Calibrated Content: 2 BIG Ways Manufacturers Get More Qualified Leads

Even if you’re not selling directly to the public, great content marketing is the key to obtaining more high quality manufacturing leads from the web. While there are a lot of ways to drive traffic to your website, not all website traffic will convert to a lead—plus, we all know that all leads are not created equal.

To spark a boom in business, you’ll want to create website content that attracts the attention of prospects at a key point: when they’re nearly ready to buy.

Calibrated Content: 2 BIG Ways Manufacturers Get More Qualified Leads

Here’s how to get more qualified leads from your website…

#1: Create a Variety of Content Packed with Specific Information

Qualified leads are looking for specific information about your products. Use your website and company blog to create content calibrated to contain the information those prospects are looking for. Options include how-to articles, brochures, white papers, charts and diagrams, and more. Be sure your content is easily searchable so your prospects can find the information they need quickly and easily.

Because you’ll likely have to bridge the gap between engineers and purchasers, ensure your website content is more accessible by “translating” your engineer-speak to informal, but still professional language that will be easier for your target audience to understand. (Unless you’re looking to attract engineers, then by all means, keep the techno-talk coming.)

Go beyond solely posting articles on your website and company blog. Build a content marketing strategy that includes other integrated marketing channels, such as: eNewsletters, print and direct mail, online presentations, webinars, infographics, case studies, and podcasts.

Research shows 80% of B2B marketers are using eNewsletters, 73% are using case studies, 63% are using online presentations, 62% using webinars, and are 26% using podcasts. Infographics have increased in popularity, from 38% in 2013 to 51% in 2014.

#2: Join the Conversation: Go Social

On YouTube, GE has nearly 59,000 subscribers. With over a million Facebook fans, more than 300K Twitter followers, over 10K followers on Pinterest, more than 150K Instagram followers, and more than 100K Vine followers, they’re casting a very wide content net to reach a broader audience with varied content.

General Electric (GE) focuses on a number of markets, including financial services, healthcare and energy. They captivate their target audiences by posting a variety of neat content, capitalizing on brand events, and using a variety of social platforms. On YouTube, GE has nearly 59,000 subscribers. With over a million Facebook fans, more than 300K Twitter followers, over 10K followers on Pinterest, more than 150K Instagram followers, and more than 100K Vine followers, they’re casting a very wide content net to reach a broader audience with varied content.

AT&T Social Media ExampleIn 2011, AT&T developed a social media strategy built around their corporate B2B blog, Networking Exchange. By offering up engaging content and leveraging the power of Twitter and LinkedIn, the two social platforms they knew their customers actively used, they were able to bring in $47 million in new business in just 18 months.

But you don’t have to be as big as AT&T or GE (and you certainly don’t have to be everywhere online) to get attention and get more qualified leads from the web. To do smaller social right, explore multiple social platforms (including Twitter, LinkedIn Groups and Instagram) to determine the best chute for your manufacturing content.

LinkedIn has the potential to be a great lead generation source for manufacturers, as it’s the real-deal platform for a number of industry decision makers. As THE B2B social platform, LinkedIn (as well as LinkedIn Groups) could be critical components to your manufacturing social strategy. In 2014, 91% of B2B content marketers used LinkedIn to distribute content.

Keep your main focus on the social channels where your target audience goes to get important industry information. Share great, engaging content, but don’t neglect to respond to comments. Reach out to offer help to your prospective clients—they’ll be very appreciative, and that could very well tip the scale in your favor.

No matter what your competition looks like, a great content marketing and social media strategy will help you gain the competitive edge. Invest in creating content that best speaks to your target audience. Take the time to analyze the online behavior of your prospects, then engage with them on their favorite social platforms—and you’re sure to get more qualified leads.

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3 Secrets to Gaining More Prospective Customers AND Skilled Manufacturing Workers — in One Shot

Amidst the resurgence of Milwaukee manufacturing, successful manufacturers are looking for the best ways to bring in both new customers AND qualified employees. Why not streamline the process and craft your content marketing strategy to achieve both objectives?

3 Secrets to Gaining More Prospective Customers AND Skilled Manufacturing Workers — in One Shot

Here’s how…

  1. Entice Skilled Manufacturing Workers with Great Content

Attracting a new generation of skilled workers? You’ll need great content (like helpful FAQs and interesting pics and videos) on your website and social media channels. The good news is all that great content can work to both entice prospects and customers and attract the skilled employees you need to stay ahead of the competition.

For example, that cool video of your factory floor in action can work double-time for your manufacturing enterprise, as it will impress your customers, while also showing skilled workers how great it would be to work at your company. Those photos of corporate events show your customers you’re active in the community and convince prospective employees to apply so they can be part of the fun.

