SouthStar Energy Services serves over half a million residential, business and large industrial customers in numerous retail energy markets across the United States. They operate a service network encompassing approximately 20 interstate natural gas pipelines and successfully manage more than 8 million customer interactions each year. In addition to providing natural gas to homes, they offer transportation and supply services, pricing and contract options, and asset management services. Many people are familiar with their family companies, such as Georgia Natural Gas, Florida Natural Gas, and Piedmont Energy, but few people understand the relationship between SouthStar and these divisions.


SouthStar needed help distinguishing their brand and gaining attention within their commercial and residential targets. According to Dell’s executive director of global marketing, Rishi Dave, 60% of consumers’ minds are made up by the time they contact a sales representative. This just shows the importance of a user-friendly and content-rich website. If a consumer can’t find information on the website easily, they’ll get frustrated and look elsewhere—it’s only a click away. SouthStar Energy Services decided to stop losing customers to a problem that could be fixed, so they contacted HeavyDuty Branding.


Although SouthStar is a leading natural gas provider in the Southeast, their website didn’t reflect that. The site was dated, difficult to navigate, and not user-friendly. The pages were too text-heavy with little white space. In order to enhance user experience (UX) and modernize the look and feel, a major website overhaul was needed. SouthStar chose HeavyDuty because of their success and experience in the industrial marketing arena.


Site Architecture

SouthStar knew their website played a huge role in lead generation. If customers can’t reach the information they need, they will give up and move on. HeavyDuty began the renovation by creating a new sitemap and wireframes for the site. The new user ow reduced the amount of clicks it took to get customers where they needed to go. They also revised the hierarchy of the site, making it easier to navigate. The new user-friendly interface of SouthStar began to take off.


Then came the major copy overhaul. HeavyDuty got rid of the “ fluff” and wrote the copy in a way that was streamlined and easy to understand. Minor bugs were found when exploring the existing site, which were quickly corrected. HeavyDuty also updated an existing gas pump infographic, illustrating the impressive cost savings of using compressed natural gas versus diesel fuel in fleet vehicles.
The original site had a static map showing the areas Southstar serves. As you can probably guess, HeavyDuty fixed that too, enabling customers to click on areas of the map to choose and receive information about their location. A mobile solution of the map was implemented as well for customers to easily find their location on the go.


Then, the additions began. In order to better connect with customers and share fresh information, HeavyDuty created a blog for the company. Blogs are an essential tool for inbound marketing. They help build communities and position you as an expert in your industry. By consistently adding content that is rich in searchable key words, blogs are a great instrument to optimize search engine traffic. New relationships established through this blog could ultimately produce more lead generation.  

HeavyDuty added a video library to feature the video assets SouthStar had produced for separate marketing initiatives. By congregating all the graphics into one place, the library increased exposure to these great assets.
We all know that one friend who is too proud or impatient to read an instruction manual. HeavyDuty created a feature that feels less like a lecture from a manual, and more like participating with an expert. HeavyDuty designed an interactive “Reading Your Bill” feature to explain each part of the bill to customers. In the new feature, users can hover over the section in question and a short explanation will pop up. With an interactive explanation, the customer quickly gets the answers they need.
HeavyDuty also generated a responsive mobile version of the SouthStar site to make it easier for customers to access on the go. Instead of chasing viewers away with minuscule font and tiny buttons on a 2-by-4 screen, the mobile version simplifies and optimizes viewing across multiple mobile devices, therefore attracting more customers.


SouthStar now boasts an easy to navigate, user-friendly desktop and mobile site. HeavyDuty Branding overhauled the existing website and created a space where customers can find the information they need easily and quickly. Prospective customers will no longer be scared away by copy-heavy pages and online mazes to gather information, which in the end will maximize lead generation sales. Hierarchies have been established with SouthStar’s brands and services clearly explained. With their renovated website, SouthStar Energy Services can now support the idea that they have the newest technology as a natural gas provider.
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