When engineers and technical professionals are searching for components, suppliers, and services, they turn to online resources first. That means the stronger, broader, and deeper your online presence, the more opportunity you will have to be found by and connect with potential customers. Here are eight ways to boost your online presence. You can do all of them in 2011.
1. Exhibit at an online event
Online events are gaining popularity among the industrial audience. According to Market Research Media, the virtual conference and trade show market is predicted to experience a 56% compound annual growth rate between 2010-2015. With an online event, you gain a powerful forum for branding, exposure, relationship building and thought leadership. Attendees experience the same essential benefits of a face-to-face event, all from the convenience of their desktop.
Tip: Seek out exhibitor opportunities at online events that specifically target your audience.
2. Implement a searchable online catalog
When your potential customers need a product or component, they often start by searching online catalogs. A searchable online catalog is great way to attract highly-motivated buyers ready to make a purchasing decision. Users want flexible search options: by specification, part number, keyword, and category.
Tip: Look for a partner with experience and expertise in developing and maintaining robust online catalogs.
3. Expand your visibility through an ad network
Online banner ads are a great way to increase brand visibility and drive qualified traffic to your site — often at very attractive rates. The key is to make sure your ads appear only on relevant industrial Web sites so you don’t waste any impressions on the wrong audience.
Tip: Ask your media partner if they offer an ad program that will display your ads on a broad yet highly-targeted network of industrial Web sites.
4. Put more offers and calls-to-action on your Web site
Your Web site should not only be an information resource for your audience, it should also be a lead-generating machine. You can boost your capability here by putting relevant offers on almost every page: white papers, Webinars, product samples, and more.
Tip: Ask your visitors to fill out a short form with their name, company, and e-mail address in exchange for taking advantage of your offer.
5. Advertise in third-party e-newsletters
Third-party e-newsletter advertisements are a great way to expand your online reach and maintain a consistent presence in front of your target audience. You can promote new products, make special offers, connect with hard to reach decision makers not on your e-mail lists, and leave behind the costs and hassles of managing the e-mail list and producing the content for the e-newsletter.
Tip: Look for e-newsletters that are published on a regular basis, reach your target audience, and have an opt-in subscriber base.
6. Get featured in online industrial directories
Online directories are a good way to gain exposure and build relevant links back to your Web site. The best directories for suppliers are those that give you the option of adding your logo or other image, and including multiple links.
Tip: Look for an online directory that can give you a robust presence beyond just your name and Web site being listed.
7. Pitch story ideas to online publications
Editors and reporters are always looking for industry experts they can interview when they’re working on stories. Get to know the relevant editors and reporters in your space and pitch them story ideas that will be of interest to their readers. Having your company name showing up in the media and on those Web sites your customers frequent will help improve the reputation of your brand and can help position your company as a thought leader.
Tip: Reach out to editors and reporters in multiple ways, including e-mail, phone, and even postal mail.
8. Create compelling landing pages on your Web site
You invest time and resources in online marketing programs and in developing offers to drive prospects to your Web site. Don’t just send them to your home page. Create targeted, focused landing pages that promote your offer and compel visitors to accept it — generating a lead for your sales team. Keep the landing pages short and sweet. Avoid too much clutter or extraneous information that will distract visitors from your offer.
Tip: Keep landing page forms simple and ask only for the minimum amount of information that will enable you to communicate with prospects.
Bonus tip: Update your online content. Search engines and customers will appreciate it if the content on your Web site is up-to-date. Newer content ranks better in search results and potential customers are always looking for the most recent product information. Conversely, stale or out-of-date content reflects poorly on your company.