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11 Essential Steps for Creating Your New Website Design

Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 10:00 AM / by Myke Amend posted in Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Web Design Company, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Internet Development, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, web development, Website Design Company, Featured, Web Design

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Website Design Directions SignThough our Cincinnati web design agency tends to advocate repairing and improving cheap, DIY, outdated, or otherwise bad websites wherever and whenever possible, sometimes a new website build or complete website redesign is necessary.

If your company is new to the web, or if your business has a new website to build, it is important to have a solid web design plan in place before moving forward.

If you are hiring a web designer or web design company to do the work, pre-planning can still save an incredible amount of time and frustration, and guide the process toward having the best results from what will likely be your company's most important sales and lead generation tool for years to come.

In this post we'll outline the best process to build a great website with the best marketing potential.

Top most important steps toward designing your new web site:

Buyer Personas for Website DesignBad: "Elmo Haletosis Dinglefaartz the IIIrd: drinks lots of gin, and wears an eyepatch. Hates hayrides and squirrels."

Good:
"Inigo Montoya: Parking lot mogul and CEO with properties in Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport. Has purchased 15 demolition sites in the downtown area and is looking for concrete to pave them with. He does not want to interact or commit at this time, just wants basic questions answered." 

Step 1: Buyer Personas - Know your website's ideal visitor

It is easy to go down the path of designing a website for the company itself. Many designers go into web design projects with the company's image or even their own portfolio in mind first, and already in great danger of turning the website into a very expensive vanity project for the designer and company alike.

In this case, let's imagine a Concrete company whose website boasts that they are the greatest, oldest, and biggest in the area. They have lots of pages on CEOS, CFOs, pictures of big trucks and big projects, and are wondering why the site fails to generate new leads and customers.

While it is important to impress and even dazzle visitors, it is more important to consider the ideal visitors' primary needs. Knowing what will bring your ideal visitors to your website, knowing what information they'll be seeking, knowing how to inform and how to boost confidence, having a plan to help them them become satisfied customers should be the primary focus.

Imagine these ideal customers, give them names, ages, likely job titles, unique needs that brought them to you - and write these down. You are done. These are your buyer personas, and you are ready for the next step:

Guide to Creating Buyer Personas for Business by Lohre Marketing & Advertising, Cincinnati

Step 2: Consider the buyer's journey, and draw them a map

not a good web site map
Not a very good map for your website

Put yourself in your buyer persona's shoes. Consider what problems they came seeking solutions for, what questions helped them find you, how you might help them. Realistically define the process. Is your solution one that might require days, even months of decision-making, or a fast and easy choice? Having buyer personas in mind, allows you to map your website accord to their needs.

You might ask yourself these things:
  • How will I attract my buyer persona?
  • What information will I need to qualify them as leads?
  • What solutions will I need to provide them in return for this information?
  • What further interactions will encourage them to change from leads into customers?
  • How do I make those customers into return customers?
  • How do I encourage them to give great reviews and word of mouth promotion?

If you have answered all of these questions in detail, congratulations - you've outlined your marketing path, and sales funnel.

a very bad website design marketing funnel
This is not a very good sales funnel for your website. Chances are you will not be allowed to put people into actual funnels, or to feed them to bees.
a basic, bland, and vague and useless web site marketing funnel
That's a little bit better... in a very generic and vague way. Show that you really have a plan for this specific site, for this specific business.
web design online marketing funnel
Try to design your funnel specifically for your website, not just *any* site. The funnel could demonstrate a strategy for an entire site or a business - but most often, it will center around only one primary offer.

 

Step 3: Outline and Flow Chart

web-design-outline.pngOutline: Be thorough. Think how many pages and subpages deep this website will need to go. Also be sure to consider landing pages, which might not fall into the base hierarchy of the site.

An outline ensures that content flows in a way that is convenient and helpful to the average visitor. It also helps you to think of the process, and what content the process will require. You may find that you need more pages than you thought, but you might also find pages that can be ommited, or can be combined into one.

I recommend working on this outline in a word processing application, or anyplace where you can easily edit bulleted lists within bulleted lists.

When done, you have all you need to create a basic flowchart. Flow charts are simply graphical outlines for people who prefer flow charts over outlines (most people). Since this is mostly to illustrate how one could go from one page to the next, you don't need to get very fancy with it - blocks and lines will do (like the very simple web site flow chart to the right).

If however everyone involved is familiar with process flow chart symbols, you might want to go a step further and make an actual process flow chart ( https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Create-a-basic-flowchart-f8e57ca2-0c24-4760-bc2e-8812d7310c6a )

Step 4: Block it out.

web-design-board-f.pngOutline: Be thorough. Think how many pages and subpages deep this web site will need to go. Also be sure to consider landing pages, which might not fall into the base hierarchy of the site.

Before doing any graphic design, you need to know how the web site and its elements are going to work together - how they are going to present information, which elements need to grab attention, how, and why.

I like to use a styrofoam board, pins, string, construction paper, and multi-colored Post-its on an open wall or large corkboard. A large table will however do, but is not as fun, and you will probably need that table for other things before the project is completed. Don't worry now about how the website will look. Think instead about how layers will interact or be animated, where slideshows or movies might go, whether sidebars will exist and where, the function of the footer, which pages might have forms, and how they are to be presented.

Use your content outline as a guide. If you have already selected a CMS and templates, you should also consult those from time to time. Content in this stage, might be as simple as sticky notes that read "colorful image to illustrate B2B", "bulleted list with types of advertising", "CTA: View our helpful video!", or as advanced as photos and printed paragraphs.

Chances are you might eventually need something more portable than the crime wall or office table. If so, refine your flow chart based on the work from this stage, print it, and print numbered pages to correspond with each block. These pages and their content should reflect the pages on your wall.

Step 5: Software selection

By now you should a good idea what sort of CMS you will need for your web design project, as well as what you will need plugins and add-ons for. If you are not designing from a theme you have previously made, and don't plan to build one from scratch, this would be a good time to choose a theme to build from. This is also a good time to search the web for compatibility issues between software, themes, and plugins.

If the company has graphic standards established, they'll likely require a specific font stack for their website design. Make sure the needed fonts are available as web fonts, and know how much they will cost.

If the company does not have graphic standards established, this is a something you should discuss. Make sure that creating a corporate identity package is in the budget, or that graphic standards will be available by the time design work begins.

