MM 064 – Website Tips for Manufacturers

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MM 064 – Website Tips for Manufacturers

Guest: Tim Doyle, VP Sales at TopSpot


  • A top performing website must be first, aligned with your business goals. For example, one goal for a website may be to act as a sales generation engine. Another often forgotten goal is to make the website useful for customers and employees. [5:25]
  • Tim estimates that less than 10% of industrial websites are top performers. Therein lies the opportunity for competitive advantage.Don't Make Me Think[7:50]
  • Is your website designed as a ‘don’t make me think’ design? Tim mentions this resource, ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ by Steve Krug. [9:15]
  • Well crafted content that is relevant is one important essential piece of an effective website. [11:05]

  • A website is not a statue, it is a laboratory that requires consistent maintenance, updates and continuous improvement. [14:30]
  • Top 5 things you should do right now to improve website performance [15:30]
    1. Set up tracking and monitor results. Have an original benchmark.
    2. Analyze your sitemap in the context of identifying who you are and your differentiators. Use a free tool called Screaming Frog.
    3. Evaluate your site architecture for intuitive use and logical progression.
    4. Make sure the call-to-action is obvious and is it working. Test it.
    5. Incorporate multivariate testing in support of continuous improvement.
  • Good Content Management Systems include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and, Tim’s favorite, Modx. For ecommerce, Magento. [21:10]
  • CAD drawings are fantastic for conversions on your website.  Check out Catalog Data Solutions. [23:20]
  • If you hate your website, here are some website tips for manufacturers who want to build a new site. [25:00]
  • An often overlooked value add for your site is to use professional photography highlighting your value to the target audience. [26:30]

Send in your challenge question here.

Interview Questions:

Question 1 –  Let’s start off at 30,000 feet and then drill down. How would you characterize a top performing website? What percentage of websites that you see are top performers?

Question 2 –  I think a lot of us and our audience judge a website intuitively. Could you propose a framework of sorts for evaluating a website?  (any references you could recommend?)

A website must serve many masters; customers, prospective customers from the outside, then there’s HR, Finance, Executive leadership, PR on the inside.  Does a company have to choose one area to focus on or is it possible to serve all masters?

Question 3 –  Let’s drill down into some details. What are the top 5 things (in order of importance) that we should focus on to build a new site or make an existing site into a top performer?

What about the platform or content management system (CMS), what are the best ones for a B2B manufacturing website?

Question 4 – Suppose I’m a VP Sales & Marketing for a B2B manufacturing company out there listening. I’m thinking to myself, my website sucks. In a quick list, what are my first 5 steps towards making it into a top performing, lead generating, sticky website machine?

Challenge Question –  This week our challenge question comes in from the a VP Marketing at a San Diego area from a medical device company. Here it is “We make a medical device that measures blood coagulation. Our customers are hospitals and blood labs. One of our 2017 goals is to increase website traffic by 30% to ultimately increase the flow at the top of our sales funnel. Do you have any tips about how to increase website traffic for a medical device manufacturer?”

  • First, define your goal. Be specific.
  • Learn what your visitors are interested in achieving. Analyze the internal site search for insight into what your audience is looking for when they visit.
  • It must be a holistic approach, not just one or two tactics.
  • Use Google Custom Search, paid version, for internal search queries.


  • Strive to build your website in a ‘don’t make me think’ style.
  • Use analytics tools and make sure you understand them or are able to use them for continuous improvement.

TopSpot offer:  Contact Tim at for a FREE website audit.  Put the words “Site Audit” in the email subject knowledge.


Bruce McDuffee : Welcome to Manufacturing Marketing Matters, a podcast produced by the Manufacturing Marketing Institute, the center of excellence for manufacturing marketers. I am Bruce McDuffee. Thank you for listening.


Hello manufacturing marketers. Thanks for tuning in to our show today. As a special offer to our loyal listeners, I’d like to offer a free PDF copy of a book that I authored specifically for manufacturing marketers. The mission of the book, just like this show, is to help you manufacturers or marketers, or business development pros working for a manufacturer, to advance your professional careers in marketing, and also advance the marketing function at your company.


The book is called, “The New Way to Market for Manufacturing”. You can get your copy, again it’s a PDF copy, at I’ll put that in the show notes too, so you don’t have to write that down. There’s just a short registration form, no other requirements. Please check it out.


