With its specialised engineering services, Metalock Engineering UK has kept industry around the world moving, producing and generating since 1947. For over two decades, since Metalock’s enlightened commitment to online marketing, Gloucester-based digital agency iconnet has supported the engineering services company’s online and offline marketing…
‘It wasn’t long after the internet started gaining importance that I researched the effectiveness of our existing trade magazine advertising. I quickly concluded that we were wasting lots of budget with minimal return on investment. The future was clearly online and so it’s proved to be.’
Metalock discovered iconnet through another supplier. The timely introduction led Mike Fish and John Hall, Metalock’s then managing director, to approach the digital agency. Their discussions about websites and long-term web strategy with Nigel Robinson and his team launched a successful partnership that’s strengthened ever since.
‘As far as we’re concerned, engaging iconnet was the beginning of a very good long-term marketing strategy. We started to be found on the internet immediately.’
The youth and enthusiasm of the iconnet team, and their obvious technical capability, endeared them to Mike and his colleagues. ‘We liked how they worked as a true team, how everyone’s voice and opinion was listened to, and how they were always open to trying new ideas to help us. Given my highly-mobile role, it was imperative that any partner could be trusted to take a brief, immediately understand our objectives and progress them with minimal supervision. iconnet were, and are, perfect. They’ve never let me down.’
The new Metalock website was soon getting 5,000 visits per month, which would be impressive today, but was mind-blowing for an engineering services business 15 years ago.
‘We refined the content and the optimisation of the website, and quickly exchanged some search volume for increasingly higher quality and relevance of online enquiries. Suddenly we were getting excellent new enquiries from our ideal target audience, organisations such as national steel producers in Kazakhstan and India as well as specialist power generation and shipping operators around the world. Since then, Metalock UK, part of the global Metalock Engineering Group, has gone from strength to strength and increased the geographical reach of its work.’
It’s to the credit of iconnet and their Gloucester-based team that Mike can’t recall a single glitch as they’ve worked together. ‘As I said earlier, they’ve never let me down in any way. They’ve been of huge value to Metalock UK, the global Metalock Engineering Group and me personally. That’s why they’re still working for us on the latest iteration of our website as well as associated marketing materials ranging from brochures and press releases to exhibition graphics and website translation.’
Asked about the measurable benefits, Metalock’s sales manager admits to the challenge of directly attributing enquiries to their online marketing: ‘Our mechanism for logging enquiries often captures first contact as a phone or email enquiry. It’s only later that we realise someone initially found us online. Although I know the exact importance of our online presence is impossible to quantify, I have no doubt whatsoever that the website has played a big part in our success.’
When pushed, Mike estimates that 50% of Metalock UK’s enquiries come through the website. In practice, with a rich flow of website traffic and profitable business around the world, the exact provenance of each enquiry is the least of Metalock’s worries. Any conversation about the geographical spread of Metalock assignments quickly becomes a glossary of every conceivable location on five continents. From the growing pool of assignments in Russia, to ship repairs in Antarctica, the reach of Metalock’s 24/7/365 planned maintenance and emergency repairs is truly global.
Asked about his ‘typical’ customers, Mike Fish says: ‘We support everyone from small specialist manufacturers to the biggest blue chip multinationals such as Toshiba, Hyundai, Rolls-Royce and GE. One day, we're regrinding a press bed for a small drinks-can manufacturer; the next, we’re working on aircraft carrier rudder stems or a massive steel rolling mill.’
‘iconnet’s work for us has undoubtedly helped us grow our business, as well as that of other Metalock Group companies for whom they’ve worked. What iconnet have done for us has undoubtedly extended the reach of our services and helped us build valuable new relationships with customers and influencers. They’ve saved me huge amounts of time and effort too.’
Metalock’s customers are quick to comment positively on the creativity and new ideas that emerge from iconnet’s offices in the shadow of Gloucester’s 1300-year-old cathedral.
Mike Fish again: ‘The feedback we get is consistently good. In particular, the latest “magazine feel” of the website and the ease with which website visitors can contact us, generated a great response. Until you’ve faced the challenge of diagnosing and making an emergency repair to a ship’s propulsion unit while stranded in Singapore, it’s hard to appreciate the reassurance gained by emailing or texting a description and photographs to us for assessment. Within an hour or so, sometimes even faster, we can assess what needs to be done and respond with characteristic speed and one of our renowned in situ repairs. The significance of the website for this lies in our ability to show up prominently for a wide range of web searches for highly specialised engineering repairs. Thank you iconnet.’
Nearly two decades have passed since Metalock first engaged with iconnet. Since then, the closeness of the collaboration has grown and the look and feel of the Metalock website has evolved to reflect the changing capabilities of the business and progress in website technology. What has stayed constant is the mutual trust and iconnet’s high quality work.
‘I can only see the relationship continuing with more of the same,’ he says. ‘That means more good ideas, pragmatism balanced with creativity, and an intuitive understanding of our business as we tackle the challenges ahead.’
It’s no surprise then, that Mike Fish recommends iconnet without hesitation. Indeed, he’s done so many times.
‘It’s easy when a business partner is so professional and full of good ideas that are relevant to what we’re trying to achieve. They’re proactive too, suggesting important website improvements such as the introduction of a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Their advice and recommendations are consistently sound and always in our best interests. Because they’re always thinking one step ahead of us, that’s one thing less thing for me to worry about while I’m travelling the world to close another sale.’
When asked to summarise the relationship with iconnet, Mike Fish states again how the digital agency consistently does the right thing, to the right quality, delivers it to the right place and never lets him down.’