Before you adopt a new industrial website design or invest in a site upgrade, it is important to ask yourself, “What do we want the website to do? Generate leads? Increase brand awareness? What challenges are driving our customers to our site? How can our industrial website help them solve these challenges?”
Industrial buyers are coming to your site to get something done. They need to be able to quickly determine what you do and what products and services you offer that can help them solve their problem.
More often than not, industrial buyers are part of a purchasing committee. How these buyers search for and consume content is key to designing a site that educates them on how your company is qualified to address their work-related challenges.
According to a recent survey of B2B buying committees, nearly 45% of respondents said they typically consume three to five pieces of website content before engaging with a vendor. Yet 30% said they feel overwhelmed by the amount of content now available online.
In a sea of digital content, how can you ensure your company’s website will rise above the industrial crowd? Industrial website design starts by examining the buying habits of industrials and the challenges they face when searching for a partner to solve their problems.
Here are just a few trends to consider before investing in a new website or upgrade.
1. Engineers Are Driving Industrial Website Design
More engineers are making industrial buying decisions. According to Thomas.net, 1.6 million engineers make up the majority of the industrial buying pool. These design engineers, manufacturing engineers and facility managers are evaluating a supplier on the Thomas.net website every second.
Engineers are often tasked with the job of vetting companies like yours for their industrial procurement teams. That means if they don’t like what they see on your website, they’ll quickly look elsewhere. The motivations driving the engineer’s online search should be driving your industrial website design.
There are multiple reasons why an engineer may be visiting your site. Just a few include:
- They’re searching for new supplier options. Your engineer could be a seasoned purchaser that is starting a new product line. Or, maybe they are a new, young engineer seeking new ways to source materials.
- They’ve got an emergency. Whether the emergency is due to equipment failure or delivery issues, they are seeking websites to help them fulfill an urgent need. If your site is not responsive to this need, they’ll look elsewhere.
- They’re not happy with their current supplier. Maybe the current supplier’s response time is not satisfactory or their inventory doesn’t consistently meet quality standards. Your site is your chance to outshine their previous vendor.
- They don’t have a regular supplier, so every new purchase requires an online search. Some engineers buy less frequently due to longer production cycles. Or, they could have a product they want to reimagine every few years.
2. More Industrials Are Buying Online
Nearly 95% of engineers view websites as a valuable resource for gathering product details. While in-person trade shows are making a comeback, many of these conferences are now taking a hybrid approach where attendees can participate in person or online. Many conference attendees will choose the virtual option because it takes a lot less time and expense to visit a website than it does to attend a trade show.
More importantly, new user-friendly industrial website designs are why so many manufacturing buyers have evolved from in-person sales channels and live trade shows to doing the vast majority of their research online — before they even talk to a prospective seller. In fact, by 2025, 80% of B2B sales transactions will occur via digital channels, according to Gartner’s Future of Sales research.
3. Industrial Site Visitors Are Further Down the Sales Funnel
More than 55% of engineers are in the second or third stage of the buying process before they contact a vendor. That means your industrial website design needs to quickly provide answers to their specific questions, before they lose patience and move on to another vendor website.
When designing your website, you can leverage the knowledge of your sales and customer service teams to gather the most common questions and objections for key products, then put together an FAQ or create a video that addresses those issues. You can also answer questions via a chatbot or by having a customer service representative available to speak with someone directly, just as you would on the phone.
4. Industrial Buyers Want Visual and Technical Content
If you were attending an industrial trade show, which booths would you seek out? Visually compelling booths that clearly convey a vendor’s products and services are likely to get more foot traffic. The same concept applies to industrial website design. Think of your website as a virtual trade show. What would an engineer be looking for at your trade show booth?
If you can replicate the type of detailed product and service samples you’d find at a trade show in your industrial website design, you can save the engineers time and keep them coming back to your site to gather information.
According to a survey of 128,000 specifying engineers and architects by CADENAS Part Solutions, 80% of design engineers bounce from a potential vendor’s website, because the site lacks CAD or building information management (BIM) data. But websites that make CAD and BIM product content easy to find and easy to download, see a higher conversion into actual sales. In fact, more than 82% of these CAD/BIM downloads convert into sales, according to the survey.
Like a trade show booth, your industrial website should quickly deliver the technical and visual information that makes it easy for industrial buyers to choose your company’s products and services over one of your competitors.
Consider engaging your industrial audience with educational content such as:
- Digital twins: One differentiating trend in buyer-friendly content is replacing conventional 3D CAD models with intelligent 4D data, which includes critical product information and attributes.
- Key visuals and specifications: Provide easy-to-find and easy-to-download 3D renderings, a use-case video, spec sheets and more.
- Lead-magnet content: White papers, e-books, infographics, demonstration videos and other technically-dense content can help industrial buyers solve their problems and convince them to provide their contact information to access this type of content.
5. Industrial Website Designs Are Getting Personal
Like any other buyer, industrials want a personalized shopping experience, just as they would when making a personal purchase through popular online retailers like Amazon. This is why more than 90% of B2B marketers now have account-based marketing (ABM) programs, and 68% are using automation to engage buyers in every stage of the marketing and sales funnel, according to Salesforce.
Industrial website design that integrates with a reputable CRM or marketing automation platform — such as Salesforce and Pardot, SharpSpring, or Hubspot — can give you a bird’s eye view of your online prospects and their buying behaviors. It can also tell you when to engage with a prospect, so you can provide a more personalized experience for each prospect in every stage of the marketing and sales funnel.
This website-CRM integration can help your marketing staff, salespeople and sales engineers more easily qualify leads and nurture those leads into actual sales, rather than relying on old-school practices like cold-calling and spray-and-pray outbound marketing. You can use this integrated marketing approach to get your message across to different members of an industrial buying committee and to ensure your company’s website stands out in the industrial rough.
Learn how to ensure your industrial website design can work in this larger marketing context and always stay one step ahead of your competitors by visiting our integrated marketing services webpage.