Onto the show. Our guest expert today is Tim Doyle. Tim is the Vice President of Sales at TopSpot. Welcome Tim.


Tim Doyle: Well thank you, Bruce. It’s a pleasure to join you.


Bruce McDuffee : It’s great to have you on the show. You’re up in the Chicago area, is that right?


Tim Doyle: I am.


Bruce McDuffee : You guys get some snow up there today?


Tim Doyle: Icy rain. Icy rain, I’d rather have snow frankly.


Bruce McDuffee : We got about four or five inches here in Denver.


Folks, today our topic for discussion is the website, in the context of B-to-B manufacturing companies. We’re going to discuss what makes a great website. Perhaps what makes a bad website. Why there are so many bad ones out there. How you can have one of the best websites in your space. If you want a website that works for you by creating demand and creating leads, then listen up. This show is perfect for you.


Before we get into the interview, Tim, would you please introduce yourself to the audience with a little bit about your expertise and experience around industrial websites.


Tim Doyle: Well, absolutely. Thank you so much. Bruce, as you mentioned, I’m Vice President of Sales at TopSpot. I actually have 30 years in industrial advertising. Like yourself, I’m one of the old dogs.


Bruce McDuffee : I’ll say it. You started when you were 10 years old then.


Tim Doyle: Correct, absolutely, with crayons, crayola, drawing diagrams of actuators.


Bruce McDuffee : That’s how I imagined it.


Tim Doyle: Yeah, I went to school for it at Western Michigan. I [inaudible 00:03:05] in advertising and immediately transitioned into industrial advertising. Growing up in the Detroit area, that was kind of a natural for me. Very quickly on, I actually was aligned with what many people would know if I mentioned the brand, but it was a very well-known industrial directory. My entire career has been content based and key word based. My transition to the web was quite seamless actually.


Bruce McDuffee : I know exactly who you mean. The old directory, yeah. We don’t have to name them, but yeah. I can picture them. Good, that’s great. That’s a great background. So you were a pioneer in websites then it sounds like.


Tim Doyle: Yeah, back in the late ’80s, we were actually developing searchable CD-ROM catalogs for bearing manufacturers, actuator manufacturers, all kinds of companies to help them target their demographic.


Bruce McDuffee : Great, thanks for sharing that background.


Tim Doyle: Sure.


Bruce McDuffee : I was thinking. We were chatting a little before the show here, Tim. I would wager that 95% of the manufacturing marketing audience out there have a business website, maybe even a little higher. I would also bet that probably only about a third are really happy with their website. This is just anecdotal. Are you seeing the same type of thing, or are you seeing something the opposite? What’s your take on that?


Tim Doyle: No, I would agree with that. Frequently, people put up a website and they think it’s just work. Then they’re disappointed. Even the people who are happy sometimes, aren’t doing the things that really give them an understanding of how to improve. I would say you’re right about a third of people are happy, but that even then they’re missing out on some opportunities.


Bruce McDuffee : Agreed. That’s what we’re going to talk about today folks. How can you get your website to work for you, and help grow and build your business? First question, Tim, let’s start off at high level, 30,000 feet, and then we’ll drill down. How would you characterize, or how would you define a top performing website?


Tim Doyle: I would suggest that a top performing website is in alignment with what your goals are as a business. If you have a set of goals, is the site clearly articulating what is in alignment with what those goals might be? If that makes sense. Do you have tracking in place to measure over time so that you can make adjustments, to put that data into play?


Bruce McDuffee : Goals should probably be more than just, “I want to put up a brochure website, lists all my products.” Goals should go beyond that like- Can you talk a little more about that?


Tim Doyle: One of the goals of a website is to produce business. I call it making it into a sales engine, so to speak. Is it providing you with a continuous stream of high quality opportunities that are in the demographic you’re going after? If it’s not, then it’s not in alignment with one of your most important stated goals. You have to analyze that.


Other goals of the site could be, “Is it assisting you with your current customer base?” That is often forgotten about. “Could the website assist you with your customers and make you more sticky, educate your customers, be a true resource for your customers”? In that vein, “Is it also assisting your employees, and potentially doing their job, or informing them?” That can often be an overlooked goal or maybe a agree-upon goal of the website. Many times it’s not doing that.


