Industrial Website Design Strategy — Articulate Who You Are With Positioning and SEO
Does your website’s initial view clearly outline what you do, who it’s for and why prospects should care? If not, this is one of the highest-impact changes you can make when you redesign your website.
A strong positioning statement will attract and engage those who are a great fit, while subtly allowing those who aren’t a great fit to easily discern this and opt out. Your positioning statement should include some of your SEO keywords and choosing these is also critical to attracting and engaging the best prospects.
What is a brand positioning statement?
A brand positioning statement communicates essential facts about your company — what you do and who it’s for and why a prospect should care. It should be brief — no more than a few hundred characters — and it should be visible in the initial “homepage hero” view of your website.
Placing the positioning statement front and center will help fulfill the primary purpose of any marketing website, which is to attract, engage and convert those prospects who are most likely to become great customers. The site needs to be 1) found by the right people and 2) contain language that resonates with them.
Your positioning statement should be general enough to speak to all your customers over a long period of time — unless your business changes drastically, the positioning statement will not change. There’s plenty of room elsewhere on your website and in other marketing to address specific segments of your audience.
An important step in developing your positioning statement and in your overall website redesign is identifying critical services, products and revenue drivers.
Identify critical services, products and revenue drivers
Your company may offer a lot of services or products, to anyone who will buy them. But, for the sake of your primary positioning statement, it’s important to claim a focus. What is your company known for? What products or services bring in the most revenue? Which offer the most growth potential? Review these services, products and revenue drivers with the sales team and with leadership.
In addition to these primary, high-value offerings, what are your most important applications and industries? Is there more potential for growth and future revenue in a specific industry? Or in a group of industries or applications? If you want to position your company as a specialist in a specific field, you’ll want to avoid listing every industry under the sun.
Going through the exercise of cataloging these items is a building block for drafting your positioning statement itself. Critical products and services, and applications or industries, should be prominently shown on your website’s homepage, and some of them, or families/categories of them, may end up in your positioning statement.
Write a draft positioning statement
Most positioning statements share three critical pieces of information:
- Who you serve: It must be more specific than “anyone and everyone.” Write to your ICP (ideal customer profile) and personas.
- What you do: This is the specific product or service deliverable that your client receives when working with you, including what’s in it for them, and how you are helping them succeed.
- What’s unique about working with you: What differentiates you or makes you better than the competition? Why should they choose you? Why does your work matter? Why should anyone care?
A very simple way to start drafting a positioning statement is to fill in the blanks in this sentence: We do _____ for ______.
Add a differentiator: We do (differentiator) ____ for _____.
If you can substitute a descriptive verb for “do,” all the better.
Next, gut-check this against your top three competitors. Is it similar to their positioning? Does anything need to change to differentiate you? Go back and make changes if needed. Writing a breakthrough B2B positioning statement is an art and a science. It’s easier to write if your company has defined its mission, vision, core values and direction.
After making any changes, brainstorm some variations. You can take this further with a writer during the redesign project. The statement language serves to communicate what you do to your website design team, as well as to your website visitors.
Clarify your elevator pitch
Let’s say a prospect is new to you, hears your positioning statement and wants to learn more. What supporting information, sometimes called a “reassurance statement,” would they benefit from? What would you tell someone about your company in a 30-second elevator ride?
Author Donald Miller, developer of the StoryBrand framework, refers to creating your “one-liner,” like a movie pitch for what your business can do. He recommends framing your elevator pitch around a problem, a solution and a reward.
What impact does your company make on your prospect’s business? What benefits do they get from working with you? A positioning statement can’t say it all, so this piece of information, whatever you choose to call it, should support your positioning statement in a prominent place on your homepage. This way, users can learn more even before they click “learn more.”
Identify primary SEO keywords, part 1
Search engine optimization also helps to articulate who you are, in the language that your prospects are actually using to search for a solution. Some of your keywords should appear in your positioning statement, as it’s likely also the primary heading on your homepage.