You now have a good idea of how the web site will function, know what software you will be using, and that there no known conflicts between. You also know that everything you are proposing to do can be done, how to do it, and have factored in outside costs.

Step 6: Mid-project meeting

this website meeting actually should not be an emailNo Skeletor, This meeting is not one of those. This is actually a great place to be and a very exciting time... halfway to launch!
Source:
memegenerator.net

If you are designing this web site for others, or need to consult with your colleagues, this is a great place for a mid-project meeting.

You've got a lot of information to share and things to discuss before moving ahead, perhaps too much. You can't cover everything here, but what is covered here will be shaped by the priorities, concerns, and schedules of those involved.

You have firmly established purpose, goals, needed software, server requirements, page count, content needs, new challenges, and additional costs. You also have a flow chart that serves as a map to build and design the site by.

This flow chart serves well as an itemized list of textual and graphical content needed for the site. You, the client, or your marketing team should begin creating and collecting the content needed for the completed website - Encourage them to tell their brand story, and to gather and create strong images to illustrate that story with.

Step 7: Installation, Setup, and Testing

website-hosting.jpgSome web designers would jump to the design stage before this, and if you are designing for others you may at least have been asked to make graphical mockups in order to get this far.

If you have that option, get everything installed, behaving properly, and at least semi-configured before wasting everyone's time on preemptive design. Hypothetical appearances tend to die horribly from compatibility issues, and actual needs.

If you build in a folder on the site's intended server, and test it, you will know that the site, and plugins work in that environment. This also gives you the ability to design in place, directly working with the actual product of Javascript, HTML, and CSS that the server-to-be will assemble from the CMS, plugins, and themes you chose.

Step 8: Framework

By the end of this stage, using your outline, you should have a good working website with all navigation working, and all proposed pages created. These pages are likely populated with lorem ipsum and placeholder images at this point, and that is okay.

Step 9: Basic Graphic Standards

This is a mini-stage before adding content. At this stage, we are still not out to create any more design elements than we absolutely have to, but we want a good idea of what our content will look like in order to improve upon it, and to design for it.

Whether you are working from an existing theme, or you started off with a structure that was devoid of any styling at all, this is a small stage where you should change colors and fonts to meet with the company's graphic standards, and remove styles and graphical elements that would compete with this branding.

Finish this stage by adding the company logo, preferably in .SVG format (Scalable Vector Graphics) so that it looks its very best at any size or resolution.

Step 10: Populate!

What? Still no design? Are you crazy?

Realistically, yes, but also consider that you already have a lot of finished design at this point:

If you have branding, you have fonts, a defined color palette, and a logo. You also have your crime lab-style layout from step 4, meaning that you have the user interface mostly planned out. You also know how navigation and pages will work together as a story to guide your visitors through the website.

If you were able to make it to this stage without submitting graphical mockups for revision, revision, and revision of purely-hypothetical concepts, you have an opportunity to think ahead about graphical styles and touches here, and are a very lucky designer for it. If your job is design only, hopefully you've been given content by this point, if it isn't you should focus on your content creation before proceeding.

Add in all of your text with only general styles (h1, h2, h3, p, br, blockquote, etc.), use placeholders in place of images, use bootstrap rules for your general layout so that all elements of fractional widths behave uniformly and responsively. I'd recommend skipping on internal links at this point, else you'll have to remember which content you were and were not yet able to assign internal links to.

Be sure to consider SEO in your choosing of permalinks as you go. This is easier to do now than to correct later. Don't obsess on this if it slows you down though, you can always correct with 301s if you have to, and/or a good find & replace job if your website's structure is data-driven.

Step 11: FINALLY! Design

This is not the stage where design typically happens, but it is the stage where design *should* happen.

Previous ideas and mockups here would have served more as constraint than inspiration. Making the functionality of the web site mesh with designs made information was gathered and framework, would be much like hammering a non-euclidian peg into a two-dimensional hole.

If you are like me, and have reached the point where working with CSS and HTML in place is much like, even easier than laying out a design in Illustrator or Photoshop, then you will likely be doing the bulk of your web site design with your text editor of choice and an FTP client, while keeping Photoshop, Illustrator, and/or GIMP open for making textures, creating graphics, and editing photos.

However you do your design work, having not spent too much time on graphics up to this point, allows for much better use of time every step of the way, and for a web site that is the product of inspired design, not remedial design.

Step 12: Web Site Design Never Ends

You should be constantly testing, refining, improving, and expanding your site. Beyond testing initial functionality of your website, testing such as A/B testing for different landing pages geared toward different buyer personas is a good place to start.

Blog often, and every time you return to your site, try to think of one small thing to improve on a page or the site itself. If you mark what you changed and when you changed it, you might be able to track these changes against web traffic or visitor behavior.

Always remember: Websites that aren't growing, are simply dying.

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AdVenture Explores the Industrial Marketing and Sales Relationship

Fri, Aug 19, 2016 @ 03:17 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Web Design Company, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Internet Development, Advertising Design, Cincinnati Marketing, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, web development, Website Design Company, Cincinnati Advertising Agencies, Web Design

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(This week's guest post is from Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine. We weren't able to go to AdVenture this year but it's the best industrial marketing conference for the electrical manufacturing and distribution industry. Our Creative Guide is from a presentation we gave at 2004's conference.  We just got the 8-19-2016 NAED eNews with this article featured.)

The 2016 NAED AdVenture Conference brought together about 140 marketing professionals in the same room.

And one sales professional.

Industrial Marketing bla bla bla

John Lorince from Leff Electric was in the company's marketing department, but moved to an outside sales position. His presentation drew the most questions and comments of the entire AdVenture Conference. By far. 

There were the obvious jokes about sales people being from the "Evil Empire" or "The Dark Side." But Lorince really put a lot of what marketing does into perspective by saying, "Some of what I thought was important, wasn't," when talking about his time in the marketing department. He also asked the marketing crowd how often they go on sales calls, and the answer was an overwhelming "once in a while."  Lorince believes it should be more than that. On the flip side, you have to wonder how many times a salesperson attended a marketing meeting or conference. Perhaps joining the two groups together a little more often would help bridge the communications gap.

Lorince added that it is extremely important for the marketing team to treat him like the customer. "Sell the products to me, so I can sell them to someone else," he advises. He also said he appreciates it when a member of the marketing team makes quick visits to his office to work with him on sales or special pricing, because in the long run it will make his job easier.

Lorince did a great job of providing a series of tips to the marketing people at the AdVenture Conference. So great that, before he finished, he was asked to mark his calendar to come back next year and address the group again.

