How to Amplify Your Company’s Web Presence

web presenceManufacturing companies of all kinds are now embracing the Internet age, which means it’s getting even harder for you to get noticed on the web. Here are some tips for how to improve the quality of your web presence. In addition, these tips will help make your brand more prominent and accessible.

  1. Your Website: The obvious first step in developing a strong web presence is to have a great website. Your website should be attractive, contain easy-to-find and valuable information, as well as be free of any technical problems. A website that doesn’t perform well can cause a visitor to leave out of frustration. If you’re going to spend time designing an attractive website and writing compelling content, you’ll also want to dedicate time and resources to ensure that all technical aspects are sound.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is an art and a science. Find out what your target audience is search for, the terminology they use and start editing and writing content on your website to include these keywords and key phrases. But be aware that SEO takes time and patience and you won’t see overnight success no matter how skilled you are at it. If you’re patient, over time you’ll notice your website showing up higher in search engine results and driving more traffic to your website.
  3. Social Media: Not all social media sites are appropriate for every company, so it’s best to invest your time in the ones that make the most sense for your business. Once you’ve built out your company’s profiles on these sites, stay engaged. Post relevant updates and information, and interact with your followers regularly.
  4. Blogging: A blog can be a great way to share information with your current and prospective customers. The important thing to remember about this is that an abandoned blog is worse than not having a blog at all. You’ll want to publish blog posts regularly to keep people coming back to your website and to give visitors the impression that you’re a viable company that’s still in business.
  5. Articles: Your web presence should extend beyond your own website and web properties. Writing articles for online industry publications or other websites is a great way to get your company in front of different audiences. In addition, it can help establish your company as a thought leader.

The Internet provides a great opportunity for you to engage with your audience and attract new customers. With a little bit of time and effort, you can improve your company’s web presence.

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The Incubator at MAGNET Announces “ProtoTech”, a Pitch Competition for Technology Start-ups

FinalProtoTechLogoThis summer, product-focused technology start-up companies in Northeast Ohio will have the opportunity to raise and receive funds toward bringing their ideas to reality in a new pitch competition presented by the Incubator at MAGNET (The Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network).  The competition is called “ProtoTech.”

Beginning in late July, the Incubator at MAGNET will start accepting applications from start-up companies whose technology is based on developing a new product or process.  Six applicants will then be selected to develop their product pitch and be provided with resources such as an online team page and social media tools to raise funds for their product.

On September 18, the six finalists will present pitches for their products to a live audience and a panel of judges who will rate the finalists on each product’s feasibility and investability as well as the quality of their pitch.  Each of the six teams will keep all the funds they raise for their product with the top three teams earning a matching multiplier of funds for the amount they raised.

To support the commercialization of innovative new technology driven products into the marketplace, NASA Glenn Research Center is partnering with MAGNET and providing $15,000 to help launch this new event and a NASA Glenn subject matter expert to act as a technical feasibility judge for the competition.

Dave Crain, Director of Entrepreneurial Services, The Incubator at MAGNET

Dave Crain, Director of Entrepreneurial Services, The Incubator at MAGNET

“The Incubator at MAGNET deeply appreciates the partnership of NASA Glenn in helping to launch what we hope will become an annual event designed to support the best technology-based start-ups in Northeast Ohio,” said MAGNET’s Director of Entrepreneurial Services Dave Crain.

“NASA Glenn is anxious to partner with MAGNET in this novel process,” said Robert J. Shaw, director of Venture and Partnerships at Glenn.  “We look forward through this event to creating increased opportunities for NASA Glenn to have a positive impact on northern Ohio economic development  and in particular to partner with startup businesses where possible.”.

A website for the competition is under construction.  Anyone wishing for further details can register for The Incubator at MAGNET online newsletter here.

Interested start-ups can also contact Dave Crain directly at 216-432-5310 or dave.crain@magnetwork.org

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MAGNET Honored With 2014 Economic Development Plus Awards

teamneo_award MAGNET is proud to have been awarded for its expansion and collaborative efforts at the eight annual Economic Development Plus Awards, held by Team NEO and Cleveland Plus Business on Wednesday, July 9th.

In the category of Business Expansion (More Than 100 Employees), the City of Strongsville, OH, the Greater Cleveland Parternership and MAGNET were recognized for the expansion of the Vitamix company.

In the category of Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboration, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, MAGNET and the NASA Glenn Research Center were recognized for creating the Adopt a City pro bono program.

MAGNET wishes congratulations to all who were recognized!

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5 Ways Digital Marketing Can Improve Customer Service

5 Ways Digital MarketingAccording to ThomasNet’s most recent Industry Market Barometer report, manufacturers are directing a large portion of their resources and efforts to improving customer retention and service. Providing excellent customer service is more than having knowledgeable customer service representatives answering your phones. In fact, in today’s digital age, your company’s website and other digital marketing efforts are critical components of providing the customer service people expect from you. Here are five ways to improve your company’s customer service digitally.

  1. Make Contacting Your Company Easy  Don’t bury your “contact us” page on your website. If people have questions or need assistance, contacting your company should be easy. Make sure that your contact page is easy to find and that the form on the page only contains the fields absolutely necessary to respond to the customer appropriately.
  2. Answer Frequently Asked Questions  A “Frequently Asked Questions” page on your website can provide a wealth of information for current and potential customers. To find out what information to include on this page, talk to your customer service representatives and sales associates to find out what questions they get asked most often.
  3. Offer Live Chat  Live chat is a feature that a lot of websites use today, and depending on the products or services you offer, this could be a good feature to include on your website. This gives current and potential customers a quick and easy way to make contact with your company and get an immediate response.
  4. Send Emails That Matter  Your email newsletters provide a great opportunity to address some of the biggest challenges and questions you know that your customers have. Focusing on providing content that solves problems and answers questions makes your company look knowledgeable and provides useful information to your subscribers.
  5. Provide Downloadable Content  Develop white papers, guides, and other downloadable pieces of content that solve common challenges and answer some of the big questions your current and potential customers may have. Not only does this provide people with information they need, but it can also free up your customer service representatives from answering some of the same questions over and over again. 

