Make the Most of Your Website

Too many distributors design a website for themselves and not for their customers.
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Bob DeStefano, president of SVM E-Business Solutions, offered some excellent tips on how to make your website a successful marketing and educational tool during a seminar he conducted during the Industrial Supply Association convention in Indianapolis.

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DeStefano, who also writes a blog for MDM, pointed out that a website is “the public face of your company; you must make the most of it as a marketing tool.”

Related: Go Beyond ‘Brochureware’ Online

He also brought out an important point we’ve mentioned before: Too many distributors design a website for themselves-not for their customers.

After DeStefano’s comments, I visited 15 various distributor sites. It was amazing to me that many of these companies focused on the history of their companies not on the products/services they provided customers; some sites had outdated product information and certainly had no “call for action.” Few of these firms did not have its phone numbers prominently displayed nor did they have information on how to contact sales representatives.

One of the main reasons potential customers visit your site is they’re seeking information. And, in many cases, it’s not readily available. Often buyers use your site to conduct research into products but still eventually want to talk to a customer service representative/inside sales person. 

DeStefano notes that distributors and manufacturers need to drive traffic to those sites, making these home pages a “resource center” rather than just a selling tool.

To make your site as useful as possible and attract search engines, distributors and manufacturers should update their sites frequently, publish blogs from executives/product managers, posting them regularly and allowing readers to post comments for each entry. Many manufacturers also use online educational videos to demonstrate new products in action.

DeStefano also advises companies to consider using webinars or e-mail newsletters as lead generation tools and to provide educational information for potential customers. .

Building a website and then ignoring it is not the way to drive your business. Making your site a lead generation mechanism tool for potential and existing customers is one of the best investments your company can undertake. 

Jack Keough is a contributing editor to Modern Distribution Management and the owner of Keough Business Communications. He can be reached at jack@mdm.com or by phone at 508-734-0029. Keough is the former editor of Industrial Distribution Magazine.

Related: Grainger's E-Commerce Evolution

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