His speech is really a great start to a very old problem. On one side, you have a marketing department that is using research, product knowledge, and concepts that set buying your products apart from the competition as an advantage. On the other side, you have sales people using research (like past history in successful selling), product knowledge, and concepts for setting himself apart from any other salesperson from another company to use as an advantage. So why are the two departments so far apart?

I tracked down some quotes from experts on B2B practices outside of electrical distribution, to find where they are seeing failures between marketing and sales. They are worth reading to see if you are experiencing the same situations. For example, Stephanie Tilton of Savvy B2B Marketing says, "Many corporate cultures don't support a meeting of the minds between sales and marketing. And without the support of upper management, any valiant attempts to close the gap will fizzle out. Whereas marketing often revolves around a campaign schedule, sales is sweating to meet quota."

Jennifer Beever or New Incite believes the problem between sales and marketing is traditional, and that tradition needs to end. "Traditional departments operate in silos, with each performing their function but not interacting with others. On one hand, too many marketing departments believe they need to operate autonomously, with input from sales. On the other hand, too many salespeople take a ‘maverick' approach, and don't give marketing credit for generating leads," Beever says.

This is an interesting topic, especially as we are seeing significant changes to our supply chain, including innovative new products being launched and the significant impact mergers and acquisitions have already had on our distributors and suppliers.  We have assigned our writers to take an even deeper look into this, and tedmag.com will be building stories to help you bridge the gap between sales and marketing.

We also hope John Lorince accepts the invitation to come back to AdVenture next year. We can all use more insight from people like him.  Maybe he can get even more salespeople to come with him.


Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Strategic Content Creation Handbook by Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Lohre & Associates

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Why Great Web Design & Web Development Never Ends

Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 10:00 AM / by Myke Amend posted in Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Web Design Company, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Internet Development, Advertising Design, Cincinnati Marketing, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, web development, Website Design Company, Cincinnati Advertising Agencies, Featured, Web Design

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Your new web design or web development project is finished... or is it?

Web Design GraphicIn a sense, maybe your web design or web redesign project is coming to a close. You've covered everything that is within scope, satisfied every need that was laid out in the project planning, web design quote, or purchase order. The end of project meeting answered all remaining questions, employees were trained on how to use and manage their new website, and it looks like you can call this a job well done and *finally!* launch your new corporate website.

From here, ideally, your new site will impress visitors, generate new leads, make sales, and yield much better search results. You finally have a site that is well-optimized for search by today's standards, including being responsive/mobile-friendly. You even made sure to make it a secure (HTTPS/SSL) site.

Yep, your site is completely, at this very moment, modern and will serve you well for 2 to 5 years, until you need to completely replace it again, as business from the site begins to slow, and visitor counts dwindle...

and when that time comes, you may wonder...

"Our last web design is only a few years old, why is this happening?"

Here are some of the most common reasons a great website can fail over time:

Website Missed Maintenance Issues:

Like all business equipment, from large industrial machinery, to company cars, to copiers, websites need to be maintained to retain value. Most companies wouldn't let their vehicles go a year without changing the oil, but many companies allow their websites go to seed, creating a cycle of time and revenue lost for need of emergency patches, leading eventually into the need for a complete replacement.

  • Regular maintenance can help keep your site up to date with today's SEO standards. It is much harder (and more costly) to recover lost search position than it is to maintain and improve the ranking of your web site. Losing revenue all the way up to that point makes this decision even less affordable.
  • Regular maintenance can defend against hacks, malware, blackhat SEO and other factors that might harm your ranking. Regaining ranking after your web site loses search placement and is indexed with a "this site may be harmful to your computer", is often extremely difficult, and costly. Regaining placement lost to spammers and black hat SEO is also difficult.
  • Regular Maintenance can keep your web presence in all available markets. As new devices are created and released, as monitor sizes increase or shrink, as screen resolutions become sharper, as internet speeds increase, as devices from servers to smart watches become faster - you should want your web site design to be accessible to as many people on as many devices as possible. Regularly look in on your website, from multiple devices, and try to always consider devices that you may be leaving out.
  • Regular Maintenance can allow you to detect and fix broken links, broken contact forms, and other lost functionality before you lose business from it. Sometimes web hosts upgrade their software, or tighten up their security. This can cause a site to break. You do not know the web host made changes to the environment. Your web host does not know that your site or some part of your site broke as a result. Often, by the time a potential customer contacts a company about a broken website, or broken web page, weeks, even months have gone by. In this time, hundreds of other visitors have simply gone elsewhere. The question "How long has this been broken?", can lead to revelations about business slowdown you do not want to have.
  • Great sites come from evolution, not as pre-packaged solutions. Fully replacing an old site can be necessary if too much time has passed since the last time it was worked on, but the best very sites are sites that are regularly retuned and refined to keep up with current needs and standards. You invested a lot of money in your new build. Maintenance could mean no more major rebuilds, less cost over time, and much better results.

 

example of a fully mobile responsive design for all devices
Example of a website designed for widescreen, desktop, laptop, tablet, and cell phone.

 

Website Disuse issues:

Inbound Marketing is one of the most important aspects of good Web DesignThis mistake, in recent times of Wordpress and other types of CMS (Content Management Systems) being the standard, in more-recent times of search providers giving preference to regularly-updated sites, can be just as harmful as the former. As even the best equipment can become rusty when negelcted, so can your web presence.

  • Regular content updates help your search presence and can help your site-wide keyword saturation. Google, and other search engines prefer sites that they know are being maintained. Fresh content shows Google that the site is an actively growing site, not an abandoned site that is only still living because of pre-paid hosting, or that someone forgot to pull the plug. Since people who are searching are most-often in search of up-to-date information - search engines try to search up the most up-todate content and web sites.
  • Regular updates can extend the size of your site, and build its footprint on the web. Whether you are blogging, adding new pages, or extending the content of existing pages (perhaps breaking content up into more subpages), you are gaining more chances to be indexed and seen, building keywords for your site, expanding the size of your net.
  • Stasis is death. While your site is not growing - your competitors sites may be. Worse: while you are failing to build new links to your site, you are most likely losing links as well. Backlinks are still the number one factor in determining search ranking. As sites, pages, and articles that were linking to you disappear, are edited, or are archived, you are losing inbound links. Companies that are regularly building links tend not to notice, but when you stop building, these losses are hard to ignore.
  • Disuse IS Misuse. If you are not using your website as an effective marketing tool, it becomes only about as handy as a business card or a listing in the whitepages. If customers need to already know you exist in order to find your web site, you might as well be sticking to brochures and pamphlets. A good inbound marketing campaign identifies visitors, turns visitors into leads, and nurtures leads into happy customers.
  • Without a good marketing plan, clicks and visits are merely numbers. Purchasing ads online and in print are great ways to bring visitors to your site. Mailers, magazine advertising, eNewsletter advertising, directory placements, technical articles, and advertorials are also great ways to drive traffic. If you are doing these things, but have no marketing strategy and no marketing automation in place for your website, you are simply wasting your advertising dollars and efforts.

