Aug 19, 2019

5 Tips to Optimize Your Manufacturing Website and Boost Sales

Updated April 5, 2023

Many manufacturers don’t understand the full potential of their websites. They tend to get comfortable with their regular roster of clients and rely on referrals to get more sales. But by not tapping into the opportunities a well-optimized website can bring, they might be missing out on a whole lot of revenue.

To create an effective website that speeds up the sale process, a manufacturing brand should consider:

  1. What information is driving prospects to your website
  2. What visitors expect to see when they land on your website
  3. How easy it is for buyers to navigate to your products
  4. How to streamline the buying journey for web visitors
  5. How you’ll continue the relationship when prospects leave your site

Put simply, effective website optimization turns your website into a sales machine. Let’s explore how you can do just that.

Why manufacturers need to optimize their websites

Millennials make 73% of B2B buying decisions. They expect a B2C-like experience 80% of engineers choose a supplier based on an easy-to-use website

Sources: Forrester, GlobalSpec

Millennials now make 73% of today’s B2B buying decisions, and they expect a B2C-like experience. This means an easy and personalized online customer experience. This sentiment is echoed by engineers, 80% of whom claim an easy-to-use website is a huge deciding factor in choosing a supplier, taking priority over CAD model downloads and even the ability to purchase online.

Unfortunately, the quality customer experiences that many businesses achieved during the pandemic have been impacted by rising costs, supply chain disruptions, workplace shortages and a waning customer focus. And a poor online experience has a major impact on a brand’s credibility, which is vital for online sales – even if they’re not completed/finalized through your website. Research shows that:

  • It takes visitors less than half a second (0.05 seconds to be exact) to form an impression about your website and decide whether to stay
  • 88% of visitors won’t return to a site after a bad experience
  • 57% of visitors won’t recommend a business that has a poor mobile experience

In this article, we discuss ways your manufacturing company can optimize its website to improve the customer experience and build brand credibility. Our tips will help you to drive more customers to your site and seamlessly guide them through the sales cycle without them even realizing it.

#1 – Put your products front and center with ecommerce

As a manufacturer, your products are your most important asset. This is what visitors come to your site for, so give them what they want right away.

86% of visitors expect to see products/solutions when they land on your website. 72% of engineers expect website content organized by product/solution.

Sources: KOMarketing, GlobalSpec

Research shows that 86% of visitors want to see information about your products and solutions when they land on your site. This sentiment is echoed by engineers – 72% of them want your website content to be organized by product/solution. This means having your product catalog available online. We’re not talking about basic PDF downloads or a list of products on a page. We’re talking about an interactive and searchable product catalog.

Today’s buyers want to be able to purchase online or, at the very least, explore pricing options. An ecommerce platform is one of the easiest ways for brands to make this possible, simplifying the buying journey and the selling process. Moreover, your manufacturing business doesn’t have to sell online or even publish pricing information to benefit from an ecommerce platform.

Benefits of using an ecommerce website:

  • Easily upload new products and make product updates
  • Easily link data sheets and technical documents to product pages
  • Integrate with your CRM and marketing software to:
    • Score prospect and client behaviors/actions that signal buying intent
    • Guide the buyer journey by serving up personalized website, email and retargeted ad content

Using eCommerce to catalog your web products provides your sales and marketing with better support. Additionally, it prepares your brand to scale and move forward when your company is ready to sell online.

Use high-quality images for products and schematics

High-quality imagery is particularly important for manufacturers because architects, engineers and other buyers come specifically to compare your products against other suppliers. If your product images are low quality, they’re going to go elsewhere.

Therefore, your products must be displayed in an attractive and informative way. And remember, there’s a big difference between 2D sketches, 2D rendered images and 3D previews, so figure out which ones will display your products in the best way.

Cad Models

Research has shown that architects, designers and engineers prefer CAD models of products they’re shopping for, and they are more likely to buy from manufacturers that provide them.

#2 – Collect leads and nurture them

During an economic downturn, businesses need to collect more leads to close the same number of sales. As a sales device, your lead gen form is the most important aspect of your website. For this form to convert, it must be short, only requesting the information you require.

A common mistake businesses make with lead generation is making company contact information difficult to find. If it’s not on your footer, company address, email and phone should be provided – in addition to a contact form – your Contact Us page, which should be easily navigated to via a clear CTA or menu link.

