Small to mid-sized B2B manufacturers are a busy bunch. Part of the reason SMS came into being was to help these kinds of companies focus on marketing as they often become too mired in the complex, insular, day-to-day activities of sticking to production schedules and finding increasingly efficient ways to make stuff. To say that the advent of Internet marketing disrupted their marketing-as-usual more than most would be an understatement. In many ways, they felt they simply weren’t suited.
For example, many OEM industrial products are meant to be installed inside other industrial products so giving them a glamorous digital roll out never quite felt ready for prime time. Technically complex product specs rarely jumped off the screen accompanied by iconic imagery and alluring ad-speak. Prized facilities were often cluttered with the decidedly less-than-photogenic tools of the trade – mountains of boxes, metal tubing, spools of wire, splotches of tinfoil – making capturing promotional images a series of compromises that, like the old George Gobel joke, prompted companies to feel like “the world was a tuxedo and they were a pair of brown shoes”.
Creating informative, eye-catching websites for companies with predominately pragmatic mindsets was done extremely carefully so as not to seem, to put it politely, “surplus to common sense”. Every once in a while a clever tag was approved or a funny mascot incorporated to break the mundanity, but most often a bit of color, a few appropriate images and some tightly written technical copy sufficed. Throw up a few more pages for a little history, a couple of bios and a contact form and you were hard-pressed to convince a client they needed anything else. They were who they were and if someone needed them there was a number they could call.
These days, modest placeholder sites with standard value propositions still exist. The problem is, you rarely see them. The reason is as simple as it is seismic in its implications: they haven’t been updated enough for search engines to care about them. If a company’s website is listed on a number of popular online directories providing enough active backlinks, no one will really notice for awhile. But at some point it becomes clear that a site actually has to do something besides function as an electronic piece of literature to rank in searches. That’s where things get cloudy. Most B2B websites aren’t built to entertain. At best they’re serviceable technical resources for folks who already know what they’re looking for so what the heck are they supposed to do, tell jokes?
There are a number of things a site can do to start becoming more visible, and the good news is these things can be done a little at a time so as to not put undo strain on frequently tight budgets. Who are we kidding; budgets are always “tight”, aren’t they? I’ve never met any loose-fitting budgets personally, so SMS programs are designed for the snug ones. We start by building our customer’s websites to pass stringent Google health tests so they’re not vulnerable to algorithmic penalties. Beyond that, there are a host of relatively simple things one can do to make them more attractive to search engines. We can make sure the URLs include the most important keywords, and that the titles and subtitles on key pages handle the others. We can add alt-tags to images so that search bots find them relevant and interesting. And yes, we can add informative content that reflects a company’s industry and products. The best part is all can be done a little at a time, and we’ve developed programs* that bundle the important stuff into an affordable monthly cost.
What we’re talking about is something we continue to talk about and need to keep talking about: website optimization. Websites aren’t done when they’re finished. They require stages of SEO improvements and design updates that will make them visible, attract clicks, and engage users. Sometimes a blog post or two does the trick. Sometimes a pleasant navigational experience inspires engagement, instills confidence and extends visits. It’s not productive to assume that a website is “good enough” or that the implementation of one activity carries the load. It’s better to run the reports, check the stats, research the competition and move a few of the boxes so that the plant floor looks great from at least one angle.
SMS has grown with our clients. It’s a productive partnership that requires understanding, communication and trust. So trust me when I tell you that whoever you are and whatever you do, the website you use to promote your products and services needs updating. If it’s not true at this very minute, it will be very soon. What’s also true is that we’ve come up with more than a few ways to make sure you can afford to make the updates you need.
*The SMS Web Management Services Pro Account now includes monitoring of all Google Ads with unlimited alterations to existing ads. For more info about that and other affordable SMS services, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation or simply fill out our short contact form.