much more than just the new business it’s bringing in.

Trufab also received a £10,500 Energy Efficiency Grant – read how Trufab is expecting to make £52,000 annual energy savings

Bringing in new business is helping us bounce back from COVID

I don’t think there’s any company that’s not been impacted by COVID this year, including ours. When it first started and everything shut down, our supply chain was massively affected so just trying to get the product out of the door was incredibly challenging.

We had key supplier status because we directly feed into the NHS and a number of our customers said we were vital to their supply and needed to stay open, but we could only filter that down so far with our own suppliers, so it became incredibly difficult to get things done.

We had some horrific months, and by August our order book was really quiet, so, unfortunately, we had to make some redundancies. However, by September orders started to come in again and we’ve been really busy ever since, helped by the leads that have come in from our new website.

Because of how busy we are, we’re looking to hire new people as part of a massive recruitment drive. We’ve got around 72 people in our business right now, but our workshop lends itself to more than 100 people, so that’s our target by March of next year and we’re looking for new people to join our team.

 

If you’re an SME in Greater Manchester that has the ambition, capacity and drive to grow, our specialist Digital Innovation Advisors are here for you.

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