“If I had a pound for every time some smart a**e marketer tells me manufacturers need websites” moaned my friend, a managing director at a specialist tooling supplier.
“Of course we have a website, we live in the 21st century don’t we?” he continued. “But I’ll tell you now… waste of money. Doesn’t make a blind bit of difference.”
Have you found yourself agreeing with sentiments like these?
When you work in the manufacturing industry dealing with business-to-business proposals and contracts, the idea of bringing in new business via a website can seem a little… incredulous.
It turns out you may be right.
It isn’t a website that makes the difference.
What you need is the right website designer.
You see it wasn’t having a website and an online presence that was failing my dear friend mentioned above. It was the website design.
It had been developed at minimal cost and failed to have in place the necessary processes that would help customers to A. even find the site and B. properly navigate the site.
Apart from the contact page, the website also failed to hold any information that would be useful or interesting to potential clients. He was correct of course, his manufacturing website was “about as useful as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking competition”.
Working within the manufacturing industry, especially the running and managing of manufacturing business is becoming especially challenging.
Product choice is now available at an international level, and cost driven competition is forcing manufacturers to consider many ways to drive down costs; leaving marketing support trailing behind the bigger, more pressing concerns.
It’s, therefore, true to admit that supporting manufacturers in developing new business online is not straightforward.
It isn’t a case of creating a nice looking website and expecting it to meet the diverse needs of customers. For manufacturers to want to spend their strict budgets on websites – they have to be effective.
Creating a manufacturers website that wins new business requires expertise from professionals that understand the industry, that take the time to study your business environment, the sales processes and customer segments.
It takes a knowledgeable website designer with a history of working for, and improving sales for other manufacturers. Not someone who will throw together any old website just to receive a paid stamp on their invoice.
A talented website designer will first consider three aspects:
Research into these areas will provide a good foundation to start the planning and design of a useful and compelling website.
Website designers understand the potential that the internet now has for generating business for manufacturers. As identified by GlobalSpec surveys referenced in MarketingSherpa, “nine out of 10 industrial buyers start with the internet when sourcing products and services”.
So for manufacturing websites, it’s all about research.
Potential clients are still and will continue to turn to internet searches to find product specifications, prices, delivery options, capabilities and project samples in order to make comparisons and informed decisions.
A good website designer will, therefore, encourage your manufacturing business to provide this information and will then position useful client information at easily identifiable locations on your website. And an exceptional manufacturing website designer will make sure that it’s your website that is found by potential customers. That it’s your site that is displayed when online searches are conducted.
Industrial buyers are busy people and often on the move. Which means they can be conducting research online from anywhere on a laptop to a tablet or smartphone. Manufacturing website designers will ensure your site is designed in such a way that it can be easily viewed and used on any device your client is using.
In order for your website to appear on the first page of a Google search, it must meet Google’s requirements. An expert website designer will ensure that the right processes, code and content are included when building the website so that Google can easily read through your site and correctly identify your business, products and services.
This sounds a lot easier than it actually is, requiring that the site is developed with right URL structure, accurate tags, titles and keywords so it will be selected by Google as the best site out of many to be presented in search results.
A skilled manufacturing site designer will identify the places online that your target market will use. Perhaps it’s an industry forum, a business social media site like LinkedIn or YouTube, or the even the ad section of a Google search page.
By identifying these processes early, the website can be tailored to exploit these channels with specially developed landing pages, promotional pages and social share options to really boost the brand awareness of your manufacturing products and spread the word of your website across the world wide web.
A company that just churns out website after website won’t take the time and consideration to develop these useful design features at the start; which is why selecting a talented website designer will in the end, pretty much pay for itself.
However, when it comes to manufacturing websites, it’s not about creating online sales and an eCommerce site (the majority of the time). It’s often about generating those leads that develop into larger contracts and continual business.
This should take the manufacturing website designer back to their original research – your business processes and marketing goals.
By using a funnelling technique, a skilled manufacturing website designer can develop a site that expertly funnels your visitors along the right path until they reach your marketing goal; whether that’s completing a sign-up form or making that phone call.
This is where we borrow HubSpot’s inbound marketing infographic because it’s pretty darn helpful [credit: http://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing]:
As you can see from the chart, a website needs to facilitate the journey of clients from strangers to customers, and to promoters (who openly advocate your service to other potential clients).
Website design plays an important role in supporting the sales conversion by first designing a site that intrigues the visitor, and then positioning links and images that lead the visitor further into the site, helping them discover new ideas and services that leave them impressed and seriously considering taking the relationship that little bit further.
There are a number of effective content ideas to use when developing a website – identified here by the Content Marketing Institute as seen in their manufacturing survey results
Of course, we can’t give away all the secrets, tactics and techniques for converting visitors into clients – and yes, many of them will depend on customer research… but there is one thing you can be sure of…
Once a website has succeeded in drawing in customer interest, encouraging research, delivering the necessary information and motivating action – then you know that you definitely have a valuable asset on your hands and will not be, as my manufacturing buddy so affectionately described “flushing money down the loo.”
With the appropriate monitoring software included by a good website designer, you too can witness for yourself the website’s traffic and performance as well as accumulate vital information on your target market demographics, interests and preferences; all from an expertly designed and planned-out manufacturing website.
So when you really look into the effort that should go in to designing a manufacturing website, it can be true that manufacturers don’t just need a website… they need an expert manufacturing website designer.
To access a comprehensive design plan for a successful manufacturing website from experienced website designers – contact Cocoonfxmedia on 01543 223074 or visit https://www.cocoonfxmedia.co.uk/web-design/