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12 min read

How to Tackle a Manufacturing Website Redesign as a Solo Marketer

Working in a marketing department with a team of one? Here's how one solo marketer approached a full website redesign.


 

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On this week's episode of Content Marketing Engineered, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Amanda Dinauer. Amanda is one impressive marketer. She is the Marketing Director for three brands: LasX Industries, MicroMed Solutions, and FlexPak Services. How does she juggle it all?

We talked through her approach to content marketing, how she handles different leadership priorities, and prepares for real-time events like product launches.

We also discussed one recent successful undertaking: a complete website redesign for LasX.

  • Initial reasons for the redesign
  • Necessity of creating a strategy first
  • Adding high-quality videos
  • Prioritizing customer-focused messaging
  • Creating a process for updating content

Resources

Transcript:

 

Hey, all you solo industrial marketers out there, this episode is for you. I'm bringing on, not only a solo marketer, but she represents not one, not two, three different companies. And she'll be talking about how she balances her workload between those three. And then we'll take a deep dive into a recent website redesign and we talk about the steps that she made that made a difference in the success of that project. Let's do this.

Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. Your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.

Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend, challenge or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories. And I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit trewmarketing.com. And now on with our podcast.

Hey, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing, Engineered. I'm joined today by Amanda Dinauer from MicroMed, FlexPak and LasX, but we'll get to that. Thanks for being here, Amanda.

Yeah, you bet. Happy to be here. Wendy. Well, yes.

I just mentioned you're associated with three different companies and you're the marketing director of basically a portfolio of these companies, right? So they all have shared owners, is that correct?

Yeah, it's a big undertaking, right? Being the director of three different organizations, what comes to mind? I came across something on Twitter where someone had written, like, a shout out to the one person content marketing teams that act as the social media manager, the content developer, the designer, the email marketer. So that's all bundled under my role, but for three different organizations, which is a huge undertaking, but we're making it work.

So the solo marketer times three. Wow. I can't wait to hear how you effectively juggle all of that. We do. Let's get a little context, a little background on your career journey in content marketing.

Yeah, well, I love content marketing. Writing is near and dear to my heart. Throughout my career so far, I've been not only the writer, but the manager of writers who write the content and now the strategy owner of digital strategy for organizations. And I just really believe in the power of content and how it's really important to be able to tell a compelling narrative and tell your story effectively. In content marketing plays a huge role. Like, time and time again across some of the different industries I worked for, whether it's software, technology, or I went to design school. And for our projects that we designed, I found that sometimes the story that we're telling about our design is just as important as the design itself. I just see time and time again that content marketing is super important.

Yeah. Now you yourself. So did you study design and then go into a writing role or tell me about your progression there?

Yeah, I've had a really interesting career journey. I've always kind of followed my curiosity and I love taking on challenges. So I kind of got into content and marketing through a startup and just through networking and working with a great group of ladies. Just kind of was able to evolve and find where I am right now.

Got you. Well, how did you find yourself working simultaneously with three different brands?

Yeah, these three different organizations are under the shared ownership, and there was a huge opportunity for these three different organizations to standardize processes and operationalize marketing and really refresh the brand and get a shared set of tools, which is kind of where my role came in. And I've been doing it now for almost two years, so making a lot of progress along the way.

Well, I can only imagine that there's a lot of jockeying for your time and resources and you get pulled in a lot of different directions and there's probably certain times of the year where it's more pronounced, like maybe during trade shows or fall planning or whatever it is. So how do you handle that?

Yeah, so it's a lot of juggling and drawing your boundaries and just going back to clarity of initiatives that you're trying to accomplish each year. And we go through a planning session and set those, but sometimes we do need to pivot or stay agile and making decisions about my time sometimes just comes down to where the rubber hits the road. And if we have a trade show coming up and we need sales enablement materials for our team, or we're launching a product and we need a video and a sales booklet, that's kind of where my time needs to shift to. So it's a juggling game for sure, I bet.

And I'm sure there are different personalities in leadership at each organization and so maybe one value sales enablement, another values legion and I'm totally making that up, but I could see that scenario where you're recommending things across the board, but then the nuances of what each company needs or what they want might change for sure. Fun stuff. Well, as you look back on, let's say, the past twelve months, what are some major projects that you undertook?

Well, that's really this website redesign that we accomplished end of last year and just seeing the fruits of the labor starting to come to fruition is something that I'm really proud of. And when I joined this role about two years ago, it was around the time of the pandemic and at that point marketing was very much about digital marketing and the only way people could really see your brand and your company is through your website. And other digital tools. At that point, I really knew it was important to redesign our website and, of course, partner with a strong content team such as TREW marketing.

