Do you know what your best marketing and sales tool is? We do. It’s your website!
Fact: it’s pointless engaging in any digital marketing activity and more difficult to generate leads if you don’t have a website worth sticking around for.
Let’s put it this way — you wouldn’t buy a home’s worth of expensive furniture if you didn’t have a house to unveil it in. It’s the same with your website, you need a welcoming home to store your riches in.
And what are your riches?
It could be 1000’s of products you ship out daily, the blogs full of educational information, videos that show customers how to use your product/service or the contact page that enables people to make business enquiries.
Obviously, it’s easy to say all this. With all the tasks you have piling up on your list, updating your website could be right at the bottom.
But if you want more business than your competitors, you need to benchmark your website as well as your products and services.
Your website’s design and user interface are the first things someone sees when they visit you, don’t suffer automatic rejection by neglecting them!
Where Does Your Site Need to Succeed?
We’ve got six of the best manufacturing company websites we could find, which we’ve analysed in the following areas:
- Design — visual appeal, whitespace, branding, icons
- User Experience — navigation, speed, scrolling
- Marketing — website copy, call-to-actions, A/B testing
Compare them to your site as we progress...
1. Anglo American: Mining
Anglo American is a multi-national, modern mining company. Their ethos is to combine integrity, creativity and smart innovation, with the utmost consideration for people, their families, local communities and the world. Their natural, earthy, honest website delivers this message.
Anglo American’s design is simple yet effective. There’s a generous amount of whitespace, which makes different parts of the website draw into focus, such as the earthy, people-driven photographs.
Many companies use stock photos because they don’t have images to use on their website, so it’s always great to see a company investing time into producing real, natural images to support their site.
There are three clear user paths when you arrive at the Anglo American homepage, in a tabbed slideshow, where each one maximises to your screen width as you hover across it.
There are no dropdown menus when you hover over the top menu items, which means less confusion and more intrigue.
The journey is made simple, do you want to learn about our people, our products or our work? Go on, pick one!
Anglo American has plenty of educational content on their website, it’s probably not that common to know that much about mining unless you work in the industry. There are blogs and videos which explain what mining is, as well as a tour of a mining site.
Obviously, we have to remember that they’re a multi-national company who have big budgets for marketing, but you can downscale to fit a limited budget/timescale by filming on phones and outsourcing work.
2. Astro Lighting: Light Manufacturer
Astro is a UK-based design-led lighting manufacturer who has a broad range of products, their ethos: good design demands simplicity. And it’s reflected in their website.
It’s clear Astro is a product-focused company the minute you hit the homepage, as different collections smoothly transition in the carousel. And boy are they nice to look at!
The light is subtly linked into the lifestyle photo it’s supporting, but it still manages to take centre stage. Rich, simple and indulgent, the images tempt you to click through.
The user journey is simple, with a clear navigation bar supported by visual dropdown elements relating to support, products and projects.
Upon entering the page, the action is clear, a product-focused website wants you to look at products!
There are several categories to choose from, which you can alter via bulb type, colour, finish — and it’s fast too!
The company are invested in marketing, with numerous blogs and videos on the website, but the user experience is where it falls short.
There’s a section called video, but when you click through, there’s no search function or category/content type function to navigate to the topics you want to learn about. However, it’s always better to invest and refine rather than do nothing, so they’re getting something right here.
3. Airbus: Aerospace Engineering
Airbus designs and manufactures aeroplanes, helicopters, military transport and satellite systems. They aim to create a better connected, safer and more prosperous world.
Firstly, let’s consider the main branding colour of Airbus, navy. Navy is associated with trust, integrity, power and unity.
The website feels both calming and authoritative at the same time. It’s also connected to one of the most prominent military organisations in the world, The Royal Navy, so we’ve already got that preconception when we see the colour.
Think of other businesses like IBM, Samsung and Intel and what feelings they provoke when you think about them.
Navy also blends well with other colours, so you don’t have to be too conscious about what you include in your palette — see if you can pick up how many colours the website homepage uses.
There’s quite a lot on the homepage, but it’s easy to navigate and looks great on mobile and desktop. The blend of whitespace and colour makes you want to explore on either device, and there’s plenty of content to capture your imagination.
Also, it’s always handy to have a search bar on the main menu, with a vast website like this, you need to make the user journey as rapid as possible, or you may lose your visitor.
The sheer innovation of the website content is enough to make you want to stay and learn more, and the CGI generated images and videos can captivate anyone. Breathtaking.