Then you’ve got sales reps. “Is the website an asset to them? Is it helping them do their job?” That is also an overlooked opportunity. In many cases, the website is failing in that regard.


Bruce McDuffee : It’s like really any business development or marketing endeavor first step, decide what your goals are. Build that foundation. Makes sense.


Tim Doyle: Correct.


Bruce McDuffee : Great, Tim. Have you seen a lot of websites? Let’s talk industrial or manufacturing websites, Tim. I’m sure you’ve seen probably hundreds. I don’t know, maybe thousands out there. What percent would you say, I know this is anecdotal, are great websites that are really killing it with the business goals, and doing everything they can do?


Tim Doyle: You know, it’s pretty low. Believe it not, I’d say maybe 10%. Even within that 10%, if they don’t have a process of continuous improvement, then they’re missing out on opportunities going forward. I know that sounds low, but it’s what I see.


Bruce McDuffee : No, it’s what I see too. I would believe 10%. As you said, maybe even less. Folks listening out there, this is ringing opportunity for you. Right, Tim?


Tim Doyle: Oh absolutely.


Bruce McDuffee : If it’s only 10% are good, and the website let’s face it, that’s your focal point. That’s where people find you. That’s where they form an impression of you. That’s where they evaluate you, on your website, without talking to anybody. There’s an opportunity, folks. If you can make yours 1 in 10 top performing, talk about a competitive advantage. Wow.


Tim, I think a lot of us in our audience out there, just humans, will judge a website intuitively. Do we like it? Does it seem easy? Is the colors pleasant? Whatever it is. Maybe as a professional website person, if I may, could you? Maybe there’s a framework or some specifics you could share with us for evaluating a website, whether it’s our own or whether it’s someone else’s.


Tim Doyle: Absolutely. Is it built in what I call a “don’t make me think” style of architecture? There’s actually a book on usability. It’s an old book. There was a rewrite on it. It’s by a gentleman by the name Steve Krug called “Don’t Make Me Think”. Particularly in the industrial space, let’s just say you’re targeting engineers or engineering titles. Engineers typically, and I apologize for any engineers in the crowd, they don’t suffer fools well. When they land on a page on a website that doesn’t meet their needs, they’re out very quickly. It has to do with what they immediately evaluate on the page they’re landing on. If you’re doing your job right, they not necessarily landing on your home page. They’re landing on an internal page.


The entire structure of the site needs to be crafted in that “don’t make me think” style of architecture. Meaning it gives you good visual cues in the navigation at the top, the internal navigation on the internal pages, the calls to action, the request to quote buttons, things of that nature. Maybe the downloadables or the videos, are they easily retrieved and used? Is it easy to take action on any given page?


We all put sites through that benchmarking and auditing when we land on a page. When it doesn’t meet that criteria, typically we’re out. It’s like a phone number or an address that might not be easily visible. It causes frustration. That’s a problem.


Bruce McDuffee : Big problem.


Tim Doyle: That’s a serious problem. The other thing, by the way, is content. When a website doesn’t meet the needs of say, let’s use that engineering persona again. It doesn’t have educational, instructive content, then again, it’s frustrating them. It’s not meeting their needs. They might very likely just leave the page. You always have to think about well-crafted content that comes from your voice as a company.


Bruce McDuffee : Product information is not enough. Is that what you’re saying?


Tim Doyle: Right. We actually have an acronym for it. We call it “b smart”. Things like brand, size, material, application, requirements, type. Then you could add to that certifications or industry specifications of some type. It could be SKUs in some way. Most of our clients are contract or applicators, but we do have some distributors, so it could be model numbers and SKUs. You have to think about content and a content strategy from that point of view.


Bruce McDuffee : Sure, that makes of sense. To step back, the book was called, “Don’t Make Me Think”. It was by Steve Krug?


Tim Doyle: Krug. Yeah, it’s an oldie but a goodie.


Bruce McDuffee : Sometimes the oldies are the best. Sometimes the oldies are even more relevant today than the newies. I can relate to that completely.


