Should You Cut Your Digital Marketing Budget in a Recession?

Should You Cut Your Digital Marketing Budget in a Recession?

Should You Cut Your Digital Marketing Budget in a Recession?

As digital marketers, this is a question we’re getting a lot right now. And it’s a big one.

Many companies, our clients included, are struggling with the decision to spend more on digital marketing, even if they’re unsure of future revenue, or pause their inbound marketing strategy to save where they can. 

It feels like a Catch-22. If you’re marketing, you’re pulling in leads, but you’re not sure what to do with them right now, or even if you can convert them at this point. 

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If you’re not marketing, you’re saving money, but you’re not filling up your pipeline or maintaining your market position — which for many industries is a hard thing to get in the first place. 

So, what’s a business to do? 

Our president, John Heritage just posted a blog on his LinkedIn about exactly this. He’s been engaging actively with our clients through all of this, and the conversations he’s had have put a spotlight on what really happens when you cut your digital marketing budget or pause your marketing agency in a time of recession or crisis.

A Case Study:

The Real Effect of Cutting Your Digital Marketing Budget Amid a Global Crisis

I’ll leave it to you to read John’s full post — it’s a good one, with plenty of data to back it up — but I’ll also give you a quick synopsis here, too. 

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John’s article takes a look at two very similar clients, with opposite reactions to the COVID-19 crisis. Both clients function in technical B2B industries. Both clients use Evenbound to manage their entire marketing program. 

The Clients

Client #1 asked to pause their marketing program until they know that the industry is going to move past this crisis. They’re concerned their revenue will drop, and they don’t want to spend money if they don’t have any coming in. 

Client #2 chose to lean into their marketing program. They felt they’d recently made big gains positioning themselves in a competitive market, and don’t want to lose that market advantage They felt it would be better to fill up the sales pipeline now, so their sales team could hit the ground running when the economy gets back to work. 

John mentions in his post that both decisions are valid. They’re both based on sound logic, and each client is just working to do what’s best for their company. 

That said, the data that’s starting to emerge now (we’re about 6-7 weeks into Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Order) is telling. Take a look at the high-level KPIs for each of these clients.

The Results

Client #1 (Paused Marketing Efforts)

Client #2 (Continued Marketing Efforts)

Again, John’s article will help make more sense of the data as a whole, but the big picture here is that client #2, who chose to keep investing in digital marketing, has made significant gains in all major KPIs — traffic, leads, and sales.

Their sales conversion rate isn’t perfect, but we knew going into this that it probably wouldn’t be. People aren’t buying right now, but they are planning for a future where they will buy. Client #2 is perfectly positioned for this, with a significant number of leads in their pipeline, ready to convert when the sales team can really get back to full steam. 

Though Client #1 will probably be fine, they haven’t gained any market share, aren’t adding leads to their sales pipeline, and have opened the door for competitors to beat them out online. 

Considering Cutting Your Digital Marketing Budget in a Recession?

That’s not a decision we can make for you. It’s up to you.

But know that by cutting your digital marketing budget, you’re probably going to make your climb back to breaking even more difficult. Like client #1, you’re going to have to work a little harder to fill up your pipeline when we all go back to work. 

Companies that keep marketing, even a little, during this time, are helping to maintain their market position, and fill their sales pipeline with qualified leads, just as client #2 did. 

Even if you’re not making conversions now, you’re setting your sales team up for success when they’re able to get back to work, and when buyers are ready to make purchasing decisions again. 

I think John summed it up pretty well: 

And I get that, “Just keep marketing” isn’t a compelling reason to do it, especially when it’s coming from a digital marketing agency. So, here are 5 key reasons to keep marketing, based on the actual data we’ve been seeing over the past few months:

5 Reasons To Keep Digital Marketing in a Recession

So we’ve shown you data from our clients, and we’ve told you, as experts, why we think it’s a good idea to keep marketing. But, you’re a savvy businessperson, and you know better than to take the word of a marketer at face value. Good critical thinking on your part. 

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Here are 5 reasons, based in fact, and on tangible data, that it’s a good idea to keep digital marketing, even in a recession. 

01. Search Traffic is Up

Internet use is up 70%. As more people are in lockdown, more people are turning to the internet for work, for entertainment, and more. 

If you’ve got great digital content, you’re going to see a spike in organic traffic. If you don’t have great digital content, now is a good time to start creating it. 

Now, we know that conversions are down. Neil Patel said it himself.

That doesn’t mean that educational content isn’t useful right now. 

Just because people aren’t buying, doesn’t mean their eyes and lead conversions on your site aren’t useful to you. 

The more quality content you create now — that’s targeted to keywords and phrases that are relevant to you and to your ideal buyer — the more leads you’re pulling into your pipeline.  

And the more leads you have in your pipeline, who are ready to make a purchase as soon as accounting says, “go ahead, we’re getting back to business”, the more sales you stand to make, and quickly when we’re all back to work. 

That really sets your sales team up for success.

Take this time to create great content. Content that answers your ideal buyer’s top questions, solves their pain points, and helps them make the decisions that are best for them and their companies. Those buyers are searching for those answers, and they’re searching now.

