Hey Industrial Company - Your Web Site Design Forces Your Online Marketing Plan

For almost two decades I've planned, designed, created, and deployed hundreds of web sites.

Many, because of my background, are for industrial distributors, reps, and manufacturers. One of the more "interesting" aspects of this process is the "forced marketing plan" that comes out of the web design process.

By "forced marketing plan" I mean the physical documentation, visual structure (i.e. the web site), and mental awareness of the business's unique position in the marketplace, competitive advantage, and core competencies.

Think about it. Many small industrial businesses were started by an Entrepreneur who wanted to leave their "factory job" and strike out on their own. An opportunity for a new territory or product arose and the entrepreneur jumped on it - pretty much "ready-fire-aim." Market planning wasn't something these Founders cared much about (or even knew much about). Product Lines + Customers = Orders - that's the only formula the Entrepreneur needed.

Through the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's these businesses flourished. Sales increased, more employees were hired, and new buildings were bought - signs of success for the hard work and dedication of the Founder.

Along comes the 2000's and this thing called the Internet really takes off.  The Entrepreneur is told they need a web site, so they hire a techie without any understanding of the business or market. The Founder ends up directing the design and content with an eye for what they've always done. As a result, the new web site turns out to be an online "line card".

No thought about viewer appeal. No thought about message. No thought about market. No thought about strategic or competitive advantage. No value proposition. No consideration for brand. No mission statement. Pretty much just a list of manufacturers they represent or products they sell.

A proper web design project must consider, identify and address these criteria first. But unfortunately, that's where the blank expressions and confused looks begin with many Entrepreneur-led companies.

Today, a web site is a business's number one marketing asset. As such, it needs to define the core business virtues. The emphasis on content marketing underscores this. Businesses must "tell their story" in a way that defines the business and provides visitors with a clear, honest, and easy way to know what the business does. Its imperative.

A good web development team will sort those items out in the beginning. Even if it means taking the extra time consulting, and even"forcing", the entrepreneur to confront and identify the uniqueness of their company and finally realize that marketing counts, more so now than ever before.