SOS Steel is a leading steel company specializing in the fabrication and erection of industrial steel structures. Located in Santa Clara, California, SOS Steel has worked on major projects across Northern California, including the Oakland Bay Bridge and various corporate and public buildings in the region.
The company was started in 1946 and was facing a generational change from the founder to his management team. The management team wanted to invest in digital marketing, including a new website. The founder was less certain of the value of this move because he was skeptical that people “shop” online for the kind of big iron services the company provides. He was also proud of the company’s heritage of hard work, “grit” and great results, and didn’t want to diminish that legacy.
SOS Website Before Redesign
Poor Performance, High Bounce Rates
We quickly analyzed the company’s online presence and found several key metrics that helped convince the team that an investment in digital marketing, starting with a new website, could deliver significant ROI.
First, the site was getting good traffic but high bounce rates. This data served as a kind of “smoking gun” to anyone that was skeptical about a) whether people were searching for and finding the company online, and b) if those who found the site were engaged when they got there.
A few of the reasons were easy to identify: the site made the company look old and out of date, but more importantly it was slow and mobile-unfriendly. Site speed and mobile experience are two of the biggest reasons for high bounce rates.
Blending Old and New
After a creative brief exercise, we proposed a new site that would preserve the heritage of the company, keeping its nostalgic logo and preserving the “grit” factor, while updating the projects pages and descriptions to make it clear that the company was at the cutting edge of steel fabrication.
SOS Website After Redesign
We also highlighted a key differentiation technology the company used–a type of digital steel processing equipment that accelerates the manufacturing process while making it more accurate. It’s called Voortman Robotic Beam Coping, and SOS is the only company on the west coast to use this technology.
The result was a site that brought the old and new together, is visually appealing, with fast performance, uses a responsive design for a great mobile experience, and offers a better showcase of the company’s experience. It was also fully optimized for search and featured clear calls to action on every page to make it easy for visitors to request more information.
Results: Biggest Customer Ever
Within a few months of launching the new site, SOS Steel was contacted by one of the largest tech companies in the world and was asked to bid on the largest project the company ever delivered. The tech company contacted SOS after visiting the website and seeing the combination of the company’s character and capabilities–especially the availability of the Voortman steel processing technology. The project has the potential to vastly increase SOS’s production capacity.
It is common for companies in the construction industry, and other highly specialized B2B industries like manufacturing and life sciences to be skeptical that digital marketing and search engine optimization will benefit their companies.
The reality, according to Google, is that some 89 percent of all B2B companies research online as part of their process for qualifying potential suppliers. The information they find, and the experience they have on the company’s site, play an ever-growing role in determining whether a searcher contacts the company or looks elsewhere.