Digital marketing isn’t just about getting your products noticed on the Internet. It’s also a great way to provide useful information to current and potential customers and answer some of their biggest questions.

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MAGNET and Lincoln Electric Present the Process to Product Ownership

JuneEventPhotoMAGNET recently visited the Lincoln Electric corporate headquarters to host a fun and informative day of presentations and networking, all themed around the journey from being a contract manufacturer to becoming a product owner.

Ethan Karp, VP of  Client Services and Marketing for MAGNET and the director of MAGNET’s Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers (PRISM) program, opened the event by touching on the four D’s of the product process: Define, Discover, Develop and Deliver. Karp then introduced three presentations from three manufacturers who shared their stories of successful innovation.

Ernie Green Industries

Larry Jutte, president of Ernie Green Industries, Inc., spoke of his company’s medical device subsidiary eNNOVEA life and pushing a product vision completely forward. Jutte noted that there are great opportunities when “ideas are sitting on the shelf” by having a focal point for a product innovation and determining partnership relations to fill in any gaps.

flavorseal_logo_printChris Carroll, president of Flavorseal, told how he and his wife Colleen began as Carroll Manufacturing and Sales, manufacturing netting for food processing. Over time, the Carrolls increased their facility sizes, customer base and margin through determination and innovation in the food packaging industry. With unique flavor packaging for meats and other foods now available from Flavorseal, Carroll noted that “innovation can happen anywhere.”

kent displays logoAsad Khan, chief technical officer of Kent Displays, explained in-depth the process his company traveled to bring their advances in eWriter tablets to market. Khan explained the great importance and difficulty of learning and practicing every step of the logistical path from supply chain to retail placement to warehousing and everything in between.

After an open Q & A session with Khan, Carroll and Jutte, Tom Matthews and Steve Sumner of Lincoln Electric then spoke on what has made their company successful.

Sumner, Lincoln Electric’s director of Global Marketing, spoke about global segmentation and having industry segment managers to help drive results, focusing on existing products while anticipating new ones.

Matthews, Lincoln Electric’s senior VP of Research and Development, spoke about the R & D process and the importance of “seeing through the stakeholder’s eyes,” being their advocate and internalizing their needs as they look to new innovations.

After the presentation, all in attendance were invited to a tour of Lincoln Electric’s machine division plant and a follow up Q & A session with Matthews and Chris Bailey, Lincoln’s VP of Automation.

To find out how you can attend MAGNET events like this one in the future, please contact Clare Crawford at 216-432-5312 or stay connected through our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages.

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MAGNET Program Offers Internship and Work Based Learning Opportunities

internships2MAGNET has partnered with area colleges to provide employers with highly qualified interns with skills in engineering, design, marketing, accounting and IT are now available.

MAGNET has also partnered with local career technical programs to offer high school students a work-based learning experience in advanced manufacturing related to their program of study.
Participating employers have found this to be a very beneficial program and a great way to be part of the skills gap solution and develop the future workforce.
Benefits to your company
• Fill your talent pipeline
• Improve your productivity
• Participate in a proven, cost effective way to recruit and evaluate potential employees

Assistance in the Process
If you are new to internships and work-based learning, MAGNET will help you identify opportunities in your company and develop a process that includes writing a job description, recruiting the right candidate and tips on managing the internship process.

Get Involved
For more information and to request an intern contact MAGNET at info@magnetwork.org or email Diane Rossa at diane.rossa@magnetwork.org.

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Digital Strategies for Your Next Product Launch

digitalDid you know that 66% of new products will fail within two years? According to Booz & Company research, this is true. A successful new product launch strategy can help you ensure that your new product doesn’t fail. In addition to traditional marketing strategies you’ve used for years, digital strategies are more important than ever. Here’s how to use digital marketing to help launch your new product.

Website Strategies

First you’ll need to find out what people are searching for and what keywords apply to your new product to get the maximum results from search engine optimization (SEO). When creating content for your website, insert these keywords naturally within the content. Outside of creating a new product page on your website, here are some other website strategies to use:

  • Graphics on your homepage
  • Blog post(s)
  • Product videos

Pay-Per-Click Advertising Strategies

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising involves ads that show up in search engine results. These ads are exactly what they sound like- you pay for the ad each time someone clicks on it. PPC is perfect for a new product launch because it can provide much faster results than SEO. You can quickly start getting traffic to your new product pages within just a few hours of creating your PPC campaign.

Email Strategies

Email strategies take the shape of many different forms. Here are three email campaigns you’ll want to establish:

  • Announce your new product to existing industry contacts, such as associations you’re a member of and journalists you have an established relationship with.
  • Email blast information to your current clients.
  • Send email newsletters with information about the new product, as well as articles about the applications and more.

Social Strategies

Social media is how you create buzz around your product. Consider these strategies:

  • LinkedIn: You can post product updates to your company page, create showcase pages, and share information about the product in relevant LinkedIn groups by touting the applications in which the product can be used.
  • Blogging: You should use your own blog if you have one, but outside of your blog there could be influential bloggers in your industry that you’ll want to reach out to.
  • YouTube: Create a video that shows your product in action and/or describes the features and uses.

There are many ways to promote your new product, and digital is an avenue that manufacturing companies need to embrace in order to launch products successfully.

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