Shane Hodge is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Camel, a full-service web design agency with headquarters in both the Philippines and Australia, serving a variety of small business clients across Oceania, southeast Asia and around the world. Founded in 2011, Hodge started The Camel due to an early realization that the emergence of the mobile web was going to provide big opportunities with SMBs in developing markets. However, what started as capitalizing on a niche gap in the web design industry, soon turned into a full-blown opportunity to provide premium, beautiful responsive websites to an ongoing clientele.
“We started off by creating mobile sites and marketing them on the fact that so many people were searching for local businesses on mobile phones,” Hodge says. “But it’s hard to sell people on something they can find for free or cheap on the internet. Potential customers are a lot less likely to pay for your service if they can do it themselves. The issue with that is though, you have motorcycle mechanics trying to be web designers,” he says. “That’s when I realized there was a market for creating ‘sexy’ websites for our clients. All I needed was the right platform to do it.”
Hodge quickly discovered that if The Camel was going to carve out a significant portion of the market and build a sustainable business, he needed to find a set of tools that enabled him to create websites that were more than just the bare basics of what clients expected.
“When we started out building mobile websites, we used a different platform from Duda. And for the time, that was fine, but all it allowed you to do was make pretty basic mobile copies of existing desktop websites,” he says. However, this approach didn’t fall in line with The Camel’s evolving mission. To create beautiful, eye-catching mobile sites, Hodge needed a more flexible editor and wider feature set. Within a few months of his decision to change the mission of The Camel from simply providing mobile websites to providing a comprehensive, professional design service, Hodge was signed up for the DudaPro Website Reseller Program.
Hodge says getting his team switched over to the DudaPro platform was a simple enough process, but it sparked another initiative entirely. The Camel began to offer its clients desktop websites in addition to the mobile option to go along with its new design-centric approach.
“When we first started providing mobile-friendly websites with Duda, we we’re using WordPress sites to provide a desktop option to our clients,” Hodge says. He also quickly points out that while WordPress enabled him to offer full web design services to his clients, it was less than ideal for his team.
Hodge points to a lack of support resources, a need for advanced development work that was beyond the skillset of his designers and the inability to create a custom website experience by device. “Even if we used a responsive WordPress template and the desktop version looked fine, the end result for mobile and tablet wasn’t that great,” he says. “You can get an elephant in a bikini, but guess what. It’s still an elephant in a bikini. But when Duda showed up with its ability to easily customize a site by device...it was the savior we’d been looking for.”
To solidify The Camel’s new business direction and brand, Hodge renamed Duda to ‘Trilogy’ and decided to market it as not just a website, but as a complete and ongoing ‘customer attraction program.’ And there was one feature in particular inside the Duda editor that enabled him to do just that.
“People have been told for years they need a website, and that’s true. But for way too many businesses, these sites end up as nothing more than digital brochures,” Hodge says. “A business owner would hire a developer and spend thousands on it, and in the end they wouldn’t see any tangible ROI — Duda’s website personalization tools changed that.”
Website personalization tools allowed The Camel’s design team to easily create dynamic website content based on predetermined triggers such as time, visitor location, number of previous visits to the site, device type and more, without the need for developers. The ability to create highly personalized experiences on client websites was much more likely to turn visitors into customers. This, in turn, enabled Hodge to charge a premium for this service.
In short, Duda’s website personalization tools enabled The Camel to make more money by helping its clients make more money.
For proof of his company’s success with Duda, Hodge highlights a client with a newly founded fragrance business.
“We have a client named Josh Lee who sells perfumes,” he says. “There were a few things he wanted to accomplish with his online presence. We needed to make him look more professional, enable him to sell online, implement more promotions, and help drum up some general buzz around his business.”
Hodge says that by implementing Duda’s website personalization tools and some SEO strategies as a complete package, The Camel achieved all four goals.
“One of the specific ways we leveraged Duda’s website personalization tools was to help boost his presence at a KL Wedding Expo where he was exhibiting,” says The Camel CEO. “Using visitor location as a trigger, a notification bar linked to a prize offer for people attending the expo would appear. The results were great. 182 people visited the site and 161 of them clicked on the link.”
Hodge wanted to give Duda’s website personalization tools their own identity within The Camel’s lineup of products and is currently marketing it under the name ‘Headlines’ as a key aspect of the company’s customer attraction program.
The Camel’s customer attraction program approach proved to be so successful, Hodge soon began to approach existing salespeople he knew across Australia and Southeast Asia to offer them what he calls an ‘Affiliate Program.’
“There are a lot of people out there who want to sell websites, but they have no interest in building them,” Hodge says. “They’re all about selling. They’re not technical. They’re not doing design work or anything like that. They’re into building a relationship with a client and making money off of ensuring they have everything they need,” he says. “And that’s what our affiliate program does. It allows salespeople to offer web design as an option without ever having to get involved in the design part.”
Recently, Hodge has also begun building out his own in-house sales team. Using the Users and Permissions controls inside the DudaPro platform, he is able to give his salespeople access to the tools they need, while restricting their access in the editor to ensure they can’t disturb any design work.
Hodge and The Camel now maintain an eclectic clientele of over 65 small businesses with an ever growing team of affiliates, salespeople and designers. Pricing sites to stay competitive with his market, Hodge has been able to snap up customers across his region by offering fully responsive Duda websites for around $800 per site. In addition to the site creation fee, The Camel also gains revenue from monthly site maintenance and website personalization tools, which are priced according to the amount of time they will run and the amount of work it takes to make them live.
“There’s no second chance at a first impression,” says Hodge. “And Duda provides us with the ideal set of web design tools that allows our designers to do truly excellent work. The ability to customize a site per device and add website personalization into the mix has been hands down the greatest thing that ever happened to our business.”
Discover the benefits of being a DudaPro
Already have an account? Log In