Is a new or updated website on your list of New Year’s Resolutions? If you’re in manufacturing or an industrial business, the type of websites that worked five years ago can hold you back today. Here are 9 components of your site that can make or break your business:
1. Professional design
We typically think of design as a way to make sites more visually attractive, but that’s not the only way it boosts your bottom line. A skilled designer also makes it easier for users find the information they want, moving them through your sales cycle faster. Good design will quickly pay for itself, while a lackluster look and feel will drive buyers to your competition. Think of it as an investment rather than an expense.
2. Benefit-focused copy
Good web copy demonstrates a clear recognition of the customer’s needs rather than spending a lot of time talking about you. Encourage your buyer’s interest by emphasizing the benefits of your company’s products, not just their features.
3. High-quality images
Recent studies have shown that relevant, high-quality images encourage users to spend more time on websites. Quality images also enhance your credibility as an established and professional company, especially with new prospects.
4. Branding consistency
A consistent, site-wide branding approach boosts user perception of your professionalism and helps to foster trust, the most valuable characteristic of B2B relationships. Many manufacturing companies have web pages or marketing materials that look significantly different because they were created by different people at different times. This creates user confusion, dilutes credibility, and can even cost you sales.
5. Brand personality
A strong brand personality adds value to what you offer, enabling you to compete on more than just price. Emphasizing your brand’s unique qualities gives you a competitive advantage by sending the message that you sell solutions and expertise rather than commoditized products.
6. Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO makes it easier for costumers find you when using Google or other search engines. Today’s B2B buyers spend a lot more time searching the Internet for solutions than they do at trade shows. With strong SEO, by the time they contact you all you have to do is close the sale.
7. Mobile device compatibility
Mobile phones and tablets now account for about half of all web traffic, so mobile-responsive design optimizes your site for users on any device. Even if you don’t have a high percentage of users on mobile devices yet, Google started penalizing sites that aren’t mobile-friendly on April 21, 2015. The bottom line is this: if you’re not mobile-compatible, you’re automatically showing up lower in search results.
8. Intuitive content and product search
Information is the most important thing your prospects need before contacting you for a quote. A clear and intuitive search function makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for, to discover other products you offer, and to close sales faster.
9. Hot lead generation
Adding lead-generation functionality to your site encourages clients to contact you, reducing the amount of time you have to spend chasing them.
Web technology is changing, and it’s changing the manufacturing market as well. The strategies detailed here are a factor that’s making the difference between emerging leaders and companies that are being left behind in today’s market. For that reason, beware the tendency to think of your website update as a chore to be delayed until the last minute. It will cost a lot more to play catch-up if competitors embrace these ideas first.