The Midwest is known for being a hub of industrial manufacturing in the United States and the state of Illinois is no exception. A leading manufacturer of machinery, Illinois is a large producer of machine tools, construction equipment, and farming machinery. After machinery of this kind, processed food is the second largest among manufacturing industries in the state. These foods include breakfast cereals, sausage, baked goods, and candy as well as sauces, spices, dairy products and soft drinks. Chemical manufacturing is the third largest sector in this regard. Chemical products produced in Illinois include pharmaceuticals, paint, resins, cleaning solutions and other industrial chemicals. Becoming a leading manufacturer in any of these industries does not just happen, so how has the state risen to and stayed in this position?
Google threw a curveball at the Digital Marketing Industry this past Monday by eliminating keyword data for organic searches. Previously optional for users, now all searches have been switched over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means site owners will no longer be able to see the keywords and phrases people searched before coming to their site from Google. Data can still be seen from other search engines but since Google still dominates the market expect to see the dreaded “(not provided)” make up the majority of your search query reports. Whatever the reason behind Google’s recent actions, it is sure to change how digital marketing strategy is approached. Site owners no longer have the ability to segment users by keywords within their web analytics software.
Unless you force yourself not to use the internet for a day odds are at some point you will be online for work, pleasure, curiosity or some sort of need. Search engines are the avenue to find our desired interests. Both organic searches and paid advertisements catch our attention. Therefore, in order to be noticed a company must have a powerful internet presence and solid marketing plan. The internet has made the world a much smaller place and as a result has increased industrial competition over the web. We are entering the fourth quarter of 2012 with 2013 right around the corner. It is time for industrial businesses to analyze their 2012 marking plan and adjust for the upcoming year.
Every good businessperson knows the importance of product quality and customer service. These two elements will always be at the core of good business practice, and without them no business can be successful on any sustainable terms. However, in a competitive environment, it is not always enough for a company to offer its customers exceptional products and service. In order to compete, a company must make efforts to make its products known to customers and to distinguish itself from competitors. The technical term for this process is marketing, and in the context of industry, marketing has always been important.
71% of American adults are online. Of that portion of Americans, 78% have used the Internet to search for information about products or services, and 87% use search engines to find information. These are the results of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project surveys in 2010. Over the course of the last 15 years, Internet use by adults in the United States skyrocketed. Also, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, by 2007 95% of medium and large businesses in OECD countries were using the Internet. Researching Internet use trends does not always produce clear and unambiguous results, but one simple fact stands out in the midst of all of the statistics: in developed economies, almost everyone is online.
Anyone who has used the internet to search for something over the last few years will have experienced the frustration of finding all sorts of links and information which bear no relevance to what you are actually looking for. Searching online for “Durango” will return results for both the vacation spot and the truck. The two people looking for those items are potentially in very different segments of society – one is looking for a getaway location, the other for a vehicle. Depending on which product you are selling, one of those clients is right for you. The dilemma is: how do you get the right clients to your company website to find your product and not simply accrue a succession of meaningless web traffic of users looking for something you are not selling? How do you make your website work to attract the customers you are looking for? Enter the power of targeted marketing.
For better or for worse, successful contemporary business models must include a web marketing strategy. Success in business is and always will be a function of product quality and customer service, but as the Internet becomes more thoroughly integrated into how people live, it must also become integrated into how people do business. There are two ways to look at this task that virtually all companies are now facing: as an obstacle or as an opportunity.
Cautious optimism. This is perhaps the most fitting phrase to describe the mindset of industrial manufacturers across the United States at the beginning of 2011. A steady production year throughout 2010 had given companies reason to hope for growth in the months ahead and provided a welcome change from the many months of setbacks and challenges seen during the economic recession. Now, five months into the year, those tentative hopes have not been disappointed. In fact, current and consistent growth records for the manufacturing sector show no signs of slowing down, and many businesses have good reason to remain optimistic in the months ahead. According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), seventeen of the eighteen categorized manufacturing industries are reporting growth for April including: plastics & rubber, primary metals, chemical products and electrical equipment, to name just a few. ISM releases monthly statistic reports based on different sectors of manufacturing such as employment, orders and deliveries, inventory, prices and production. By comparing data from these fields month to month, ISM can determine whether a sector is growing or decreasing, thus providing a basis for determining which direction manufacturing may be taking.