When you’re at the top of the list (and search engine results pages) with quality content that answers questions, informs, and solves problems, you’re also going to be at the top of the list when those people are ready to buy.

02. PPC Advertising Costs Are Down

A global crisis means that many companies have paused their marketing and advertising efforts. Social media advertising rates and PPC costs are down.

And it stands to reason — if there’s less competition, and fewer companies bidding on search terms, that bid cost will go down. 

For you, this means there’s some opportunity to reconfigure your paid digital advertising campaigns for keywords that are relevant to your business. 

Since conversions are still down a bit (though not as much as you’d expect), it’s important to be smart here, but if you’re doing paid advertising right, you can see some serious results. Neil Patel has shown that his paid ads have increased in ROI from 31% to 53%.

That’s a significant increase in ROI, showing that he’s paying a whole lot less, to get a whole lot more. 

We’d suggest you take a look at your paid ad strategy and focus on two main areas of user intent — awareness, and decision making. Awareness ads, especially on social media platforms, will work to keep your name out there, solidifying you as an authority in the industry. 

Their cost is significantly lower right now, which means that when people do convert, you’re getting a whole lot more bang for your buck.  

03. Digital Marketing is Both Flexible and Scaleable

Their cost is significantly lower right now, which means that when people do convert, you’re getting a whole lot more bang for your buck.  

A huge advantage of digital marketing is that it’s not static.

You’re not putting down a huge chunk of money to wait and see what it returns. 

Digital marketing is comprised of a multitude of tactics — blogging, social media engagement, paid search advertising, social media advertising, email marketing, conversational marketing, the list goes on. 

Some of those tactics are easier and less expensive than others, and some might cost you something, but only what you are willing to spend. 

The beauty of digital marketing is that you get to decide what works for your business, and optimize those efforts based on the results you’re seeing.

If something’s not working, making a change is easy. If your budget is light one month, you can scale back paid ads to just the campaigns that are producing results. Or you can shift your efforts to nurturing the leads you have with content and email marketing. 

Digital marketing is one of the few marketing and advertising opportunities that can produce significant results while being flexible according to your capacity, and scaleable to your available budget. It makes sense to lean in now, with whatever you’ve got. 

04. You Have the Time to Make Necessary Improvements

It’s never a good thing to have your sales team stuck at home. It’s not ideal, and we’re not getting around that. But, this is an opportunity to make improvements. 

In normal times, your sales team, your marketing team, and everyone else is typically functioning at full capacity. 

They’re on the road, handling client meetings, drawing up quotes, and more. There isn’t much space to optimize or improve your process when everyone is so busy. 

Right now, you have the opportunity to take a close look at how your marketing and sales processes are working, and make the necessary improvements. 

We’ve had clients who have decided to use this time to improve a long-outdated website.

They’ll move out of this crisis with a fresh, new digital face for their company that’s also working to draw in leads. 

We’ve had clients who decided to use this time to improve their sales process.

Setting up a solid sales pipeline with deal stages, and clear visibility on what deals are in the pipeline, and where, can do a ton to streamline sales, improving your reps ability to focus on closing hot and warm leads when the time comes. 

Finally, sales and marketing alignment is another great place to spend a bit of extra time right now. Get your sales and marketing teams together on a zoom call, and work on some alignment strategies. 

While this isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, we can’t control what has already happened. 

You can control how you use this time to move your business forward. 

05. You Have the Space to Gain Market Position

Finally, maintaining a digital marketing strategy allows you to gain a better position in your market. For many industries, your company’s reputation is everything. If people know your name, you’ll get the business.

But, you have to build up a lot of awareness, and a lot of trust to gain that reputation, and that’s where digital marketing comes in now. 

At this point, you have the time, and you have the space, to work to better position yourself as a leader and an authority in your industry. 

Many companies have halted all marketing and advertising efforts. That means there’s room for you to grow and move up. The greater your authority online, the better positioned you are on search engines, which in turn boosts your competitive position in the market. 

Take this time to do some research and identify where those opportunities exist. 

Write educational content that helps people. Update your website to show new visitors what you are capable of, and what sets you apart in the industry. Then take all of that work, and promote it. 

Together, these efforts work to position you higher, and more strategically in your industry. With a bit less competition online right now, and a bit more effort on your part, you’ll start to see your position rise, just like it did for client #1 in the case study mentioned earlier. 

That helps you draw in more site visitors, who become leads, who eventually — when the economy reopens — turn into sales.

What Can You Do Today, To Ensure Growth Tomorrow?

Choosing to extend or pause your digital marketing budget at this time really comes down to this question: what can you do today, to ensure growth tomorrow?

For any business, the answer to that question might look a little different. And it’s true that not every business will have the budget to market as they were before this crisis happened. But, if you have the ability, any level of digital marketing is absolutely an opportunity for growth at this time.

If you’re new to digital marketing or aren’t sure where to start optimizing or reconfiguring your existing strategy, you might just need a fresh pair of eyes to help you out. The Evenbound team is here to help. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. 

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Evenbound Wins HubSpot’s 2020 Grow Better Sales Impact Award!

Evenbound Wins HubSpot’s 2020 Grow Better Sales Impact Award!

