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A VP of Sales and Business Development called about the company’s website. “We spent the equivalent of a mid-size pickup truck and in six months, have gotten one lead from the website,” he said.

I hear stories like this on a regular basis. When I viewed the manufacturer’s website, it was easy to see the mistakes the agency had made.

1. Instead of an RFQ form, a generic form graced the home page. When I asked why, the VP said, “Yes, I questioned that one, too.”

2. Products were called “Services.” When I pointed this out, the VP said, “Wow, I didn’t even notice this.”

3. The content wasn’t written for the manufacturer’s target audience nor did it explain the benefits of working with the manufacturer.

4. The website was missing a robust About section that would build trust and credibility with prospects (remember — prospects are vetting you versus you vetting them).

The biggest problem, however, was the the WordPress website theme: it was a $25 theme the agency had “customized.”

When the VP heard this, he grew very quiet. What can you say when you’ve spent over $50K on a website and marketing and get one lead?

The website design scam no one is talking about

It’s very easy for any agency or freelancer to make big promises about how they can build you a website that generates leads.

Most agencies are honest and do great work.

But some aren’t honest. They lack the design and programming skills, plus marketing and manufacturing expertise, to create a website that will help you grow your business.

Due to this lack, they simply purchase a low-cost theme that usually incorporates a website builder plugin, add your logo, branding, and content, and then charge you bucks.

As a business owner or VP of Marketing, Business Development, etc., you don’t know this is happening — and why should you? Website design isn’t your job. It’s the same as me looking at machined parts and saying, “Oh, those look great! So shiny!” and you scoffing and saying, “Those parts are full of flaws. We can’t ship them.”

The manufacturers who call us only learn what’s happened six to 12 months down the road — when they’re not getting leads. Or their website looks terrible on a phone. Or it’s broken. Or they can’t update it.

What’s the answer to this type of scenario?

Well, lots of answers, but one is to fully vet the agency or freelancer you’re going to hire.

Make sure they have years of website design, programming, marketing, and manufacturing expertise. The manufacturing expertise is crucial. An agency or freelancer should be highly knowledgeable about manufacturing and have the portfolio and testimonials to prove it.

Many will say they have this experience, but most of their work is “B2B,” software, and consumer.

You can also use our FAQ, “How Do We Compare Proposals?” This FAQ lists the questions you should be asking before you hire anyone.

Most important, don’t be swayed by a low price or big promises made during a sales pitch.

Manufacturing is its own specialized niche. To see ROI from your website, you need a team that understands manufacturing and marketing, website design, and how to code in WordPress.

The Huff Industrial Marketing difference

It’s for these reasons and others that we build all our manufacturing websites from scratch using the new WordPress Gutenberg visual editor. (We don’t use builder plugins.)

Before we begin work on any new website, I will either tour your facility or interview you and your team. Our web designer, Rachel Cunliffe, and I then carefully plan out the proposed site map.

For me, creating the site map is challenging because it’s here that I think through the structure of the website: the site map is the roadmap for the content and for the design.

In much the same way Apple has intricately woven its device software and hardware to deliver an exceptional user experience, so too is the content and design of a Huff Industrial Marketing website.

Once we have the proposed site map, we run it by you for approval and then begin developing content.

All our sites are hand coded by our programmer, Stephen Merriman. Due to his care and attention to detail, it takes him approximately three weeks to properly code a website.

This strong integration of content, design, and coding is why the websites we build are flawless.

“You don’t really hand code websites,” said one business owner. “No one does that anymore.”

Yes, yes, we do. And that’s why, when people view a manufacturing website created by us, they see the difference immediately. (Our customers are thrilled when they begin getting leads right out of the gate.)

If you’re considering updating your manufacturing website, schedule a call with us first to discuss your challenges or complete our RFQ form.

Dianna Huff is the founder and president of Huff Industrial Marketing. She’s a passionate advocate for Made in USA and a geeky backyard birder.

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