Outdoor enthusiasts and tradesmen will be familiar with the name Andy Cab as the business has been making bakkie canopies for more than 20 years.
Andy Cab’s sales have traditionally come from motor dealers who’d sell canopies as optional extras to bakkie buyers – in 2012, 70% of all units sold came from trade purchases. While these sales provided repeat business, margins were discounted steeply with the extended payment terms offered to dealers impacting profitability even further.
The company changed ownership recently and Derek Caldicott, the new managing director, embarked on a turnaround strategy to restore the ailing business to solid financial health.
His primary objective was to generate more direct sales – these have a much better GP, they are paid for upfront, thus delivering an immediate cashflow benefit. His first action was to build a new website to refresh the company’s image. But this did little to promote sales.
2Stroke, as we were then known, was asked to implement an organic search engine optimisation campaign to boost Andy Cab’s online visibility and drive sales leads. We were tasked with securing prominent rankings on generic canopy terms and on bakkie-specific queries.
Our project started with an audit to better understand why the Andy Cab performed so poorly in the search engine listings. This showed that the site’s relevance (largely determined by the use of keywords meta data and on page content) was weak and that its authority (derived from having other websites link to it) was almost non-existent with the few links that did exist coming from anchor text containing Andy Cab’s brand name.
By identifying the search terms that people use when looking for canopies we were able to define a list of keywords we could use in our optimisation efforts. We began by incorporating these in page titles and meta descriptions. We also produced extensive on-site copy, writing keyword rich pages for each bakkie brand with sub-pages for models and derivatives.
We then embarked on a link building exercise where we placed articles on local car related websites – each article linked back to Andy Cab’s site using a targeted search query.
Over time we analysed which search terms that guided visitors to Andy Cab’s site led to them submitting enquiries. This allowed us to focus our efforts on promoting keywords that were likely to elicit qualified leads.
Overall site traffic grew by 131% within a year of us starting the project. Organic search traffic increased by 150%, while non-branded organic traffic (this is from keywords that don’t include brand name) grew by more than 273%.
The focus on vehicle brands yielded remarkable results. Organic traffic from people looking for Hilux bakkie canopies grew by 400%. Isuzu queries saw a similar growth while interest in Corsa canopies grew by a staggering 2,333%.
Keyword rankings – which included competitive head terms such as ‘canopies’ and ‘canopies for sale’ and long tail queries such as ‘hilux canopy’ and ‘canopy for Chevrolet utility’ moved from page 10 to the top of page one, pushing aside competition from Gumtree, OLX and other canopy suppliers.
At the start of the project the average ranking position in Google.co.za for the 138 targeted keywords was 64th place. Today, the average position is 4th, a remarkable 93% increase in rankings across all terms. Of the 138 search terms, 57 sit in 1st place with a further 53 occupying a top 5 ranking.
This increase in traffic led to a surge in web leads delivering a corresponding increase in sales and an even greater impact on profitability.
"We thought we understood the potential of online marketing for driving our sales into the digital era, but we still struggle believe the results that 2Stroke were able to generate in the short term, and have continued to provide each and every month of the relationship. Being an established Cape Town offline canopy brand with national coverage ambitions, the partnership we’ve established with 2Stroke has delivered on all fronts, showcasing their intricate knowledge of the digital industry, as well as a passion to learn the challenges and nuances of ours to be able to deliver an unimaginable return on investment. Thank you 2Stroke!"
Derek Caldicott - Managing Director at Andy Cab Canopies