The industrial market is changing. Today, according to the Thomas Industrial Network, roughly 9 out of 10 industrial buyers research and evaluate their purchases online. As more industrial buying activity moves online, manufacturers will need to focus on building their online presence.
But simply creating an online presence is not enough. To capitalize on the online opportunity, manufacturers need to create a website that reflects the industrial buying cycle. That means that it will be important to create content that meets buyer expectations at each step of the purchasing cycle:
- Discovery - Site visitors are just starting their research process and are trying to find companies that make what they need.
- Research- Visitors are looking for information on product specs, operations procedures and materials used.
- Sourcing- Individuals are ready to see detailed pricing and want schematics to ensure that your product works with what they’re building.
- Procurement- This will usually happen offline.
Beyond creating a website that guides visitors through the sales cycle, there are four other areas manufacturers should focus on to improve their websites.
- Show Off Your Facility & Processes - It’s important to use your website to show off what’s unique about your company. If you have a clean, modern looking facility then you should show it off with pictures or a video tour. Do you have an impeccable safety record? Let visitors know about it.
- Develop a Product Catalogue - The product catalog is a great way to provide visitors with an easy way to navigate the products you make. It shouldn’t, however, simply be an electronic version of a print catalog. In the online world, these catalogs should allow visitors to navigate and compare multiple products side-by-side.
- Provide Detailed Product Specs and Schematics - After a visitor is able to compare multiple products, they want to see detailed information on each product. It’s essential that photographs, detailed measurements, product tolerances, and schematics are provided for each product so they can move further along the sourcing process.
- Allow CAD Files to Be Downloaded - A final element to include in your website is the downloadable CAD file. Providing visitors with access to these files is a great way to speed up a purchase as it allows visitors to determine with greater precision whether your product meets their needs.
Of course, these elements need to be included alongside calls to action to convert visitors into leads. One critical call to action that works well for manufacturers is the request for more information. By balancing a website with the right content and calls to actions, manufactures can generate more leads online.
To see a few examples of how these web elements are being put to use on manufacturer websites, visit Software Advice, an online resourcethat reviews manufacturing software. You can find more detailed information at: Manufacturers, Listen Up: 5 Tips to Convert Your Web Traffic
Derek Singleton joined Software Advice after graduating from Occidental College with a degree in Political Science. He writes about various topics related to ERP software with particular interests in the manufacturing and distribution software markets.
You can read more of Derek’s writing here