Are you keeping pace with your competitors?
Or better yet, are you getting ahead of them when it comes to securing customers?
If your manufacturing company is asking these questions, you’re not alone. In fact, it may explain why, according to a CMO Survey, digital marketing spending is expected to increase by 10% over the next 12 months. This may not come as a surprise, given the low cost of generating online leads.
And when you consider how 8.4% of manufacturing company budgets are already dedicated to marketing, it’s easier to see just how much that 10% will exponentiate. Those precious marketing dollars will go farthest when they’re invested in strategies that help your company differentiate from — and ultimately surpass — the competition.
The good news? Staying ahead of your manufacturing competitors isn’t as hard as you might think, especially when it comes to lead generation and new sales.
It's like the two hikers in the African savanna who encounter a lion. Immediately, the first hiker sits on a rock and begins to put on his running shoes. The other hiker is incredulous and says, “You think you can outrun a lion?” The first hiker replies, “No… I just have to outrun you.”
It doesn’t require deep pockets or an extensive staff to outrun your competitors in the area of online lead generation. With the right strategies in place, your leads (and customers) can grow substantially.
Before we dive in, here’s a refresher on why manufacturers must incorporate newer, better lead generation strategies:
We can attribute the need for better lead generation strategies to the changing buyer/seller dynamic. Buyers, whether they realize it or not, are searching online for ways to solve their problems — including manufactured solutions.
In fact, according to Accenture research, 94% of B2B buyers report that they conduct some form of online research before making a purchase. When buyers come across your website during their search and easily find the perfect solution in your company, it’s a no-brainer for them to become loyal customers. If the buyer already sees your company as a trusted source, the decision to purchase is that much easier.
To navigate the changing buyer/seller dynamic, your company needs to:
A strong B2B manufacturing content marketing strategy can go a long way in attracting the right prospects, especially as those prospects search for ways to solve the problems they regularly face.
The key here is to create problem-centric content rather than promotional, product-centric content (which is good for nothing — unless you want to frustrate your customer and create friction in the buying process!).
This blog post contains a comprehensive list of tips and tricks for a content marketing strategy that puts your brand name in front of the people who matter most.
Leverage the above valuable, problem-centric content to acquire a prospect’s email address. One way of doing this may be to encourage visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
While it’s common for marketers to gate content (or require information from a prospect in order to access content or other resources), keep in mind not all content should be hidden behind a form. Some content marketers believe this actually causes friction; in turn causing your website visitors to bounce. Some other lead-gen tactics may be to engage visitors with a helpful chatbot or encouraging readers to sign up for your blog or email list.
What are pay-per-click (PPC) ads? According to HubSpot, PPC is a paid advertising model that falls under search engine marketing (SEM). With PPC, advertisers only pay when people interact with their ads through impressions or clicks.
When done right, PPC can generate high-quality leads and accelerate results.
There are two types of PPC ads we recommend to our manufacturing clients:
Search ads show up on search engine results pages, like Google, when a user types a phrase related to your company. Because these people are actively searching for your solution, search ads yield leads with the highest value. In other words, they’re ready to talk to your salespeople, engage in a demo or free trial, or request a quote.
As many as 70% of all online searches are done through Google, meaning that your business’ interactions with this search engine, in particular, is invaluable to your overall success. In fact, 64.4% of Google searches will result in an ad click when the customer is specifically looking for a targeted service or product.
It’s also important to note that just to show up at the beginning of a search results page is no longer enough to convince buyers to visit your website rather than your competitor’s. The text in your search ad must grab the user’s attention and show them why your solution stands out. An excellent way to do this is by using numbers, i.e. explaining how your company is “30% faster,” or “60% cheaper.”
Account-Based Marketing(ABM) enables you to target audiences based on characteristics such as their industry, company, or job title.
By delivering specific messages to the right audience, ABM yields a high ROI and enables marketers to communicate with sales. ABM can be used for “demand generation” by increasing awareness about your solution, or for lead generation. Ideally, the “demand generation” ads will prepare targeted audiences to engage with – and ultimately convert on – your ads that are geared toward lead generation.
We used the above combination of efforts for one of our clients. Just by getting messages about the company and their reliable, innovative solutions in front of the right audiences, the client saw an 8-fold increase in leads from a mix of advertising and organic, direct sources.
As you develop and implement your content marketing strategy, you’ll want to keep an eye out for areas on your website that could use a few SEO-friendly tweaks (page titles, URLs, H1 tags, etc.).
These small changes, combined with research on keywords and competitors, will make it easier for people and search engines alike to find and use your website content.
Social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, among others, can be leveraged to attract and convert users who can benefit from the solution your manufacturing company provides. These platforms can place messages in front of your target audience groups, extend the reach of your content, and ultimately attract even more targeted prospects to your website.
While organic content is always helpful, your messages can be targeted even further through paid techniques.
In reality, only a handful of manufacturing companies successfully employ the above best practices. However, those who were following the online lead generation success blueprint were soaring ahead of their competitors. Click here for a complete list of all 14 areas needed for effective lead generation.
The plastics manufacturer we mentioned above who is “doing it right” isn’t particularly big (under 200 employees). They have, however, been methodically maximizing their online presence… and reaping the rewards of their 24/7 automated online sales machine (their website).
Perhaps more impressive is the fact that this increase continues to happen month after month, year after year. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such a steady flow of new customers?
This manufacturer is a great example of what is possible when you use your online assets effectively.
Click here to download the “blueprint” used for lead generation by the above manufacturer, and others reaping more leads and customers online.
Patrick McDaniel is PMG’s Paid Search and Social Strategist. He likes figuring out how people work – in between facts and figures on organic search rankings, lead gen and engagement techniques, you’ll find hints of psychology and buying behavior in his writing. He loves helping readers understand how to reach and connect with their best prospects!