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Industrial Web Design – Visit to Call is Not Automatic

Calls from industrial websitesNine out of ten times, manufacturers and industrial companies want their site visitors to call them right after they visit the site. Right or wrong, this is the primary call to action they want when discussing industrial web redesign. They do like the idea of generating leads via content downloads but that is secondary to the phone call.

To a large extent, I do understand their need for the phone call. Most industrial sales require an applications engineer or an expert to talk to the visitor to fully understand their needs before presenting a solution. The exception may be distributors using eCommerce to sell components online. Even they are moving more towards solution based selling.

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Why Many Industrial Websites Underperform

Industrial websitesThere are many reasons for an industrial website’s failure to deliver anticipated results. The list is long – poor search engine optimization, bad user experience, content that doesn’t match visitors’ needs and/or lack of calls to action to name just a few.

However, there is one common trait that I have noticed for many industrial websites to underperform – there is very little thought given to how and where the website fits in the sales process.

The focus of most industrial website redesigns is on everything but its role in the sales process. Search engine optimization (SEO) is obviously critical to the success of your online marketing but you are seriously underutilizing your industrial website if all it is doing is attracting traffic.
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Responsive Web Design Becoming Important to Industrial Companies

Lately I have been fielding a lot of questions about responsive web design from companies that are planning an industrial website redesign. In case you are wondering what the heck is responsive web design, let me give you Wikipedia’s definition first:

“Responsive web design (often abbreviated to RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).”

I found a better description in an article from Forbes (You know something has gone mainstream in the business world when Forbes publishes a featured article on it). They define it simply as, “Responsive Web design is a new design approach that enables Web designers and developers to build and maintain a single website to serve to all kinds of devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops and more.”

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Is it Time for Your Industrial Website to Sing Auld Lang Syne?

As 2012 ends and we look forward to 2013, it is a good time to review your current industrial website. In keeping with the tradition of celebrating the start of the New Year by singing “Auld Lang Syne,” it may be time for you to say farewell to the old site and greet the New Year with a redesigned website.

There are many reasons for redesigning your industrial website, mainly because it is outdated or it is underperforming or not producing any results at all. However, before you dive into the deep end of a site redesign, you need to first plan your content. By content, I don’t mean just the text on your web pages.

Based on my experience in developing successful sites for manufacturing and industrial companies, I suggest you spend a lot of time on the following tasks before beginning the redesign:

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Do You Believe in Industrial Websites?

Just like the classic ’60s hit song “Do You Believe in Magic?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful, I am wondering if manufacturers and industrial companies believe in their industrial websites.

I am not so sure manufacturing companies are fully convinced that their website is a real sales tool. My doubts stem from some of the things that I hear in my regular conversations with these companies. Here are a few actual sound bites:

  • We are still using our first website that was created by our president’s 23-year old son-in-law
  • We didn’t want to spend too much money so we hired an offshore programmer from a freelance site to design our company’s website
  • We spent a lot of money on SEO and PPC programs but our site hasn’t generated good quality leads
  • We are not very happy with the look of our site and we want a good designer to make our site look really “cool”
  • We put up a website because all our competitors have one
  • We don’t really use the website because 80-90% of our new business comes from referrals and repeat business

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Align Industrial Websites with Sales Process

If you want your industrial website to generate qualified leads and drive sales (Who doesn’t?), make sure the site is aligned with your sales process. Without this critical link, your newly redesigned industrial website may be nothing more than eye candy that does very little for your sales.

In my daily conversations with manufacturing and industrial companies, I find the mindset is still very much centered on marketing the old way. They want their site visitors to call and their crack sales team will take care of everything to close the deal.

Even though these people have read all the industry studies, they have a very difficult time accepting the fact that their buyers are no longer willing to engage with their salespeople until they need a quote. Now it boils down to price and delivery time.

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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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Inbound Marketing Tactics to Get Bulk of B2B Marketing Budgets in 2011

As we head into November and the start of the Holiday Season, B2B marketers are getting into their budgeting mode. With the cloud of economic uncertainty still hanging over many industries, it is not surprising that B2B marketers are shifting their 2011 budgets more towards lower-cost inbound eMarketing tactics.

MarketingSherpa asked more than 900 B2B marketers how they expected their marketing budgets to change for 2011. The chart below shows the breakdown between different marketing tactics and the projected increase/decrease for the next year. Read more

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