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Welcome to the new Widen website: The who, why, and how

by Laurel Norris, February 29, 2016

Widen.com homepage

Last week, we launched a brand new Widen.com featuring a new look and feel. I sat down with Widen Brand Strategist, Nina Brakel-Schutt, who worked intensively on the site alongside our Web Designer, Danielle Templeton. Nina talked about what drove the site change, how our DAM system played a role in the re-design, and shared tips for selecting new marketing technology systems for your organization.

Laurel Norris (LN): So first of all, the site looks amazing.

Nina Brakel-Schutt (NBS): Thank you.

LN: I love all the rich media and I know that a big focus of the site change is on telling a story and not just providing a DAM software feature list to people.  What was behind that change and is rich media part of it?

Nina Brakel-Schutt, Widen brand strategistNBS: Yes, rich media is part of the shift, but the biggest reason behind the change was the need for a more holistic story about how digital asset management can help you as an organization. The old site had become a Frankensite where every single page was dedicated to a topic, like What are digital assets? – there’s a page for it.  Metadata is – there’s a page for it.  Implementation works like this – and there’s a page for it.

It didn't feel like there was a comprehensive story about what DAM is, what it does for your company, and how Widen approaches it. That is what we were trying to provide.

LN: How does rich media support that?

NBS: We did some research to see how people prefer to consume content. Turns out a lot of people like to start with a video and then dive deeper with a white paper or a bigger piece of content on their own time.

Based on that, we worked in more tidbits of information in something visual like a video or a slide deck, then allow visitors to further explore the in-depth resources that interest them.

LN: Nice.  Speaking of rich media, I saw a lot of Widen staff photos on the site.  What was the reasoning behind that?

NBS: There are a couple of reasons. We have a great staff and that’s part of working with Widen. We wanted to be authentic, show who we are, and connect customers to real people right away. It’s our way of letting visitors insert themselves in the Widen story. That they can be part of this.

We also looked at other sites in the DAM industry and saw that nobody else was showing their actual employees. We felt it was a competitive advantage, from a communications standpoint, to show our people.

The Widen support team

LN: The pictures are wonderful by the way.

NBS: Thank you.  We’ll keep it going with a photoshoot every month or so. Fresh pictures keep the mix updated so the site feels dynamic and doesn’t get static like before.

LN: Changing topic a little bit, I saw that one of the goals for the site is to help visitors quickly find the information that they need.  What kinds of info or resources are people looking for when they come to the Widen website?

NBS: Based on site analytics and our user interviews, we learned that people first want to understand the products and services we offer.  And not in Widen lingo, if you know what I mean, because we refer to things in a vernacular that’s different than visitors who come to the website.

It was important to show very simply and clearly that we have a Core DAM product, a DAM lite product, digital asset management consulting services, and digital content production. That is why those items appear in the main navigation.

LN: Nice.  On the topics of navigation – in addition to a more streamlined user experience on the front-end of the site, the back end has changed significantly as well. You combined several marketing technologies into one when Widen adopted HubSpot.

Since a lot of marketers are challenged with juggling systems and integrating technologies, and finding new technologies, can you talk about what it was like before and after you found a solution?

NBS: We were using several technologies that didn’t really go well together and didn’t feel like a suite. None of them really connected well and it was a big disconnect to use a separate email system, publishing platform, and CRM. The tools were all good on their own, but when we tried to integrate them they were glitchy and the interfaces were different. We also couldn't get a seamless snapshot of data.

Actually using the three different programs helped us gain a good foundation, though, so we had a better idea of what we did want from a single system.

LN: Do you have any tips for marketing teams or people who are looking for new technologies to meet their marketing needs?

NBS: Talk to your team about what they want to do, how they plan to use something, and how they prefer to do things in general. That’s going to help drive the kind of system you get. Some people prefer a really deep system because they have more development background and others want something user-friendly. We wanted a system that offers strong visual capabilities and we also wanted a bit of a “joy ride” aspect that will walk you through steps.

LN: Speaking of marketing technologies, I know that the Widen marketing team uses its own product, the Media Collective, to manage content.  How did having a DAM system play into planning and executing a site revision?

Screenshot of the Widen digital asset management software Media CollectiveNINA: Oh my gosh, it made it so amazingly easy.  There were two of us at Widen working intensively on the site – me on the content strategy side and Danielle on the design and site building – with an outside agency. We used the Media Collective as a meeting place to store and share content.

Our workflow involved using Google Docs to write the story for the page and then Danielle would create a Collection in the Media Collective for the images on that page. We linked the Collections to the Google Doc, so the outside agency could get the content and high res images they needed at the same time.

LN: Oh nice, what a great DAM story because it enabled you to work as a team.

NBS: Oh yeah. For example, whenever we did a photoshoot we just told Mark [Pajari, Widen staff photographer] which Collection in the DAM system to upload his pictures. Once he did, we had access to them and the agency was able to get all the images, too. In fact, all of our content creators could get the right images for use in blog posts or social media.

LN: Perfect.  Did you use analytics information when you were looking at resources and things?

NBS: Site analytics information allowed us to cut out a bunch of pages that weren’t necessary anymore.  For a small company, we had a very big website. In trying to edit it down, we looked at which pages were most visited, most trafficked, that people spent the most time on, and that were key-worded in a way that matched what people were searching for.  That’s kind of how we got our Top 10 pages.

We also used analytics information on digital assets in the Media Collective. The Insights app provides asset performance data, so we could see how many views and downloads individual resources got. It gave us a great place to start re-organizing and reviewing the resources we provide.

And then we saw how far they went on those Top 10 pages before they circled back to the homepage.  That’s how we determined what the sitemap would look like.

LN: Awesome. Those are all my questions. Is there anything else you want to mention about the site?

NINA: No, just that I’m incredibly proud of it. It was pretty much two people working on it and a) we didn’t kill each other, and b) we always saw eye-to-eye on what the outcomes were because we had to really get detailed upfront.  All of the analytics and planning we did initially just gave us a roadmap.

LN: Thanks, Nina.

Topics: Resources, Announcements

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