Tim, I had a client. I still work with him. One of the first things I did when I started a few years ago, was to evaluate their website. I went in to look at their website. They were selling electronic instruments. Evaluate the website, and the first thing I told them is, “You know, it’s really hard for me to buy something from you. It’s hard to get a quote. It’s hard to see your prices. It’s hard to see how I’m supposed to buy.” Big problem. If it’s hard for your clients to make a purchase or get the information they want, big problem. I agree with you, Tim.


Tim Doyle: Absolutely.


Bruce McDuffee : A website, and we alluded to this a little earlier, a website has to serve many masters. You’ve got existing customers. You’ve got prospective customers. Then you’ve got other things like human resources, finance, maybe investment, executive leadership, public relations. A website has to serve all of these and sometimes more. Tim, in your experience, does a company have to really pick one of those and focus on it at the expense of others? Or is it possible to serve all those masters well?


Tim Doyle: It is possible to serve them all. Again, it comes from a comprehensive content strategy really. If you did have to choose, you’re typically going to choose in the area of new business development. But when you think about that, that is a huge content need, right?


Bruce McDuffee : Sure.


Tim Doyle: If by doing that, you’re quite often meeting the needs of some of those other stakeholders. Then because some people don’t have the resources to go live with the new website to meet the needs of all the stakeholders, you just have to make sure- We’re going to talk about this is in a little bit. … that your site is built in a CMS that allows for scalability so that you add over time. A lot of people think of a website, they think that they know that they’re done. They think of it as a statue. You build a statue. You put it in the square, and what happens? Pigeons sit on it.


Bruce McDuffee : They do more than that on it.


Tim Doyle: [crosstalk 00:14:25]. Yeah, we think of it as a laboratory. Your website’s a laboratory. Even if you go live with what you believe at the time to be terrific content to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders, no, no, no, you’re not done. You have to have a system in place of evolving that content based on that data analysis over time. That’s how you get the most out of your website.


Bruce McDuffee : Got it. So it’s an ongoing, continuous improvement project really.


Tim Doyle: It has to be. That’s what the top performers do. They have that in place.


Bruce McDuffee : They have a team or maybe they hire somebody to continuously keep that content fresh.


Tim Doyle: Sure. Absolutely.


Bruce McDuffee : Great, that’s good to know. That’s good advice. Let’s drill down a little bit more into some details. I’m going to ask you for a list. What would say are the top five things? If you can prioritize, that are our listeners and that we should focus on if we’re going to build a new site, or make an existing site into a top performer? What are those top five things you would suggest?


Tim Doyle: I think the first thing you need to do is set up tracking. Most people would say, “Yes, I’ve got Google Analytics on the site.” But they never look at it. They’ve never checked to see if it’s set up right. You have to an original benchmark. Google Analytics, when set up correctly, is an excellent tool to do just that. It will help you analyze the traffic to all the pages on your site, and any conversions that are occurring, and events that are occurring on the website. So that you have an original benchmark to look to. That can give you guidance in your content. Number one, Google Analytics and benchmarking the original data.


The second thing would be analyze the site map. Look at the site map. The site map is a list. It’s the list of all the pages on your website. I call it “Your roadmap to success” because it shows you okay, this is the current content on my site. This is how it’s labeled, the content theme of these pages. You have to look at that and say, “Okay, to clearly describe who I am and what are my unique differentiators as a supplier or a potential supplier.” If the site map is done correctly initially, it will do that. You will clearly define who you are, knowing that that site maps going to grow over time. So you’ll have top level pages and then sub pages that come off of that. If you’ve ever seen a site map, it’s like a tree. It just comes down and then you’ve got branches coming off of it.


So number one, analytic benchmarking. Number two, analyze your content through your site map.


Bruce McDuffee : Quick question on that, Tim. What if someone’s wondering how do I find my site map? Is there an easy way to do it?


Tim Doyle: Your web developer may have put a simple link down at the bottom. Sometimes you can after the .com, you could put /sitemap. There are other tools too though. You can use a tool called Screaming Frog.


Bruce McDuffee : Sure, I’ve heard of that.


Tim Doyle: Screaming Frog, it’s a free tool, but you can get a paid version of it. It will allow you to crawl all the crawlable pages that it sees on your website. That can give you a sense of the content pages on your site. Screaming Frog. It’s an easy download.


Bruce McDuffee : Great, thanks.


Tim Doyle: Sure. Then number three, you want to look at site architecture, your site architecture. Is it intuitive, as we were just talking about? Does it meet that “don’t make me think” style of architecture?