If your company does not have its own marketing staff, if you do not have your own staff of net technicians, web developers, or graphic designers, Lohre and Associates can help with your short term or long term marketing and web development needs.

If you would like to save money on coordinating advertising efforts between multiple advertising and marketing services, Lohre and Associates would love to help. As Cincinnati's full-service industrial advertising and marketing agency, we do it all.

Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Strategic Content Creation Handbook by Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Lohre & Associates

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Redesigning a Website to be Mobile-Friendly on a Budget

Thu, Jun 09, 2016 @ 03:02 PM / by Myke Amend posted in Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Web Design Company, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Internet Development, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, web development, Website Design Company, Cincinnati Advertising Agencies, Advertising Agency, Web Design

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Website Redesign Does Not, Should Not Always Mean Replacement:

We all know how increasingly important having a mobile-friendly website has become to search engine placement, but for many reasons, a company might not be ready, or able to do a complete overhaul of an antiquated website or website design.

I am going to go over a few ways a company can hold onto the site they have (as well as a few reasons they might want to) while quickly and inexpensively bringing their site into the 2010s with mobile-friendly styling.

Common reasons not to upgrade a website:

  • It is not in the budget: This might because money was already recently put into a new website design, or that the ideal and perfect website for the company will require more capital than is currently available.
  • There isn't time: Funding aside, major web development tends to require time from the client for gathering promotional literature and other collateral materials, approving designs, flow charts/site maps, discussions on what the new website should be able to do. When it comes to building a new website, some level of collaboration is necessary.
  • Google and other search engines really like old sites: It is true that the older a website is, the more reliable the website appears to search, but one must also consider that regularly-updated sites are also favorable. The perfect mix, we've found, is having a site with an old domain, and regularly updating it.


Rome wasn't built in a day - Good websites also take time.

The very best sites are not made in a day, or even a month - The best websites are the product of years or more of regular updates and upgrades, close attention to not creating broken links in the process, and minor design improvements made regularly. This is especially true when it comes to SEO.

Coming from an artist who has spent over 20 years as a web developer, over a decade more doing graphic design, and an entire lifetime creating fine art: There really is something to be said for works that have had a lot of time, passion, and care for detail put into them. This level of attention to detail does not happen with purchased templates, it does not come with even the largest budget for website redesign. Sure, it can begin there, but the very best websites come from many, many minor changes.

As important as it is to regularly update your CMS (content management system) software, update plugins, check your site's and servers security, check for broken links, create new blog posts, create new pages, create other content, check directories and other inbound links - making regular minor changes to design, function, and architecture is what brings a website ever-closer to perfect.

"Minor changes"?? Making our website mobile-friendly is a huge undertaking!!

It is easy to think this. Your site might have a lot of pages... hundreds, even thousands. You might even have several different templates for several different types of pages within your site. Your site might even be built on an older/outdated CMS, a long-extinct version of one, or something completely proprietary and unsupported **

Regardless of the type of server you are running on, whether your pages are php, asp, HTML, regardless of what CMS you are using or how old your site is, the end result is that all web site pages are outputted as some sort of HTML, the language a web-browser reads to present a web page for your viewing, and all HTML is, or rather should be formatted with stylesheets - which are all some form of CSS.

Restyling/Redesigning the website to work well with mobile from here is mostly a matter of adding of taking these steps:

  • Adding the viewport meta tag to the header is the first thing I do: Re sizing my browser, I can see how the site and its pages are going to look at different widths, but for a lot of mobile devices the site will not present the same without this tag, which can be easily forgotten.
  • Use media queries within the css to make the web pages and their elements behave differently at different screen sizes: This is mostly a matter of making sure all elements (images, layers, paragraphs) have a max-width of 100% or less (including their margins, borders, and sometimes padding), and that their contents will not overflow those boundaries (by declaring how to treat overflow).
  • Make sure things fall properly into line: Images, layers, and paragraphs ideally should, most-often each take up the full width of a mobile device. I tend to make elements expand to this size, then add  "clear: both" and "float: none" to their styling.
  • Make sure they fall into the proper order: Things that were floating left end up above the elements that were to their right, this is not always the best order for viewing. Sometimes element a, b, and c need to be read top-to-bottom as c, b, and a. To address this, I tend to go the Flex/ Flex-flow/Order method, but this and a number of other methods are covered in this stack overflow thread.
  • Make a simple mobile menu/thumb menu: You need only use CSS to do this. A very simple drop down thumb menu can be found here, on Medialoot. Sometimes, especially if there are few pages, it is even more simple. For both Dynamic Industries (large scale machining) and Vertiflo Pump Company (vertical submersible centrifugal pumps), I didn't even make a thumb menu - I simply made it so that menu items fell into new rows, evenly, and gave them a layered tab appearance on mobile devices.

Mobile-friendly Website redesign for Dynamic IndustriesMobile-friendly Website redesign for Dynamic Industries

Above (left and right) The pages of this standard HTML site were given a mobile-friendly re-design through simple CSS styling changes. A mobile menu was also added simply by re-styling the existing links/navigation

Foreseeable difficulties:

For a lot of older, really older sites, or for sites that were designed by people with limited design knowledge, or no design knowledge at all, these are some common snags run into:

