What is your Web site for, anyway?

You’re a manufacturer. Your Web site is supposed to tell customers and prospects what you do, why you’re different, and how you can make your customers rock stars. That’s its primary objective – give ’em good reasons why you deserve their attention.

The content of your site should speak to their needs, challenges and pain. To do that, you have to understand the mindset and trends of engineers, manufacturing executives and sourcing cats. If you listen to your prospects, they’ll tell you exactly what you should be saying to them.

One of the best ways to construct and adjust an effective message & content strategy is to study the surveys of manufacturing in the industries and regions you covet. Why?

  • Because trends will show you where your prospects are looking for suppliers.
  • Because surveys will show you what challenges your prospects are trying to overcome.
  • Because those survey responses can point out where the pain is for prospects as they manage complex supply chains and how you can help them.

What better prospect is there than one that’s in trouble and needs your help?

As an example, let’s look at the latest MFGWatch Survey of North American Manufacturers, just released by MFG.com.

There are a few choice morsels of data that any small or medium manufacturer in the US should pay close attention to, because they provide clear paths to opportunity:

  • Buyers in North America say they’re looking to expand their stables of suppliers closer to home.
  • Over one-third of those buyers say they experience supply chain disruptions every quarter – that means they’re looking for expertise and the chops for high quality and quick turnaround to solve those problems – NOW.
  • One third of ’em say they’re looking to move production back from low-cost countries, and a quarter of them did in the last 3 months.
  • Those same buyers even name the greatest challenges they’re facing to get their industrial products and discrete parts made (in order): availability of competent suppliers; logistics & shipping costs; volatile fuel & oil prices; product quality; supplier financial health; intellectual property protection; and unstable labor costs.

You can learn a lot from that data. And it’s encouraging to read it. But if you don’t do anything with it, you’re leaving opportunity – and money – on the table.

Does your Web presence show why you’re stable? Does it state in detail how you’ve brought stability and profit to past and present customers? Does it show how you maintain quality, conform to specs & standards, focus on efficiency, deliver within tolerance & schedule, and protect customers’ designs?

Or do you present equipment lists and photos of your shop floor, hoping they see that you’re the hip cat daddy-o you know you are?

Look, it isn’t hard to translate what you do and have done and can do to match the behaviors and needs of your market. Industrial and manufacturing buyers are telling you what they want – and need – hear. Why not give them the benefit of learning how you can help them in the ways and language they want, instead of describing it for yourself.

The MFG.com survey is just one example – there are many others. To capitalize and learn from them, why not set up a few Google Alerts on some keywords so you can keep up with and review that activity without breaking your back? They’re free, effective and you’ll get notifications in your email however often you want. Some great keywords for this example: “survey of US manufacturers,” “manufacturers were surveyed,” and “manufacturing survey.” Pick some of your own. Give it a shot.

You wouldn’t begin a job without talking to the customer to get clarity and avoid problems, right? And in the same spirit, ¬†you shouldn’t throw messages in front of your prospects without knowing what they need. Listen, and construct a content and marketing strategy that considers your customers’ strategies, too.

Your customers and prospects are telling you what they need. Are you listening?