Sound website design and integration attracts new business and simplifies operations for manufacturers, internet marketing professional Gary Sargent said.
You are likely too busy making high-quality parts to worry about creating a website. Or maybe you already have one, but ask yourself why you bothered. There are some excellent reasons to take another look, however, not the least of which is the future well-being of your company.
“Whether a manufacturer’s annual sales are $1 million or $100 million, their website is essentially an online brochure,” said Sargent, president of Expert Internet Marketing, Las Vegas. “It tells visitors about the business, advertises its capabilities and quality, and is the No. 1 place potential customers go to learn about the company. Best of all, a website works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Sargent offered some important basics about website design:
■ Keep it Simple. Disorganized, hard-to-use websites discourage visitors, tempting them to click elsewhere. Heavy graphics and overly busy content tend to increase load times, further trying a visitor’s patience. “Websites should be modern-looking and get to the point quickly,” Sargent said. “It doesn’t matter how well-educated people are: Most have the attention span of a fifth-grader when surfing the internet. Because of this, the site needs to be ‘Fisher-Price-toy’ easy to use and understand.”
■ Stay the Course: Deals are made on golf courses, in grocery stores and at corner bars. If your website isn’t “mobile ready,” you might lose out on potential sales from buyers perpetually glued to their smartphones. “The volume of mobile visitors cannot be overstated,” Sargent said. “It’s critical that the website loads quickly on a tablet or iPhone and looks good every single visit.”
■ Remember Remarketing: Here’s where most manufacturers miss the boat. Google, for example, allows businesses to position targeted text, image and video ads to anyone who has visited your website, and to display those ads for up to 18 months after the initial visit, Sargent said. “With over 200 million websites within the Google Display Network, it’s a sure bet that customers and prospects alike will see your ads on sites such as CNN, YouTube, CBS Sports.”
A good website is more than a pretty cheerleader, however. Adam Grabowski, marketing director at ERP (enterprise resource planning) software developer Global Shop Solutions Inc., The Woodlands, Texas, said a properly designed website and advertising strategy is often your best employee—one with all the answers, available around the clock and finding opportunity for you around every corner.
“Global Shop Solutions has recently launched Websites Plus for our manufacturing customers, providing them with a new website, ongoing advertising and integration with Global Shop Solutions’ ERP system. Customer websites will act as a single source of information for customers to look up order status, check on a job or part pricing, and submit an RFQ,” Grabowski said. “This capability frees up those people who would otherwise have to answer such questions by phone or email, allowing them to spend time on more valuable work.”
A turnkey Website Plus package costs around $8,500.
Sargent said, “We can help any manufacturer find prospects, protect their customer base and keep their message on the front lines. A new website is an excellent investment for any manufacturer.”