  • The website, site pages, or site content were created in MS Word: The result of this is a massively huge file, horribly coded, and especially badly-coded for trying to restyle with CSS. There is a large amount of proprietary code in there, and unique styles are applied to most every element, if not each and every character. There are a number of ways to clean this up, I am not going to recommend any of them in particular (but advise you try several of the free ones first).
  • There is no CSS style sheet, and there are no CSS styles applied: Actually, often this is even better - it means that you will not be fighting competing style declarations and addressing most things element by element. CSS will override HTML in most cases (unless there is inline CSS). Just attach a stylesheet to the pages or template and work from there.
  • There are inline styles for a number of elements or for every element: I really hate to use it, but if a very object-specific CSS declaration won't do, you can use "!important" at the end of your declarations to override these. Use them sparingly. If all else fails, any good text editor with "find/replace" can possibly be used (locally) to remove these as you find them. If these inline styles are used within post and page content, a good find/replace plugin might be available for your CMS. If it is Wordpress, I use "Better Search/Replace".
  • Tables??... who still uses tables?? A decade after most designers should have stopped using them, they are still a fairly common thing. Sometimes, they are even necessary... at least until Mozilla Firefox starts handling flex correctly. Though tables are something to be avoided for layout, they are still handy as far as what they were intended for: Displaying specs and data. Generally, if tables are used to layout content, I break them apart with "display: block; overflow: hidden; float: none; clear: both;" and then work on the styling from there. Since a majority of our clients are Industrial, and more specifically: in the process industry tables filled with data are pretty common. I use CSS to break lines and to rotate the table headers at smaller sizes, like so (LEFT/top: normal website view of the table, RIGHT/bottom: Mobile website view of the table):

Website Design: Table Rotation example 1web-design-table-rotation.png

 

So... Why are we doing this again?

1. Search engines now favor mobile-friendly websites.

2. Content that is mobile-friendly reaches a wider audience/is more accessible.

3. Content that is mobile-friendly is more likely to be shared, if only because of the wider audience provided by being mobile-friendly and having better search placement.

4. It is actually not as hard as it might seem:

I know it might seem like a lot of work, all of these steps might not be necessary, and taking these steps could get help your website by in the mean time, and possibly for a while - maybe much longer if the website is regularly kept up to date with internet standards. It is also often easier, and more cost-effective to maintain a website than it is to completely replace it. Making your website mobile-friendly will put you back on the right path.

These changes, are changes that should be applied over a handful of days, and improved upon as time goes by. If you do not have a web designer who is capable of doing this in this time frame, we'd be happy to help - Just contact us.

Making a website mobile-friendly is very important in that Google and other search providers use this as a standard when giving search placement. If you also consider that an increasing amount of website visitors are using cellphones or other mobile devices, and that this portion of visitors and potential visitors is fast-becoming the majority, you know that not having a mobile-friendly site is like being on only a very small portion of the internet. It is not a very nice thing to do to yourself, your company, or all those who might wish to be connected with your product or service.

 

 

 


** In the latter case: Yes, I would suggest some sort of overhaul - because any CMS or plugin version even an hour old might have some exploit or other vulnerability that will end in your site being loaded with malware and pharmaceutical ads, if it is not already. I won't go into that here, You can read more about that here, for the sake of this article I am going to assume your site is secure and sound against these things.

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B2B Website Checklist for Industrial Marketing

Wed, Jul 22, 2015 @ 04:45 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Inbound Marketing, Process Equipment Marketing, Marketing Automation, Industrial Website Design, Industrial Social Media Marketing, Website Design, Business to Business Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Advertising, Web Design Company, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, web development, Web Design

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Thanks to Jeremy Durant for inspiring this post as a fine tuning for your industrial marketing site.


Use this checkist to review your site and remember, don't throw out your entire site. Fix these problems while you update the look and feel slowly and consistently.

1. Is your site accurate?
Web Design and Web Development checklist image 1

2. Use your colors, fonts and white space to direct attention?
Web Design and Web Development checklist image 2

3. Help reach your goal?
Industrial Web Design and Web Development checklist image 1

4. Have testimonials on your site?
Industrial Web Design and Web Development checklist image 4

5. Educational?
Industrial Web Design and Web Development checklist image 5

6. Use any black hat SEO methods?

7. Use the same phrases in your copy that you want visitors to find you for?
Industrial Web Design and Web Development checklist image 7

8. Function on a smart phone?

9. Written for Buyer Personas?
Industrial Web Design and Web Development checklist image 9

10. Use your prospect's social media?

11. How many visitors generate a new prospect?

12. Easy to edit?

13. Easy to navigate?

14. Focused on one visitor's needs?
Industrial Web Design and Web Development checklist image 14


CONCLUSION:

In the final review, it's most important that your site come up in the search engines for the search phrases you want to be found in. If not, buy adwords, remarketing, or LinkedIn ads until you do.


 If you liked this post you may like, "Pay Per Click - Good Industrial Marketing Idea or Money Pit?"


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Chuck Lohre's AdVenture Presentation of examples and descriptions from Ed Lawler's book of the same title - 10 Rules On Creating Business-To-Business Ads

Industrial Marketing Creative Guide by Lohre Marketing and Advertising, Cincinnati

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Three Secrets to Enjoyable Internet Industrial Marketing

Mon, Jan 13, 2014 @ 10:07 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Email Marketing and Advertising, Blogging and Blog Content Creation, Internet Marketing, Industrial Website Design, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, Internet Development

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  1. Create top-quality content that aligns with your buyer personas. If you don't have any new content, re-publish news from your industry associations and educational institutions.

  2. Share your knowledge by blogging, email and paid search engine adwords

  3. Take your time, reflect on your goals and enjoy yourself.

Industrial Marketing FlowchartThe pressure to improve your website, gain more visitors and hopefully customers has never been more acute. Yes, the tools and resources are available to do that instantly, but that doesn't mean you have the time or budget to do it. Industrial marketing is driven by product quality and responsiveness. Your current customers come first, with an eye to absolutely, positively, always doing the highest quality work possible. It's the foundation of your company and nothing will undermine a company's marketing quicker than poor quality work. The old saying is true, "When you're happy you tell two friends, when you're unhappy you tell twenty."

Manufacturing is a private business, you have the confidence and money of your customers. However, you can't share their information, their problems or even resell their ideas on your own. It's perfectly alright and good business to promote your customers and their successes if they allow it. We're like doctors ascribing to the Hippocratic Oath. You swear to practice business honestly and responsibly.