Evenbound Wins HubSpot’s 2020 Grow Better Sales Impact Award!

Evenbound Named a Q1 Winner in HubSpot’s 2020 Impact Awards

Grand Haven, Mich. – Today, Evenbound announced that it has been named a winner in the Grow Better: Sales category in HubSpot’s Q1 2020 Impact Awards. HubSpot, a leading growth platform, uses the award to recognize members of its Solutions Partner Program who go above and beyond to help their customers grow better.

Evenbound was recognized for its work with Vanguard Fire & Security Systems. Overall, Evenbound’s efforts to optimize Vanguard’s sales cycle using the HubSpot CRM contributed to 921 new leads, 96 new customers, and $2.8M closed in Q1 alone. Learn more about Evenbound’s work with Vanguard.

“HubSpot’s Solutions Partner network is amazing – I love to see these companies go the extra mile to make sure their customers are successful,” said Katie Ng-Mak, VP Solutions Partner Program at HubSpot. “Evenbound is one such company that has shown unwavering commitment to helping businesses grow better. On behalf of everyone at HubSpot, I congratulate Evenbound and the other Impact Award winners on this exciting achievement.”

The Impact Awards are given on a quarterly basis in five categories:

  • Grow Better: Sales 
  • Grow Better: Marketing 
  • Grow Better: Service 
  • Integrations Innovation
  • Website Design

In addition to the quarterly awards, HubSpot also gives four annual awards that recognize partner achievements across the entire year: Global Partner of the Year, Partner of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Customer First. All winners are recognized in the Impact Awards Hall of Fame.

“We’re honored and humbled to have been selected for this award. It highlights our commitment to our work and how we help our clients grow with the HubSpot suite of tools. Competition for these awards is stiff with only a few winners from North America so this means a lot to us.”

John HeritagePresident, Evenbound

Learn more about the Impact Awards and apply here.

About Evenbound

Evenbound is a full-service digital marketing and growth agency and a HubSpot Gold Partner Agency. They use a variety of proven digital marketing tactics like content marketing, email marketing, inbound marketing, paid search advertising, and more to deliver their clients the qualified traffic and leads they need for serious growth. The Evenbound office is located at 41 Washington Ave, Suite #390 in Grand Haven, MI.

About HubSpot

HubSpot is a leading growth platform. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 73,400 total customers in more than 120 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, CMS Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot gives companies the tools they need to Grow Better.

HubSpot has been named a top place to work by Glassdoor, Fortune, The Boston Globe, and The Boston Business Journal. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with offices in Dublin, Ireland; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany; Bogotá, Colombia; and Portsmouth, NH.

Learn more at www.hubspot.com.

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Solved: 4 Common HubSpot Onboarding Challenges

Solved: 4 Common HubSpot Onboarding Challenges

Solved: 4 Common HubSpot Onboarding Challenges

Investing in HubSpot is an exciting move for any team. You’ve got a full suite of robust marketing and sales tools, right at your fingertips! 

You have everything you need to start making marketing and sales changes that will deliver serious results in the form of more deals closed and overall company growth. 

But, before you can reap all of those benefits, you’ve got to get through the HubSpot onboarding process

Let’s first clarify by saying that the HubSpot onboarding process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. 

There is some upfront work, and for any team, a major change in the way you conduct business is going to take a bit of work. But, it doesn’t have to be headaches and stress. 

HubSpot onboarding can be a fun, exciting process, especially if you come into it with a positive attitude, and a plan to tackle some of the most common challenges teams run into. 

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With that in mind, here are 4 of the HubSpot onboarding challenges we see the most often with our own clients, and the solutions we use to navigate these challenges efficiently, so our HubSpot services clients get up and running, and seeing benefits, improvements, and results as soon as possible: 

HubSpot Onboarding Challenge #1

Transitioning the Team

In nearly every onboarding we’ve facilitated with clients, transitioning the whole team onto HubSpot tends to be one of the greatest challenges. 

Your team is already busy. They’ve got sales calls to make, meetings to attend, quotes to write up, and more. Sales reps already have a full-time job (selling), and adding one more thing to the plate can feel overwhelming. They’ll get to HubSpot, but when they have time. 

The problem is that if it’s not a priority, they won’t ever have time. 

One of our HubSpot Certified Trainer’s favorite quotes is: 

It’s all well and good for your team to sit down together for one big onboarding meeting, but everyone has to commit to using the tool regularly if you want to see results. And that’s a challenge. 

It’s hard to get an entire team to do anything at once, much less learn a new tool and transition their sales process to a CRM they’re not familiar with. 

The Solution:

Make HubSpot onboarding a priority

It sounds simple, but I think we all know that in practice, it’s not. 

We’ve said this before, but it’s still a helpful tip: Get your team to commit to using HubSpot just 5 minutes a day. 

Have everyone set up a daily reminder for themselves to spend just 5 minutes a day entering new contacts into the CRM or assigning deal stages to each of their leads. 

This is fairly easy work to do, and even spending just 5 minutes a day in HubSpot will help them build a habit of logging into and working in the platform. 

Another solution?

Make HubSpot a Team Event

Everyone can meet up, either virtually or in person, and spend an hour organizing their contacts in the CRM. 

