If I learned anything in college (you know, in addition to the wealth of knowledge required for earning my degree), it’s that there is an art to throwing a great party.
Back in my most formative party-going years, I attended some memorable bashes and suffered through a few not-so-awesome duds. But, after spending time as both a guest and a host, I surmised that the difference between a success and a failure boils down to five simple elements—much like a manufacturing company’s website.
No, seriously. Hear me out.
While most people wouldn’t compare a website selling polymer molding equipment with, say, a beachside kegger, these two have more in common than meets the eye. Read on to discover how you can eliminate your website’s party poopers and show your prospects the time of their lives.
Great parties, like great websites, don’t happen by accident. To pull off a truly legendary soiree, you have to bring together all the right elements: the right mix of people, a carefully crafted playlist, enough libations to satisfy every taste, a comfortable space and a strategic icebreaker.
While manufacturing subject matter can be a little more complex than a weekend cocktail party, it doesn’t mean your website needs to be any less enjoyable. Here are the components you need to ensure your website is more like a Gatsby party and less like tea with Great Aunt Eleanor.
When you’re planning a party, you probably don’t stand outside your front door and invite every stranger who passes by. You don’t know those people’s interests or intentions, so you don’t know if they’d be a good fit. The same holds true for your company’s website.
As a manufacturing company, your products serve highly specific functions. As such, there are only a limited number of people involved in the decision-making process. To be successful in holding their attention, you need to determine exactly who makes these decisions, also called your buyer personas, as well as the pain points and challenges they face. This information will help you target the content, design and overall user experience of your website toward these individuals.
At Kuno, we’ve adopted the Adele Revella model for determining personas and mapping out the buyer’s journey. The first step in this process is to interview several current customers, as well as prospects and lost customers, to get an idea of what drives these people toward a purchase. What keeps them up at night? Where are they spending their time online? What factors influence their buying decision? Answering these questions will help you craft a more targeted approach.
A great soundtrack is crucial to the success of any party. Not only do you need to make sure your musical choices reflect your own personality and the preferences of your guests, it has to convey the right mood for the occasion. A carefully constructed playlist sets the tone for the entire event. If successful, it will melt away your guests’ inhibitions and encourage them to relax.
How can you achieve this same result with your website? Through the design’s look and feel. For example, everything from the colors and font choices to your custom graphics should reflect your brand and your personas’ taste. More importantly, though, it should pique their interest and encourage them to stick around. Although the subject matter may be dense and technical, the design should put them at ease.
Here, Singer Valve’s clean and simple layout prevents visitors from feeling overwhelmed when entering the site:
Imagine arriving late to an old friend’s birthday celebration. You knock on the door, and someone you’ve never met waves you inside. The floor is sticky with spilled beverages, the music is far too loud and, although every room is filled with people, you can’t locate a single familiar face. What do you do? If you’re like me, you’d probably feign a headache and run for the door. This is not the sort of experience a good host wants for their guests.
Your website should be clean, easy to navigate and offer a captivating user experience. Your prospects should have no trouble locating information about your products, your company and an easy way to get in touch. Every content and design element should be strategically placed with the purpose of guiding your prospects further down the buyer’s journey.
Singer Valve includes multiple CTAs throughout its website to lead customers down the funnel using helpful, downloadable content. For example, this aesthetically pleasing CTA was placed below the side navigation of the solutions page.
Whether you prefer a fancy cocktail, a cold beer or a glass of iced tea, a great party has your drink of choice in seemingly endless supply. Each beverage leaves you feeling satisfied, but also a little thirsty for more. The more you imbibe, the longer you stick around. Without this simple element, your party wouldn’t last five minutes.
Your content—blog posts, videos, infographics, downloadable guides and whitepapers—is the wet bar of your manufacturing company’s website. Content is what brings your prospects through the door, entertains them, delights them and keeps them coming back for more. Your content ensures visitors stay on your site longer, and it helps reduce your bounce rate. And, as long as it’s refreshed often, it continues to convert prospects into qualified leads. But remember: if the bar becomes empty, the party's over.
For example, IBM maintains a steady flow of content by regularly publishing videos, infographics and analyst papers.
Everyone has a friend who’s so charming and full of charisma, he or she seems to be a magnet for good times. When this person arrives to your gathering, the vibe immediately improves. Confidently, this party hero works the room, cracks jokes, cultivates an audience and helps facilitate conversations between strangers. Suddenly, everyone’s chatting, cheersing and having a blast.
Think of social media as your website’s icebreaker BFF. While this may not be an element of your website itself, it can be a critical traffic referral source. Social media helps you distribute content and bring awareness to your products. It helps you reach new prospects and gives current customers yet another touch point with your brand.
Of course, given the nature of the industry, it’s possible to build a manufacturing website without establishing a social media presence. However, choosing to forego this element means closing yourself off to potential leads. And, like a great host, your mantra should always be “the more the merrier.”
Manufacturing websites often get a bad rap for being boring and full of arduous content, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re having a difficult time driving people to your website, and keeping them there, consider where you’re falling short in each of the five areas listed above. By putting time and effort into each of these elements, your prospects will be beating down the door in no time. Party on.
If you’re still unsure as to what you need to change to increase traffic and reduce your website’s bounce rate, please reach out to us to discuss your business goals and how inbound marketing can help you exceed them.
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