Industrial marketing experts and manufacturing executives have a myriad of topics they can spend time debating. One particular area of industrial marketing they agree on (most of the time) is the critical importance of an effective website. Yet if you spend 10 minutes online looking at manufacturing websites you will be horrified at the significant percentage of these websites that are absolutely awful.
Now in the distant past of say, 10 years ago, you might have gotten away with having a substandard website, but not today. In fact poorly-structured websites go well beyond damaging your brand. If your website is not properly designed you are losing sales leads and ultimately opportunities on a daily basis.
While there are hundreds of reasons you may not be getting the kind of results you want from your website the main reason your website is failing is simply this:
Your website is not providing what is valued.
The purpose of any website is conversion—period. If you are not converting website visitors to inquiries your website is failing. While it is possible your lack of conversion is caused by having the wrong types of visitors coming to your website, a much more likely explanation is that your website is not offering your visitors what they view as valuable.
Hands down, without fail, this is the single biggest website problem I see in my industrial marketing consulting work.
Fixing this problem is easy but does require effort. As you know, early stage buying is being done online. Unfortunately, many manufacturers believe that the content desired by early stage buyers consists of lots of product information or company promotional literature.
The problem is that this type of content is for the later stages of the buying process when website visitors are evaluating alternatives and making a choice. It does not help them at the earliest stages of their buying process which are:
1. Awareness/Recognition of Needs
If the content on your website is strictly product information or company information your buyers are largely at the stage in their buying process where you are “column fodder.” In essence, you become one of the three quotes they require. To put it another way, because your website did not provide them with the resources they needed during their early stage buying you cannot be viewed as a favourite.
If you want to dramatically improve your website results be certain you are providing early stage buying content on your website. Provide whitepapers, tip sheets, blog posts, reports, checklists, or guides that move your prospects from their status quo into the research stage. In other words first disturb them with content that identifies problems and pain points or content that reveals new and better ways of accomplishing their objectives. Then provide content that educates them about the subject matter and makes them feel confident about building a case for change.
When you provide content on your website that is mapped to the earliest stages of your prospects’ buying process you will get more of them interested in your company before they are evaluating alternatives. This gives you the opportunity of resetting the buying criteria in your marketplace and positioning your company as the only logical choice.