Four and five, let’s talk about four. You want to make sure that your calls to action are very obvious. A call to action is like a button that says, “request quote”. That’s a call to action. Is it very visible? The next thing would be are you doing testing with variables? If you’ve got calls to action on your website now, have you ever tested different versions of them to see which perform at a higher level? Again, benchmark the before and after picture. But you may have a request a quote link in the upper navigation. Then you test an obvious button on every page persists in the same location to see if you get a better engagement with the RFQ form.


I’m amazed at some of the performance improvements you get just by subtle tweaks to a button, or the language on a button, or even a form. You can test different versions of forms with different fields in them. You may have a more complex form. You may have a simpler form. In the industrial world, you should make sure that all of them allow for attaching a file because particularly with the contract fabricators, you want to get the drawing.


Bruce McDuffee : Right. Good. So number one, analytics, and benchmarking. Number two, make sure you have a site map that makes sense. Number three, make sure your site architecture is easy to follow and makes sense. Number four, make sure your call to action is obvious. Then number five was testing the variables. Is that right?


Tim Doyle: Yes. Multivariate testing, also known as conversion improvement.


Bruce McDuffee : Sure. Those are great five steps folks. If you want to make your website better, look at those five things first. Probably not the end of the list, right Tim? At least a good start.


Tim Doyle: Oh, I know. You could go on and on, absolutely. If you start with that, you’re in a good place.


Bruce McDuffee : Great. Thanks. What about the platform or the content management system, the CMS? Do you find that some are better than others? I know Word Press is a widely used CMS. What are you seeing? What would you advise when someone’s picking a CMS?


Tim Doyle: Yeah, Word Press is the most popular one. I would say about 60% of the websites on the web now are built in Word Press.


Bruce McDuffee : Is it that high?


Tim Doyle: Probably. The challenge with that is, is that it’s a prime target for spammers that try to inject malware on your site. We do see hacked sites quite a bit. The main tip if you have a Word Press website, or any CMS for that matter, is make sure you are continually updating the version and the security updates on the CMS.


But also, particularly for Word Press, the security updates on the Word Press plugins, there’s a lot of plugins that Word Press uses. Quite often we see this with manufacturers quite a bit. They don’t even know all the plugins they have on their site. They don’t update them, the security updates. They will get malware injected in the site. Be careful. It is a good CMS though. It’s very intuitive. It allows for an easy crawl by the search engines. It’s got a great editing tool.


Having said that, there’s some other ones out there that are very good too. There’s obviously one called Drupal. That’s an open source CMS as well. There’s one called Joomla. Both of which are very widely used.


The one that I prefer though, it’s one that maybe not as well known. It’s open source. It’s extremely intuitive. It’s called MODX. You can Google it, or go to YouTube and Google it. You’ll see the backend editing tool and some interesting features and functionality of the CMS. The reason I love MODX is it’s very secure. They keep control of their plugins and the contributors for the plugins. It also allows for a very easy crawl by the Google bots. So your content reveals itself very efficiently to Google. The editing tool is extremely intuitive. As a matter of fact, when you log into the editing tool in MODX, the file structure on the left looks very much like Microsoft Outlook. The icons on the editing tool look just like Microsoft Word. Even without any training, you can typically figure it out. Then with some training, you get some advanced knowledge on it. You can really take ownership of the content on your site, so CMSs.


Bruce McDuffee : Pretty easy to use?


Tim Doyle: Yeah, very easy to use. Those are the non-e-commerce platforms. If you are in e-commerce, say you’re a distributor and you’ve got 20,000 SKUs, you might be looking for something like a Magento platform. Magento is a very well known e-commerce or quote cart platform.


Then if you are into components like bearings, or variable speed drives, or things like that, you might want to be providing CAD drawings. CAD drawings, are in my mind, at the top of the food chain as it relates to a goal conversion. Because when you specced in, you get purchased over 90% of the time because the purchasing agent typically doesn’t swap out what the engineer has specced in. It has been our experience. If you are a distributor or a component manufacturer, in that way would want to provide CAD drawings, there’s an excellent tool out there by a company out of San Jose called Catalog Data Solutions. You may have heard of them.


Bruce McDuffee : Sure.


