Articles & Information
How Manufacturers Can Use Data to Increase Product Selection: Part 2
In part one of this blog series, I highlighted how basic behavior data such as visitors, return visitors, and page views can help you, the building product manufacturer, convert digital engagement to product specifications and sales. In this article, I’ll discuss more advanced data points that you should be capturing via your website and how to use that knowledge to build long term relationships with your commercial customers – architects, engineers and contractors (AECs).
Let’s look at how understanding searches, analyzing digital content downloads, and processing user registrations can help you become the preferred digital experience for your AEC users, so they’ll specify and procure more of your products.
1. Search Data
Commercial users require a unique experience while visiting your website. They are goal-oriented; they want to find the right products and digital content quickly so that they can get to their primary jobs of creating projects, designs and plans. Reviewing what these users are searching for is critical to understanding what they want from your website.
Are AECs searching for a part number? A dimension? LEED rating attributes? BIM content? Is your website organized to provide the view of products and content most often searched for?
If users know your part numbers and search for them, then you’ve already won them over – send them a gift basket during the holidays. If your users are often searching for a product of a particular dimension or sustainability ranking, then you need to direct them to the right product page.
Realize this: If they’re searching for something precise but cannot find it in short order, they’ll go to a competitor.
2. Content Downloads
Once an AEC has landed on a product page, we can learn a lot about them and their project from what they download. During initial planning phases, architects might download simple specs. During design, the same architect will download CAD and BIM files.
Contractors will likely download safety sheets and installation instructions during construction. Owner/operators will download warranty and repair documents.
Analyzing downloaded file types will give sales and marketing teams transparency into project status and what’s important to these prospective customers. If approached properly, owners will make you the basis of design for their next project; contractors will substitute for your qualified products; and architects will remember your part numbers.
3. User Registrations
You can learn a great deal from the searches your users perform and the content they download. Now, let’s discuss how to capture them directly.
We consistently hear from AECs that they don’t like giving contact information for fear of being bombarded with emails and phone calls from manufacturers. But they also tell us that they will supply their contact information to register if given a good reason.
You should absolutely make your web experience as frictionless as possible. Don’t require registration to access your product catalogue or to download common products or content like specs or safety sheets. However, for new or higher margin product lines, or for special content types like BIM files, require that an online user register before downloading.
Processing these names and actions through your customer relationship management software (CRM) and marketing automation platforms will help you engage these AECs and convert sales.
If you’ve read this far you already realize that delivering a great online experience to architects, engineers and contractors will increase your product specification rate. Using data like online searches and download content types will drive improvements to your digital experience. Finally, tying that data together with volunteered contact information will help your sales and marketing teams target the right message at the right time to turn product selections into converted sales.