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The Role of the Internet in Developing Your Business
The Web has become the preferred channel where manufacturers, prospects and purchasers go to research sources and partners to build and develop their products. But many plastics processors miss opportunities for new business because they're presenting incomplete or insufficient information online.
Prospective customers use the Internet to research potential solutions. They have specific purposes, and they collect information on plastics processors that can provide those solutions based on their specific, technical specifications and business needs.
Today's prospect is a stealth prospect: in control and anonymous throughout the research cycle until they chose to reveal themselves. Their online behaviors aren't very different from yours when researching a capital equipment purchase. What they find online about your company — or don't find there — can strongly influence who they'll engage or investigate further, and who they won't. If you're deemed worthy, they'll engage you.
To attract, influence and motivate prospects to add you to their short lists of potential suppliers or partners, an online strategy to maximize exposure AND effectively capitalize on prospects' behaviors must include:
Present Your Core Strengths — Your equipment and facilities are important. So are the industries and companies you've served. But the primary purpose to any successful Web presence for plastics processors is to differentiate you from your competition. And there's nothing that differentiates you like describing the details of projects you've worked and parts / products you've made. Present the technical features of each part, the materials and equipment used, the improvements made to the part/product during the life of the project, and any problems encountered and how you solved them.
Start A Blog — They're inexpensive (many are free), they're relatively easy to set up and you don't have to know code to update them. And best of all, a Blog (short for "Web Log") is an effective means of communicating what your company is doing, what projects you're working on, company news and anything the market may find interesting. Easy, inexpensive and effective. And here's a tip: post to your Blog regularly, but you don't have to post frequently.
Participate On The Web — Find related forums for plastics professionals — like those on Plastics.com — and answer questions, offer suggestions and contribute to the dialogue. Each post acts as an organic reference for you and your company. And remember that once the discussion has faded into the background, your posts will remain in perpetuity — legacy posts are often found by prospects searching for suppliers, and these "breadcrumbs" can be very effective at putting your company in a prospect's view.
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