Remember the old US Army commercial – “Be All You Can Be?” It was one of the most popular and successful recruiting slogans and the army used it for over twenty years. It was created in 1981 by E. N. J. Carter (he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his efforts) when he was with N. W. Ayer & Son, the first advertising agency in the United States. (Source: Wikipedia)
What does any of this have to do with industrial websites? Plenty as it turns out.
I can’t think of a single conversation about website redesign that I’ve had with industrial companies that didn’t start with or include the following, “We want our website to be on the first page of Google for … (fill in your own keywords and phrases).”
Right from the get go, the entire focus of the site redesign is on search engine optimization (SEO). After all, why would you create a site that no one can find? One of the big draws of inbound marketing with content is that it helps a website get found early and often by its target audience. So what’s wrong with that singular focus on SEO?
Nothing per se, however, driving traffic to industrial sites is only half the battle. The other half of the equation has to do with converting that traffic into prospects and qualified leads. That’s why you need to ask yourself, “How can I make my industrial website be all it can be?”
Jill Whalen (@JillWhalen), a highly regarded SEO expert and the CEO of High Rankings, an SEO Consulting company, had this to say in one of her recent newsletters, “…while your website may already be the best it can be technically for search engines, it’s time to make it the best it can be for your users. Both parts of that equation are equally important.”
Her statement is spot on!
Search engines and SEO will drive traffic to your industrial site but it is your site’s content that must convert it into qualified leads. Your conversion is likely to suffer if the content fails to address the pain points of your target audience.
It is only when you provide content (text, videos, white papers, case studies, demos, testimonials etc.) that your site visitors find relevant to their needs (What’s in it for me – WIIFM) will they take an action. It may not happen on their first visit but it will certainly increase the odds of your site being bookmarked as a trusted resource worthy of future visits.
It is difficult to create relevant content unless you first develop a deep understanding of the various stakeholders involved on your customer’s end. This is very important for manufacturers and industrial companies since their customers’ sales cycles tend to be long and complex with several people involved in the decision making process. Different people will have different needs and pain points depending on their roles in the decision making process and the stage they are at in their buying cycle.
I’m not implying that tactics like title tags, strategic placement of keywords and other white hat SEO techniques are not important. I’m saying those should be deployed in the context of making your content relevant to human readers if you want better conversions.
I have said it many times before here on this blog but it is worth repeating. Inbound marketing is not easy and you won’t see immediate results but it will increase influence, establish thought leadership, improve branding and help to build long-term relationships that are of high value.
That’s what I call making an industrial website (or a blog) be all it can be.
Do you think your industrial site could be better? What improvements have you made to it recently?