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.
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
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.
In 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.
Learn all about how top manufacturers are driving new revenue by attracting more qualified prospects—and learn how you can, too.
Download our FREE step-by-step, how-to guide for manufacturers Manufacturer’s Guide to Attracting More Customers for much more information on how great content marketing and social media strategies can generate more qualified manufacturing leads.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Want to learn more about how to make a growth cycle marketing strategy work for your enterprise? Get started today with our FREE guide: Making the Leap to Better Waters. The guide includes:
14 ways to engage your prospects to drive home the sale
How to influence your customer’s decision to buy
Why your current customers are your biggest asset
The exact type of content your prospects and customers want
How this proven, 5-stage process attracts new customers and grows your business
The competition is heating up, so traditional marketing methods simply aren’t enough anymore. Get ahead of the curve.
Manufacturers face an uphill battle in terms of name recognition. Throughout history, most manufacturers toiled in anonymity. Today, though, you can’t afford to remain in the shadows. The rise of social media means the rise of social media pressure…but more importantly, it’s a grand opportunity for manufacturers to make a name for themselves.
You’ve got a pretty good business, so why should you worry about image? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Manufacturing is once again on the rise (finally). Surely you want a piece of the action.
While most manufacturers are sitting on their laurels, you get ahead of the game by joining companies like GE and Caterpillar—and you don’t have to have that kind of budget to be successful. These big guys are already household names, but they’re busy preparing for a future where consumer opinion determines success. Now’s the optimum time for small- to mid-sized manufacturers to use digital marketing to GROW.
Here are 5 ways you can put your manufacturing enterprise in the spotlight and gain more name recognition.
Be the Go-To Guy
Authority is one of the strongest tools you have at your disposal. You’re the expert; it’s time to let everyone know. Decision makers are people just like you and me. They search for information and tend to trust the website that delivers the goods. Fill your site with information and you’re one step ahead of the game.
You can slap any content you want up on your website, but only the best, well-written content stands out and works toward your site’s search engine optimization (or SEO). If your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate, visitors find exactly what they’re looking for—fast. SEO and content marketing best practices help boost your listing to the first page of search engine results… and keep it there.
Engage on Different Platforms
GE is literally everywhere. They have social media accounts all over the web and they post every imaginable kind of content. Don’t stop at Facebook. Post interesting content on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even Vine. (Check out how Cambro Manufacturing uses Vine) You don’t have to be everywhere like GE, but don’t limit your options.
Here’s how Caterpillar does it. By building sandcastles. Really, really big ones.
If you ignore the occasional (yikes) security camera footage catching employees doing things they shouldn’t, UPS does a great job of showing its human side. The “Wishes Delivered” holiday campaign went viral with the story of an adorable little boy who wanted nothing more than to be a UPS driver. They also helped veterans get service dogs, delivered schoolbooks to children in Malawi, and provided gifts to families at Ronald McDonald House.
Raising your profile on the web extends your reach and polishes your image while building trust and recognition. In the digital world, name recognition is better than bacon.
In the 1950s, manufacturing was the answer to the American dream. High paying, secure jobs with benefits meant a strong middle class and a booming economy. In the aftermath of World War II, nearly 40% of Americans worked in the manufacturing industry. Youngsters aspired to a career in manufacturing and a nice split-level ranch house in the ‘burbs…and there were plenty of trade programs and schools to help them get there. Career aspirations have changed a lot since then, and the idea of a career in manufacturing just isn’t as appealing as it once was.
With a limited talent pool and the competition heating up, how can you attract top talent?
Some companies are successfully using modern marketing tactics to polish up their company’s image and convince more bright young minds that manufacturing is a fulfilling and rewarding career path. Check out how these companies are knocking modern manufacturing up a notch—and how you can, too.
Nobody Does It Better Than GE
General Electric (GE) has fingers in a lot of pies. As a conglomerate manufacturer producing everything from lightbulbs to jet engines, GE needs a constant influx of skilled employees—many of them engineers. Worldwide, GE employs roughly 305,000 people with 134,000 employed in the U.S.
