Don’t Believe the Hype: You Don’t Need a New Industrial Website
Your car is unreliable. It rattles, makes weird noises, and often dies in the middle of the road, making it difficult for you to get where you need to go. Would you slap a fresh coat of paint on it to solve the problem? The answer is no. A shiny gloss of Ferrari Red isn’t going to improve the performance of your vehicle.
The same can be said for your industrial business’s website.
Disclaimer: It’s 2016. At a minimum, your industrial website needs to be professional to inspire trust in your business. However, unless your website looks like one of these, your problems are probably not aesthetic and more likely to be under the hood.
By “under the hood” we’re talking about the actual role a website plays in generating new business opportunities for industrial companies, which is an important part of the modern industrial sales cycle.
For many industrial businesses, a website is simply a digital brochure which highlights the products and services a company offers. While this view of an industrial website is still relevant, it is also short-sighted in the context of the modern industrial buying cycle. Web sites and online resources now heavily influence B2B buying decisions. In fact, Google reports that 89% of B2B buyers trust online materials during the buying cycle. This means that to perform better a visual redesign isn’t enough, instead a website should be transitioned into an active tool which collects, nurtures, and moves prospects through the sales cycle.
Start by evaluating web site content, since the content is king for industrial buyers.
Industrial buyers want to know exactly what a product or service does and how it will solve their problems. Clear and specific copywriting is important, while vague marketing fluff is ineffective. Engineers and technical buyers at industrial companies are experts in their field and already know what will work for them. They are simply looking for a product or service which meets their requirements. Make it easy to find information about products and make it very clear exactly what something does. Visitors to an industrial website that can’t immediately understand information will leave your site and look for an easier alternative.
That being said, fluff-free copy is only effective if it is written for buyers in specific stages of the buying cycle. B2B buyers don’t just begin their research online, they spend time reviewing online materials throughout the sales cycle, and as they progress their interests change. For example, an engineer in the early stages of the buying cycle may be looking for a pumps manufacturer specifically for gas applications. An engineer who is closer to making a buying decision may evaluate specs in more detail and compare the max psi pressure between models or review case studies from similar companies. It is important to have information that will appeal to buyers in different stages and will provide as value as prospects move closer to making a buying decision.
Regardless of how well a website reads, if it can’t be found by the people looking for it, then it isn’t doing anything to contribute to business goals.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures that a website appears at or near the top of search results. Sites that appear closer to the top of results get more clicks. In many cases, the top 5 results combine for over 70% of clicks on a related search. While a variety of factors combine to build a strong SEO standing, at the very least, relevant keywords should be used frequently throughout a website to ensure search engines understand what a site is about. A website redesign won’t do anything to increase traffic. Investing in SEO can be a much more effective (and cheaper) way to use a website to drive business growth by attracting relevant visitors.
Finally, there is no point in having interested visitors on your website if your sales and marketing teams have no idea who they are.
Conversion elements are calls to action on a website which ask visitors to provide contact information in exchange for information which can help them make the proper buying decision. The modern industrial sales cycle relies on strong conversion elements to collect valuable sales leads and provide contact information for sales and marketing teams to move buyers through the sales funnel.
Any website evaluation needs to assess how effective a website is at collecting contact information and look for ways to maximize opportunities for lead generation.
It’s easy to see why so many industrial businesses fall into the new website design trap. Modern websites are flashy and there are plenty of new features for companies to get excited about. However, they are also expensive, and a surface-level visual redesign fails to address modern buyer needs. Instead, some simple content and conversion planning can go a long way to improving the performance of an industrial website and turn it into an active contributor to a company’s bottom line.
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About Samuel Fordham
Samuel brings energy and enthusiasm to the marketing team at ActiveConversion. With a background in communications and digital journalism, Samuel focuses marketing efforts towards the goal of increasing opportunities for business growth.