Tim Doyle: It’s an excellent CAD library that you can easily integrate. We’ve integrated dozens with MODX websites. It makes for a very robust content environment on the site.


Bruce McDuffee : I’ve heard that from other folks too. It seems like this might be one of those opportunities for some manufacturers is if somebody downloads your CAD file, it’s a pretty strong buying indicator isn’t it?


Tim Doyle: It’s a rifle shot indicator. [crosstalk 00:24:10] It’s one of the most accurate methods of getting specced in right there is if you’re offering up CAD drawings. It’s excellent.


Bruce McDuffee : I’ve heard that too. That’s a bonus for the show folks. CAD drawings, use it to get more business.


Tim Doyle: Absolutely.


Bruce McDuffee : The last question before the challenge section, Tim. Suppose I am a VP Sales and Marketing for a B-to-B manufacturing company. I’m out there listening to the podcast. Maybe I’m thinking to myself, “Boy, my website sucks.” In a quick list, what are my first five steps? Maybe this is the same as the previous question, but I hate my website. It’s not working. Is there another list? Are there things I should start with, for example, to redo that website? I’m going to redo the whole thing.


Tim Doyle: Well, some websites can be worked with. Again, if it’s built in a good CMS, if it’s mobile responsive, and it’s just a matter of adding content and images and things of that nature, that’s fine. But if it’s a static website, if it’s in an old CMS and not an updated version, it’s not mobile responsive, you don’t want to put lipstick on a pig, to be crude.


Bruce McDuffee : That’s okay.


Tim Doyle: You really got to analyze, “Where am I?” In most cases I see lately, it’s rebuilding the website.


Bruce McDuffee : Start from scratch.


Tim Doyle: Because it’s not worth putting money into the old site that may have served you well. But very often, design standards for websites now have changed so much because of it’s a multi-screen world, you don’t know what size screen someone’s going to be looking at your site on. Particularly with millennials, when you look at millennials, they grew up looking at their smart phones for the most part. Acquiring information through tablets and smartphones. You have to have a website that really sizes properly to meet those needs.


Some of this would be yes, does the content on the site clearly articulate who you are, what you do, and the industries you work with. That could be an easy one to look at beyond the CMS, how old it is.


Do you have high quality images? One of the best investments you can make as a manufacturer is in professional photography. It is very much not thought of by many of the clients that we initially start talking to. It’s the easiest thing to do is get great imagery of the components you’re machining. What looks better than a well-machined piece of 316 stainless?


Bruce McDuffee : Absolutely.


Tim Doyle: It just glistens. Or a piece of titanium that’s machined with lots of value added. Get good photography. It’s an asset to your company that you should continue to add to that archive. Have a process of continually adding to your image library. Frankly, it’s a transferrable asset of your company. You sell the company, and you’ve got a 10 year archive of imagery. It has value. The value that it adds to your website is immense because it can take a good design and make it great.


Bruce McDuffee : As opposed to stock images off of?


Tim Doyle: Exactly.


Bruce McDuffee : Got it.


Tim Doyle: That’s a big mistake. Big mistake to use just simple stock images all the time.


Bruce McDuffee : That’s interesting.


Tim Doyle: [crosstalk 00:27:28] you do.


Bruce McDuffee : I have never come across that with my clients. That’s fantastic advice. That’s great.


Tim Doyle: Then the quality content, quality images, obviously the navigation, you talked about that earlier, and the architecture, and then the tracking. Obviously, the tracking, people forget about it. They don’t really know how to look at the data. That is an obvious one where you would engage an outside firm. Because even if you hire someone who’s pretty good at content development, you can’t think that they’re going to be an analytics expert too. Then the obvious calls to action of course, and the multivariate testing, which we talked about earlier. Those are some of the things that you might want to think about if you’re a VP of Sales and Marketing [inaudible 00:28:08] a manufacturing company.


Bruce McDuffee : Thank you. I suppose one of the, like you mentioned early on in the show today, one of the most important things is to sit down before you even begin and say, “What are our goals? Who are we serving? What do we want this site to accomplish? What will a successful site look like?” Things like that. Lay that foundation, like you said earlier.


Tim Doyle: Yeah, exactly.


