Why would an Engineer visit your website?

With the expansion of blogs, social media and content curators, it’s valid to ask “why would an engineer visit a manufacturer’s website”? There’s so much material available, from a variety of reliable sources, that it may be too cumbersome or just not “authentic” enough for your customer to visit you. Why look at the sanitized, official marketing blurb, when you can read the views of independent industry experts or fellow engineers? Why go to 5 supplier webpages, if there’s a single web-portal that does the work for you?

Recently I met with Sam Wurzel, co-founder of Octopart. When you look at the site – the homepage is clearly modeled on the simple “Google” style – you wonder why a design engineer would use any other site to select electronic components. The parametric search is one of the cleanest interfaces I’ve seen on any electronics site, whether from a supplier or a Distributor, and it serves up a listing of Distributor inventory and pricing, along with a “buy now” button. So why search through multiple supplier sites to compare suitable products for a design? I think Octopart has a bright future.

So for component Suppliers, this is why compelling content is the key to a useful website. Of course, you need to have datasheets and selector guides on your site. But what will really make you stand out is the “Extra” content.

Content that Connects

For engineers, I would recommend two ways to make your website useful:

  • Video – preferably “how-to” clips, shot in a real environment, with a knowledgeable engineer presenting – not a professional voice-over with a studio background. Make it no more than 60 seconds, and give a way to follow-up for more details
  • Technical Blog – which should primarily be contributions from your technical staff and field teams, not just marketing staff. The product specialists in your group can give hands-on, relevant information that will help a design engineer choose the right product, or perhaps how to use an existing product more effectively.

Now, I’m not suggesting this is easy. Creating content is one of the biggest challenges for any marketing department, particularly when dealing with complex products. The best people to create content are, in many cases, the least interested in writing for your blog. And often we slow ourselves down by trying to make everything perfect, when actually something less-than-perfect may have more impact with your end customer.

So ask yourself “why would an Engineer visit my website?” and then do something, no matter how small …. before Sam Wurzel and others make your webpage obsolete.

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