For more than seventy years, Crestliner’s welded aluminum construction and insightful design, has symbolized strength in the boat industry. As their long-time creative and marketing partner, SixSpeed has worked with Crestliner to shape the brand into one that doesn’t just compete—it stands out.

Starting at The Summit

At our annual marketing summit, SixSpeed and Crestliner discussed challenges, opportunities and business objectives to drive long and short-term growth. Special attention was paid to the strides competitive brands were making across their digital touchpoints to improve user experience. We knew the risk of not meeting our user’s expectations so we audited crestliner.com against the industry. The goal? To discover how we could drive awareness and improve user’s experience along their boat buying journey.

Audit Insights

Overall, we needed to be diligent in maintaining critical touch points to keep content relevant and rewarding while driving action. A positive brand experience online was essential for building trust and loyalty between Crestliner and its audience.

Competitive Lens

After evaluating other freshwater boat brands we determined Crestliner served user needs better than most of the competition—but there were still features and user flows that could be optimized. The overall interaction with the Build & Price boat configurator experience was important because it was the highest converting tool Crestliner provided. A direct path to boat model pages, a refined, more intuitive dealer locator and reexamining our linking strategy were other key priorities that required attention.

Identifying Gaps

With the content audit, we identified what competitive sites were doing and found gaps in our own content. When looking at time on site and bounce rates we figured out that users were hunting for information they couldn’t find. This told us what content needed to be created—and that it needed to be easier to find. We turned to analytics to determine the next steps.

The existing SEO plan served as a good window into the ways we could develop a more strategic strategy that leveraged organic keywords to increase Crestliner’s search visibility and digital presence.

Executing Based on Analysis

Creating a Better Experience

In order to create a better brand experience on the website, we combined key learnings from the SEO and content audits to craft a thoughtful SEO and content strategy.

The new approach focused on the site copy and off-site signalers (search engines). Every Crestliner boat is different, but the keyword plan and copy didn’t differentiate each model’s features and benefits. So we rewrote the site, taking extra time to find the right keywords for the right boats to help searchers find what they wanted—easier and faster—while enhancing existing tools to be more useful.

As we audited the site, we found that many individuals were searching for their local dealer—or eventually they ended up searching for their local dealer. To help them out, we put that information in the footer of the site and it became ever-visible and within reach.

We added boat model cards that provided users with relevant information to differentiate models at a glance while direct paths led to Learn More or Build the Boat.

An overhaul of the Build & Price online configurator allowed users to refine selections based on attributes like price, length, hull type and configuration. As a result, we reduced a multi-step, multi-page process into a rich, seamless, optimized and intuitive boat configurator.

Next, we made the calls-to-action work harder. Instead of blanketing the website with “Learn More,” we crafted the CTAs to guide prospective buyers to the proper pages, more quickly. For example, after customizing a new boat, the old CTA was “Submit”—that CTA became “View Pricing.” It’s something we did to make sure the process was smooth and actually led to action. Overall, the call-to-action updates were a very valuable execution that made a big difference in meeting our objectives.

The Challenge of Making Good Better

Historically, the Crestliner website had a good conversion rate. While the measure of what’s good depends on the industry, a conversion rate of 2%-5% is considered pretty good on a non-eCommerce website. Crestliner’s conversion rate lingered between 8% and 11%, so it was imperative to maintain that conversion rate while bringing even more traffic to the site.

With years of industry experience, insights gathered through historical data, and a core audit we were able to leverage some existing strengths: boat builder tools, quality products, the aluminum advantage, and knowing what people look for when shopping. In the end, the strengths became even stronger. We added more detail and differentiation to attract and engage more people while helping them find the right information, the right boat and connect them to their right dealership.

The Right People

With rich content and a frictionless experience, we were able to fuel consideration and drive conversions to get more of the right people to the website. In addition to attracting organic search traffic, we created paid search campaigns to extend Crestliner’s visibility. Ads and creative were developed not just to accommodate key search terms, but to cater to the intent behind the searches as well. We gave users the right information to educate, consider and convert.

The key to this success came through a knowledge and understanding of how people search in different stages of their journey and then mapping search terms accordingly. For instance, when people search “best aluminum boat” we knew that they’re in the same buyer stage as a person who searches “new Crestliner boats for sale.” Understanding the intent behind searches and applying that information into site construction and back-end proved to be crucial in the journey from prospect to Crestliner owner.

The Ending is a Beginning

With the website reconstructed, the numbers spoke. And they’re loud.

Today, people control their path to purchase through exploring hundreds of categories, brands, and products every day—and they expect brands to assist them quickly wherever they are, especially online. Crestliner needed to work with a partner that knew how to help prospective buyers find solutions from the beginning of the process until their new Crestliner hit the water. Together, that’s what we did.