Bruce McDuffee : Good. Well, that’s great advice. Folks, I’ll put all of the mentions and the links that Tim mentioned in the show notes so we can take advantage of all his great suggestions. Tim, that brings us to the second part of the show, the challenge question. Folks, send in your challenge questions. These are questions from you that you send into the show. Then I pose them to a relevant expert. Well, I try to match it up to the expertise of the guest. Just email it to me. Or you can hashtag it on Twitter at mfgmarketing, and I’ll pick it up and I’ll pose it to our guest expert.


This week our challenge question comes in from a VP Marketing in San Diego. By the way folks, these are usually kind of white labeled. That’s how most folks want them. VP Marketing from the San Diego area, from a medical device company. Here it is. “We make a medical device that measures blood coagulation. Our customers are hospitals and blood labs. One of our 2017 goals is to increase website traffic by 30% to ultimately increase the flow at the top of our sales funnel. Do you have any tips about how to increase website traffic for a medical device manufacturer?” Tim, what do you think?


Tim Doyle: Well, it’s the same advice I would give anybody. But we have to look at the goal, and we have to define the goal. Is increasing the traffic by 30% a top of the food chain goal? I would say well, anybody can increase the traffic 30% utilizing certain tactics or strategies. Is it the right traffic? We have to go back and look at the persona we’re going after and target content and strategies that we know is going to resonate with them. Because we want to position you in front of those specific types of specifiers in hospitals and blood labs at the precise moment they realize they need to look for someone like you.


Knowing that, we want to look at certain things like, “How do they, when they have a need, search for these types of machines or systems that analyze blood coagulation?” One of the ways to do that would be to analyze what people are typing into your internal site search. If you have internal site search on your website, look at a date range of say six months to a year, and see how are people querying the content on your site. You know the internal site search. Bruce?


Bruce McDuffee : Sure.


Tim Doyle: It is the most underused tool for content analysis, for learning the intent of when people come to your site. You can learn exactly how they’re thinking about it. When you think about blood coagulation, I think some people call it an INR. It’s just another way of saying machine that analyzing anti-coagulation or coagulation. You can go either way with that, I believe.


The goal is to, I assume, increase sales. That’s the number one goal. They’re thinking that just by increasing traffic, we’re going to do that. That’s not always accurate. We got to go back to the goal is to increase sales. We got to get the correct people to the site. That means we have to use data, and iteration over time, to achieve that goal. Iteration of content over time.


I know I’m getting kind of deep in the weeds here, but you have to make sure that you’ve got very accurate KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, as to what you’re doing. Having an original benchmark, rolling benchmarks over time, start developing the content, this is on-page, in collaboration with potentially articles on a blog.


Now you got to understand what does an article on a blog do? It typically brings visitors they’re trying to educate themselves. They don’t convert to an action at a high rate. But it puts out signals of trust to Google, Bing and Yahoo, so it’s helping you achieve your organic optimization goals in totality.


Then you’ve got the on-page content that resonates with these potential buyers when they land on that page. With the proper calls to action, and the proper content, you should compel them to an action.


There’s no magic bullet. It comes with a content strategy, based on analysis of the personas you’re going after, and then tracking and benchmarking over time.


Bruce McDuffee : So just starting a blog, and blogging three times a week, that’s not enough? Or is it enough?


Tim Doyle: No.


Bruce McDuffee : That’s not enough?


Tim Doyle: No, it’s not enough. You have to have a whole system approach. Blogging’s great if you’ve got great articles. Typically comparative in nature, this versus that, you know what I mean?


Bruce McDuffee : Sure.


Tim Doyle: It can be a good place to start. What are your unique differentiators? How can a machine like this add value, either in speed or efficiency, or accuracy? It could be how to calibrate one, or things to look out for. Five things to look out for with blood coagulation measurement system. But you have to have the on-page content. That’s the content on your landing pages that clearly articulates information about your systems, information about the way you approach the industry, things like that, brand size, material application, environment, and type. Remember, “b smart”.


Bruce McDuffee : So the two work together.


Tim Doyle: Exactly. They work very much together. Now beyond that, once you’ve got your page, your on-page content very solid, and you’ve got a blogging strategy, then you can think about things like email blasts, and acquiring and building over time very accurate lists of potential customers to put out a message that is clearly supported by the content on your website, and the content in your blogs. Maybe video content, things like that.