Being a self-proclaimed ‘Googler’, I must admit to actually knowing little about Bing™ and what it has to offer, having not given it much of a chance at any point over the last couple of years. However, in researching for this article, I resolved to attempt to fairly evaluate what Bing has to offer as a search engine, or as it is marketed, a ‘decision engine’. The title Bing has been humorously explained as an acronym for ‘Because It’s not Google’, and although this should probably be taken in good spirits, the Google vs. Bing debate has been going on for a while with people arguing equally strongly for each side. And while Bing is not Google, since its release in 2009, the personalized search engine has proved well worth the media attention it has received, constantly proving a viable challenger. Engineered by Microsoft in at attempt to impact the search engine arena and bring new ideas to the industry, Bing has been steadily growing and bringing life back to Microsoft’s previously stagnant search engine market share. Now as it approaches the completion of its second year in operation with a 13% growth rate in core search queries over the last year, maybe it’s time to stop and investigate what Bing really is.
Why I advertise online… Being young and computer savvy in 1996 enabled me to quickly get an effective website going for our company. The awesome thing was how obvious it was that prospects were using it. I actually stopped measuring sources of leads by 2000, I think. During that time I learned to use software programs to analyze website traffic log files, and the very-cool-to-a-marketer ‘referrer’ data. I could measure the effectiveness of my advertising reliably for the first time! I learned enough to know that the ready-to-buy visitor was much more valuable to me. Sheer quantity of visitors was not the goal, but conversions were the name of the game. But whose referrals were converting? It was hard to tell in 2003. Skip forward a couple more years and I upgraded to browser-based website tracking (Google Analytics). I could do something even more amazing: I could correlate web inquiries with their source. Wow!!!
In the past decade the number of cellular phones and mobile devices, as well as personal computers and laptops in use around the world has sky rocketed. With more access to and acceptance of the internet than ever before, online advertising has become a crucial component of most industries. The success of these campaigns has been relatively easy to determine. Track the destination URLs resulting from these specific ads to see how many result in request for quote form submissions or inquiries for information. In fact, up to 84% of online marketers do just that, looking at an ad’s click through rate to track the success of a Web-based campaign. While this information is valuable, it leaves many companies unaware of one of the largest areas for generating leads based on internet advertisements. Not even e-mail or request for quote submission forms can match the successful sales generated by one of the oldest means of customer service: the in-bound phone call. Leading Pay-Per-Click companies specializing in online marketing, such as ReachLocal and Top Spot, state that over 60% of internet leads are generated by phone, but still this avenue for revenue is too often overlooked.
You might be surprised to learn what kind of keywords bring in most of your website’s visitors. Take Industrial Quick Search, for example. On average, only 40% of our site visitors come from the top 100 targeted keywords. Instead, long tail keywords, those lengthy search terms that are more specific and less common, bring in the majority of the visitors. Incredibly, 60% of our visitors come outside the top 100 keywords, so not only do long tail keywords produce the higher quality buyers, long tail keywords provide your company the majority of your visitors.
What drives the most traffic to your website? The answer, of course, is keywords-those terms incorporated into your site content that allow crawlers to efficiently gather data about your website, and more importantly, that are used by major search engines like Google and Yahoo when indexing and categorizing your site in its database. In short, they drive potential and interested search-engine-using customers to your website. Without them, you might never be found.
Without a doubt, search engines are the single greatest tool the web has to offer. By entering a term and a single click, thousands, even millions of websites are at your disposal. This has revolutionized the industrial buying process. Before the birth of the glorious search engine, product purchasing of industrial supplies and services was done via print directories and catalogs. Options were limited, ordering was a hassle and the process was slow. Remember all that? Compared to the power of Google, Yahoo, Ask and the newest Bing, traditional buying processes seem like a Stone Age activity. Since almost every B2B industrial manufacturer in the world markets their products and services via a website these days, the benefits of search engine buying/specifying are incredible-buyers now have access to product information from every business that markets online without leaving their chair.