This is a great time for your team to collaborate — to talk about what tools they’re loving in the CRM, and what problems they may have come across. 

Not only will regular team meetings help enforce the importance of using HubSpot, but it provides an opportunity to get the team together to share helpful information and tips that will help everyone improve. 

HubSpot Onboarding Challenge #2

Making Sure Your Process is Compatible with HubSpot

For many companies, transitioning to HubSpot is a way to make the sales process easier. A tool like HubSpot gives you greater visibility and transparency into all the deals that everyone is working on, and it makes it so much easier to connect with the leads that can provide the greatest returns. 

The problem that often arises, though, is that in onboarding to HubSpot, many sales teams realize their process isn’t compatible with the HubSpot tool. Don’t panic, this is totally normal and can be fixed. 

Maybe your sales reps have all been using different sales processes. Maybe they all have their own literature they like to hand out. Maybe every sales rep has a different idea of what a qualified lead looks like. Maybe your sales process just isn’t standardized.

This is a challenge that can cause a little bit of paralysis by analysis for any sales team. “Great. We’ve got this new sales tool, and our sales process doesn’t fit into it at all.”

Take a deep breath, and keep on reading. There’s a solution here that will deliver serious results for your team.

The Solution:

Sit down as a team, and optimize your sales process.  

The HubSpot CRM is built to optimize sales processes. If yours doesn’t immediately fit into the HubSpot CRM, that just means there’s a bit of room for improvement. 

It’s good to know that HubSpot makes a lot of allowances for customizations all the way through the sales process, so you absolutely won’t be boxed in, but it does work to streamline your sales process by promoting standardization and repeatability. 

Here’s how you adjust your sales process to ensure it’s compatible with HubSpot:

Define what a lead is:

Your team has to figure out what a lead looks like to them. Define each of these:

  • New leads
  • Warm leads
  • Hot leads
  • Cold leads
  • Customers

Define your deal stages:

Now that you know what your leads look like, what do you do with them? This is where your sales process comes in. What is the process your team uses to move a new, warm, or hot lead from an opportunity to a sale? 

Each step of that process is called a “Deal Stage”. Figure out what deal stages make up your whole sales process, and define them for your whole team. A few common deal stages might include:

  • Opportunity
  • Customer contacted
  • Proposal Sent
  • Followed-Up
  • Closed-Won
  • Closed-Lost

Set it up in HubSpot

Once you’ve defined what a lead is, and how your team will handle each of those leads as they move through your sales process, you’ve done it! You’ve made your sale process compatible with HubSpot in two steps. 

Now you can set all of that up in HubSpot. For help here, refer to the next challenge: Knocking Out the Upfront Workload. 

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HubSpot Onboarding Challenge #3

Knocking Out the Upfront Workload

Transitioning to any new CRM is work. HubSpot is no different. It’s an awesome CRM, with wicked sales and marketing tools that can facilitate serious success. But, like any new tool, there’s some upfront work involved. 

Imagine you were painting a room in your house. You could just pick up the paintbrush and go to town, but without any prep work, you’re going to have a sloppy finished product. A quality paint job takes careful taping, prepping any rough surfaces with a bit of sanding and primer, and a little bit of thought into which paint color you’re going to go with. 

Onboarding to a CRM like HubSpot isn’t much different. You’re going to get out of it as much effort as you put in. 

There is some upfront effort that goes into onboarding — you have to bring contacts into the new system. You have to determine what your sales deal stages look like. You have to set up a sales process that works for you, and you have to lay it out in the CRM. 

This might feel like a lot of work. That makes it hard to even think about tackling, which halts your entire onboarding process. It’s a challenge that a lot of our clients run into. Here’s how we work to solve it. 

The Solution:

Assign one person to facilitate the upfront work

A great way to make sure that all the upfront, onboarding work gets done is to assign someone to own it. 

For our clients, that’s usually our HubSpot Certified Trainers. 

Our team handles a lot of the upfront work, like bringing all existing customers into the CRM, setting up deal stages, building out a pipeline, etc. It’s a big benefit of working with a HubSpot Partner Agency — some of that hard, tedious work is just handled for you. 

If you don’t have a HubSpot Partner or HubSpot Certified Trainer: 

Assign someone on your team to own your onboarding process. Make this their primary responsibility for right now, and give them the flexibility they need to really commit to it. 

They can do the work of figuring out:

  1. What your team needs to do to onboard successfully
  2. When it needs to happen
  3. Who can handle which tasks

Think of them as your HubSpot project manager. They take the full project, and break it down into individual tasks with deadlines according to when you want to be fully functional on the HubSpot platform. 

They can then assign individual tasks out to other team members, helping everyone stay accountable. 

With clear direction and leadership, all of that upfront work that seems hard and a lot to tackle is easily broken down into manageable pieces and completed on a timeline that works for your team. 

HubSpot Onboarding Challenge #4

Investing in a Long-Term Solution and Expecting Short-Term Results 

Another problem we see often when we’re bringing new teams onto HubSpot is the need for immediate results. 

