Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Manufacturers: Is your website costing you customers?

Many potential customers visit your website. How easy is it for them to find your products’ technical data sheets, guide specifications, or MSDS forms? Every minute that a potential customer spends on your website digging through arbitrarily separated files, misnamed documents, or technical information buried beneath marketing fluff, is a minute spent not working on their projects and pleasing their own clients. Every minute these customers spend frustrated with your website is an opportunity for a potential customer of yours to become a potential customer of someone else.

"Yeah, put it over there, next to all the other stock photos
 of guys making this exact same pose. Yeah. Perfect."
Customers want your product and they want it in five clicks or fewer. They are less interested in your stock photos of architects and engineers happily pointing off into the distance. (Does that really even happen?)

Put your site to the test. Here are some suggestions:
  1. Have a layman test your site. A friend, an industry outsider, or even your parents. Ask any of these people to find something without help from you. It should be easy enough for someone who has no idea what they are doing to be able to find something just by following simple website navigation.
  2. Think of your website as a place where you spend your own personal time. Would you accept this level of quality on the sites that you frequent? If Facebook or Amazon or Google had the interface that your website has, would you still visit them?
  3. Your website should provide people with what they want without them having to pick up a phone or thumb through a book. If they do need to call someone, your company’s contact information should be readily accessible.
To all architects, contractors, specifiers, or anyone else who has ever had to deal with a poorly designed manufacturer website, what are your biggest concerns or suggestions?