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There are many reasons for redesigning your industrial website, mainly because it is outdated or it is underperforming or not producing any results at all.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:

  • Define the problem before selling the solution: Don’t assume your customers know they have a problem for which you have a solution. It is not just defining the problem; you have to make your target audience aware of their pain and that it is in their best interest to act now rather than later. (See Problem-centric Industrial Marketing)
  • Make a strong business case for buying your solution: Engineers need product features and technical capabilities in order to specify your product. It is true that unless your component is “designed in,” you are not likely to get an RFQ. However, your content needs to help these engineers make a strong business case to their executives who are the only ones who can make the “buy” decision. (See Content Can Differentiate Industrial Companies When There’s Parity in Value Propositions)
  • Validate your in-house expertise: Making tall claims or generic statements like“Our people are the industry experts and can help you select the best solution at the lowest price” won’t cut it. Prove it! Bring your in-house engineers and domain experts to the forefront for your target audience to interact with them directly. One of the best ways to do this is with an integrated blog. If you are still on the fence about blogging, I suggest you read, Why Your Sales Funnel May Run Dry Without a Business Blog.
  • Plan ahead for how you’ll convert site traffic into qualified leads: Optimizing your site (SEO) is a big part of making industrial websites more productive but it is only half the battle. The content on your site needs to convert that traffic into qualified, sales ready leads in order to produce the results you want. This part is critical to your site’s success and requires you to do several things. Here are some of my earlier posts for more on the importance of creating content that converts.
  1. Why a Content BOM is Crucial to a Successful Industrial Web Design
  2. You’ve Got Traffic. Now What?
  3. Is Your Industrial Website Leaking Leads?
  4. How Manufacturers Use 3D CAD Models and 2D CAD Drawings as Sales Enablers
  5. Industrial Content Marketing with Purpose
  6. Industrial Marketing Content that Helps Buyers
  7. Manufacturers Need Lead Management to Close the RFQ Gap
  8. How Landing Pages Can Make or Break Lead Generation Campaigns
  9. Lead Nurturing Is Not A Marketing Option, It’s A Sales Necessity
  10. B2B Lead Generation without Lead Nurturing is Doomed to Fail

Now, if you are thinking that your crack sales team can take care of all this, you’ll be mistaken. Today’s savvy industrial buyer expects and demands that your industrial website include a digital self-service center that is well stocked with relevant content to help them make an informed decision before they will engage with your sales team.

As the seller, you would have gained very little insight about the buyer or his needs if the RFQ were your first touch point. For all you know, the decision has already been made and your proposal is just one of three competitive bids that purchasing needs to fill out their spreadsheet or use as leverage to negotiate with the incumbent supplier. Without good content, your sales conversations are likely to be less productive. (See Inbound Marketing Must Set the Table for Industrial Sales).

To get a head start on redesigning your industrial website, download our free whitepaper, Step-by-Step Guide to Web (re)Design.

I wish you all a peaceful, healthy and prosperous 2013! See you next year.

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