25 Website Must-Haves
How To Use Your Website To Drive Leads & Sales
4. Analyze The Competition In Your Industry
While we don’t recommend obsessing over your competitors, it helps to know how you stack up.
- Get a Digital Health Check to get a report card of how your website and marketing are performing today.
- Research your competitors so you are aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
- Take a look at their websites, note what you like and what you don’t. BUT, this is not meant to copy them. That’s the last thing you want to do. Instead, you’ll uncover what you can do better.
HubSpot also makes it easy to set goals and see where you stand on traffic, inbound links, conversion rates, lead generation and other important metrics. Once you run the analysis, put together an action list of what areas you can improve and what you can do differently than your competitors.
5. Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition
Before you begin crafting your content, be clear about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to be consistent across your entire website. If you attract a high number of unique visitors, or you’re a new business, your visitors might not be very familiar with you and what you do. You need to demonstrate that what you do is right for them, and why they should stay on your website and buy from you.
Not creating a unique selling proposition is one of the most common mistakes we see manufacturers and industrial companies make.
6. Create Buyer Personas
Your website is not just about you. Your visitors ask, “What’s in it for me?” Speak to them in their language by creating content specifically for your buyer personas.
A buyer persona is when you slice your marketplace into individual groups of people. They are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.
Here's how you can begin to create buyer personas and utilize persona targeting effectively:
- Segment by Demographics: Start developing personas by researching your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers of your products and services. You may have several different types of buyers, so give each one a detailed description, including a name, job title or role, industry or company info, and demographic info.
- Identify Their Needs: What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve? What do they need most? What information are they typically searching for? What trends are influencing their business or personal success?
- Develop Behavior-Based Profiles: What do they do online? Are they active on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks? What kind of search terms do they use? What kind of information do they tend to consume online? Which of your products do they spend the most time researching? How do they use those products?
Use your website to match your message to the needs of different buyer personas. Build your pages into categories to fit these personas, or offer content so that your prospects can easily find what’s relevant for them.
To learn more about the companies or individuals searching for your products and services right now, request a free In-Market Buyer Report.
"Thomasnet.com simply delivers the purest industrial audience on the internet, and being there has helped us connect with new customers in new industries.”
7. Implement An SEO Strategy
Getting found online is essential to improving the rest of your site metrics. If no one is coming to your site, how can you increase leads, downloads, or sales?
SEO stands for search engine optimization and implementing an SEO strategy helps bring more targeted buyers to your website. Here are some tips for increasing your website traffic:
- Document Your Most Search-Valued Pages: As mentioned in step three, know what pages have the strongest SEO juice, the most traffic, inbound links, and keywords rankings. If you plan to move highly ranked pages, create proper 301 redirects to not lose any of that value.
- Create A 301 Redirect Strategy: This may be THE most important step in retaining traffic and rankings. Simply create a spreadsheet to record and map out your 301 redirects. You may also have heard or seen 404-page errors. Check out how they relate to a 301 redirect in our blog, What Does A 404 Error Mean?
- Do Your Keyword Research: For every page, pick one to two keywords that the page will focus on. Once you determine the keyword(s), use on-page SEO tactics, such as internal link building and optimizing your header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
Learn more about SEO with the eBook How To Increase Your SEO Traffic In Just 30 Days
8. Identify Calls-To-Action
Calls-to-actions are the elements on your website that drive visitors to take action, whether it’s a whitepaper download, contacting sales, or product purchase. Your website shouldn’t be a static brochure but should prompt your visitors to do something that further engages them with your brand.
When you’re planning for the redesign, think about all the potential opportunities for conversion. For example:
- Ebooks and whitepapers
- Contests and promotions
- Product purchases
- Email newsletter subscription
- Free trial
- Contact us / consultation / demonstration / etc.
While the “design” of your website is important, focus on functionality. Make sure there are plenty of calls-to-actions so you don’t lose visitors and check out 32 Industrial Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, and Ideas to see how to put your CTAs in action and here are some suggestions on how to get started with content marketing.