Yeah. Well, man, website redesign. I think so many companies went through the same thing during the pandemic of we've been putting it off or deprioritizing it, and then when everything is digital, it puts such on websites. What were some of the observations that you had about the website? And it was LasX, right? It was their website. How did you know it was time to redesign and pull the trigger? Other than, okay, everything's digital right now. It's the pandemic, right?

Yeah. So LasX is a manufacturing technology company, and we deliver a variety of different solutions for a variety of different industries. We do a lot for one company. And when I was looking at the website, I realized that a lot of the content was focused on describing, this is what our machine does. It processes on this film at this speed. And what I wanted to do was integrate another level of meaning so we could easily tell the story why a customer would find value in that statement. So just really connecting with the customer more and demonstrating our story in a more meaningful way. So, like, something as simple as our machine processes on monolayer films pivoting that to support corporate sustainability initiatives by using our machines to process on monolayer recyclable films. So then now you understand the value of what our machines can do. You can now become part of the conversation of creating sustainable packaging, which is a huge trend right now with consumers. So kind of doing those sorts of focus areas, I think really created a more meaningful website with this redesign refresh.

That's great. When you were thinking about those customer benefits, were you also layering in, okay, but what are people actually searching on? And what is the impact of changing that story? Or is it more the key terms didn't change. It was more how you phrase things around that key term.

Yeah, the latter. And just really frame up and organize the different customer groups that we're tackling so people can start to see themselves in our website and they're not just looking at these big machines without being able to see easily the end result. So whether it's a laser edge folding carton or laser cut record sleeve or a medical component in a point of care device, again, the applications for laser processing, it's so immense. So just starting to communicate that in a more meaningful way was really one of the big objectives. From my perspective.

Nice content could be a pretty heavy lift for the website. How did you mitigate this and not let it consume like your every people don't realize what a big lift content could be with a website redesign. It is.

And I'm a very detail oriented person, so I have this vision in my head and of course, I want to translate it to a product. And I think what really helped us was partnering with TREW for a strategy component. Having that strategy component in place before kicking off the actual website redesign was so important because when things started getting overwhelming or we were maybe trying to do more or less, we had this reference document and this set of resources to go back to and say no, no. This is kind of what our intent was and it just allowed us to stay on course and have a common language. We have this sitemap, we have this content document where we know what our messaging goals for each page are. All those things really helped stay focused in an overwhelming period where I'm one person.

Yeah. So it not only helps you develop your strategy, but give you guardrails parameters.

Go in all sorts of directions, and you want to say so much, but you just also know you need to make decisions and move ahead and not get so stuck in little details. Right.

And it's so easy to just iterate things to death and live.

Yeah, I'm guilty of that for sure.

We're at present redesigning parts of the TREW marketing website. Oh, you are the pain. And we're all coming in with different ideas. And can you imagine marketers working on a marketing website? Like, forget about it.

Oh my gosh. Yeah.

One thing I remember about your website is you guys have these cool videos that just grab you whether you are a technical person or not. They just such a neat way to demonstrate the product. So how does video factor into your redesign strategy?

Yeah, we definitely feel that you can talk a lot about our technology, but until you see it, that's really where people get short of actually coming to our facility on site and touring and watching our lasers run. Video is a really powerful tool to quickly demonstrate how cool our technology is. And so I was very excited to integrate video where possible. But of course, we need to balance making sure we're not loading up our web pages too much with video because that can slow down page speed. So having some push back from the TREW team, letting you know, okay, where we should selectively choose and we're not, was really helpful as well.

Good. Yeah. I just love your videos. Everybody listening needs to go to the website and check out some of these because they're just one more video question, and I'm sure it came up during the redesign. Like, you had existing ones already recorded and then maybe had some gaps, you wanted to add new ones. How did you do it with an iPhone? Did you bring in a local production crew? How did you actually make those videos?

Yeah, so they're a combination of in house expertise. I e myself and I have another colleague who does help me with video work a little bit, but for our kind of more meaty products that we're trying to promote. I did work with a professional video crew to create a really professional, solid looking video to help launch some of these new machines we're trying to get off the ground. And that does, I think, really affect the perception as well. When you have a really strong piece of video content, that really helps bolster your credibility.

Yeah, it's a good point. People are always asking me about the spectrum of quality of their video content, and there's a place for everything. But you raise a very good point for these expensive systems and you're launching something new. It's a big purchase, having that level of quality be appropriate to what it is that you're trying to convey. Right, so the website went live into.

2022, end of 2022. My timeline may be a little mixed up, but it was live by actually might have been earlier in 2022. So we've been really seeing the feedback from it, and people are really excited about kind of the different types of content we're showing now. So I've been really pleased with the feedback I've been getting so far.

