Industrial marketing strategy sometimes downplays the human element of a business in favor of the products. Your sales team, leadership group, and all of your employees are your company’s most important and, online at least, often the most underrepresented assets.
Sometimes the first instinct when building a website is to make it all about your company and/or your product. This is a very logical first instinct, since a website is your digital presence, your storefront. For manufacturing companies, this can be a literal store, where your customers come to order your products. Perhaps your site is, for you, an online catalog or showroom, where the call-to-action is to contact your sales team and discuss how you can both do business together.
So, a good website should have information about your organization, its history and experience. Your company website, regardless of what you manufacture or sell, should also exhibit some kind of warmth. Let your customers see the faces of the sales team, of management, of the people who actually make the products you sell.
Stock photography is the enemy of warmth. It’s all too easy for a designer to pop onto a stock photography website and select some bland, one-size-fits-all images. We’ve come to expect that, sadly.
What’s new, and fresh, and warm, is having real photography of real people. Schedule a photo shoot at your offices or manufacturing facilities, and put real employees and team-members in front of the camera. When you use such a photograph on your site, add a caption, because real people have real names. Don’t be afraid to share your employee’s talents and skills, as well as your company’s community involvement. Use a fine touch; don’t go out of your way to beat customers over the head with your charitable activities, for example, but share photos of your employees taking part in these activities.
Also, this is an opportunity to have really useful alt tags attached to your images, with keyword-rich references to your company, your products, and your employees. At Fathom, we’re very passionate helping our clients develop relevant, useful content. When you have content that customers want and need to read, you benefit immensely from that in terms of SEO. Customers will be researching your company and the people that work there, not just your products, so give them what they’re looking for and they’ll be much more likely to stay and connect with you.
… and Tell
You have probably been using testimonials for a while. If not, it’s time to start, since testimonials (real ones, some people STILL fake them) are powerful selling tools. Give potential customers a reason to believe that your products or services really do stand out from the crowd.
Encourage employees to share success stories in appropriate places. A Tweet from your customer service team saying “We just helped a customer find exactly what they needed,” is honest, open, and warm. Start a company blog where you talk honestly and openly about issues in the industry, problems you’ve solved (especially for customers, with their permission of course) and publish white papers based upon real-world problems you’ve helped solve.
Making a connection with your customers helps you stand out from your competition. Being real, and making the effort to showcase your human assets as well as your products, can help your company stand out from the competition, and anchor your web presence firmly in the real world.
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