But, making a transition to a brand new sales tool and CRM is a walk/run process. You probably won’t see your sales numbers increase exponentially in a week. But if your team really invests and does the work, you’ll start to see serious results the more you use the platform. 

Realistically, it’s going to take a month or two to get your team on board and using HubSpot daily (see challenge #1). Until that happens, you aren’t likely to see a massive upswing in sales. That said, you are going to see improvements. 

The Solution: 

Know what you’re looking at and identify the improvements that matter.

You’re probably not going to see immediate results, but you are going to see immediate improvements. 

The best way to beat the challenge of investing in a long-term solution and expecting short-term results, is making sure you’re looking at the results that matter right now.

Focus on the improvements you have made:

  • Is your sales process a little easier to understand?
  • Does your sales team feel more cohesive?
  • Can you easily visualize all of the deals you have in your sales pipeline?  
  • Does your sales team feel like they’re spending less time on admin work, and more time on selling? 

Those are all major wins, especially if you’re moving over from a CRM that wasn’t working for you, or from no CRM at all. 

Though initial wins might not look like a bump to your bottom line right now, these are all real-time results that will matter in the future.

Keeping the right perspective is the key to keeping your team invested in this new transition, and realizing how much positive change this new investment is making for your company. 

Yes, HubSpot onboarding will eventually deliver huge dividends in terms of increased sales numbers and closed deals, but before that happens, you have to get the actual work and training under your team first. 

HubSpot onboarding might sound like a long process, but with the right attitude, and a dedicated team, you can have everyone up and running in the CRM in less time than you think! Whether you’re considering making the switch to HubSpot, or you’ve hit a roadblock in your HubSpot onboarding process, we hope these solutions help. 

If you’ve got more questions about the HubSpot CRM, HubSpot Sales tools, or HubSpot Onboarding, our team is here to help. With a full suite of HubSpot Services and HubSpot Certified Trainers on staff, we’re happy to answer any question you might have.

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Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Pretty is as Pretty Does: Great Website Design is More Than Just Beautiful

It sounds like an old line (and it might be) but it’s true. A beautiful website might impress all who gaze upon it, but it’s not bringing you new visitors or leads to look at your manufacturing company’s website. 

We’ve written a lot about why you shouldn’t just waste money on another website redesign, and about what makes a great website, but today, we want to talk about a few website design best practices for manufacturers. 

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These best practices focus on what makes for great design, but also, what design elements can make your manufacturing website work for you by drawing in qualified traffic and converting leads. 

If you’re a manufacturer planning a new website or a website redesign, here are a few best practices and key website elements to make sure are included in your new site:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We have written magnum opuses on website SEO for manufacturers, and so have a million other digital marketing experts (see here and Moz, for a complete beginner’s guide to SEO), so we won’t belabor this point. 

We will say that if you want your website to generate leads, you need to implement SEO tactics. Search engine optimization is absolutely necessary if you want to rank well, rank ahead of your competition, or generate digital leads. A couple of web design best practices to keep in mind regarding SEO include:

  • Pick Keywords and Key Topics – Figure out what you want to rank for (we suggest keywords relevant to your company that have a high search volume and low competition) and make sure your website is built out to match those keywords and topics. 
  • Check on Site SpeedIf your site isn’t speedy, people will ditch. Use Google’s PageSpeed Tool to see how you’re doing, and to get recommendations on how you can improve. 
  • Eliminate Duplicate ContentThis is a tough one for manufacturers because you tend to have technical content, manufacturer descriptions, and product guides that a ton of people copy and use. Do what you can to make sure that the content on your site is original, and you’ll see better performance. 
  • Pay Attention to Meta Data – Title tags, meta descriptions, image alt text, and other little technical updates can go a long way to improve your search engine performance. If you don’t know what these are, check out this guide to SEO Meta Tags, and get to work!

 

We’re not spending a ton of time here because there’s a lot of info out there about SEO, and also because it’s not strictly a website design best practice. That said, if you want to see eyeballs on your site, it’s worth it to invest in some quality SEO updates. 

Intelligent Design From Your Logo to Landing Pages

What do I mean by intelligent design? 

I mean solid, clear branding, and a design that funnels visitors through the buyer’s journey. 

Wait, design does that?

Yep. We’ve talked about it before in our blog about website design elements that boost conversions

A quality design and intuitive color palette works to draw your customers’ eyes where you want them.

It also solidifies your brand in the mind of your leads — an important characteristic for manufacturers, where you’re typically competing with just a few key brands. If your is the most recognizable, buyers are likely to keep you in mind when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

A few intelligent website design best practices to keep in mind include:  

  • Keep your branding consistent. Your logo should always look the same. Use the same color palette, font, and general design guidelines across every platform. 
  • White space is your friend. It’s easy for manufacturing websites to become overrun with text and highly technical content. It’s okay to have a decent amount of content but use white space to break it up. Letting your website breathe will go a long way to make visitors feel more comfortable, and less overwhelmed on your site. 

  • Use strong elements sparingly, and with intention. It’s great to have a few bold colors in your color palette, but be sure you’re using them sparingly. On any given page, you shouldn’t be trying to pull your visitor’s eyes in more than one or two key directions. Calls to action and chatbots are two great examples.

