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ʼTis the Season for Website Redesigns: 7 Lessons Learned from Redesigning Industrial Websites

A New Year and a new website mean new leads and sales opportunities. That’s what most businesses wish for during the Holiday Season. A website redesign is a common marketing kick off in Q1 for many manufacturers, industrial and engineering companies.

With 2011 right around the corner, this is a good time to finalize your website redesign plans in order to find the right prospects and begin filling your sales pipeline.

This post is a summary of lessons learned from my 10+ years of experience in redesigning many industrial websites. I’ve also provided links to my other articles from this blog that talk about the key elements of a successful website redesign.

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5 Rules of Website Redesign for Engaging Engineers and Industrial Buyers

If you are a manufacturer or a provider of technical services, your website needs to be aligned with the buying process of your prospects and customers. Today, technical buyers and engineers expect suppliers to have a substantial online presence with a website packed with relevant content in a variety of formats and easily searchable. Is your site ready for this shift in expectations or do you need a website redesign?

I’m sure you’ve read many times that engineers hate marketing/marketers and they want only the facts. Those punch lines and stereotypes may be amusing but they won’t really help you come up with an effective site redesign. How do you engage engineers and technical buyers on your website and build deeper relationships and achieve higher conversion rates?

Rule #1: Natural or organic search engine optimization (SEO)

In the research phase of the industrial buying cycle, engineers and industrial buyers tend to use broad keywords and phrases that describe their current problem. Unless your website shows up in the initial phases, you are probably not going to be considered in the next step, which is the comparison stage.

It shouldn’t be an afterthought because retrofitting SEO after the redesign is typically not very effective and usually costs more. Read more

Successful Industrial Websites Require Part DiY and Part Professional Help

One trend that I have noticed lately with my industrial and engineering clients is that they want to take more of the work in-house. I am referring to updating, maintaining and sometimes marketing their industrial websites. Is that a good thing?

My opinion is somewhat biased because I am an industrial and B2B marketing consultant. I make my living providing marketing services including designing and marketing industrial websites. However, I think it is a new and permanent reality of the current economy and have learned to adjust my business model accordingly.

Adding value to industrial website development and marketing

I am going to illustrate my point about part DiY and part professional help by using three real-life examples from my own industrial marketing business.

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B2B Websites: To Publish Prices, Or Not To Publish…That Is The Question

Do you show prices on your B2B website? Have you struggled to answer that question? You are not alone, most business purchases, especially industrial products don’t lend themselves to a simple Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). It becomes even more complicated if you sell through channel partners and there are different pricing structures in place.

This is not a new problem; business marketers have been debating the pros and cons of publishing prices on their websites for several years now. I found a series of blog posts on pricing on your website at Dave Jung’s B2B Blog, some of those articles date back to 2006.

Why do we need prices on B2B websites?

There have been many studies done over the years that indicate that price information is the very reason why most B2B buyers visit a vendor’s website. Read more

The 6 essential rules of a website redesign – Ignore them at your peril

Is you current website an asset or a liability? Is it so outdated that you avoid sending prospects and customers to your site? It may be time to invest in your online presence.

The one thing that this recession has taught B2B marketers is to do more with less. This trend towards lower-cost content marketing is likely to continue well into 2010. It goes well beyond just cutting costs, today, it is more about accountability, analytics and engaging customers and prospects by using free or inexpensive social media tactics.

So, what should you do to revamp or redesign your current website? I’m not talking about a cosmetic facelift but turning it into a marketing powerhouse as you position your company for the recovery. Here are six essential rules that you should follow:

1. Optimize, optimize, optimize: That’s the golden rule of online marketing as is location, location, location in real estate. Unless your prospects can find your site when searching in major search engines, you are dead in the water. It is possible to do search engine optimization (SEO) by yourself but allow yourself time and there is a learning curve. Consider hiring a coach or an SEO expert to work up a strategic plan that you can execute.

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Should You Set Your Content Free?

I’m wrestling with this question on a site redesign project that we are working on. The client has co-authored a highly technical but a solution driven white paper. It is definitely a great resource for generating high-quality leads from their site. Should we put this valuable content behind a short registration form or make it freely available?

With the first option, we capture qualified leads but run the risk of losing some because of the extra step required. Setting it free would mean waiting for the interested party to contact the client. No doubt, it would be a warmer lead but would result in a wait and see approach.

I Googled my dilemma and came up with several posts on both sides of the argument. Here are a few of them:

What are you doing with your content?

Your Company Web Site Must Be the Hub of Your Online Marketing

Your company Web site is the top online marketing option when it comes to marketing to engineers, technical, industrial and manufacturing professionals. This is according to a new white paper from GlobalSpec called "Marketing to Engineering, Technical, Industrial and Manufacturing Professionals: What’s Working Best Today."

The white paper cites statistics from their recent surveys of their target audience, which show that:

  • 90% have used the Internet to find components and suppliers
  • 85% go online to obtain product specifications
  • 74% use the Internet to conduct research
  • 68% use the Internet to search for technical application ideas

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