If you’re a small to medium sized manufacturer, don’t have a Web site of your own, and you want to grow your business, then you have a problem. It’s 2009, and if you still need convincing that the Web is where the people you want to talk to are going to find businesses like yours, then just move along. Nothing to see here, I’m afraid.

But if you do have a site and you want to get more out of it – or if it seems like it’s doing little or no good – then you should seriously consider trying these suggestions to beef up your exposure and get what you deserve from it.

  • Start A Blog – They’re inexpensive (many are free), they’re relatively easy to set up and you don’t have to know how to write code to update them. Once set up, they’re about as easy to use as a Microsoft Word document. A Blog is an effective means of communicating what your company is doing, what projects you’re working on, company news and anything that explains why someone should see you as a dependable partner. But where a Blog really comes into play for small manufacturers is that it allows you to differentiate your business from your competitors’ – and that’s the main purpose of your Web site. Post new equipment or new processes you’ve mastered, and how they equate to better services and products for your current & past customers. Describe successful projects and how you made your customers’ lives easier – describe the industry, type of part, materials, processes and technologies involved. All this will not only convey the message any prospect would find valuable, it will also feed your site with the keywords and phrases your prospects actually plug into search engines. Easy, inexpensive and effective – how can you beat that? Once you start, don’t stop. Post to your Blog regularly (but not necessarily frequently); search engines like Google love activity on a site, and that’ll help raise the online prominence of your site. One or two posts a week can add up over time. (Check out this excellent review of Blogs for small & medium manufacturers.)
  • Participate On The Web – Find related forums for manufacturing professionals and answer questions, offer suggestions and contribute to the dialogue. Each post acts as an organic reference to your Web site and your company. Be sure to include links to your site with every post. And remember that once the discussion has faded into the background, your posts will remain in perpetuity – legacy posts are often found by prospects searching for suppliers, and these “breadcrumbs” can be very effective at putting your company in a prospect’s field of vision. You may also look into joining marketplaces or association sites that allow you to create profiles for your company. Social media sites for manufacturers can not only expose you to the people that frequent them – they also elevate the “breadcrumb” effect by linking into your own site, thereby elevating its prominence through search engines. Think of this activity as creating billboards for your business around the Web.

Like anything else, your Web site takes some work. It’s not static. You have to grow it – it’s a work in progress. Both of these tips can pay big dividends for your manufacturing business, without killing yourself in the process.