Most manufacturers deploy a multichannel marketing approach, and the one channel that remains at the top of their priority list is the company website. Your website was likely your first venture into digital marketing, and it’s the one place you can be sure every prospect visits to evaluate your company and offerings before making a purchase decision.
Without a website, you’re not in the game. And without a modern, high-performing website, you might be in the game, but you are most definitely losing out on potential business. To support your portfolio of marketing programs, promote a strong brand and compete for customers, make sure your website has these eight features.
1. Clear, Targeted Positioning
Your home page must clearly state who you are as a company, what you offer in way of products and services, and what kind of customer you are targeting. Some manufacturers make the mistake of going too “general” and trying to be all things to all people. Don’t be tempted to do this.
If a prospect lands on your home page and doesn’t immediately identify you as the kind of company that can meet their needs, they will click away and head to a competitor with more targeted positioning. If you want to draw them in, be clear, not all-encompassing.
2. Logical, Apparent Navigation
Customers and prospects come to your website to get something done: find products, discover helpful information, learn about your company and more. Create a clear navigational structure that can lead your audience to what they are trying to find. The key is to make things easy for your user.
Put navigation bars at the top. If you use drop-down menus, make sure they work in all browsers and environments. Repeat top-level navigation on the footer of every page to accommodate users who scroll down.
3. Landing Pages with Calls-to-Action and Conversion Forms
Your marketing efforts, such as banners, newsletter ads, social media posts, and search engine results should lead users to targeted landing pages on your website that reflect the message or offer that motivated them to click. Don’t send users to your home page.
A landing page should reinforce the offer you’ve made in your marketing—whether it’s a white paper, an article, a webinar, a demo or other—and include a simple conversion form to fill out if you are using gated content.
On conversion forms, ask only for the minimal information in order to start a dialog with a prospect. Usually, first and last name, company and email address are enough. You can fill in the rest of the information as you develop a relationship.
4. Optimized Web Pages
Search engine optimization (SEO) matters. Make sure that your page title and meta tags are appropriately filled out. Use alt-tags for every image. Use keywords in the text of web pages. Keep your page content fresh and up-to-date.
If you have a video that plays on a page, you can also provide a text script below, which provides another opportunity to include keywords. If possible, create easy and intuitive URLs for pages, which search engines prefer and are easier for users to copy and share.
5. Content, Content, Content
Having a lot of relevant, updated content is probably the most important aspect of a website. Not only do search engines favor it, but content is exactly what your visitors have come to your website to find.
Having trouble keeping up with content creation? Turn to your media partner for help. IEEE GlobalSpec provides turnkey content development from industry-leading subject matter experts. We handle everything for you—from content direction to writing, production and project management. Many types of content are available to meet your specific marketing needs, goals and objectives. Find out more here.
6. Testimonials and Case Studies
Speaking of content, don’t forget to showcase customer testimonials and case studies on your website. Prospects want to know what your customers have to say and who you are doing business with.
Possibilities include a web page listing your customers, video testimonials or in-depth case studies that follow the problem-solution-results model.
7. A Responsive Website Design
More and more visitors are using cell phones and tablets to access your website. Make sure your website has a responsive design that will ensure it renders well on the smaller screen of mobile devices. Otherwise, the text is too small, navigation gets buggy and users have to scroll in every direction to view a web page.
If you don’t have the budget or current architecture to create a responsive design for your entire site, pick a few key web pages and have them optimized for mobile devices.
Every website needs an analytics package, whether it’s from Google or another provider. You can discover where visitors enter and leave your site, which pages are popular or not, how long users stay on a page, their navigation path through your website and much more. You need this data in order to implement changes that will continually improve your site and make it a winner in the marketplace.
Do you regularly invest time and resources into improving your website? Tell us how you plan to improve your website in 2019.