Show 'em What You've Got
Four years ago on this page I wrote of the tumultuous, challenging times that laid ahead for metalformers, not at all sure how troubling the recession would become. But I also noted, in my toast to the New Year (2009), that fearless leadership, perseverance and hard work would bring better days ahead. And I was right, as so many metalformers have returned to prosperity by riding a wave of elevated productivity and by identifying and capturing new opportunities.
New opportunities, as I referred to them back in my January 2009 editorial, were higher-tonnage presses running larger and more complex dies, as well as value-added operations like welding, assembly and finishing. Jump ahead to 2013 and new opportunities in our industry have expanded noticeably to include shorter-run fabricating operations like laser and waterjet cutting, and CNC press-brake bending.
Diversification has become the mantra, and not just in customer base, as so many automotive-focused suppliers have sought to expand into medical, aerospace and other industries. Diversification now also means fabrication, and metalformers everywhere are buying in.
That brings us to 2013 and the opportunities that lie ahead, particularly for metalformers that have made significant capital investments in recent years, whether it be in fabrication equipment or in new stamping presses, toolroom equipment or automation equipment such as coil lines and transfer systems. Having made these improvements to your operations, it’s critical that the focus now turn to communicating to current and prospective customers the value those improvements bring.
When companies invest to reduce their costs, communicating to customers doesn’t necessarily follow. That information is conveyed via savings passed along to customers, and in improved quality and delivery performance. But in the case of capital improvements, marketing and communication proves vital.
In short, you’ve got to show ’em what you’ve got, and in this day and age much of that marketing and communication comes down to your website. Think of your website not just as a phone book where a potential customer might “look you up,” but as a tool for nurturing relationships with prospects. That’s the gist of an article in this issue from Tom Bonine, president of Chicago-area metalformer and fabricator National Metal Fabricators. Noting that “buyers are two-thirds of the way through their buying process before they engage with tech vendors’ sales teams,” Bonine provides six guidelines for building a website that will turn leads into sales.
Aside from adding content that nurtures leads, it’s high time many metalformers took a close look at website functionality. In a recent article appearing on CIO.com, we learn that “approximately 20 percent of all web traffic is via a mobile device.” Is your site optimized for this experience? If not, you’re not nurturing prospects, you’re turning them away. That’s just one piece of advice in the article, titled “12 Ways to (Not) Screw Up Your Website.” Here’s another: Avoid stale or static content. Search-engine ranking relies first and foremost on content, so if you want attention paid to your website, invest in content updates (at least weekly if not daily) with relevant, descriptive information.It’s not enough to grow what you’ve got—you’ve got to show ’em what you’ve got. Make that one of your New Year’s resolutions.
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