So, if you want to grow your business because the business you're in doesn't allow you to grow to the size you want, you'll have to find new customers. Alternately, you might have to find a different business that doesn't have competition. Traditional ideas say you can grow your business by marketing. You really can't. If you do fantastic work and your business doesn't grow -- it's not your fault, it's the economy. What you offer isn't that special or there's no need for your services. Get over it and find a new business or buy another one to grow.

prod 200 PORTEKThat brings to mind a wonderful presentation on innovation I heard last summer. It was held at the famous "Eureka! Ranch" of Doug Hall in Newtown, Ohio. Doug rose to the rank of Master Marketing Inventor at Procter & Gamble, inventing and shipping a record nine innovations in 12 months. Hall retired from P&G and started teaching innovation at his ranch. The process starts with brainstorming new product ideas. Ideas that could serve your existing customers or could be made with the manufacturing equipment you currently have. They advise against creating a new product using manufacturing equipment you aren't familiar with, or offering a new product to a market you don't know. The second step is to prove there is a market for your idea. They suggest conducting a patent search to assure that the idea hasn't been tried by others. Also, you need solid economic data on size of market and cost to bring it to market. Ask yourself this question, "Is this product really needed?" The third step is to go to market as quickly and inexpensively as possible. As an example Eureka! Ranch showed a video from a chipper-shredder company whose innovative idea mounted a wood saw on a sawhorse. The 'lumberjack' can stand upright at table height and easily cuts small trees into firewood. The cut limbs fall into a wheel barrow positioned under the saw. The video was made on a cell phone by an employee. It went viral on YouTube and launched the product. The only prototype was in the video and they mocked it up in an afternoon! Thanks to Portek for the photo.

Keyword WorksheetWhich brings us to the chart at the beginning of this blog, if you have news, great, you can share it or at least news from your industry associations and educational institutions. If not, focus on other inbound type of advertising such as search engine ad words. You want to be in front of your buyer personas when they are looking for products and services. It used to be OK to advertise in the yellow pages and industry magazines, but that's not where your customers are hanging out. They are going to the internet and industrial directories and if you're lucky one favorite technical journal. A good source of information on purchasing ad words is available from Hubspot. Their chart to the left illustrates that you need to know the keywords your prospects may enter into the search engines during the three stages of the sales funnel: looking, learning and buying.

The final tip was to enjoy yourself. We love attracting attention at trade shows, getting positive buzz from advertisements and writing a great case history. But budgets are smaller, time is shorter and marketing is so fragmented that it's hard to focus on the most important media, even if you knew. Your customers will tell you, ask them. In the end, joy comes from two simple steps: listening and responding. If you get lost, listen to the folks in your industry. Next month we'll put that thinking to test at the big construction trade show, CONEXPO- CON/AGG in Las Vegas.


If you liked this post you may also like: Create a Customer Path with Website Marketing Communications

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Create a Customer Path with Web Design using Website Marketing Communications

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 @ 02:03 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in SEO - search engine optimization, Internet Marketing, Industrial Search Engine Optimization - SEO, Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Internet Development, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, Cincinnati Advertising Agencies, Web Design

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10 steps to make your marketing communications' site focused on guiding visitors.

  1. Sign out of Google. If you have a Google account for email, news, YouTube, etc.; Google remembers your preferences and shows you those sites when you search on similar keywords. You'll never see what the visitor sees if you let Google show you pages you've been to before. Pick your buyer persona category and search on the terms they would. Put them in order of the number of results. That will tell you the hierarchy of your site design.
  2. Arrange your first page of Google print outs in order of the number of results. You'll see the level of importance you need to apply to your web site design. It's like a path through the woods. As someone goes down into your site they will learn things more specific to their needs.Web Site Design Strategy for Marketing Communications
  3. Now refine the content to match the journey. Many benefits and features of your product will be the same for all your products. We'll get those out of the way first and include them on the first page. More specific features and benefits will be the content as your visitor drills down.
  4. Determine what pages you want to show in your menu. Some content will be very similar because of slightly different search terms. You don't have to show all those pages in your menu. Design the submenu you will place on these category pages.
  5. Write the content. Pay close attention to the keywords used on competitor pages. They will give you clues as to industry buzzwords and content you might have missed. Add some links to other more technical material the visitor can access. Conclude with a Call To Action.
  6. Design the pages. Here we need to get our images together. Be sure to use alternative text captions. The best site page arrangement is a "Z." The eye starts in the upper left, goes across the page, down to the lower left and finally to the lower right. In this case a simple four square will do it: Photo, benefit/feature bullets, learn more, call to action. The "learn more" pages can be a simple headline and content. The Call To Action pages will be a form to encourage communication such as a phone consultation or plant visit.
  7. Post the subsite pages.
  8. Study Google Analytics.
  9. Make adjustments.
  10. Benchmark results.
Web Site Design Strategy for Marketing Communications

Google search results help design the hierarchy of your website. The pages with more search results should be at the upper level of your site. Those with lower numbers of search results will be after the drill down. These search terms need to be your product categories. And you will have to juggle them if what's important to you isn't very important to the internet. In this example all milling machine tools can drill and bore. That's why drilling and boring are secondary to milling. All CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) machine tools are later versions of NC (Numerically Controlled) by computer tape. We use this historic hierarchy for example only.

 

Z eye pattern for Web Design for Marketing Communications

Here's an example of the "Z" eye pattern from Open Source Marketer, "While building a new website for a large corporate client, the VP of Marketing asked me to justify why I chose to put the website navigation on the right. Why would anyone choose to put the website navigation on the right instead of the left? This question was pure curiosity for him. He really didn’t have an opinion one-way or the other, he just wanted to know why I did what I did. Here’s why…The Gutenberg diagram (or Gutenberg Rule), This is an easy reference to where the western reader’s eyes will go. As western readers, we have been trained to read from left to right. So, online we naturally gravitate to a left-to-right pattern. No one disputes this fact, and in a moment we’ll see how it’s the root of all arguments."

Web Design and Marketing Hierarchy of Needs

Here is a good diagram for the way industrial marketing communications flow, from the solution to a process pain to connecting with a person that offers a solution. Learn more at this fun site that offered the diagram from a college admissions seminar, Hyped To Death.

Our industrial marketing communication flow might look like this:

  1. I have bug holes in my potable water concrete cistern
  2. Search on potable water cisterns
  3. Learn about concrete release agents
  4. Understand agents need to be certified for potable water
  5. Contact the supplier for a sample

After you have created these pages, optimize them according to our 10 Rules for SEO, and make them live, wait a few days and then check the results on Google Analytics. Look for high bounce rates and low time on page. It will take several weeks to get indexed by Google. Once they are, benchmark your results, rinse and repeat. Good luck.

If you would like assistance, either in your web site design, your hosting, your SEO, or your inbound marketing strategies, please contact us for a free web site development consultation. If you are unsure, please refer to our web design testimonials.


