News SKT Website Receives National Marketing Award
SKT’s newly redesigned website, launched in July 2019 at SKTC.net, has received top honors in a national telecommunications industry marketing competition. The site was awarded First Runner-Up in the Website Redesign category of the NTCA (The National Rural Broadband Association) 2019 Marketing eXcellence Awards. NTCA, of which SKT is a member, is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. The awards were presented on June 3 during the 2020 NTCA Marketing+Sales Virtual Conference.
80 Years of Service
While SKT has been investing in the communities and people it serves for 80 years, the company has evolved from a small telephone provider to a leading rural tech company with excellent hometown customer service.
“In 1940, we had switchboards, party lines, and some telephone poles made from stripped down tree trunks. Now we’re offering up to 1 Gbps fiber internet service. But regardless of the tech, we have this longstanding tradition of quality, neighborly customer service and community involvement,” SKT Marketing Manager Megan Harper said. “With this new website, we wanted our digital presence to reflect that culture where high tech meets hometown.”
Functional & Dynamic
After evaluating company and customer needs, the site was designed in partnership with local agency Cassandra Bryan Design with specific goals in mind: simple, intuitive navigation; a fresh, modern design with a consistent visual hierarchy; more in-house control of content; ease of entry for pricing and features of SKT services; and adding an integrated employee portal. To make the domain name easier to remember and reflect customer email addresses, the site was launched at SKTC.net, a more concise and recognizable option compared to the previous SKTMainstreet.com. As a result, direct traffic to the website increased nearly 10 percent compared to the previous year.
“I’m proud of where we landed with the website both aesthetically and functionally,” Harper said. “We’re honored to receive this award and be recognized on a national scale.”
Key Features Auto-Play Videos
To create a more dynamic experience and add movement, these videos were integrated on the website’s home page and main product pages. They include videos shot and produced locally by Method Productions, a Wichita-based video production company, and other seasonal videos that add a fun, and often playful, element.
Key Features Community-Focused Pages
To help people connect with SKT’s staff and to showcase the company’s involvement in the communities it serves, several sections were added to the website, including “Meet SKT,” “Who We are,” “Community Involvement,” and “Careers” pages. An “Events” section highlights SKT and community events, and the “Newsroom” section offers fresh, local content every month.
Key Features Help & Support
This section improved communication with customers, allowing them to easily find answers to their most common questions and get updates on service outages. It features a new “Help Center” with resources such as FAQs, tutorials, videos, and downloads. The “Status of Services” page allows customers to check for information on outages and report a service issue online. Additionally, an announcement bar appears at the top of all pages showing real-time service updates
Key Features Consolidated Customer Tools
The “Log In” button in the top right corner of the website combined several icons for customer portals into one convenient dropdown.
Key Features Mobile-Responsive Design & Faster Load Time
Site visitors can easily navigate on their mobile phone or tablet without losing the design elements and features. The new site loads in one-third the time of the previous website, which has led to an increase in mobile visitors.
Key Features Increased Efficiency for Staff
Previously, pricing and features information had to be updated in an employee portal and on the customer-facing website. “That led to discrepancies,” Harper explained. “Customer service staff had to download PDF files for each service, which slowed them down when on the phone with a customer. Not to mention, it was impossible for our techs to pull up the information on their phones while at a customer’s home or business. On the new site, the information is entered in one place, improving accuracy, and each page has password-protected notes for staff. No more downloading PDF files,” she said.
About the Award
NTCA’s annual awards program honors excellence in member telco marketing, sales, and public relations. Entries in seven categories – marketing campaign, PR campaign, website redesign, sales strategy, publications, branding project, and broadcast advertising – were judged on innovative strategies, design, writing, creativity, and other elements specific to each category. The award winners were highlighted in the virtual “Solutions eXchange” exhibit hall throughout this year’s conference, and a video depicting their work has been shared on the NTCA website, social media, and digital newsletters. The winning entries reflect campaigns that took place in 2019.
“I would like to congratulate all of the 2019 Marketing eXcellence Award winners for their incredible work,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “The marketing efforts of NTCA member companies play a critical role in educating consumers and raising awareness of communications technologies, services, initiatives and issues that impact the vitality of rural communities—all of which are extraordinarily important right now. Their work is truly impressive.”