Will your industrial website still meet the needs of engineers and industrial buyers when the coronavirus pandemic is over, whenever that is? In my last post, I talked about adapting your industrial content marketing strategy for COVID-19. In this post, I want to focus on the changes that you may need to make to your industrial website for post-pandemic business.
A site audit will help you determine if you need a complete industrial website redesign or just edit and/or create new content. The first step must be an in-depth review of the current site by a team that includes Marketing, Sales, and Executives. This is important because management may have made certain strategic business decisions which need to be reflected accurately in your website content. How your company approaches business during and after the pandemic will have an impact on your sales processes too. In short, this can’t be just a marketing initiative.
Let me give you a few real-world examples to illustrate what I’m talking about.
Industrial website changes for the upstream Oil & Gas industry
Rig layups and preservation services are part of the regular offerings by some service companies in the Oil & Gas industry. However, the current economic conditions have increased the number of offshore rigs being stacked and/or mothballed. Look at your current content, can it be better optimized to address this need during the pandemic?
These companies could also highlight their expertise by publishing new blog posts about re-commissioning and reactivation after the pandemic. Creating a short white paper explaining the differences between warm and cold stacking would be a good lead generator because of its educational value.
I understand it takes times and the right skills to come up with new content at short notice. Consider outsourcing technical content creation if you don’t have the in-house resources or are shorthanded right now.
Website content to match repurposed manufacturing
You’ll find a ton of online articles if you Googled the words repurposing manufacturing. Many manufacturers across a variety of industries have repurposed their manufacturing to meet the pressing needs during the crisis.
Some have increased their sourcing and production capabilities to meet the increased demand for safety equipment for healthcare workers. Others have completely changed their manufacturing focus even if it is only temporarily.
Make sure the Home page of your industrial website highlights these changes. For example, a Houston based and locally operated MedTech company, successfully created a line of cleaning products including surface disinfectant and hand sanitizer to meet market demands during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Website updates for medical device manufacturers
Here are some search statistics from IEEE GlobalSpec over the past few months that are all related to COVID-19.
- Searches for face shields are up 125% year over year and 338% from last month
- Resuscitator searches are up 32% year over year, and 182% in the last month
- Searches for HEPA filters, while steady year over year, have seen a recent spike of 120% from last month
- Searches for autoclaves and sterilizers are up 302% in the last year, and 42% in the last month
For manufacturers and suppliers in the Medical Device industry, the above stats should help them think about their own SEO strategy and how they can fine-tune it for their company’s industrial website.
ThomasNet has created a dedicated online resource called the COVID-19 Response Suppliers. You can sign up for free and be found by over 1.5 million industrial buyers. Use their free matchmaking tool to look for COVID-19 related manufacturing partnerships.
I don’t have to tell you that SEO for industrial websites is not a quick and easy task. It takes SEO knowledge, research, planning and consistent publishing of fresh content that is relevant to your audience to achieve results.
Why not partner with one of these well-known industrial search engines and ride their SEO coattails? Sure, there is an associated cost for some of the paid options, but the ROI may be worth it.
NOTE: I’m not affiliated with any these companies.
COVID-19’s impact on industrial e-commerce websites
Many industrial distributors already have robust e-commerce websites. However, COVID-19 has had a major impact on supply chains, production, and labor. On top of that, buyer preferences have changed during this time. More companies are putting their dollars into “essential supplies” and putting off upgrades and expansions for the foreseeable future.
Your online store needs to adjust to these changes for both, disruptions to your own supply chains and customer demands. Your individual business situation will vary, but I have seen many industrial e-commerce websites with some common changes.
- Online inventory is updated real time (This may require back-end integration with your ERP system)
- “Out of Stock” items are clearly marked. Some have taken the extra step to indicate anticipated date of new incoming stock
- Changes to normal delivery and shipping schedules are shown prominently
- Measures taken to ensure safety of customers and employees for “will call” orders
- Expanded or curtailed hours of operation to sync with customers’ operations
- New or specific items made available in online stores during the pandemic
- A customer resource center devoted to answering FAQs related to COVID-19 and regulatory compliance
I have already mentioned using webinars and virtual meetings as part of your COVID-19 content strategy in my last post.
Some of these changes to industrial websites may be permanent to match business conditions after the pandemic. As I have mentioned at the beginning of this post, making these changes to your industrial website will require active participation of all stakeholders and Marketing cannot and shouldn’t try to do them on their own.