Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, NetOne is an elite network of security organizations with independently operating member companies located all across the US and Canada. NetOne Charter Shareholder companies are among the top 100 firms in an industry with more than 14,000 players, each possessing decades of experience providing quality, professional service, and a strong commitment to their community.
DesignHammer has been working with NetOne since 2015, updating and supporting their corporate Drupal website, including its extensive members-only site.. Website content, member outreach, and marketing initiatives were run in-house by NetOne’s web communications team, but due to member event demands, their small team did not have the capacity to consistently publish their monthly newsletter which had not been published at all in 2018. NetOne expressed an interest in increasing the frequency of their email newsletter communications and asked DesignHammer to assist with a revamp of their member outreach campaigns. The designs of their previous email templates were outdated and required a refresh, and there were no systems in place to streamline marketing conversations related to monthly newsletter content.
DesignHammer’s marketing and design team collaborated with NetOne to redesign and deploy the monthly newsletter in Mailchimp to better reflect NetOne’s latest website branding. NetOne and DesignHammer settled on a modern, yet simplistic theme that mirrored the current design of their website. DesignHammer also added new features to the NetOne site which would allow their communications team to tag content from within the Drupal CMS that they wanted to be included in their monthly email summary. To make their newsletter more accessible to members, DesignHammer also added an SMS feature to the website so members could request text updates any time a newsletter was shipped or a new post or comment was added to NetOne’s online forum thread.
Once content marketing conversations had been streamlined and after a few editions of their monthly and special edition“Year-In-Review” email newsletters had been delivered, NetOne’s Board of Directors requested the DesignHammer team identify the best way to design and mail physical copies of the newsletter to key stakeholders at each of their member organizations. DesignHammer’s marketing team produced a fresh design for the print versions of the monthly email newsletter, their 2019 “Year-In-Review” newsletter, and a “How-To” instructional guide for updating SMS preferences on the NetOne website. These were sent to DesignHammer’s Cary-based print partner AlphaGraphics to be printed and bound into booklets. DesignHammer supervised mail distribution thereafter.
In 2017, NetOne’s monthly newsletter campaigns averaged a 40.3% open rate and 11.15% click rate, impressive considering Mailchimp’s open-rate and click-rate benchmarks for online communities land at 21.06% and 3.32% respectively. After DesignHammer assumed the monthly communications role, NetOne’s monthly newsletters maintained a strong open-rate average of 43%. The modest increase in views was outshined by a 20.3% click-rate average, almost doubling the previous year-over-year totals. DesignHammer’s marketing team made the creative decision to add a new section to NetOne’s newsletter template to include their monthly list of Sales Leaders; which had been historically sent out as separate email and web communications. NetOne hosts an annual capstone “Grand Champions” island vacation for top sales leaders every year so the Sales Leaders list is of interest to most of NetOne’s subscribing members. The list became the top-clicked link in each newsletter. The open-rate increase and top link metrics suggest that the decision to consolidate typical newsletter content and sales leaders into regular communications contributed to the success of the new campaigns, motivating subscribers to read featured newsletter content which may have gone overlooked in standalone campaigns that did not include a Sales Leader’s list.
NetOne operates a Drupal 7 website for members of their network of independently owned security companies for the residential and commercial markets. When NetOne approached DesignHammer, they were having multiple usability issues: account registration was confusing and overly complicated; many of the styles were "default Drupal" instead of matching the look and feel of the NetOne theme; the site was not 100% mobile-ready, creating a sub-par experience for an increasing number of mobile users. There were also issues with forum notification emails and MailChimp list subscription. Additionally, NetOne needed on-going help maintaining Drupal and working closely with the CTO to create new features to make the NetOne website even more useful for security professionals.
DesignHammer helped NetOne through a number of usability audits, where we conducted in-person testing using both a desktop setup with keyboard and mouse, as well as a mobile device that recorded the user's interactions with the website. Through this testing, we were able to generate recommendations to help improve the user experience for the NetOne website.
We re-wrote a number of NetOne's custom modules, simplifying account registration from three pages down to one, adjusting the forgotten password tool messaging to clarify the process, and cleaning up the user profile editing interface. NetOne's theme stylesheets were converted to using Sass, a CSS pre-processor that makes it easier to organize a highly complex set of styles. Our designers created mobile-ready styles to fix the issues discovered during our UX testing. We also rebuilt the integration with MailChimp, so that users were subscribed correctly to the NetOne mailing list during registration and profile editing, as well as forum notification emails for the user's interests.
DesignHammer continues to work closely with NetOne, creating and maintaining features such as a parts exchange system for sharing inventories, a yearly "Grand Champions" event sub-site with an event registration system, as well as a revamped file resources library.