Establishing A Small Business Social Listening Strategy
In the industrial sector and manufacturing industry research preceding purchase decisions is done online. In some cases, the only part of the process executed offline is the actual sale or engagement itself. Printed catalogues, manuals, etc. are rarely used, today because the researching of information, and the downloading of product manuals happens online.
Yet many C-level decision makers in the industrial and manufacturing industry are not applying the same efforts to their online strategies as they are to their offline strategies. A lot of industrial marketers are still falling back on campaigns that rely on traditional mediums (offline PR, traditional print and display ads, direct mail, etc.) as opposed to seeking to understand the mechanics behind a strong online presence.
Search Engine Rankings
Can your industrial buyers easily find you online using search terms related to your industry and products/services?
Did you know that some people will judge the quality of your business simply by how visibly you are positioned in search. And worse, if your prospective customers can not find you easily on the first couple of pages of search results, then they will select one of your competitors, even if it is an inferior product/service. This is why SEO and search rankings are important to your industrial marketing strategy, as they will help you to develop strong awareness in the industrial sector online.
Does the look and feel of your website reflect the quality and personality of your business in the industrial sector?
Several studies have confirmed that you have less than five seconds to make your first impression online before a user will either engage with your site (execute an action) or leave it (bounce). You would not believe the number of industrial and manufacturing businesses that strongly dislike their own websites yet hesitate to make the necessary improvements because they question the ROI or investment of time to make it reflective of their brand. In the industrial sector trust in a brand is extremely important, as the perceived quality and reliability of the product will be one of the key factors in the buyers purchase decision. The first impression that your website makes, is actually the first impression that your your product/service makes.
Website Navigation and Content
Does your industrial/manufacturing website direct users to the appropriate department/information channel online the same way you would offline?
If a customer phones into your company’s main number with a sales/new business inquiry, a receptionist or automated system will direct them accordingly, and your online options should offer the same direction. The K-I-S-S theory applies online as much as it does offline. For example, if you’re not going through your company news and announcements with callers, why are you taking users through them every time they visit your homepage? The most important content to your buyer needs to be front and center, and all distractions that could navigate them away from your purchase path should be removed.
Landing Page Design and Calls to Action
Have you determined what action you want your web visitors to take from every major landing page on your site?
All key pages on your website should be built with the intent that you at some point on the page will try to convert qualified visitors into customers. It is up to you to provide them the information they need, but you must also provide them the opportunity to convert. Some call to actions could include: call us today, order online, and request more information. We have seen clients add a simple CTA (request a quote) and see as much as a 200% change in conversion rates almost immediately.
Data Mining and Usability Improvements
Do you use website analytics to track patterns in the industrial sector and on your website?
The online space offers the most incredible and extensive ROI tracking of all marketing mediums. Not only can you determine how many leads/sales your achieving online, you can also see where those acquisitions are coming from (referral, direct, search engines) and what keywords are driving them. The data mining opportunities are literally unbelievable. You can dig down to levels where you are evaluating which pages are causing the majority of exits off your site and then test alternative page layouts / copy / images to determine what the best formula is to plug that loss. By addressing website weaknesses identified by your analytics, your visitor engagement time and conversion rates can literally experience a 180-degree change.
As someone involved in business strategy, sales or marketing, you should have answered yes to every question above. At the end of the day in the in the industrial sector if your website isn’t an integral part of the sales funnel channeling the dollars and cents to your bottom-line revenue, you are missing out on huge opportunities. In doing so, you are leaving the online space wide open for your competitors to step up and own the digital space.