Good. What is your strategy for keeping this client current throughout this year?

Yeah, so I have a lot of big plans for maintaining the website. I think sometimes people get into this mindset that website is a one and done, and you just get it up and you kind of leave it. But I think it's really a growing organism that you need to nurture and refresh and keep people returning to your site to kind of see what you're up to. And so I'm currently working on launching a newsletter from our site so we can kind of capture website visitors and bring them into the Lasag ecosystem. And I think just getting really organized with a plan of making sure you're deliberately setting, you know, a quarterly check in to kind of review the content, make sure photos aren't outdated and any content or product specs that need refreshing. So kind of setting in that quarterly content governance check ins for yourself, keep you kind of honest to make sure you're actually doing those motions.

Solo marketer, I know that that's hard to have the discipline, and I appreciate, like you said earlier, you have attention to detail and it shows the fact that you're prioritizing that even though you're being pulled in all these different directions, it's just your website is that critical.

Right, exactly. Yeah.

So for marketers listening, who are thinking of doing a website redesign this year, what advice do you have for them?

Yeah, that's a great question, and I think I kind of touched on or alluded to a lot of the learnings that I had, but I think don't let a project like this overwhelm or intimidate you. You can manage it and deal with it in chunks. You don't have to do it in one full swoop in a month. These things take time. I think you certainly have expectations. The beginning, oh, this is something we can handle in two months. But if you want to do it right and you want to do it really thoughtful and you're not just looking to refresh a few images but you kind of want to update the overall story of the website, just taking the time to I highly recommend having some sort of strategy component to your website up front. Again, that site map and those content docs that have those messaging goals, just to have that as a reference point I think is critical. And then also just being clear on what your goal as a marketer is for your website redesign. Just for me, it was really seeing an opportunity to shift the way that the content was messaged so that the customer sat first in terms of how they understood our business versus vice versa.

And so just having that clarity of goal up front just keeps you also on track and knowing why you're spending all this time doing the website redesign. Right?

Yeah, makes sense. Not about the replacing pretty pictures, which.

It is important though, I will say imagery is is really key too, you know?

Yeah, that's TREW. And and it's not easy in our industry to find accurate, appropriate stock images.

Oh my gosh. That is one of the biggest challenges I never thought of. If I'm trying to get scrappy and identify a photo on a stock library, it's really hard to find machine photos that are actually usable or make sense.

Yeah, absolutely. And there might be a few that everyone's using because it's the few out there. So we've tried to have subscriptions to quite a few different libraries to tap. And of course now you have AI, which is coming along in photo generation. Although I've seen a lot of crazy distorted looking things too. Are you experimenting at all with generative AI?

I have some graphic designer people that I know that there's all sorts of AI tools now that will quickly spin up an image based on a prompt. So I'm really curious about how this is going to affect design and content work moving forward. I don't know if anybody really knows the full repercussions, but I think it is important to and this is an area of opportunity for me is to start diving into these AI tools and understand what they are and how we can possibly make them our friends and work with them. Right?

Yeah. Well, I don't know if you've seen it, but we have a generative AI guidebook on the TREW market website that we're keeping live. And so what we're doing is experimenting with different tools and each time we do, we add that to the library so people could just get an idea, oh, if I wanted to do an AI video, places where I could go to try that. And then we've been quite a few things. Well, where can our listeners go to connect with you and learn more about the three companies that you represent?

Yeah, so I am one of those rare people that I don't have a ton of social media, but you can find me on LinkedIn, Amanda Dinauer and then MicroMed, LasX, and FlexPak services all have LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and those are great areas to kind of see our technology in action. And there's some good videos, so I encourage anyone that's interested in what we're doing to check it out there.

Okay, and what's the URL of the Lasex website? Is it LasX.com?

Just LasX.com. Nice and simple, easy to remember.

All right, cool. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Amanda. I enjoyed speaking with you.

Thanks, Wendy. Take care.

Thanks for joining me today on Content Marketing Engineers. For show notes, including links to resources, visit trewmarketing.com podcasts. While there, you can subscribe to our blog and our a newsletter and order a copy of my book, Content Marketing Engineers. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast, so please, when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks and have a great day.



 

Wendy Covey

Wendy Covey is a CEO, a technical marketing leader, author of Content Marketing, Engineered, one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America, and she holds a Texas fishing record. She resides in a small Hill Country town southwest of Austin, Texas, where she enjoys outdoor adventures with her family.



About TREW Marketing

TREW Marketing is a strategy-first content marketing agency serving B2B companies that target highly technical buyers. With deep experience in the design, embedded, measurement and automation, and software industries, TREW Marketing provides branding, marketing strategy, content development, and digital marketing services to help customers efficiently and effectively achieve business goals.