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Five Qualities Of The Highly Effective Manufacturing Website

By Rob Hawse

If you’re considering an overhaul of your manufacturing website, one of your goals should be to make sure that the new site is orders of magnitude more effective than what you already have because a website’s capabilities and therefore, its “job” has evolved drastically over the past few years. To ensure that the site you create today is one that can be iterated upon and improved incrementally for a long time to come, it helps to understand what exactly a highly effective manufacturing website is.

To help you on this path, we’ve called out five specific qualities all highly effective manufacturing websites have in common. Here they are:

1. The highly effective manufacturing website helps visitors achieve their goals.

That’s right, your potential customers expect you to know what their goals are and what they are hoping to achieve by visiting your site. You don’t have to be a psychic, but you do have to be willing to do a fair amount of homework in preparation.

First, chances are you’re selling to more than one role and so you’ll want to identify what those roles are, define them, and then identify what they care about most when it comes to engaging a manufacturing partner.

Use this information to create a profile you can refer to that represents those decision makers or influencer roles you’re hoping to attract to your website. In the website development and marketing business, this profile is called a “persona.” It’s a mash up of the common characteristics of each role to create a paradigm person, someone you can then “talk to” while creating web copy and content. (I know it sounds crazy, but it works. Keep reading.)

Take your research (aka your homework) and use it to create this persona profile complete with name, place of work, title, family, gender, technology preference, and the way they prefer to learn new industry information, (i.e., do they prefer to read blogs over watching videos, etc.).

When creating the content for your site, you then “talk” directly to that “person(a).” Use the profile to guide what you put on the site, and more importantly, what you should leave out. By doing this, when someone in a role that resonates with the persona visits your site, they will feel like the content has been created just for them.

2. The highly effective manufacturing website helps a visitor decide whether to stay or go – quickly.

Visitors should be able to tell what you do, and whether or not you do it for a business like theirs, within 4-5 seconds of being on your site. Whether they arrived at your site via word of mouth, an ad, a banner link, or via a search engine, they went to some trouble to find you, so you’ll want to make it easy for them to quickly decide whether you’re for them – or not.

Getting the wrong customers to leave your site quickly is arguably just as important as getting right people to stick around. If the site content is done correctly, those who go quickly – the price shoppers, the rush jobbers, and the know-it-alls – will get the hint, fast, saving you time and aggravation.

3. The quality of the manufacturing website mirrors the quality of the products that are being made.

So many companies take the time, energy, and investment to design and manufacture their product in an exceptional way and then when it comes to sharing it with their potential customers online, blow it with poor photography, dull copy and lousy navigation.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. People who don’t know you will transfer their perception of poor quality created by your old, outdated website to that of your product, your service and disqualify you – and it will be very difficult to get them back.

The highly effective manufacturing website celebrates expertise and hard work by showcasing products with great photography, authentic copy and simple navigation. It tells them why you do what you do, and why your product is a good fit for them. The site experience is intentionally designed so that it fosters the perception of quality and expertise at least equivalent to the quality of the product the site is touting.

4. The highly effective manufacturing website is constantly updated with a stream of unique and valuable content.

Sure, your site is exciting and fresh when it’s new, and you may be pleased with that initial bump in traffic from prospects, customers, and search engines, but all three parties will lose interest fast if you are not adding a significant amount of unique content to your site each and every month.

The only sane way to achieve this is to create a content strategy that dictates what, how, and when content is created for your site. Even better, create a role whose job it is to make sure the strategy is executed on schedule. Without these things your shiny new website will develop the “same ole same ole” reputation resulting in a lack of interest from both google and your visitors.

The good news is there are many forms of content that can be added to your website – product descriptions, blogs, white papers, and case studies, to name a few. Leverage the talent on your team. We predict you’ll be surprised what they come up with. We recommend between 2,000 and 3,000 unique words of content per month. The search engines will love you for it, and so will prospects and customers.

5. The highly effective manufacturing website asks visitors to take action.

Calls to action and some Google analytical juice can enable you to find out who is visiting your site, what they are doing, and in what order. If you see visitors who are spending time on your site (multiple visits, long visits, etc.), take advantage of this opportunity and give them something to do!

Basic calls to action (CTA’s) such as “stay informed”, “contact us”, and “sign up for our newsletter”, are great ways to get your visitors to let you know who they are or perhaps even gauge their interest level. If you already have a strong understanding of your customers, try to come up with some CTAs unique to them.

The point is, once you have the basic calls to action in place, you can be creative and have fun with the rest of them.

Done properly, a manufacturer’s website can make a huge difference in the success of its sales and marketing goals.

To really move the needle and see noticeable ROI, make sure it helps visitors achieve their goals, helps them to decide quickly whether to stay or go, mirrors the quality of products offered, by providing constantly updated valuable content, and calls its visitors into action. Next time you update your manufacturing website, insist that it contains these qualities, in fact, don’t settle for anything less.

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