I think we can all agree that your website is now your most valuable and most customer-facing marketing asset…right?
Then why does your industrial website and its home page look awkward, amateurish and unprofessional? Some websites may even look terrific but they fail to reach their true potential as a lead generation machine.
Industrial marketers invest billions on their websites and digital marketing efforts, yet an amazing 90% of the web sites I have analyzed, using various grading software and my own experience, fail. The primary ranking software I use is HubSpot’s Marketing Grader. Marketing Grader takes a holistic approach to digital marketing, less focused on keywords. (The new paradigm based in Google’s recent algorithm updates) In the past, I have used Raven, which takes a different approach and focuses entirely on keyword ranking.
“The real problem isn’t funding to do something new, but to get people to stop doing what isn’t working”
-Michael Brenner, Sr. Director of Global Marketing at SAP
In reviewing thousands of industrial websites, here are three critical categories I see missing for true online success. I broke all critical elements into three, digestible, categories: The Hook, The Reel and The Landing Net.
THE HOOK...How to snag an interested buyer
1. SEO Basics
Why build a web site if it is not visible to the search engines? Your web marketing strategy must start with a great understanding of SEO basics. Certainly, your site map will include critical keywords for your products and services. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen great looking web sites lack visibility because a graphic specialist was unaware of SEO basics.
2. Is There a Strong Brand Theme?
Some might call this your company’s value proposition.
Now, when an industrial buyer uses Google to find answers, the buyer will line up 3 or 4 tabs across the top of the browser and visit each home page. Does your web site communicate, with nano-second clarity, the benefit your company offers? In a time-squeezed world, will your company get the call? See some examples of strong industrial brand themes in section below titled, Is Your Brand Theme an Integral Part of Your Navigation?.
We will be publishing A Branding Road Map for Industrial Marketers shortly. Look for it on this blog in a week or so. Better yet, “Subscribe via Email” and we will notify you when we publish.
3. Cool Design?
We have all seen the awful web sites that scream to each of us, “Are these guys really serious about their business?” I am not saying you need to use every new gadget or design concept on the web. However, we all know when a website is looking old and tired. Is your current website consistent with your new brand theme? Update your web site often enough to ensure it does not “ugly-out” on your new and frequent visitors and send the wrong message. Some examples of cool industrial design are just below in the section titled, Is Your Brand Them an Integral Part of Your Navigation?
4. Did You Answer Your Buyer’s Questions on the Home Page?
You know your buyer better than anybody. You also know the typical questions they have about your products and services. For example, what is the typical cost of your product or service? What are the specifications? What issues will there be with installation? Did you make it easy to find these types of questions from your home page?
Hint: Start a blog with consistent content that can answer your visitors’ questions. The search engines will love you.
5. Optimized for Mobile
Remember the last time you looked for information about a business on your smart phone? Remember your reaction when the website was not optimized for mobile? Your prospects are just as frustrated if your website is built without responsive design. You just blew a lead.
THE REEL…How to reel in an interested buyer with good website design
1. Is Your Brand Theme an Integral Part of Your Navigation?
Does your site’s navigation support your brand theme? Pick out two or three issues that will add clarity to your brand theme and insert them in a graphic format on your front page. Below are three examples of industrial web sites that feature strong brand themes with easy navigation.
Better yet, offer the user an e-book that answers those nagging questions they have about your product or service. Build your brand theme with quality content and build trust with your prospects.
Note the strong brand theme that quickly communicates Jetech’s unique capabilities; It’s Simple, It Blasts, It Lasts.
Scott Equipment’s brand theme could not be more obvious.
Vulcan’s brand theme, The Force You Count On, is quickly backed up by the graphics and video on the front page.
2. Are You Providing Thought Leadership?
Does your company’s brand theme extend itself through thought-leadership in your industry? In other words, is there a highly visible link on your home page to your company’s blog?
If not, you are not even in the game. Easily, a well-conceived industrial blog can drive more product-specific traffic to your web site than any other strategy. Start a quality, well-strategized blog…NOW.
3. Have You Started Content Marketing?
You have heard the “buzz.” Content marketing, or inbound marketing as some call it, is evolutionary for the industrial marketer. Maybe revolutionary. Start small if you must. But start.
Your website’s front page should provide access to downloadable content that proves you know your stuff. Build a strong brand theme into the content you deploy. Build your content library. The content you produce today will continue giving years from now.
Want to know more about industrial content marketing? Download Beginner’s Guide to Industrial Content Marketing.
4. Are You Building Trust?
Provide trust-builders such as testimonials, industry association medallions, Better Business Bureau icons, anything to help the visitor build an element of trust about your company.
THE LANDING NET…How to land an interested buyer.
1. Is There a Conversion Path…Starting with a Call-to-Action?
Are there calls-to-action (CTAs) on your front page inviting your prospect to participate in thought leadership by consuming the content you have created just for them?
By inserting calls-to-action (CTAs) at strategic locations, you start a conversion path. Hopefully, you end with a qualified lead your sales team can act on. Isn’t that the idea?
Google now has the ability to measure your conversion paths. The more your prospects consume your content the more “Google juice” you receive. So…do not take the attitude of throwing crap into the cloud. It will not work.
2. Does Your Web Site Have Landing Pages Designed for the Buyer’s Journey?
Once the conversion path is triggered by the CTA, typically on the home page, the prospect lands on a landing page designed specifically for their buyers’ journey. The landing page features a strong headline; little, but concise copy, bullet points that tell the prospect exactly what they get from the downloaded content; forms to capture your lead’s first name, last name, e-mail address, etc. and copy that easily demonstrates next steps at the bottom of the page.
In addition, we recommended including a thumbnail graphic of the document to download.
3. Does Your Web Site Have the Ability to Sort Through Your Captured Leads?
OK…you have gone to all this work to get to this point. You now have some contacts from your, hard-earned, marketing efforts. Now what?
Your web site should have the ability to sort through the leads and spit out the sales qualified leads to your sales group. Different companies will have different definitions of “sales qualified”. We recommend you have a clear definition of what “sales qualified” means before you build a conversion path and hand off leads to the sales group.
If your web site does not contain The Hook, The Reel & The Landing Net, then your online marketing efforts will be a waste of money. I simply do not know of another way to say it.
How about, “Go big…or go home”?
You may get some decent leads over time, but I guarantee you will be missing significant B2B lead generation opportunities by not providing these important elements on your front page and the rest of your web site.
Almost all of my industrial marketing friends have tried to go it alone. They have tried their best to use in-house talent, but I know of no instant where they found success.
If your in-house marketer is as good as you say he is, they would not be working for you. They would be working for an ad agency or some other marcom. Am I wrong?
If your web site does not have The Hook, The Reel and The Landing Net, look outside of your company for help.
Maybe you are ready to raise your hand and say “Help”. Click the graphic below for a COMPLIMENTARY 30 minute consultation.