Website design and best practices have change significantly since 2005 and if you haven’t updated your site in the past decade then it’s probably time you look at updating it sooner than later. You’re not alone. Through our work we see a lot of websites and quite honestly, the Canadian manufacturing industry falls short on keeping their sites updated and modern.
The industry is getting more and more competitive, with purchasing managers and engineers turning to the web to search for suppliers. What impression will your website make on them? Here are just some of the key elements your website should include to be of value to your prospective customers.
1. Safe, fast and mobile-friendly
If your site takes these three points into consideration, then not only will you rank higher when people are searching for manufacturers but your potential customers will appreciate it. Safe sites now mean that you need to have an SSL installed. Without an SSL your site will be flagged by Google as potentially unsafe, raising suspicion and doubt when potential customers visit your site. Fast and mobile-friendly are part of the overall design of your site. Photos of welding and production lines are attractive but if the resolution is too high then it will slow down your site. And, considering more than 50% of website visitors are on their phone or a tablet, the design must fit (be responsive) so that visitors can get the information they’re looking for without having to zoom and scroll to see your site.
2. Great Content
Creating a content strategy will help you reach potential customers and build trust with them. This content can be in the form of blogs, webinars, e-books or videos. Short on ideas for what to write about? Talk to the people within your company, ask them what they find interesting about the work they do. You’d be surprised at how much you overlook. It could be a list of equipment and machinery our talking about the welding technology or manufacturing processes you use. Often times, customers like to take a peek behind the curtain to get to know the people and technology that is behind the products they are about to purchase. Experiment and have fun with it.
3. Lead Generating Forms
Once you have great content on your site, how are you capturing the information of people who are engaging with you? This is where forms come in. As part of your content strategy you can create ‘gated’ content whereby people have to supply their contact information to download or access it. Not everybody will but those who do are much more likely to buy from you in the future. Creating a series of forms will allow you to determine who is interacting with your site and give your sales department some warm leads to follow up on.
Promote the fact that your shop has certain expertise on the floor. You have invested heavily to attract the talent and to train your team, share that information on your website. It will send a message to prospective customers that you are staying current on manufacturing trends and practices and that you invest in your people.
5. Video Tours
This was mentioned under content but it’s so important that it is in a section on its’ own. You like to give tours of the shop floor as much as your customers like to go on tours. Why wait until they set foot in your plant before you can show them around? Create a series of small videos that show your website visitors your shop in action, show them what it looks like when the machines are fired up. It’s a great way for your prospective customers to really conceptualize where you fit into their supply chain.
6. Social Proof
Finally, prospective customers need to hear that you can deliver the goods. You can do this in a few ways but our favourite is with case studies. Feature a customer and the work that you have done for them, start with why they came to you (the problem) and how you were able to solve it. Include details like production requirements and setting up your plant to meet the schedule.
Are you interested in learning how your website stacks up? Book a Free Website Audit today.