In 2005, Google introduced a ‘nofollow’ method for changing the way search engines view links leading in and out of websites. Before the ‘nofollow’ tag, all hyperlinks from your site to other sites ‘leaked’ pagerank – which is, to put it very simply, a measure of how much authority your site has. This translates directly into how often your site is found by search engines like Google, and as every SEO nerd knows, Google love = visibility, and visibility = business. Regular hyperlinks pass along the pagerank your website has built up by dividing that rank proportionally between themselves. Think of it like inviting friends over for cookies. If you have 3 friends over for cookies and you made 9 cookies, those three friends will eat three cookies each. However, if you invite 9 friends over, each will only take one cookie. But the end result is the same: they took your cookies.
Business owners and entrepreneurs are taking pay cuts, and even indefinite pay suspensions, to keep their business afloat. This comes as an alternative to employee layoffs, marketing cutbacks (which are damaging in a recession!) or the business’ going under altogether. According to American Express’ OPEN Small Business Monitor survey, 30% of U.S. small business owners and managers have stopped taking their own salaries. Another survey done by Staples found that 50% of the 300 business owners they surveyed are reducing their own compensation. Here are a few more interesting statistics on how the recession is affecting U.S. businesses: – nearly one quarter have reported bartering activities and services (nearly half showed openness to bartering)…
It’s a very common question, becoming more common by the day as manufacturers are forced to tighten budgets and cut out marketing campaigns. Where should I concentrate on increasing online visibility – in the top 3 search engines (Google, MSN, Yahoo) or on vertical search directory sites? The answer is both. Enquiro Search Solutions found that 49% of potential business buyers searching online don’t start their research at one of the three ‘search kings’. If nearly half of professional purchasers aren’t starting out looking on Google, MSN or Yahoo to find waterjet cutting services, then where are they looking? Manufacturers and retailers have little time to wade through irrelevant search results, white papers and YouTube home videos to find the industrial parts they need. That’s why web-savvy industrial product buyers come to vertical search directories like IQS to find the niche product manufacturer or service provider they’re looking for – without having to hit the back button a dozen times.
This is a question which is often raised by our advertisers. IQS offers free Hitslink website tracking to all companies listed in our directory, not only so that listed companies can track the progress they’re making through being listed on IQS sites, but also so that our manufacturers and service providers have an effective tool for measuring their overall success on the web. Naturally, many of the companies which come to be listed on our sites already have some form of website tracking (although you’d be surprised to find out how many companies have no website tracking at all). While some have paid tracking programs, most of the companies that have tracking come to us already set up in Google Analytics, Google’s free website tracking service which goes hand-in-hand with Google’s Adwords program…
What’s the difference between a hit, an impression and a unique visitor? Aside from all sounding like activities that take place at a Saturday night college party, these terms explain different ways of measuring a website’s traffic and, subsequently, a website’s success. This process of formulating website tracking into quantifiable data is called ‘metrics’, and with everyone using the new Web 2.0, quantifying a website’s success is trickier than ever. How many visitors does your site have each day? Each month? How many page views? What is the average time each visitor spends per session? What’s your site’s click through rate (CTR)? Is anyone subscribing to your RSS feed? All these questions are pointing to one underlying concern: is my website doing what it is supposed to do? Obviously, website success looks much different to a blogger than it does to an industrial manufacturer. A professional blogger will put more weight in how much time each visitor spends reading content and how many RSS subscriptions she has, while a manufacturer wants to know how many online quotes are being submitted and how many unique visitors view his ‘Capabilities’ page. These qualitative methods of measurement are part of the industry’s shift towards ‘engagement metrics’. But before we get too deep into this new mind-bog of ‘squishy’ analytics, let’s iron out some definitions.