When discussing industrial sales and marketing, a successful online presence should be separated into two categories: generating traffic and handling that traffic properly. Mid-market manufacturers, distributors and industrial service providers can attract interested visitors to their websites relatively easily using paid advertising and SEO efforts. However, handling this traffic is often where mistakes are made.
The problems stem from the nature of the industrial buying cycle itself. Unlike B2C websites, where buyers often make a purchase immediately after arriving, industrial buyers need detailed information about a product or service before making a decision. Buyers must decide if something fits with their current processes and need to evaluate the potential return on investment. This all takes time. As a result, many industrial companies find themselves with websites that generate plenty of traffic, but have difficulty translating that traffic directly into more sales.
To fix this, proper website conversion techniques are important.
Conversion is about making it easy for potential buyers to find the information they need and encouraging interested buyers to identify themselves to sales teams.
There are several things to consider here:
It starts with providing value, by making the information buyers need easy to access and understand. Rather than filling pages with generic marketing fluff, industrial sites should offer technical specs, operating requirements, and other valuable information that buyers can use to determine if a product fits with their business. Buyers who can’t find this information will quickly move on to a company that provides it.
This responsibility shouldn’t fall solely on the shoulders of industrial sales and marketing teams. Technical buyers are experts in their field and will easily spot content that is inaccurate or irrelevant. Instead, industrial website content should be developed alongside internal subject matter experts to ensure that the right information is provided and that all specs are 100% accurate.
That being said, in industrial sales and marketing, technical specs for products or services shouldn’t be given away for free– at least not all of them.
The best industrial websites generate interest from buyers by demonstrating that a product or service meets their basic requirements. Once buyers realize that a company offers something that is a potential fit with their business needs they are more willing to invest time and effort to learn more about it.
Make this learning process easy for them.
Forms are an easy way for buyers to request more information while collecting valuable contact information for sales teams. However, they need to be used properly. Generic forms, used in poor locations, will not convert as often as forms which relate directly to specific content and are strategically placed next to valuable information.
For example, a “Request More Information” form located on the contact page of a fabrication shop’s website is much less likely to convert than a form on the aluminum welding services page which reads “Get a Quote on Your Aluminum Welding Project.” By placing the form near the important content it is easy for visitors to submit a request the moment a thought pops into their mind. As well, by tailoring the form specifically to the information on the page, visitors understand exactly what they are requesting, removing any hesitation.
Another way to collect valuable sales leads from website traffic is by gating content. Gated content is content which asks visitors to provide their contact details in exchange for access to information about a product or service. The advantage here is that only serious sales prospects are usually willing to provide their contact information, so the leads collected are often highly qualified. However, gated content also receives much fewer views than freely available content. For this reason, it is important only to gate content which is aimed at prospects later in the sales cycle. Case studies and spec sheets often work well as gated content.
For an in-depth discussion of content gating view our Guide To Content Gating For Industrial Sales and Marketing.
Traditionally longer buying cycles can sometimes cause industrial companies to miss many of the benefits online marketing has to offer. In fact, for technical buyers who are hungry for information, online sources are the most convenient and accessible research tool available. This means that, with the right approach, most businesses can attract interested website visitors. However, it is the industrial companies that effectively convert this traffic into identified sales leads that have the most success online.
About Fred Yee
Fred Yee is the founder and CEO of ActiveConversion, a company that makes online marketing work for industrial companies. Fred was voted as one of the 40 Most Inspiring Leaders in Sales Lead Management in 2017, and his work with ActiveConversion has helped hundreds of businesses succeed online. ActiveConversion is Fred’s third successful company, and he continues to explore the possibilities of technology in industrial sales and marketing.