Most Industrial Websites Miss the Mark

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I don’t know of any manufacturer or industrial company that doesn’t want their website to generate more leads and grow sales. Do you? Yet, most supplier websites are failing to meet the buyer’s expectations. And that has nothing to do with industrial website design.

According to Acquity Group’s annual State of B2B Procurement study, “Although supplier websites are the most popular channels for conducting research online (according to 83 percent of respondents), buyers are not satisfied with the level of information offered—only 37 percent of B2B buyers who conduct research through a supplier’s website said it was the most helpful channel for this purpose.”

Here are some more key findings from the same study:

  • Sixty-eight percent of B2B buyers now purchase goods online, up from 57 percent in the 2013
  • Forty percent of buyers research more than half of goods under $10,000 online
  • Thirty-one percent of buyers research more than half of goods costing $100,000 or more online
  • Fifty-seven percent of business buyers have made an online purchase of $5,000 or more in the last year
  • Less than half (48 percent) of respondents purchase goods online directly from suppliers, opting instead for third-party websites and other purchasing channels

Industrial buyers prefer self-serve and self-select modes for purchasing decisions

Most B2B buyers prefer to conduct research and purchase on their own with access to a sales rep via phone or live chat only when needed.

self-serve mode of b2b buyers

Key takeaway: Don’t count on your site visitors picking up the phone to talk to your sales people. (See “Industrial Web Design – Visit to Call is Not Automatic”)

Keeping with recent trends, the biggest portion of digital industrial marketing budgets (26%) will be devoted to company websites, followed by paid traffic from search engines (11%) and e-mail marketing using in-house lists (10%). That was one of the findings from the 2014 Trends in Industrial Marketing by IHS GlobalSpec.

industrial marketing budgets

Companies are spending more money on their industrial websites but are getting less in return

What is the problem? In one word trust or rather, lack of it.

Buyers don't trust vendor generated contentAccording to the 2014 B2B Content Preferences Survey done by Content4Demand, a division of G3 Communications, only 13% of the respondents said they frequently give more credence to content that is created directly by a vendor. Almost all (97%) buyers said they give more credence to content that includes peer reviews and user generated feedback.

How can you build trust with your buyers? In my experience, the best way to build stronger relationships based on trust is with industrial content marketing where your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are in the forefront. One engineer to another is a very effective method for gaining trust. For more on this, see:

The findings from various studies that I have mentioned in this post should serve as a wake-up call for industrial website developers and owners.

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