The team at Zekelman Industries, the largest independent steel pipe and tube manufacturer in North America, knew they needed to refresh its online presence — along with those of its eight brands and 11 operating divisions — as they hadn’t made many updates in about five years. The refresh needed to be complete by the time the company launched a website for American Metal, a new grass-roots and integrated campaign initiative supporting the domestic steel industry and its workers. All told, Zekelman needed eight brand-new B2B websites to go live in five months, complete with videos, interactive elements, robust asset libraries and conversion paths based on real customer insights. The company’s sites needed to be amazing, and they had to appeal to its primary customers — distributors in a variety of different markets.
We formed an uber-collaborative partnership with Zekelman to prioritize the order in which the eight websites would be built on an extremely aggressive schedule. The marketing team at Zekelman agreed to a 24-hour turnaround time on feedback, and we set up the feedback loop so the team could review sites “live” in the content management system. This arrangement ensured that roadblocks would be cleared quickly and feedback implemented efficiently.
To adhere to the aggressive schedule and ensure each site would fit its audience and market, we employed a modular web design approach. Modular web design makes it easy to take “pieces” of a design and fit them into visual blocks, as opposed to the conventional method of website development that requires a new template for each specific goal. We leveraged this modular design method, along with knowledge gained from discovery sessions with Zekelman regarding audience pain points and interests, to tailor the user experience for each website. The resulting websites feature various selectors, resource libraries, interactive content, videos and flexible architecture that can adapt to specific audience needs.
Speed and flexibility aren’t the only benefits of the modular approach. It also brings cohesion to the eight websites — each appeals to its distinct audience, but by sharing key assets in their design, the sites all feel like members of the same Zekelman family.
Zekelman now has eight robust new websites, each customized to a specific customer base. Everyone involved upheld their commitment to the aggressive timeline, helping ensure project success. On the technical side, all the websites have clean code and a solid SEO strategy, resulting in a dramatic increase in organic traffic. The websites have seen year-over-year traffic increases between 10% and 38%. Designing the sites to facilitate target buyer behavior for each business unit has resulted in an increased time on page and an average of 1.8 pages per visit, because each user finds the relevant information faster and more efficiently.
Our longstanding partnership with Zekelman Industries allowed us to begin the website project with deep insight into Zekelman’s products, customers and markets. And thanks to the trust built over many years, Zekelman embraced the proposed strategic foundation so we could get right to work on developing content in parallel with information architecture, design and coding.