Websites are the hub of many manufacturing communications. Websites provide manufacturers with the ability to optimize the user experience, and it's a branded experience. Your site also provides opportunity to educate and inform, and hopefully convert into further conversations. When monitored correctly, your website also provides key data insight into the behaviors, motivations, and interests of your audience.
And while many companies have a website that meets basic needs, many manufacturers could further optimize their website communications with just a few enhancements.
Below are 5 website improvements manufacturing companies should consider. These are easy to address issues and believe they align with the crawl and walk stages many manufacturers find themselves working through.
- Consider integrating their ecommerce tool with a marketing automation system. Gaining an understanding of behavior on your ecommerce or product configurator pages is a huge win, but you need to develop a response to that insight. By placing tracking code on those pages you can identify page conversions, time spent on pages, trends, and cart abandonment. You can also use that behavior to deliver appropriate follow-up. For example, based on the Digital Body Language of an individual, you can offer content on a product they searched or provide customer support if page time was excessive and resulted in cart abandonment. In this webinar you can hear Molex discuss how they addressed this tactic.
- Consider improving the digitization of your product catalog. There is a need to develop engaging content. Content that navigates the customer through complex product catalogs and the associated content. And that navigation, and correlating Digital Body Language, must be captured in order to understand how customers consume content. This is what will allow manufacturers to improve their content and the customer journey. Molex and National Instruments have both done this successfully.
- Digitize rebate forms, product registration, and warranty programs. Many manufacturers are still asking customers to print out forms, fill them out, and mail them in. It's much easier to convert rebate and warranty opportunities and enter them into up-sell/cross-sell programs by turning these into digital forms. By capturing this data both manufacturers and partners can report on product registration, usage, cost, and engagement. Manufacturers must also be able to obtain and use key information about its customers, like who they are, their purchase history, and their intended use of the product. Without this information it's very difficult for a manufacturer to grow business within its existing customer base. It's also important that manufacturers work with the channel partners to collect this data. Manufacturers must also be able to segment customers based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use as well as customer preference for receiving information and updates about a particular product, and notification of offers and promotions.
- Identify potential to drive product specific web traffic using your social channels. Posting regularly across your social networks is good, but work to drive conversion traffic back to specific web content. There's huge potential there. From a social value standpoint it's good for an organization to demonstrate the additional value and interest they're creating from social channels. Caterpillar and Grainger are examples of companies doing some smart stuff.
- Automate and nurture sample requests like the sample requests. My favorite example of a company doing that is Dow. Dow receives thousands of requests for product samples per month. Sample management had historically not only been an interesting challenge for this complex company, but was also an important one which had a direct and potentially significant impact on sales and revenue growth. Rather than try to transform the sample management process, Dow decided to exploit this bottleneck by first streamlining the sample follow-up process. When a sample is requested, it is shipped and an email campaign is triggered to follow up with the customer. The email campaign includes basic questions to check that the sample was received and enables Dow to gather additional information on the customer's needs. Customers who responded to the sample follow-up campaign were then routed to the sales team. Their sample program now commands anywhere from a 40-50% response rate. I address this tactic here.
What are some web improvements you've made?