Since 2007, I have been studying the trends of website traffic in the industrial marketplace. I have analyzed hundreds of websites, worked with dozens on a monthly basis, and I have created quite a few reports from monthly to yearly analysis. What I have found is that the industrial marketplace is consistent; A yearly trend from website to website is fairly similar year to year, dating back 5 to 10 years! While traffic may increase, and sales or leads may increase, there are always a few months within the year that have a consistent shift in traffic and leads coming into the site.
I will put out a disclaimer now, in case anyone wants to take a stab at proving me wrong: This is all based on observation, and I have not taken the time to gather data to prove my statements.
The sites that I would consider to be in the industrial marketplace are typically business to business types of companies that supply services or sell, manufacture, or install products and systems. Examples of these types of businesses include:
– Custom manufacturers
– machine shops
– fire sprinkler installation companies
– Distributors of products
Most of these companies are receiving quotes for projects or inquires via a contact us form. Some are selling products on their website. And all of them are receiving phone calls for sales, support or customer service. A typical sales cycle (again, in my experience) can be 6 months to a year out, and it can even be 3 years in some industries. Some companies have two different sales cycles: one that is longer to close and one that is a more immediate need.
So, based on my undocumented observations, here is what I have found:
A typical fiscal year in the industrial marketplace is January to December with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters. Some potential buyers have a new budget to spend starting January 1st. A buyer like this may be a government agency, a school or university, or in some cases a commercial or private industry.
The first quarter, January through March, is typically slow starting in terms of traffic with a peak in March. Those waiting for monies are now ready to spend, so these clients are typically converting with quotes received in Q4 of the previous year or early inquires in January.
March, April and May have a nice increase in traffic. Conversions will spike one more time as money is finally available after establishing budgets in the first quarter or as construction related companies are getting their ducks in a row before summer construction starts.
July will always have a dip in traffic and conversions. In the heat of summer, your potential new customer is going to the beach, golf course or on a family vacation. Don’t fret, they will be back!
August and September traffic starts picking up with conversions jumping again and the end of the fiscal year drawing to a close. Quite a few companies will want to move ahead and spend their budget, or they will split costs between two fiscal years!
October and November will see a spike in conversions. October will have more traffic, but the holiday season and end of the fiscal year will affect November and December with less visitors on the site.
A recent conversation with one of my clients shed light onto the trends. He said they are usually busy at the end of a year as customers are spending budgets and getting service work completed. January and February are slower months because budgets are being finalized, and business picks up again in March and April as budgets are approved and spending starts again.
If you haven’t analyzed your traffic year to year, potentially 2-3 years, you should consider it. Understanding what your website is doing and what you need to do to increase leads will help your website become an active member of your sales team! It will also help you plan.
My $0.02 for what it’s worth.
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