From news articles relating to business deals, a blog celebrating the role of women in aerospace development and videos showing how drones could deliver us to work in the future, it’s hard not to show interest.
If you can make your company sound as fascinating as this one, you’re on the right path.
4. Dyson: Technology Manufacturer
Dyson is a UK technology manufacturer that specialises in equipment like hand dryers, hoovers and desktop fans.
The website doesn’t have a value proposition or an about page, but looking at the website, it’s clear the company want to be at the forefront of innovative technology and design. How do we know this?
Navigate to the Dyson homepage and notice how minimal and straightforward the design is, with only three buttons on the navigation bar, which all persuade you to view Dyson products.
The use of colour and shapes is also commendable. The greys and blacks create a slight contrast, with the pink giving the page some ‘pop’.
Abstract geometry is used to guide the reader to the product, notice as your eyes slide down the lines to engage with the product.
Dyson is consistent with their product design and website design, and that's really important because it’s recognisable.
The process of buying a product is a reflection of what we mentioned before, simple and minimal. The website forms only ask you for the information they need, and it’s delivered with clear, simple language.
Very rarely do you have to start typing away at your keyboard unless it’s absolutely necessary, if you’re selling a product, you want to make the journey to purchase as easy as possible, whether it’s for B2B or B2C customers.
There’s a pattern developing here. The content relationship most of these websites have is that they’re all creating innovative content or opportunities for people to engage with their company.
The homepage shows the James Dyson Award (which has a website of its own), which shows the commitment of the company to technology innovation.
Contestants enter, and those that win are given a cash prize. There’s been a foldable recyclable helmet, an incubator for babies in refugee camps and a sustainable fishing net. The goal of content is to create communities, and the award certainly does that.
5. John Deere: Agriculture, Construction and Forestry Machinery
John Deere is a machinery manufacturer founded in the US. They aim to celebrate their past and deliver a productive and profitable future for their customers. They provide quality equipment to those that maintain, work on and enrich land throughout the world.
There are no fancy scrolling elements, carousels, animations or videos on the John Deere homepage, but it doesn’t need any of that. One word that keeps popping up in this article is ‘simplicity’, and that’s what John Deere’s theme is.
Real, earthy photography, simple brand colours (Crayola anyone?!), it’s a short scroll to the bottom of the page, so there’s no information overload, even the images of the tractors are simple; they almost look like toys (and who doesn’t love playing with toys?).
The user experience relates to the design elements we mentioned above, simple scroll, no complex abstract movements on the page. The site has a handy deal locator which helps the customer determine the closest shop to them.
What’s smart about the user journey is that it doesn’t take you to a page and hound you with prices. It eases you into the purchase, shows you photographs of people with their equipment before listing them, and gives you the option of whether you want to contact a dealer or read a brochure. There’s a clear nurturing process here.
You only have to visit a brochure to understand how the company has invested in content. The brochures show images of people using the equipment and contain detailed descriptions of various topics relating to them. There are accompanying illustrations, stats graphs and specs, so you’re never short of information.
6. Lear Corporation: Automotive Seating & Systems
Lear Corporation is a US-based leading manufacturer of automotive seats. They promote diversity, excellence and like to be recognised for their achievements. They’re a people first company and pride themselves as being a great employer to work for, as well as supporting local communities.
Unlike any other website on this list, Lear Corporation opted for a video on their home screen, which is a bold move considering videos can sometimes distract from the message you’re trying to convey. The images are striking, and the red and black colour blend creates a sleek urgency.
There are plenty of stakeholders in this company, so it's important they speak to all of them and don't deliver a confusing message on the website. There are quite a few dropdown menus, but the removal of the navigation bar actually draws more attention to them. The scroll is smooth and subtle animations give the website a modern feel.
Like many big corporations, Lear is more interested in maintaining a positive image in the press. They’ll already work with hundreds of huge companies throughout the world, so it’s more about maintaining those relationships.
The website is content heavy, just one of the menu headers links out to nine other pages, so it’s worthy of appreciating the time it takes to write and maintain such a website, especially as a website is your primary marketing tool.
There’s also a pressroom section which contains all the latest press releases, and a downloadable press kit.
How Does Your Site Compare?
Did you analyse how your site compares to other manufacturing companies websites?
- User Experience
If you aren’t hitting the mark, you should consider investing in a new website. It really is worth it, especially as businesses transition into the digital age.