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Can inbound marketing really benefit manufacturers? It’s a question we hear often. While many industrial manufacturers continue to rely on traditional outbound selling tactics (tradeshows, trade journals and cold calling, to name a few), more and more companies are embracing inbound marketing to reach new potential buyers.

According to HubSpot’s 2016 State of Inbound Report, manufacturers are dedicating a whopping 69% of their marketing efforts to attracting new leads through inbound tactics.

Now more than ever, buyers are relying on Google to find their next essential machine part, conveyor belt, or non-slip mat. That doesn’t mean that traditional methods of marketing are no longer valid; it means that your approach to marketing should change as buyer behavior changes.

With the competition spending more than half of their marketing efforts on inbound, perhaps the real question is: can you afford to not invest in inbound marketing?

If you’ve decided to use HubSpot to help manage your inbound marketing efforts, then you’re already on your way to a successful inbound marketing strategy. But before you launch your first campaign, you’ll want to make sure you’ve fully set up your HubSpot portal. 

Here are some expert HubSpot setup tips for the manufacturing industry so you can begin to build a digital inbound marketing machine:

Step 1: Create and Add Your Buyer Personas

Consider your ultimate goal with using inbound. Is it to attract more visits to your site? Close more visitors into leads? Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry? Double your business? Whatever your goal may be, the messaging you use needs to be tailored for your specific audience.

Who are you selling to? What is their role? What kinds of problems do they have that your product can solve? Once you’ve developed your personas, add them to the Persona tool in HubSpot. This will allow you to segment your content and contact database based on persona.

Here’s how to create Buyer Personas in HubSpot.

Step 2: Add Your Competition & Inspiration

Whether you’re a startup, a mid-sized company, or an international manufacturer, you will have some form of competition in your market. Create a list of similar-sized companies, and companies that produce comparable products to yours. If your product is new to the market, choose a company in a similar industry.

It’s a good idea to include companies that inspire you, or companies that are already established thought leaders in your industry.

Once added to the Competitors report in HubSpot, you’ll be able to see how you rank against the competition for factors including:

  • Website Traffic
  • HubSpot Marketing Grade
  • Number of Facebook and Twitter Fans and Followers
  • Number of Linking Domains (other websites that link to your site)
  • Moz Rank – and more. 

This is crucial to setting an obtainable baseline goal for your marketing efforts. Spend some time exploring the marketing efforts of your competition. What is the tone of their social posts? How often do they engage with followers? How does their SEO grade stack up against yours?

Evaluating the competition helps you determine how to stand out against the crowd. What makes your company different? What can you provide that your competitors cannot?

If you’re not sure who to follow for inspiration, here are some manufacturers with successful inbound marketing strategies:

Small Business: PlasticPrinters, Louis E. Page’s Blog: The Fence Post

Mid-Market: iPS Packaging, HeatTrak

Enterprise: Northern Engraving, Colt International

Here’s how to add competitors in HubSpot.

Step 3: Set Up Your Social Media Accounts

Social media is a powerful tool for manufacturers. Buyers from all backgrounds are using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to research companies. A strong social media presence can help you differentiate your business.

Add your social accounts to HubSpot’s Social Media tool. And here’s a time-saving pro tip: You can set your social accounts to “Auto-Publish” which will automatically update your social accounts with blog posts you publish through HubSpot.

Here’s how to connect your social accounts in HubSpot.

Step 4: Engage with Thought Leaders in Your Industry

Creating social media monitoring streams in HubSpot will allow you to search for target keywords relevant to your industry. Let’s say you’re a widget supplier. Simply type “Widget” in to the search stream, and anyone who has Tweeted about widgets will appear. You can engage directly with users, other businesses, and news articles directly from the tool.

You will also want to find established and successful blogs relevant to your industry and begin to engage with them through social channels.

Here’s how to create monitoring streams in HubSpot.

Step 5: Add Keywords to the Keyword Tool

Keyword research is a critical element to implementing your first inbound marketing campaign. That’s because keywords are ultimately what drives someone to your site.

Make a list of all of your target keywords. Your list should include shorter terms, such as the name of your widget, your company name, and your target industry. But it should also include non-branded long tail keywords, such as phases built around industry problems, solutions, questions, and terms specific to your niche.

Not sure where to start? This article breaks it down in more depth. Once you have your list, upload your keywords into the HubSpot keyword tool to start tracking your rank.

Here’s how to add a keyword to the Keyword Tool in HubSpot.

Step 6: Evaluate your Page Performance

Fifty-seven percent of industrial and manufacturing companies said that growing website traffic was a top priority in the next 12 months. While multiple factors contribute to search engine optimization, on-page SEO continues to be crucial to helping visitors locate you on the web.

The Page Performance tool in HubSpot helps you evaluate how your web pages are optimized for on-page SEO. Organize your pages by highest traffic. Then make sure each page is optimized for a target keyword.

Here’s how to improve SEO of pages using Page Performance in HubSpot.

Having a streamlined and efficient inbound marketing setup will help avoid speedbumps in your efforts down the road. Failure to set up the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy from the beginning could lead to lost segmentation and reporting opportunities.

Have questions on how to best set up your HubSpot portal? PMG has been a valued member of HubSpot’s Agency Partner Program since 2008. Our team of marketing experts will make sure your inbound strategy is on the fast-track to success.

Free Download: Content Marketing 101 for Industrial Manufacturers

About the Author

Kate Moore | Content Strategy & SEO Director
Kate Moore, Content Strategy & SEO Director

Kate Moore is a Content Strategist by day, HubSpot expert by night. When she’s not getting distracted by her many fans (ahem – work emails and phone calls), she’s hunkered down, plugged into Spotify and writing about stuff that will make your work with HubSpot smooth and simple.

 Tags: HubSpot Marketing for Industrial Manufacturing

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