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10 Step: Process Equipment Web Design and Website Marketing Communications

Fri, Apr 12, 2013 @ 09:51 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Marketing Communications, Email Marketing and Advertising, Inbound Marketing, Industrial Advertising, SEO - search engine optimization, Internet Marketing, Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Advertising, Web Design Company, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Business to Business Advertising, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, web development, Cincinnati Advertising Agencies, Web Design

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Applying best practices to chemical and food processing equipment website marketing communications.

  1. Review your site's SEO (Search Enegine Optimization) and Pay-Per-Click
  2. Review your email newsletter strategy
  3. Review your web design for visitor anxiety
  4. Understanding buyer personas
  5. Site architecture for encouraging longer visits
  6. Google analytics
  7. Competitive comparisons
  8. Social media
  9. Content strategy
  10. Retargeting

Review your site's SEO and Pay-Per-Click

Web design for Website Marketing Communications

We use Web Position Gold to analyze positions of keywords but there isn't any better way than to do it manually. Remember to sign out so the search engines don't send you to the pages you regularly visit. Also while you are searching, you can observe competitors, AdWord positions, related industries for adding negative keywords and whatever else pops up. Baidu is the most popular search engine in China and Yandex in Russia.

Review your email newsletter strategy

Email newsletter design for Website Marketing Communications

Email newsletters, like blogs, are the core of your growing content. This company follows a consistent pattern: Technical tips, application story and a product review. Hubspot has some great pointers to follow.

Review your site design for visitor anxiety

Web Design for Website Marketing Communications

Every page must focus on one communication point. If content isn't contributing to the communication get rid of it. Every visitor is asking himself three questions: 1. Is this what I'm looking for?, 2. How can I learn more, 3. Where can I find what I'm looking for? The page on the left was our old site home page, cluttered and confusing. The page on the right is our new Hubspot site home page, simple and engaging. You don't need to give visitors's choices until they need them.

Understanding buyer personas

 Web Design examples for Website Marketing Communications

Chemical and food processing includes all sorts of liquids and powders. These visitors are engineers, technical operators, managers, and administrators. Sure, many of the visitors may be inexperienced amateurs or students, but they all are trying to solve a processing problem. These include variables like volume, ambient conditions, processing speed, quality considerations, and many special problems. These examples illustrate a common solution, show a pictural index of product and applications.

Site architecture for encouraging longer visits

Web Design Examples for Website Marketing Communications

The only way to keep pages simple and offer a large amount of content is to have the content change according to the path a visitor travels on your site. This machine tool manufacturer is a great example. In this case the path was: home > manufacturing > products > type. Breadcrumbs (site content that shows how you got to the page) are a good way to help the visitor remember their journey.

Google analytics

 Google Analytics view for Website Marketing Communications

Similar Web is a great comparison site that illustrated many of the things you can learn on Google Analytics. Study your bounce rate (percent of visitors that leave after that page), pageviews and time on page. Don't worry if your home page has a high bounce rate, 20 percent of your visitors went there to get your phone number.

Competitive comparisons

Website comparison for Website Marketing Communications

There are numerous ways to compare your site to competitors, but remember to measure ROI. The internet is but one part of the marketing communication mix. As you can see from this comparison, Twitter isn't important, one company has a huge Facebook following but they are owned by a marketing company. They all have room for improvement.

Social media

Social Media for Website Marketing Communications

Newsgroups, list servers, industry forums and LinkedIn forums are the only important social media for processing equipment marketing. Facebook might make for a great company newsletter, but it can't begin to answer the technical questions serious marketing communications must focus on. We won't go into Pinterest, Instagram or Reddit. Google+ is growing because you can post to select groups.

Content strategy

Web Design Content Strategy for Website Marketing Communications

The foundation of the new internet success strategy is content. Massive amounts. But it must be serious, coordinated and buyer persona focused. Then it's called inbound marketing. Once you start to look at your different visitors it will become easier to edit content and add better content.

Retargeting

Retargeting examples for Website Marketing Communications

Finally, investigate new targeted marketing communications opportunities. Retargeting banner ads shows visitors ads based on the sites they have visited. In this case we were studying fire suppression systems and that's why an ad came up when we were reading "Grist." Like AdWords, you pay only when the visitor clicks. Finally, industrial advertising has some real estate again.

 


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Electrical Resistor Products Industrial Marketing Communications

Thu, Feb 07, 2013 @ 03:27 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Marketing Communications, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, SEO - search engine optimization, Internet Marketing, Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Advertising, Internet Design and Development, Business to Business Advertising, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Web Design

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If the failed braking resistor has a name plate, that's who would be called, but many don't and they are typically purchased by the voltage and ohm specifications.

This blog will focus on the internet marketing communications of braking resistors because after blanket suppliers, trusted distributors and manufacturers, the internet is where this product is found.

A recent THOMAS REGISTER web site content report concluded:

  • 84% say they want content that educates them, and expect vendors to provide it
  • Over 70% of buyers want to find “solutions to solve a current problem” when
    they start a new search
  • 60% look for different types of content such as comparison of pricing and features depending on their needs at the time
  • 90% had researched products or services online
  • 82% looked up companies or brands online that they were already aware of
  • 72% sourced for suppliers of specific products and services
  • 55% purchased industrial products or services they found online

 “We just received an order for well over $100,000 from a customer in Canada that we would have never interacted with unless we had a very effective online presence," James Davis, President, Industrial Specialties Manufacturing, Manufacturer and Distributor of Miniature Pneumatic Vacuum and Fluid Circuitry Components, www.industrialspec.com

There couldn't be a more perfect example of a problem product found on the internet than an electrical braking resistor. They burn out and need to be replaced quickly. A survey of the manufacturers will get you a variety of responses:

  1. Sure we have that, please check that the holding bracket is the right one. I'll send you the specs, a quote and a drawing in a few minutes.
  2. Let me take down the specifications and get back to you. You get the information the next day.
  3. The electrical distributor has no idea what you are talking about.

Electrical Product Marketing Advertisements

The customer responsive manufacturer will get the order every time. Of course the number one thing your marketing communications needs to do is to be sure you are found on the internet. A quick search on "braking resistor" brought back the following results above.

 

Braking resistor Marketing Advertisements

Image search is getting more important. One distributor is programmed to come up in a search, above. Besides the "Alternative Text" you can also add even a narrative to the metadata of the image.