A little bit of intuitive design can go a long way. When your design is consistent across platforms, you’ll start to build that brand awareness that’s so important in manufacturing industries.

When you use intelligent design on your website, you’ll highlight call-to-action buttons and forms on landing pages, helping those potential leads convert that much faster. 

Eye- Catching CTAs

This goes to our point about intelligent design. A well-designed website with a consistent, smart color palette can do a lot to pull the eyes of your leads and visitors to the information that’s most important to you. 

When it comes to a manufacturing website, conversions are everything. 

There’s only so much technical information you can put out there before your leads are going to need personal one-on-one help from your marketing or sales team. 

CTAs, or calls-to-action, are what work to convert those visitors into leads. 

By designing calls-to-action that are bright, bold, and eye-catching, you can ensure that whenever your visitors have a question, there’s a CTA opportunity for them to reach out. 

The key to lead generation is providing the right content, to the right person, at the right time. Click To Tweet

You’ve already got two out of three — someone who cares about what you have to say is on your site (they’re the right person). If they’re there for any length of time, that means they’ve found some sort of content they care about (the right content). 

Your CTA delivers that third component — the right time.  

If that lead has a question about what they’re reading, or better yet, has decided they want to talk to a salesperson, a well-placed and well-designed CTA will catch their eye. 

This is exactly the right time to convert that lead, and your CTA is clearly visible and ready to help them out. 

This is one of the reasons it’s so important not to discount design when you’re developing or redesigning a website. If your CTAs are easy to see and navigate to, you’ll see conversions off of pages that offer the right content. If they’re poorly designed or hidden on your page, you’re missing out on qualified leads. 

Strategic Navigation

Manufacturers are notorious for crazy navigation menus. And we get it — you’ve got a lot of products, case studies, brochures, and materials for people to look at. That’s all awesome content, and you do want people to see it. 

It just doesn’t all have to be in your top menu. 

When a visitor shows up to your site and they see a menu with 15 different options, it’s overwhelming. It’s tough to find what they’re looking for, and it might even turn them away. 

Implementing strategic navigation is a website design best practice that works to funnel site visitors exactly where you want them. Work to narrow your navigation or menu bar down to just four or five options, and a contact button. 

And honestly, the simpler the better. “Products”, “Solutions”, “About Us” and your traditional standbys are all great for your top-menu navigation because they’re what your visitors expect. Navigation isn’t the place to reinvent the wheel. 

And if you have more stuff than what fits in your new, strategic navigation bar? Don’t forget the footer! Your website footer is a great place to add a few extra links if you really need them. 

Responsive Design

One key website design best practice that manufacturers can’t overlook is a responsive design. The goal of your website is to draw in qualified leads, right? 

It’ll have a hard time doing it if it’s not designed to meet visitors where they’re at. 

Mobile devices account for more than half of all internet traffic. 

What does that mean for your manufacturing website?

It has to be responsive.

Visitors will navigate away from a website that doesn’t meet their device. What’s more, you’ll lose in search engine rankings without a responsive site. 

Websites that are not responsive rank much lower on search engines than websites that do. This is a problem in two ways:

  1. You won’t get much traffic (read: qualified leads) to your website
  2. Your competitors will outrank you

As we’ve mentioned before, most manufacturing industries are pretty competitive. Even if your competitor’s website isn’t that great, they’re going to rank higher if theirs is responsive, and yours is not. 

In an industry where exposure and reputation really matter, this is an issue, and it’s one that’s pretty easily solved. 

Designing your website on a responsive theme can provide huge dividends, both in your company’s authority, and in the qualified traffic you’re able to draw in. 

Content That Speaks to Your Ideal Buyer

Manufacturers are great at technical content. Your sales team probably has stacks or digital files full of product brochures that run through the specs of any product or part you sell.

The problem with that content is that it’s not always digestible, and it’s also not always the content your buyers want. 

Depending on where your leads are in the buyer’s journey, a product guide might not answer the questions they have about your product. It’s important to develop content that speaks directly to the questions and concerns your ideal buyer has. 

Not sure who your ideal buyer is? We’ve got a Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Persona here to help you out. 

Yes, sometimes that means technical content, but it also means developing content that builds your authority. Content that shows your visitors and potential buyers that you have the best, most helpful information, and are an authority in the industry is what will help you build positive relationships that close sales. 

Think about what would be helpful to you if you were in your ideal buyer’s shoes

Is is it a guide that helps them figure out which of your products is best for them? Maybe it’s a simple glossary of the technical terms they’ll need to know. 

Whatever it is, take some time to build out a bit of quality content that is genuinely helpful. 

The more answers your ideal leads can find on your website, the more often they’ll come back, and the more likely they are to purchase from you when they’re ready to make a decision.

Intuitive Content Layout

Great content is one key to a great manufacturing website, but an intuitive content layout is the website design best practice that will ensure your leads are reading that great content. 

Today’s internet user is not a hard-core reader. No one, not even content strategists like me, read every word in every blog post, case study, or article. 

What they do is skim. 

If your web design strategy includes a content layout that calls attention to the most important parts of your blogs and guides, you can guarantee those leads are reading the information that you know is most important to them. 