Another common mistake brands make is gating their best content. Never put behind a form content that’s essential to moving prospects forward, e.g., a data sheet. Visitors paying for gated content with their personal information – which is at a premium these days – must consider the content worth the price. Prospects may be willing to exchange their email for industry-related assets such as white papers, infographics, how-to videos, informational eBooks and reports packed with statistics and useful data, etc.

Once you have the contact information, it’s essential to nurture your relationship. In fact, research shows that it’s critical that you follow up immediately and diligently because:

  • 30-50% of sales go to the first responding vendor
  • Following up on a new lead within an hour increases your success rate by 700%
  • Lead qualification drops 400% if you wait longer than 5 minutes to respond
  • An email sequence of 4-7 emails can triple your reply rate
  • 80% of prospects say “no” 4 times before they say “yes” (making the fifth email the charm)

93% of B2B Companies don't Respond to Leads within 5 Minutes. 50% of B2B Companies Never Respond to Leads.

Source: Drift

Despite these compelling numbers, 93% of B2B companies don’t respond to leads within the first five minutes, and over 50% never respond to leads. For a manufacturing business that improves or perfects its lead nurturing strategy, this can mean:

  • Better conversions from incoming leads
  • An intriguing opportunity to win competitors’ leads when prospects come to your website

Oftentimes, when a business struggles to convert leads to sales, it’s because its sales and marketing technologies aren’t aligned, and this negatively impacts its nurturing efforts. That leads us to our next point.

#3 – Align your website with your sales and marketing tools

An effective website strategy is built on your marketing strategy. Know where your website figures into your marketing plan and how each of your efforts connects to the other along the buying journey. You won’t get optimal conversions out of a siloed website that provides information to your prospects but doesn’t connect to your sales and marketing tools.

Unfortunately, some manufacturers have a “been there, tried that” attitude about digital. This is because in the rush to go digital during the pandemic businesses chose cost leaders or proceeded without a plan. The resulting misaligned efforts aren’t getting the expected results.

The best way to turn your website into a sales machine and streamline the buyer journey is to ensure your martech (marketing technology) stack is properly aligned. You can accomplish this by integrating your CRM, and your website with your marketing automation tools, email marketing software, sales engagement tools, chatbots, etc.

#4 – Get more of the right visitors with an effective keyword strategy

One of the biggest elements of website lead gen is getting more of the right visitors to your site in the first place. To do this, you need to understand and leverage search engine algorithms to provide the content that your audience needs through search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword strategy.

B2B search engine

Research indicates that 43% of engineers will filter through five pages of search results to find the information they’re searching for. Another 41% expect to find that information within the first three pages of results. What this means for manufacturers who target engineers is that:

  • There is overwhelming opportunity to beat out your competitors by developing a good SEO/keyword strategy
  • You can ease the customer experience by creating ultra-specific content that answers your target’s questions at key points of the buying journey
  • Page headlines and meta descriptions need to be on-target to attract clicks at a glance

We explain the nitty-gritty of SEO and keyword strategy . In short, to be effective, your efforts should include:

  • Researching the keywords your website and top-performing pages rank for
  • Researching the keywords your competitors’ pages rank for
  • Creating web content that answers your target audience’s search queries
  • Tracking web traffic and page rank to know when keywords need to be updated
  • Updating web pages with new content and keywords to gain or maintain your search engine rank
  • Keyword-optimizing product descriptions and using keywords in product image alt-tags

#5 – Partner with a B2B marketing agency that specializes in manufacturing websites

More manufacturers than ever have a website, so competition is high. If your target audience isn’t directed to your website when searching for information on Google, if buyers can’t find information on your website right away, if their website experience isn’t smooth, if you’re not nurturing the leads your site brings in, you’re going to lose those sales. However, if you optimize your website and align your site to your marketing strategy, you’ll attract the right traffic and keep your current clients coming back.

Manufacturers get the best results from their websites when they work with an established marketing agency that specializes in B2B marketing for manufacturers. With over 20 years of marketing experience in the manufacturing industry, Elevation’s digital and creative strategy teams can help you optimize your website, improve the customer experience and synchronize your sales and marketing to bring the results you expect. Contact us to learn more about how our marketing services can benefit your manufacturing business.

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