9. Create An Ongoing Content Strategy
If you have more content, on average you will have more website visitors and grow your business faster. A 100-page website will beat a 10-page website 99% of the time. And a 500-page website is even better, especially when it includes a constant flow of fresh content. Develop a content marketing strategy and continue to add more and more material to your website over time.
Here are additional references to make sure you're creating the right content that converts leads:
- The 7 Types Of Emails You Should Be Sending
- How To Create A Lead Generating eBook
- 10 Content Marketing Ideas For Manufacturers
“One of the underlying themes, as well as obligations, to market in our B2B ecosystem is to share our expertise,” said Jason Kline, Director of Marketing at Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable. He stressed the marketing strategy isn’t just about branding at Consolidated, but rather engaging with customers and prospects with useful approaches to content.
“Our partners at Thomas help us to develop meaningful content that can aid folks through the buying process in our industry, and it has also helped grow our business. Whether you’re a first-year procurement manager or a twenty-five-year engineer, we’ve got direction to help you make educated decisions.”
10. Choose A Strong Content Management System
You can update endless things on your website, but what's crucial is the foundation of your website — the content management system (CMS). Don't worry, using a CMS doesn't have to be daunting. Many small businesses create their first website using Wix. It's an easy drag-and-drop website builder, but as their business grows more web pages need to get created.
That's why we recommend using WordPress for your industrial site — 30% of all websites are powered by it! WordPress offers plugins for testimonials, a powerful selling tool, and it's mobile-friendly — a must to provide an optimal user experience for your leads and your growing business.
11. Promote Your Website Content
Once you've created all your online assets like blog posts, website pages, product catalogs, etc. it's time for the promotion phase. It's imperative to have all this collateral on your industrial website, but what's the point if you don't drive buyers to it?
Here are a few ways to drive traffic to your website and promote the products and services you offer:
- Email Marketing: Sending a weekly newsletter to your list of existing contacts can nurture leads and increase engagement.
- Newsletter Advertising: Perhaps you don't have a strong list of quality contacts to email every week. Utilize the powerful audience of the Thomas Industry Update Newsletter. By placing an ad in this industrial newsletter, you can reach 310,000+ industrial decision-makers.
- Social Media: Schedule out social posts across platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to engage with existing and new contacts.
- Paid Marketing: Utilize pay-per-click or display advertising opportunities on search engines and social media to target a specific audience based on criteria like demographics, locations, and interests.
**Psst... did you know that you can increase your audience reach with Display Advertising on the Thomas Network? Reach industrial buyers like MROs, engineers, and procurement professionals.
“We wanted to make more buyers and decision-makers aware of what we have to offer," said Mark T., of Toagosei America. "The team at Thomas explained the benefits of advertising in the Thomas Industry Update and it ended up being a great way to help us generate that awareness. We earned new contacts for our sales team to call on!”
More Best Website Examples For Inspiration
Any website built today should include these basics: a homepage, product pages, industry resources, and a Contact Us/About Us pages. But there’s more to the basics that can really make your website awesome, including:
- Landing Pages: Landing pages with calls-to-action are critical lead generation components. Create awesome landing pages as part of the redesign for your offers and assets, like whitepapers and guides.
- RSS Subscription: RSS allows some content from your website to be automatically pushed out to other websites and people, increasing the reach of your content.
- Social media icons: Add social media sharing buttons/links to all your pages so your readers can share your expertise to their networks. You can use tools like ShareThis or AddThis.
Check out 25 Website Must-Haves That Drive Leads and Sales for more website examples and best website designs from manufacturers and industrial companies.
And remember, a website is not a silo. Its integration with other functions, such as social media and email marketing is critical. There's still a lot more work involved in keeping your marketing strategies aligned, optimizing your website, and reporting on the results (yes, the work doesn't end!) so if you need a partner to help out, get in touch with our team. Thomas offers a free digital health check to see what exactly you need on your website to engage with more prospects and win more business.
"Partnering with Thomas has been a tremendous success," said an executive at Conformance Coatings & Prototyping. "We are seeing 1-3 inquiries a week now and are working on expanding our supply base to support the new opportunities."
You Might Also Be Interested In:
- Step By Step Guide To Creating A Strong Online Presence
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- 10 Best Industrial Design Website Examples
- An eCommerce Website Checklist For Distributors
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