A great content layout is the difference between someone glancing at your blog and navigating away and someone filling out a conversion form that turns them into a lead. 

Develop a content layout with lots of whitespace, regular images, media, and headers to break up large blocks of text. 

This will help ensure your site visitors are reading as much of your content as possible. The more they read, the more likely they are to stick to your site, and keep coming back. 

Not sure what great content layout looks like? Take a look at our pillar page for Website Design. There’s a ton of content on this page, but because we’ve got an awesome lead designer, Laura, none of it feels overwhelming. 

You get one little bite-sized piece of content at a time, along with some cool motion and visuals. This encourages you to keep reading — who doesn’t have time for one more little sentence? 

In that way, our pillar pages are working to keep visitors on the page with a killer content layout. 

Motion, Interactivity, and Video

Jumping off the last point: motion, interactivity, and especially video are key web design elements for any manufacturing website. 

You’ve got a facility, right? A plant, a factory, a shop? 

Whatever you call it, you make things. Chances are you’ve got some cool machines and some cool people working for you. Take a video of them, and include it in your web design! 

Video is quickly becoming one of the top web design best practices for any industry, but it’s especially effective for manufacturers because you have things going on. 

What’s more, it’s probably ten times easier to explain your product in a video than it is in a lengthy brochure. 

Video — along with interactivity and motion on your site — works to keep people on your website. 

And, as we’ve mentioned before, the longer someone is on your site, the more likely they are to convert. 

For manufacturers, yes, cool scrolling headers and a bit of motion on the page are great, but we really can’t stress video enough. 

We’ve worked with many B2B manufacturers, and video always works to boost conversions. 

People love to see how things work, and if they can watch a 30-second video over reading a product brochure, they're going to do it every time. Click To Tweet 

If you’re the one with the 30-second video on your site, you’re going to be the one to get the lead. 

Interactive Chatbots

Most B2B manufacturers serve a highly technical industry. 

Whether your site visitors are looking for the right product for their application, or aren’t sure which parts they need for their particular machine, chatbots are a great way to ensure your company is always available to answer those questions, whenever they come up. 

Chatbots can be set to specific product pages and customized in a million different ways to fit your manufacturing company’s needs. 

Are there questions you get all the time about your product line that can be answered easily? Do you have a helpful guide or content that solves some of those questions?

You can set a chatbot up to address any of these problems. Not only does this help you convert leads, but it frees up both your sales and marketing teams from answering simple questions over and over. 

Website Design Best Practices for Manufacturers

Web design isn’t always easy for manufacturers. If you’re new to the process, it can be tough to marry highly technical products and components with a creative, intuitive design that also works to draw in and convert leads. Implementing some of these website design best practices should help. 

Not sure where to start? We get it. Form and function aren’t always easy to put together. We’ve been designing websites that work for manufacturers for decades. If you’re ready for a website that delivers qualified leads directly to your sales team, we’re ready to help.

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7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

Working from home has become the new normal in today’s current landscape. For some of us, this is nothing new. For others, it’s surprising how different working from home actually is. 

It’s a challenge. I get it. And it’s also not for everyone. 

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I’ve been working remotely for Evenbound for about four years now, full time for a little over a year and a half. And let me tell you, there’s a big ole learning curve. 

Many people say, “Oh, you work from home! How do I get into that? It must be so great!”

And really, it is. I’m an introvert and a writer, so working from home is genuinely what I need to get a majority of my work done. But it’s not always the easy breezy life that a lot of people make it out to be. 

(Props to Medium for this very accurate meme, and their awesome post on the realities of working from home.)

If you’re struggling a bit with the recent transition to work entirely from home, 100% of the time, I got you. And I’m here to offer some of the work from home tips that have worked for me. Seven, to be exact:

#1 Create a Dedicated Work From Home Space

This is one of the few work from home “rules” I actually subscribe to. 

It’s important to create a workspace in your home for a couple of reasons.

The one you’ll hear most often is that having a dedicated “work” space helps you turn on your “work” brain. 

That’s definitely true, but it’s also important to have a work space so that your brain knows how to turn off when your day is over. 

One of the toughest transitions you’ll face working from home is that your work is literally at your home. You’re always around it, and it’s always there. Creating a physical space where work happens helps your brain distinguish between that “on” time and the “off” time. 

#2 Build a Routine that Works for You

I am not here to tell anyone how they work best. You know what your best times of the day are, and you know what you have to get done. Set up a routine that helps you work most effectively. 

Identify Your Most Productive Hours

Everyone has a most productive part of the day. 

For me, this is generally the morning, but after I’ve made time for a quality, sit-down breakfast and a half-hour of reading. 

That time to wake up, read some quality content that has absolutely nothing to do with work, and guzzle down a (read: three) cup(s) of coffee, gets me in the right mindset to get my work done. 

Then, I tackle my hardest, most involved tasks in the morning, because that’s when my brain is at its best. 

This might not be your routine. You might be a night owl, or find a certain groove after lunch. Whatever it is, figure out when you’re most productive, and try to schedule your routine around those hours. 

