Specialized manufacturing websites need to be special.
In manufacturing, it can be easy to hone in on the grind of production: the technology used in your processes, the features of your products, etc. Those things are great – and they can serve as validation of your business’ expertise.
But it’s important to view your website from a marketing standpoint, too. If you don’t intentionally work to view your website from an objective perspective, your website design could have too much jargon, be too complicated to navigate, or even miss your target demographic.
Here are four questions to ask when building specialized manufacturing websites. These will give you the perspective you need in order to find out if your website design is optimal.
1. Does your specialized manufacturing website make a great first impression?
Hardline fact: from the first click a user makes onto your site, you have between 50 milliseconds and 6 seconds to create a positive first impression. Obviously that’s not a ton of time. How are you going to impress a potential customer in that short time span?
- Best-practice design
- Brand consistency
- Simplicity / clarity in messaging
Design around photos of your specialized manufacturing facility.
Yes, content is king. But the aesthetics of your website undeniably contribute critically to a user’s first impression. The wrong pictures or a bad color scheme can create a bad first impression – one that might be tough to recover from.
Your customers will notice if your website is built with cheesy stock photos or low quality images of your plant snapped on someone’s old iPhone.
Look, specialized manufacturing provides great opportunities for imagery. Put those opportunities to use. The best way to improve your photo quality is to be selective with your photos. Use high-quality renderings or, even better, original photos of your equipment, office space and staff, ideally taken by a professional photographer with experience shooting for similar purposes.
And remember: maintain brand consistency.
Not only does creating a website design with brand consistency in mind help create a great first impression, but it boosts your aesthetic appeal as well.
Pro-tip: use the colors in your logo as the color palette for your website.
The colors should already be visually appealing and create a large part of the feel for your company (on the other hand, if you’ve been looking at your logo with increasing distaste for the past three years, this may be an opportune time for a logo-rebrand). Using your logo’s colors in your website design helps to ensure a consistent feel across your brand.
Keep things simple and clear.
Make sure your website is simple and easy to navigate to someone outside your industry – somebody who doesn’t live and breathe specialized manufacturing. Don’t use jargon in your menu items. Don’t pack your homepage with technical terms that only insiders would get.
One way to ensure you haven’t missed the mark is by having friends and family attempt to navigate the website. Or, if you want to go to the next level, install a tool like HotJar and see how real anonymous users interact with your site. Then, optimize on that data.
Feedback is a great way to make sure your website design is on the right track.
2. Do you know your audience?
Specialized manufacturing applications can vary depending on what’s being produced. Who are your clients? Don’t assume you know the answer; test your best guesses with data.
We recommend engaging in client analysis through tools like client surveys, persona development, and the StoryBrand framework. The better you know your ideal clients, the better you’ll be able to speak to their needs on your website.
Based on those needs, craft your site in a way that puts your clients at the center. This means moving toward client-directed language: “Widgets to help you do x” instead of “The best widgets.”
A few general tips:
- Be clear and concise in your messaging.
- Think through the purpose of each page, and build content to fulfill that purpose.
- Include prominent calls-to-action. Don’t beat around the bush.
3. Does your website design generate qualified leads?
Targeting potential clients is done best through considered platform usage. That’s another way of saying this: identify (through data / research) the marketing channels where your audience lives, and then build your online presence accordingly. For example, you may be best able to reach older clients via email. You may be best able to connect with younger clients on social media.
In general, don’t underestimate social media as a way to generate leads for your company. Even older buyers typically use social media, even if it may not be the first thing on their busy to-do list.
Directing traffic from social media to your website can boost your SEO and mobile compatibility, while giving you another outlet to generate leads.
Email newsletters are a great way to reach an older demographic. Besides that, as a specialized manufacturer, your clients are looking for reliability and dedication. A newsletter is a great way to show that your expertise will get the job done right the first time.
Your website should play a major role as you market your specialized manufacturing firm – and it should work hand-in-hand with the most effective channels for your audience.
4. Are you using the best technology?
SEO and a mobile-capable website are crucial in excellent website design. That’s as true for specialized manufacturers as it is for any other industry.
People are more likely to connect to social media through their phone or tablet than their desktop computer, especially the on-the-go buyers or execs that are typically the clients of specialized manufacturers. Mobile capability can boost lead generation and add to the simplicity of your website. Most importantly, if your website is not mobile capable, or too complicated to navigate on mobile, you have a large chance of losing leads.
Search engine optimization is a great way to generate leads and direct more traffic to your website. A great way to tell if you need to boost your SEO is if your company does not appear when you search for your company’s name, or if it’s missing when you search for your products and add your location.
Make your specialized manufacturing website stand out.
Specialized manufacturing is a game of consistency. You need a consistently-targeted website that will use the points above to generate potential clients.
At New North, we’re here to help.
Our website design specialists have decades of experience and cutting-edge expertise in producing websites utilizing these crucial aspects. We’ve worked with specialized manufacturers like you to put website design to use to boost business. Schedule a free review of your specialized manufacturing website with one of our expert consultants today.