Every company has a Web site; that’s a given. But with more than 90
percent of engineering, technical and industrial professionals going
online to search for components and suppliers, you need more than a Web
site in order to command online visibility and generate attention for
your products and services.
To effectively compete in the market, you should establish a presence
in the same online sources your customers and prospects use while
searching for products and conducting research. A broad and deep online
presence gives you more opportunity to present your brand, message or
offer to your target audience and increases the likelihood of gaining
Here are seven online strategies — beyond your Web site — that will help you build the presence you need.
- Get listed in searchable directories and catalogs. Technical professionals have favorite Web sites and directories they return to over and over again to find products and solutions. Searchable online directories give you a powerful and highly visible presence in front of customers and prospects at the most critical time: when they are searching for answers.
- Advertise in industry e-newsletters. With e-newsletter advertisements, your message gets delivered directly to the inbox of prospects and potential customers. E-newsletters are a great way to announce new products or your presence at a trade show, or to offer white papers or Webinars. Look for e-newsletters that allow you to place images of products or your company logo, helping to make your online presence more visible and attractive, or ones that offer a cost-effective package of regular placements.
- Publish technical articles. All of those print trade publications have online versions now, and often editors are seeking unique and relevant content. Try establishing relationships with editors of publications read by your target audience. Pitch article ideas and position your company as “go-to” experts for editors and reporters writing stories. Most publications will put in a description of your company and link to your Web site, which will also help your search engine rankings.
- Place banner advertisements. Online banners offer excellent branding as well as lead generation opportunities due to their highly visible nature. But your ads need to appear on the appropriate Web sites to reach engineering, technical and industrial professionals. Seek out a media partner that knows the online behavior of your target audience and can help you place banner ads across a network of relevant industrial sites used by your customers and prospects.
- Join industry trade associations. When you become a member of an industry trade association, you can build online presence. Associations typically list members and provide links back to your Web site. Some will allow you to submit your logo, which helps increase brand visibility for your company. Make sure the link back to your Web site goes to a relevant page. It might be your home page, but it also might be a deeper, more technically-oriented page.
- Use keyword search ads wisely. Most companies are using keyword search ads to some degree to drive traffic to their Web site. If you use keyword ads, choose specific keyword phrases rather than the most popular search terms (for example, “hydraulic linear actuators” rather than “actuators”). This way, you will not waste money gaining visibility with people who are not your target audience. Also, consider keyword ads on GlobalSpec’s Engineering Search Engine, where your target audience is already aggregated and you don’t need to filter prospects out from general search engines.
- Comment on blogs; participate in online discussions. Interactive social media such as blogs and online discussion groups devoted to the industrial sector are good ways to get your name out there. Remember to post comments with care: anything you write can be seen by many people and is a direct reflection of your company. It might be a good idea to develop a company policy about participating in social media. For more on how you can use social media, see the related story in this issue of the Maven.