Keep Your Coworker’s Hours in Mind, Too

Building a productive routine means incorporating the rest of your team’s schedule, too. It’s easy for me to say, “My most productive time is around 7am, so I’ll just work from 7am to 3pm, and be done for the day.”

But if my coworkers are working until 5pm, and need things from me, I’m going to be a) gone or b) mentally fried.

None of us exist in a vacuum. Most of us are working with other team members, who need things from us or who need to meet with us. You want to build a routine that helps you be your most productive, but you can’t do it at the expense of teamwork. 

Make sure you’re building a routine that makes space for the rest of your team, and you’ll be more likely to stick to it. 

#3 Don’t Dress for Work (Or Do, I Guess)

“Get dressed for work” is my number one most despised work from home tip on the face of the planet. 

I do best when I get straight to work. Worrying about what outfit to put together only takes time out of my most productive hours, and I’ve never found that I work better in an uncomfortable outfit vs. my pajamas. 

If you find that getting dressed does make a big difference for you mentally, that’s awesome. 

I’m just putting this one out there for everyone else like me who feels like getting dressed to work in front of a computer and see no one is a lot of work. 

I think for most of us, preparing for the day is what really matters. And this goes back to setting up a routine that works for you. 

Taking the time to make and eat breakfast or taking a shower can do as much to shift your mentality into work mode as getting dressed can. So figure out what your “turn my brain on” switch is, and stick with that. Maybe it’s getting dressed, maybe it’s not. 

#4 Take Breaks, When Breaks Work For You

Many other work from home blogs have touted the importance of taking breaks, and taking full, complete breaks. 

I say, do what works for you. 

Personally, I have a tough time getting back into a groove after a full lunch break. If I get into another project, a book, or a TV show on a lunch break, I come back feeling sluggish and not engaged. I do my best when I take quick 5-10 minute breaks to make tea, brew coffee, check the mail, and just eat my lunch. 

Then, when I’m done with work, I’m straight up done. I can let my brain go off and do what it wants. 

Again, this is what works for me. Some people might do better with one solid hour-long lunch break, or a couple of half-hour pauses for different things. 

I think it largely depends on your job. I write best when I have long, consecutive hours of uninterrupted time to write.

If you’re constantly slammed with emails, phone calls, and meetings, an hour long break might be just what you need to decompress and come back to work relaxed. 

Find what works best for you, and stick to it. 

#5 Over Communicate

This is a weird time for everyone. There’s a lot of grief, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and there’s just a lot going on. 

One of the best work from home tips I can offer to make sure that you and your coworkers are all getting as much done as you can is to over communicate. 

Over communicate with your coworkers and your clients alike. 

If you can schedule a quick video call or jump on the phone with teammates, even better. 

It’s easy to lose sight of the team goals when you’re working from home, alone. You’re in isolation, trying to slog through your list of things by yourself. 

Connecting with your teammates can help you feel less isolated, and it has the added benefit of ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. 

Here at Evenbound, we use Slack religiously, and it’s been instrumental as our entire team shifted to remote work during this crisis.

Features like Slack calling, video, and screensharing are super useful, making it easy to get a point across without having to send a million emails. 

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone.

As we all get more used to working at home, alone, it can feel a little weird (okay, sometimes scary) to talk to a person on a phone

But you can actually get a whole lot more done in a five minute call than you could in a messy, complicated email chain. 

#6 Shut the Door

When you’re done with work, shut the door. 

You have set up a separate work space, haven’t you? 

Whether it’s a guest room, an office, or a closet, flip your laptop closed, physically shut the door, and walk out. 

Like I mentioned in Step #1, one of the toughest parts of transitioning to working from home is that your work is always there. If you’re not careful, it can bleed into every part of your life, which ultimately makes you less productive. 

I like to add onto the “Shut the Door” policy with another activity that really signals to my brain that it’s the end of the day. I might turn on a workout video, take the dog for a walk, or start cooking dinner, just to add another level of separation between me and my computer. 

Because, honestly, it’s so easy to get sucked back into “oh, just one more thing.” 

The better you are at creating and establishing boundaries for your off times, the more productive you’re likely to be in your on times. 

#7 Give Yourself Some Grace

Working from home is not as easy and delightful as some will have you believe. 

Yes, it is pretty cool, and yeah the commute is exceptional. 

But it’s not all sunshine and roses, especially now, when most of us can’t really leave our homes when the work day is done. 

One of the most important things to remember when you start working from home is to give yourself some grace. 

Not every day is going to be perfect. Some days you might take an actual lunch break, only to find that you’re totally worthless afterwards. 

Remember that you’re doing your best, and that tomorrow’s another day. And remember that you’re still probably working more now than you were in the office. Without any drive time or water cooler talk, you’re likely still coming out ahead, even on your least productive days. 

Working from home is a big transition, and no one is perfect at anything the first time. Just observe the areas where you’re struggling, and work to make a plan to improve tomorrow. 

Working from home has its challenges, but the team here at Evenbound is grateful to have this ability. If we weren’t able to work from home, we wouldn’t be doing business. While we’re all adjusting, we’re thankful for our health and the opportunity to serve our clients from just about anywhere.

If you’ve got questions about working from home, marketing from home, or anything else, just let us know. We’re here to help

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