What keywords do you think your best customers are using to describe your offerings as a whole and your specific products or services? Identify topics and sub-topics, including product names and generic terms. Many keyword research tools are available to help.
Then, take this language that your prospects are using and cross-reference it with the language that you’ve clarified around what you offer in your positioning statement. Often, internal language within a company, even within the sales team, is not the same language that prospects type into Google. Your prospects might be trying to find the very solution that you’re selling but referring to it differently. What are your best customers calling the solution?
A great way to start looking for, or verifying, positioning statement language that matches the language that your best customers use is to do a few quick customer interviews or persona interviews. Ideally, have a writer or neutral third-party conduct the interviews, instead of sales representatives. We’ve developed a set of helpful interview questions.
If customer interviews aren’t possible, ask the sales team what your best customers are saying about your top service/product lines and what led to their purchase decision. Anecdotal information about what your best customers are “calling the solution” can provide some interesting insights.
This information forms the beginning of your SEO keyword research, which you can advance by typing the terms you’ve collected into Google’s Keyword Planner, looking at the search engine optimization of competitor websites, and using other online tools to find similar keywords and volume. Your positioning statement should serve as a calling card to your target audience. Researching how they are looking for solutions such as yours will not only help them find you but will help them quickly recognize you as the solution.
Identify primary SEO keywords, part 2
One tool that can help you explore your direct competitors’ SEO efforts is SEO Meta in 1 Click, which lets you see the meta details (title, description, H1 and alt image tags) of a specific page. You’ll need Google Chrome to use this tool.
Another technique that has proven valuable is keyword gap comparison, which shows things such as keywords you share with competitors and words they rank for that you do not. There are several paid tools that offer this capability, such as Semrush, and you may want to sample a few before investing in one.
When you use SEO keyword tools, especially in the context of a B2B industrial marketing website, remember that intent and specificity are more important than volume. It’s easy to be led astray when you notice high volume for a more general, consumer-oriented term, but optimizing for this kind of term won’t help your business. For example, let’s say your organization extrudes polycarbonate lenses used in lighting fixtures. You’ll see much higher volume around keywords for the fixtures themselves, but these represent searches made by consumers who, if they came to your website, would quickly see that you’re part of the supply chain, not someone who can sell them a light fixture.
Better keywords for you will be aligned with what an engineer or technical person would search for when trying to find a new solution or source a new vendor. These keywords will have much lower volume, but they will be more specific, and often they will be longer phrases.
Go for quality and intent over quantity. Having a lot of visitors to your site sounds exciting, but if they land and then quickly leave without any further interaction, it will damage your overall SEO progress. This is called a bounce, and having a high bounce rate will lower your site’s overall credibility. You will be better served by targeting a handful of lower volume, but higher accuracy, keywords. Collectively, these will raise your site’s performance and authority.
Once you have an initial list of words, sort by those that indicate a high intent to buy. Make sure to separate them from words that would fall higher in the funnel (showing research/interest but not intent) and terms that are too broad to be a good match.
After prioritizing, look at your number-one keyword. Does it fit into your positioning statement, or into a headline above your positioning statement? If you don’t feel right declaring it on your homepage, is there a better keyword that would fit? SEO and positioning need to work together as a system.
Quality SEO is about marrying your goals with the highest probability search terms that will deliver new people directly to your website. Don’t change your voice and overall goals to match what you think will be better traffic. Your positioning statement should be authentic and accurate.
Articulating who you are is one of our eight key principles for B2B website strategy. The goal is to find a way to support your positioning statement with a researched strategy that will help you share it. This way you maintain who you are, while helping more of the people looking for a solution like yours find their way to your doorstep.
Looking for a deeper understanding of when, why and how to redesign your B2B website? Check out a webinar, or learn more about our upcoming on-demand virtual course, B2B Website Strategy for Lead Generation.