How Times Have Changed
Forget about the old marketing methods that our fathers built their businesses on, the world has changed forever.
Growing up in Ireland, we watched our Heavy Machinery Dealer father doing business which usually concluded in several hours in the local pub and several pints of Guinness!
It was all about building personal relationships with contractors and quarry owners and he spent a lot of time on the road meeting people and shaking hands.
The business model worked and he built a very successful business.
Closing A Deal: Then Vs Now
Exporting machines around the world was a long winded process.
He would place ads in several machinery magazines in different countries. A customer from Egypt who was interested in purchasing a Cat D8H for example would make contact via a landline call or fax to the office.
Living in Cork in the South of Ireland he would get into his car and drive a few hours to a quarry where the machine was located, take photos and do a report.
He would then drive back to Cork and drop the film into a 1 Hour Photo shop (remember them?!), collect the photos put them in an envelope and go to the post office to post to Egypt.
A couple of weeks later he would receive a fax back from the customer and negotiate via fax machine.
A deal agreed, the banks would get involved and if all was concluded he would be lucky if the machine was on a ship within months. Slow but efficient.
A Connected Market
Nowadays very little of this process still exists, yet the basic principles remain the same.
Somebody somewhere needs a machine or machinery parts and suppliers want them to know that they can supply.
What has drastically changed is how they advertise, communicate and process orders.
Unless you have a good online presence you are on the back foot and already trailing behind your competitors. If a person in the US is looking for say a Komatsu WA470 transmission it’s more than likely the first place they will go is online and start the search there.
Regardless of where you are located, unless your business is promoted somewhere online you might as well be invisible and closed to this potential customer.
It can be a minefield deciding where to spend your advertising budget online and most people will make many mistakes before they find the option that works best for them.
One thing that is consistent across the board however is that a company website is essential and keeping that website current and up to date is very important.
It’s good practice when purchasing expensive machinery or parts to want to find out who you are buying from and your online presence is like your shop front to the world.
This is where things get a little complicated however and having a website is not a quick fix and easy option.
Topping search results and appearing on page 1 is the golden goose of advertising and what everyone is striving to achieve. It’s like appearing on the front cover of printed magazines. But just like the front cover, there is little screen space and most companies will be disappointed.
So what do you do?
You box clever…The simple way to achieve this is to piggyback on much bigger sites with more content, therefore a greater chance of appearing high on Google ranking.
It may seem at odds to spend money on appearing with hundreds of other companies but if that’s where buyers are going you are far better being a part of it rather than not.
In basic terms, Google and other search engines run their algorithm and decide which companies to show you. The greater the expertise you can present the better the chance you will appear on page 1.
So for networking websites, like UrParts.com, that has hundreds of thousands of pages, these sites will have a better chance of appearing at the top of the list, over individual businesses websites that have at most a few hundred pages.
To give an example, if somebody needs a Hitachi ZX470 hydraulic excavator final drive. The new price will be expensive so the owner will want to search for a good used option.
If he puts the term “Hitachi ZX470 final drive” into the search bar, the engine then looks for sites that have those words contained, how many times it’s mentioned on different pages, and if the site appears to be experts in the area of Hitachi final drives.
It will then make a determination on which sites to show to the buyer. So it stands to reason the larger sites with hundreds of thousands of unique pages will rank higher than smaller sites.
Therefore as long as you have a presence on these sites, you will be in with a shot of the buyer finding you. They will in all likelihood also check you out on your own website, so both sites form the basis of your online presence and compliment each other.
This is just the first step, after they find you, how will they attempt to make contact without a fax machine… but we’ll save that for another day 😉