Across America Insurance

Website Redesign, Training, SOPs

Riverside, California

The Challenge

Restructuring a website and training a team for future success

Since 2011, we have collaborated with partner agency Direct Connection to support their brand and web development projects. Their client, Across America Insurance, requested as many as four (4) websites for their various entities. We were hired to design and build those websites.


As part of that project scope, we agreed to lead the account manager, content developer, in-house production designer, and management toward building an organization-wide procedural system, as well as SOPs, to manage similar projects in the future. 

Step 1


We worked with Direct Connection's in-house team to devise a strategy to survey the client in order to gather information relating to audience, brand attributes, visual likes/dislikes, team, and company history.

Step 2


It's inefficient to work from raw Discovery. The 816 New York team studied and synthesized the materials the Direct Connection team had gathered, which included emails, a questionnaire, interviews, and photographs. We delivered to them a Discovery Copy Points document—essentially a storytelling cheat sheet—and walked them through the logic and organizational process we used to create it.

Website copy points
Step 3

Design & UX

We built two homepage concepts (not shown), complete with headlines and impact-driven placeholder copy, paired with corresponding mood boards that highlighted palettes, fonts, and patterns, based on the Discovery Copy Points and photos of Across America's recently redesigned office. We also worked with the Direct Connection team to draft the sitemap and sketch user flows.

Step 4

Sales Pitch

We presented the mood boards and homepage concepts to the Direct Connection team, demonstrating to them how to pitch the ideas to the client. We indicated that effective sales strategy means listening and responding during the pitch, guiding the client toward the design they felt most aligned with the brand story as clearly as they could imagine it, as well as the vision they have for the company in the future.

I have worked closely with Sarah on several website projects, and each time I have been blown away by her depth of knowledge and her unique, creative mind. She has provided operational direction far beyond our typical website build-out—steering me through the steps from start to finish and offering valuable guidance for presenting to clients. I am grateful for her expertise and would recommend her services to anyone seeking out a master designer with skilled business sense.

Erin Dwyer, Senior Account Manager Direct Connection Advertising & Marketing: Fairfield, CA
Step 5


Once the client had selected a design—which happened during the pitch meeting—we led the team toward writing and gathering the content, while we built out the website. We are working with third-party teams to integrate the site with their client portal software, as well as CRMs. We will perform a site walkthrough to demonstrate to the Direct Connection team, once again, how to pitch the site to the client and get quick approvals. We have implemented best practices for SEO, conducted responsiveness testing, and proofed / tightened all copy across the website.

Step 6

Training & SOPs

We have helped Direct Connection account managers to develop project management SOPs for all steps along the way: how to build a flexible yet realistic timeline, how to create a sense of urgency with the client and team in order to ensure deadlines are met, and how to communicate with the client and content contractors to gather critical information to align the website with the brand as a whole.