Take, for instance, the official Toyota Twitter account. With over 40K followers, they share a nice mixture of industry news, humor and networking content that appeals to their customers and potential employees alike. Lincoln Electric, global welding equipment manufacturer, uses Twitter to reach more than 19K followers with a similar approach.

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  1. Create Channel-Specific Compelling CTAs

Great content is only part of the battle. You’ve hammered out a great content marketing strategy, filled it with various types of content ready to distribute across your website and social media channels. You’re ready to go, right? Not quite. A great piece of content is nothing without your call-to-action (CTA).

A great CTA entices your website viewers to take the next step and engage with your business in some way. But your CTA is nothing without that lead capture form. For example, a CTA might inspire the viewer to call or email your business, or to download a helpful and robust piece of content. Each CTA should be set up underneath a lead capture form to collect a few bits of prospect information in exchange for that additional content.

Each CTA should be:

  • Sized relative to the importance of the call to action. You may have pages with several CTAs, but the important ones should be larger.
  • Placed where they will catch your prospect’s attention. If your website visitor can’t see your CTAs or if they blend in with everything else, you’ll have a harder time getting clicks and capturing that qualified lead information.
  • Placed with plenty of whitespace around it to avoid confusion with any other webpage elements or CTAs.

Your CTAs should each be channel specific: The CTA you use on your email marketing campaigns should be different than the CTAs on your manufacturing website. Yet another CTA should be used when blogging or posting to social media platforms. Use one style of CTAs to attract customers and use another to attract skilled employees. Mix it up a little to see which CTAs are most effective for each channel.

  1. Don’t Stop at the Lead Capture—instead, Nurture

Just like the CTA is nothing without the lead capture—the lead capture is nothing without lead nurturing. Studies show 35 to 50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first, and you never know how many other manufacturers a potential customer has contacted. According to the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases compared to leads that are not.

Sure, you need the information from the customer before you can convert, but you must act on that information to convert. Create a system that automatically sends lead capture to your sales team so they can close the deal. Similarly, your CTAs that most appeal to skilled workers should funnel directly to your HR department for follow up.

By implementing a great content strategy, compelling CTAs and a clear lead nurturing process, your content marketing can work double-time for your manufacturing enterprise, attracting both prospective customers AND skilled manufacturing workers. Content marketing is an excellent way for today’s modern manufacturers to outshine the competition, so now is a great time to get started.

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3 Ways to Attract More Interest in Your Products NOW

You know brands matter, but what about brands as they pertain to manufacturing components? If you think components are less important than the brand itself, think about the last time you purchased a laptop. Were you swayed by the brand name alone, or did you look for a specific type of processor, hard drive, and memory?

3 Ways to Attract More Interest in Your Products NOW

Modern consumers want to know exactly what’s under the hood. Knowledge of manufacturing products informs buying decisions, so it’s time to attract more interest in your products. Who better to deliver that information than you, the manufacturer?

3 Ways to Attract More Interest in Your Products NOW:

1. Know Your Audience

Your decision makers and influencers are out there. Connecting with them means knowing who they are, what they want, and where they hang out. To create an effective buyer persona, start with some basic questions:

  • What are their interests?
  • What issues do they face? How do your products help solve their problems?
  • What differentiates your product from the competition? What unique benefits do you offer?

When your website content provides the answers consumers are searching for, you’ll naturally attract more interest in your manufactured products.

Getting to know your audience also means learning where to find them online. While Twitter and LinkedIn groups are great choices for engagement, many manufacturing companies are finding an active audience on photo-sharing and video sites. Instagram, for example, is proving fertile ground, with 86% of top brands actively participating.

2. Get Visual

You know you can find a face-to-face audience at trade shows, but what about online? Some companies are showcasing their products and processes in unexpected ways. Creative visual representation is a great way to make your brand unforgettable.

Take a page from Intel. Is there anything less interesting (in theory) than a tiny chip that fits inside any number of computers? Intel has developed a following independent of the computer built around it by showing consumers just how cool their product is. Check out the Intel Instagram account for ideas.

3. Treat Customers Like Insiders

Your customers want to know everything. Instead of selling, try informing. How and where your product is made is more interesting than a sales pitch. Inside information helps you create buzz. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful driving force at your disposal.

Today’s marketing goes far beyond showing off your manufactured products. Savvy consumers want to work with companies they know and trust, and manufacturers have joined the content marketing movement to make customers want products built around their components.

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  • 20+ effective, proven tips for generating more qualified leads
  • Step-by-step instructions to attract and retain more repeat customers

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Many manufacturers are already benefiting from digital marketing. Showcase your products and inform your audience and interested buyers will find you.