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Kays Engineering

Kays Engineering Home Page — Before


A manufacturer of deep hole drilling machines, Marshall, Missouri based Kays Engineering needed to update its 15-year old website, which was very hard to navigate and use. Due to poor usability issues and lack of SEO, the site saw little traffic or inquiries.

Completely redesign the website from the ground up with three goals in mind: 1) Tell the company’s story through words and images; 2) Increase traffic and inquiries; and 3) Make it easy for Matt Kays to update site content.

Kays Engineering Website Overhaul

Kays Engineering Home Page – After


Create the Project and Messaging Strategy

Since Kays Engineering hadn’t done a great deal of marketing, except for tradeshows, and because the website was so out-of-date, Dianna first interviewed Matt Kays, Kays’ sales manager, and Ed Kays, founder and President, in order to learn about the company, its products, and its sales process.

This learning phase also included extensive research into the industry, competitors, and the machines themselves. Matt provided a great deal of source material including old collateral, ads, and other material — all of which was informative and interesting. Dianna also watched Kays’ entire video library on YouTube.

Based on the research and interviews, Dianna then created a Project Strategy Brief which listed the company’s target audience and their challenges, brand assets, and Kays’ sales process. The Brief also included a thorough Messaging and Positioning Strategy, content recommendations, and proposed site map.

Create all new copy — including Products

The main challenge for this project was the lack of up-to-date Product information. Names for the machines were different across various pieces of outdated collateral and no real message had been developed over the years that describe the benefits of either the DeHoff or Eldorado product line. As Matt said, Engineering and his dad kept a lot of info in their heads.

Getting this info out of people’s head and into actual copy for the Products section was the first order of business. Matt and Dianna created an initial draft with feedback from Kays engineers and Ed Kays. The internal team created product nomenclature and specifications for each machine, along with the benefits and applications of each one.

Dianna also worked with Matt to tell the Kays story. The company oversees the entire manufacturing process in-house, including engineering and design. In addition, the company still uses an old-school method for producing the machines’ box-ways, a method that delivers precision where it counts: in the drilling process.

Together Matt and Dianna created copy for other areas of the website, including the About section with its company history, Capabilities and team bios, and the Resources section. The copy went through many revisions as the Kays management team and engineers provided feedback.

WordPress design and coding

Once the copy was close to being finalized, Rachel Cunliffe provide her recommendations on how best to format the website navigation. The copy deck was becoming quite unwieldy, especially the Products section with all the machine specs. We needed Rachel’s perspective on how all the content would be incorporated into a new layout.

Using the project and messaging strategy and copy, Rachel created the new design, which included her recommendations on how to best present the machines and the specifications.

The new design has many wonderful features. To show Kays’ attention to detail and the machine precision, Rachel incorporated large black and white images in the page headers. By using black and white, she gave Kays a high-performance, modern look while also capturing the essence of the company’s Missouri roots.

Site visitors can immediately choose between either of the two product lines and from there, view the machine models for each one. Each product page includes machine application type and specifications.

Calls-to-action on each page are highly visible and to the point: call or email for more information. Most important, Matt can easily update content across the site due to the custom-designed WordPress backend.

Matt Kays

Matt Kays, VP Business Development, Kays Engineering


The new website is fresh, personable and tells the Kays story in a compelling and visual way. The site is fully optimized for search and is mobile-friendly — meaning it renders well on any size device.

Since the site went live in 2015, Matt has overseen all his own updates and edits. He’s hired Dianna and Rachel to create other pieces of marketing collateral, including all of his print ads for tradeshow publications. And, he calls Dianna from time-to-time to discuss ongoing marketing strategy.

“Dianna Huff is extremely knowledgeable in the B2B industrial marketing realm, which has proved to be very helpful to improving the marketing strategy of our small manufacturing company. Both Dianna and Rachel are very responsive and helpful, whether on the phone or via email. I highly recommend them for any website or marketing needs you may have.”

— Matt Kays, VP, Business Development, Kays Engineering, Inc.