5 Most Important Pages on Your Website

5mostEveryone’s had the experience of arriving at a website and not being able to find the information they need. It’s a frustrating experience that you don’t want to recreate for your own customers. Beyond your website’s homepage, there are five types of pages that are essential components of any manufacturing website.

1. Products/Services-Your products and services are what make money for your company, and it’s what your potential customers are most interested in when they arrive at your website. The content of these pages should be easy to access and clearly relay the main features, benefits and applications of your products.
2. “About Us”- When potential customers are in research mode, the “About Us” page of your website is one of the pages they’ll be looking at. This page is less about what your company does and more about who your company is. It exists to eliminate visitor anxiety and lend some personality to your company. Here, you can add information about your company’s history, team member bios, information about your facility, and more.
3. Testimonials- It’s easy for any company to boast about how amazing and innovative their products and services are, but having current customers tout you as the best is even better. Potential customers want to know that your company has helped businesses like theirs and testimonials from satisfied customers can accomplish this.
4. Quality Statements- Manufacturers often have specific and strict quality assurance standards that they adhere to, and this is important for potential customers to know. A potential customer will come to your website looking to find out how your company ensures quality. Even if you can’t detail out the full process, it’s important to at least make mention that your company has a process in place to make sure that each product manufactured will perform as intended.
5. Contact Us- Having all this useful information is great, but if someone can’t contact your company after they’ve read all this, you’re going to lose some potential new business. Your contact page should be as simple as possible, with as few form fields to fill out as possible. The least amount of information you ask a potential customer to provide, the more likely they are to trust your company and contact you.

Remember that your website isn’t a place prospects and customers visit just once. They could arrive at your website multiple times and the key to success for your company lies in ensuring your website has the content they need each time they visit.

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3 Ways to Achieve Digital Marketing Efficiencies

DigMarkEffAs manufacturers, you understand the importance of keeping manufacturing processes lean and increasing efficiencies wherever possible. Running your business efficiently isn’t limited to the day-to-day activities that help you manufacture your product. Digital marketing can be streamlined and made more efficient too. Here are three tips for how to market your business more efficiently.

  1. Automate Where Possible: If you’re involved in social media or email marketing, these processes can be automated so that your marketing and sales teams aren’t bogged down with small, but time consuming, tasks. With social media, there are a number of tools available to help you schedule out your postings on all social media channels. If you know ahead of time that you want to feature a particular picture, video or fact, you can use tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and others to schedule your posts throughout the weeks or months. Email marketing can be automated as well. If you send emails to people who have requested a quote or information, you can use various marketing automation tools to automatically send a follow-up email the instant someone requests a quote through your website.
  2. Re-imagine Content: There aren’t enough hours in the day to develop completely original content all the time. But you probably have content resources you’re not even digging into. Take a look at your inventory of brochures, spec sheets, case studies, website content and even your RFQs to see how you might use this content in other ways. For example, if you have printed brochures, you can turn those into PDFs and upload them to your website. If you’re struggling to develop website content, look to your RFQs. Are there any unique applications or even common applications of your products that you can pull from an RFQ? This could be great material for a section of your website that highlights applications of your products. Repurposing existing content is a strategy you should adopt in order to save time and reduce the strain on your marketing resources.
  3. Talk to Customer Service: You’d be surprised how much information you can gather from customer service representatives. These are the people who hear the challenges your customers face and chances are, there are some common things they’re explaining to customers or common questions they answer. This could easily result in a “Frequently Asked Questions” page for your website, and it’ll only take a small amount of your time to gather the information from the right people.

Make your manufacturing company a lean, mean digital marketing machine. Follow these tips and discover new ways to make your company’s marketing more effective andDigMarkEff efficient.

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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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