There’s no short path to success. It has to be strategic. Then you’ve got to execute based on a plan. Then evolve it over time based on data analysis.


Bruce McDuffee : It’s a holistic approach. There’s not one single tactic. That’s interesting.


Tim Doyle: It has to be. It has to be a whole system approach.


Bruce McDuffee : You really need a professional, someone who really knows this stuff. You can’t just give it to the marketing coordinator, who sets up the trade shows it sounds like.


Tim Doyle: No, it’s not that you can’t have someone who’s pretty good at something in house. You do need to pair them with experts to assist them. Because you can’t expect one person to be an expert in data analysis, an expert in content development, an expert in conversion improvement. You can’t hire those unicorns.


Bruce McDuffee : Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Well, that was a great answer to that question, Tim. One thing you mentioned that the internal site search. For our listeners out there, you’re saying that you can go in probably Google Analytics, and see every term that someone typed into that internal site search.


Tim Doyle: Correct. Some of the most valuable data you will ever get to look at.


Bruce McDuffee : I bet it is.


Tim Doyle: It gives you insights not just into content development, but frankly, it can give you insights into maybe some new service offerings that can take your business in a new direction.


Bruce McDuffee : Wow, that’s powerful. It’s not that hard to put it on your website either.


Tim Doyle: No, Google Custom Search, it’s $100 a year for the subscription. Do not use the free version.


Bruce McDuffee : Okay.


Tim Doyle: Do not use the free version. Use the paid version. It’s about $100 a year, worth every penny. Typically, it should be placed in the upper right hand corner of the website in the header. That’s where people expect to see it, persistent on every page. You want them to use it. Now people like it. They like to use it. You want them to use it because it helps you refine your website. It gives you the strategy.


Bruce McDuffee : It gives you intelligence. That’s great. That’s a great tip.


Tim Doyle: Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s fantastic. It’s so simple. I love simple stuff.


Bruce McDuffee : Yeah, it sounds simple. I’m going to put that on my website. That’s great. All kinds of great tips today. Well Tim, that takes us to the final section, the takeaways. I always ask our guest experts if they would share one or two takeaways, maybe reemphasizing something we talked about, or maybe a couple of actionable nuggets going forward. What do you have for us today, Tim?


Tim Doyle: I guess keep it simple, on that theme. Can you truly say that your website is built in a “don’t make me think” style of architecture, with tremendous content? If not, reassess. Do you have great analytic tools in place with data that you understand, or have access to people who can help you understand it, for continuous improvement?


Bruce McDuffee : Great, thanks Tim. Great takeaways. I know everyone is paying attention to this episode. Finally, before we sign off, Tim. Would you like to share anything about yourself or your company, TopSpot, with our audience?


Tim Doyle: Sure. TopSpot is an industrially focused web development and search engine marketing and analytics firm, based in Houston, Texas. We work nationwide and internationally. We specialize in working with industrial companies, manufacturers, and distributors. Of our 750 plus clients, I would say 90% of them are manufacturers and distributors, many of them contract fabricators. It’s a core competency. I would offer, if you would like to reach out, I’d be happy to do a quick audit of your website for free, and give you some tips and some personal guidance. No obligation.


Bruce McDuffee : That’s a great offer. Thanks, Tim. I’ll put that in the show notes folks, with Tim’s email. That’s a great offer. Take advantage.


Tim Doyle: Sure, just in the subject line, just put “site audit”.


Bruce McDuffee : Site audit. Will do. Well, Tim, thank you so much for being a guest today on Manufacturing Marketing Matters sharing the knowledge, and tips, and experience, and those great examples. I know I certainly learned a lot today.


Tim Doyle: Awesome. Thank you so much for asking me. It’s been an absolute pleasure.


Bruce McDuffee : That was Tim Doyle, Vice President Sales at TopSpot. For more information about Tim and TopSpot, visit the guest bio page and check out the show notes at


Finally, don’t forget about that copy of the book. This is a limited time offer. The book’s called, “The New Way to Market for Manufacturing”. Just go to


Thanks for listening to Manufacturing Marketing Matters. If you find this podcast helpful and useful, please subscribe at iTunes or You can download this episode of mmmatters and get the show notes and learn more about the podcast at I’m Bruce McDuffee. Now let’s go out and advance the practice of marketing in manufacturing today.



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