It all started with a metal folding chair in 1941. Since then, Krueger International, Inc., (KI) became the contract furniture company committed to providing customers with smart solutions. As the first 100% ISO 9001:2008 certified furniture manufacturer, KI expanded into Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia. A strong market understanding is crucial to the success of this almost $700-million dollar company. It’s the main reason why global customers continue to trust KI’s innovative furniture and moveable wall solutions.
While working with clients in the healthcare, government and business sectors, KI saw the opportunity to position themselves as leaders—growing beyond their award-winning expertise in the education industry. KI’s team published new research on how active design leads to better employee retention and how floor plan adjustments in healthcare improve patient happiness. Above all, KI proved they offer far more than furniture. In fact, they coined the term, Furnishing Knowledge.
However, it wasn’t enough for KI to publish research. In order to build stronger relationships in new markets, they needed to build up their thought leadership. They also needed a solution to publish content on a regular basis.
Here at WSOL, we practice what we preach. We’ve adopted and embraced inbound marketing as the most effective way to build our online presence and attract qualified leads. Since implementing HubSpot’s inbound methodology in 2013, we’ve increased our organic traffic by 877%, resulting in 900 new leads and new revenue of more than one million dollars.
KI has been our web design and development client since 2012 and a HubSpot user since 2014. Initially KI focused on utilizing the email, social media and landing page functionality within HubSpot, but quickly determined that HubSpot would be the best platform to launch their new content and blogging initiatives as well. As a long time partner, they looked to us to provide the strategic plan for their content strategy, new blog design, and implementation work.
“WSOL has been a strategic and tactical partner of KI for quite sometime. They bring a high level of expertise and they are very easy to work with. They were heavily involved in the revamp of our website so it was only natural that we’d look to them for guidance on creating and implementing our blog,” says Jessica Schierschmidt, Marketing Communications Specialist at KI.
We worked as an extension of KI’s marketing team to provide and implement inbound solutions to each of their challenges.
First, KI needed to build up thought leadership to reach new markets. We knew that a solid content strategy would boost their efforts. So how did we help? We road tripped to their headquarters in Wisconsin and hosted a blog and content intensive workshop. During the workshop, we discussed inbound methodology, buyer personas and the buyer's journey. After laying an inbound foundation, the content strategy portion focused on content development, implementation and maintenance. Our main goal was to showcase KI’s thought leadership in different industries while keeping their content fun and consistent with their brand voice.
Secondly, KI needed a solution in which to publish their thought leadership and research content. Our marketing and design departments collaborated to build a responsive, mobile-friendly blog in HubSpot which matched the design and feel of the KI website. This included template creation for the blog home page, blog posts, topic listing pages and author listing pages.
"Great content is only 'great' if people see it. That underlying principle is what drives our success with KI."
Remember that awesome research that KI was publishing? We realized that they hadn’t used landing pages to gate the content. This meant that visitors were getting information and KI wasn’t gaining any potential leads. The KI and WSOL teams remedied this together by creating forms and landing pages in HubSpot to capture information on relevant content pieces. We also worked together to create CTAs in HubSpot and place them on KI's blog pages—move visitors through the buyer's journey and down the marketing funnel. Then, this content was promoted through the email and social media campaign tools in HubSpot so that we could drive the right kind of traffic to the page.
For our content and blogging promotion strategy, our primary focus was to use a multi-platform, organic social media campaign to boost the blog’s traffic. The campaign highlighted KI’s five top-performing thought leadership blogs. We wrote and scheduled out the 12-week social media campaign using the HubSpot Social Scheduling tool for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. KI scheduled out our content on Pinterest and Instagram.
“Our partnership with KI is built on trust and a strong collaborative team effort. We know their business goals and objectives, and even more importantly, our team knows how the people in their community consume content and research online. This has been key for us to put together the right content strategy. Great content is only “great” if people see it. That underlying principle is what drives our success with KI,” says Allison Casey, Digital Marketing Director at WSOL.
The results? Well, they speak for themselves.
1. Year over Year increase of 8,078%.
To date, the KI blog has received almost 14,000 visitors. The year over year increases from the launch of the blog to its one year anniversary is 8,078%. Granted, we started from scratch with the blog, but that percentage of increase is something the KI executive team was incredibly excited about.
Cumulative view of blog.ki.com traffic as reported from HubSpot from March 2016-July 2017.
Year over Year Traffic Increase (3/16 v. 3/17)
2. 733% increase in leads and 54% of total blog traffic from social media campaigns.
Our initial social promotion campaigns drove 54% of all of the blog traffic and generated 25 new leads, when during the same time the previous year, the KI site only generated 3 leads. This represents a 733% increase in leads from 2015 to 2016. 2017 continues the momentum with 37 leads during this same time frame, representing a 48% increase.
Initial social media campaign promotion traffic results in 2016.
3. Improved engagement metrics
Creating successful content means knowing that people are visiting and reading it. When we look at the success of “are we driving the RIGHT kind of traffic to the site” we look for improvements in engagement metrics such as bounce rate (a lower bounce rate can indicate that the content resonated), more pages viewed (if they visit the site, and consume more pages, that’s a good thing) and longer time on page (we want visitors to stay and read the content!). For KI’s blog, we saw significant improvements site wide in all three — a 15% drop in the bounce rate, a 5% increase in page views per session and 32% increase in average session length.
4. Gating previously “ungated’ content types has lead to 507 leads and an average landing page conversion of 30.29%.
KI struggled with the decision to move from offering research content on their site as a simple click-to-download PDF, to putting that research behind a form on a landing page. As part of our strategy, we recommended that four research pieces be gated with stronger social and email campaigns tied to the promotion of this content. KI and WSOL felt the increase in traffic that we could generate and the value of this type of content would result in strong lead generation efforts.
5. Social media works!
Our strategy was to rely heavily on building engagement and promoting the blog and content campaigns through social media. We managed all strategy and social posting for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The dramatic improvement in visits, clicks and interactions year over year has lead to KI doubling down on social.
What does the future hold for the KI blog? Schierschmidt says, "The blog has helped drive consistent messaging between our sales and marketing teams. Moving forward, we plan to try different content formats like guest bloggers and video content! Setting up a blog can be daunting, but HubSpot combined with WSOL’s expertise has made it a pretty seamless process for us.”
When KI was established, over 75 years ago, they were committed to providing customers with smart furniture solutions. Over the last year and a half, KI has worked hard to cultivate thought leadership in a variety of industries. They’ve continued to publish new research while growing their blog subscriptions. Their social media following has grown exponentially. And their thought leaders continue to produce provoking and insightful content.
Hospitals can be a scary place for patients, especially children. Adding color, whimsical touches and comfortable seating are simple ways to positively impact the patient experience. #designmoves #healthcaredesign #patientexperience #loungeseating #interiordesign #ispyki
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“From an agency’s perspective, an inbound marketing campaign can only be successful when the client is fully engaged and embraces the inbound philosophy. KI has been the ideal partner in this regard. Beyond understanding and accepting our strategic plan, the entire team has been motivated and tireless in working toward achieving their business goals. We’re excited to continue helping them expand their brand and deliver win after win," says Bill Casey, CEO at WSOL.
We know that KI will continue to see tremendous results in their inbound marketing efforts through HubSpot. So, while KI is Furnishing Knowledge, we are too—knowledge (and proof) that a partnership with us, combined with the HubSpot platform, will to continue to deliver amazing work for our clients.