 

Breaking Resistor Marketing Web Site History

However don't make a fatal mistake, above, in internet marketing communications and throw out all the pages you ranked on when corporate decided they wanted the use of the domain. You can just redirect the pages and leave them online. No one would have ever known except for the typical 35% of their traffic that indexed them.

Electrical Resistor Marketing Comparison

This chart, above, shows the relative competitors in the industry compared to our site, which is the orange line. The tremendous increase was because we switched over to a new integrated content management, email, social media and search engine optimization tool. So there is a lot of room for improvement for "braking resistor manufacturers" in search engine optimization, social media (not so much Facebook but LinkedIn and Twitter), blogging, pages indexed and educational content.

 

Google Shopping Braking Resistor Marketing Advertisements

Google Shopping is the new Google AdWords. It costs less than AdWords but can deliver better results because you really know they are ready to buy. For manufacturer's it might be best to partner with the best distributors.

What is a manufacturer of "braking resistors" to do? Write their site so the product comes up in a Google search. This is ridiculously easy but many manufacturers don't write their content to show up in the search engines. All you have to do put the product description (category_model-number) in the: URL, title, headline, body, linktext and the alternative text for a photo. Only put the product description, not the company name, not the company tag line or anything else in those six places. Finally, supply the distributors that are selling online. They may be better at it than the manufacturer. Purchase Google Ad Words or Google Shopping as a last resort but that is probably best left to the distributors in the trenches.

The future isn't here yet. Then you will be able to search for any braking resistor with your smart phone and quickly find a nearby electrical distributor or manufacturer with the critical item.


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Internet Marketing Communications for Electrical Products Distribution

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 @ 11:26 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Marketing Communications, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Internet Marketing, Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, Internet Development

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Electrical product manufacturers face a unique problem when it comes to internet marketing communications directed at electrical distributors.

First of all your products have to be lucky enough to be accepted by electrical distributors or buying groups for stocking and distribution. They typically offer and stock those products most common to the industry and new products vetted for emerging markets from established manufacturers. If you have a new product that may fill a need in the electrical infrastructure, you will have to establish substantial sales and market acceptance before distributors/buying groups will carry your product.

This blog series will cover electrical connectors, resistors, transformers and generators, products Lohre & Associates has experience marketing. They cover the range from large, expensive generators that require training to connectors that are very common. Resistors and transformers are common products that are typically custom ordered but have standard specifications.

This is the first in a series of blog entries:
1. Electrical contractors for commercial projects
2. Large multi-national manufacturing facilities, municipal and institutional Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO)
3. Emerging renewable energy market for solar panels, wind turbine generation and low impact hydro-electric.

Electrical Products Marketing Site resized 600

Electrical contractors that specialize in commercial, industrial, and institutional new construction are major regional and international firms that have the experience and capabilities to perform such work. In cooperation many times with the electrical engineering firm designing the facility, the contracting firm with such close relationships and experience will be able to offer a competitive bid.

The electrical connection products are mostly standard products but always there are new products that may offer time and material savings.
1. The distributor can offer suggestions
2. Regional manufacture's representative organizations are trained in new products
3. Manufacturers can get involved if the product is a new one designed by the electrical engineering firm.

All during this design process the internet plays a part. Manufacturers need to educate the end users and the distributers about their products. From the media resources regularly referred to, to the independent research with search engines these are the places new technology can rise to the top if the manufacturer has seeded the internet with information on new time and material saving products.

Electrical Products Marketing Maint resized 600

For the Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) organization such as internal departments and specialized firms, selection of electrical products follows a predictable path. Most of the time it is finding a replacement quickly and economically. Sometimes blanket purchasing agreements with established electrical distributors are in place and it would be the distributor's decision if a substitution were appropriate in form and function. It is the MRO firm that doesn't have such resources that the internet comes into play. The manufacturer's product that comes up first on the search engines for their and their competitor’s description will get the call. Quick response and delivery will get the sale. Price will be the third place criteria and up to 20 to 30% more than the lowest price leader.

Electrical Products Marketing resized 600

Regularly referred to product directory media, "250 MCM electrical connector":
Thomas Register - too clumsy to find a price and order a product
GlobalSpec - too clumsy to find a price and order a product
Bluebook - too clumsy to find a price and order a product
Grainger - Easy

Online distributors: "250 MCM electrical connector" Google first page results that have prices and online ordering
http://www.fastenal.com
http://westsidedelivers.com
http://www.elliottelectric.com
http://www.morrisproducts.com
http://www.lawsonproducts.com
First image with Google Images (see screen grab above) http://www.amazon.com/Morris-Products-Connector-Bi-Metallic-Conductor/dp/B005GDFYTS

Traditional media:
Newsletter A - site down
Magazine B - poor search results
Magazine C - best results about crimping in general but didn't include mechanical, no sales information

Manufacturer's web sites:
Manufacturer A - excellent results, both compression and mechanical, only accounts can purchase
Manufacturer B - no results
Manufacturer C- no results
Manufacturer D - excellent results, both mechanical and compression. Easy to set up an account for "bill of material lists" and "where to buy" map.

From the results of this search you can see that the distributor that comes up in a search will most likely get the order for parts not included in a blanket agreement. Currently this channel is estimated at 20% but by far the most profitable. The biggest surprise is that a major industrial supply house didn't come up on a Google search.

But what is a manufacturer of "250 MCM electrical connector" to do? Write their site so the product comes up in a Google search. This is ridiculously easy but many manufacters don't write their content to show up in the search engines. All you have to do put the product description (category_model-number) in the: URL, title, headline, body, linktext and the alternative text for a photo. Only put the product description, not the company name, not the company tag line in those six places. Finally, supply the distributors that are selling online. Make sure you make it easy for visitors to find distributors close by on your site. Purchase Google Ad Words as a last resort.

The biggest problem with searching for "250 MCM electrical connector" is that most results return very small electrical connectors. As the internet matures it will become easier and easier to find very specific technical parts. Now is the time to prepare.

The future isn't here yet. Then you will be able to search for any electrical connector with your smart phone and quickly find a nearby electrical distributor with the critical item. And it is, if you just cut an underground electrical cable and the power company doesn't have the "250 MCM electrical splice connector" they need to fix it in the truck. I was there but not running the trencher when it happened ;-)

Creative marketing communications

Request our free guide to Creative Marketing Communications,

Chuck Lohre's National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) AdVenture Presentation of examples and descriptions from Ed Lawler's book of the same title - 10 Rules On Creating Business-To-Business Ads

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