Their social media is widespread and all about making manufacturing look cool. Check out this video from GE Aviation about aircraft engines.
The branding on the video is subtle, but very clear: Work for GE and you get to do cool stuff. Slogans like “Imagination at work.” and “GE is committed to innovation.” reinforce the point.
But GE doesn’t stop at YouTube. They have active Twitter accounts full of photos and info, plus you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and on Vine. They even invite followers to see the manufacturing process in person with #GEInstaWalk. What a great way to inspire followers…and create buzz! What GE does best is remind people that manufacturing is about ideas and innovation.
Siemens is another industrial giant that uses content channels to enhance its image. Far from being mired in the past, Siemens uses website and social media content to emphasize a corporate culture that embraces sustainability, innovation and the future.
There’s even a free app to download for people who want to follow news and articles across various Siemens publications.
The Common Thread
What do Siemens and GE have in common (aside from the obvious)? Instead of using social media and web content to sell their end products, they connect to their target audience in meaningful ways—and in the process, enhance their hiring process by showing students interested in computer science and engineering that there’s more to life than trying to develop the next Halo. They show how it’s possible to create awesome real-life technology that works…and not just in the virtual realm.
You can create a workable content marketing strategy for your manufacturing enterprise—and you don’t have to be an industry giant to do it. Learn how by downloading our FREE, step-by-step guide: Manufacturer’s Guide to Attracting More Customers. The guide also includes:
5 key marketing strategies used by leading manufacturers
20+ effective, proven tips for generating more qualified leads
Step-by-step instructions to attract and retain more repeat customers
No matter what industry you’re in, the competition is heating up, so traditional marketing methods simply aren’t enough anymore. Get ahead of the curve.
Maybe you’re a manufacturer that doesn’t sell directly to the public—so why worry about what’s on your website?
While plenty of manufacturers still depend on tried-and-true marketing tactics (including cold calling, mailing out printed catalogs and attending trade shows), there’s another highly effective marketing method on the block that’s about to help you do even more to improve your customer relationships and hike up your sales: digital marketing.
Get this: Companies that ignore web-based marketing are missing out on huge sales opportunities. More than 45% of B2B buyers say they research solutions online to narrow down their choice of vendors and …
Not sure how to go digital with your marketing? Start here.
Here’s what your manufacturing website needs so your enterprise can attract more attention and retain more happy customers…
Your top-level webpages are just the beginning. Buyers, whether individual consumers or businesses, want the same thing: Information, and lots of it. You can enrich your content with white papers, case studies, articles, FAQs, and a blog covering company and industry news and concerns.
Increasing your web traffic and pushing you up in web search results.
Building customer trust and buyer confidence. (Try answering common customer questions—they’ll love ya for it.)
Establishing your in-house experts as knowledgeable voices of authority within your industry.
Increasing brand recognition.
But let’s not forget your standard website basics: contact information, pricing, shipping, and technical information are all must-haves.
Call-to-Action Buttons (CTAs)
A straightforward CTA gives your content teeth. Asking site visitors to provide basic information in exchange for something valuable, such as an eBook or white paper, ensures you don’t lose a potential lead.
One of the biggest mistakes any company can make is not responding to customer or prospect requests in a timely manner. People want answers right now—not in a few days. The faster you respond to inquiries, the more likely you are to make the sale. If you don’t, you can bet your competitors will.
To speed up response times, consider automated email responses and sales team alerts.
Analytics is the science of measuring, analyzing and generating reports from visitor and user data. It can include where users are located, how long they remain on each webpage (and even how far down they scrolled), where the visit originated, and where they go next.
Understanding what your website visitors do (and don’t do) can help you improve your website, target your marketing, separate hot leads from casual lookie-loos….and cut down on wasted time.
Many business executives report they usually search the web from their desktops, but mobile marketing is rapidly on the rise. Few online experiences are more frustrating than using a cellphone to access a website that’s not properly sized for a mobile device. Your clients may not be researching your product on mobile devices today, but they will be…soon!
Want to learn more about attracting more customers through effective digital marketing?
5 key marketing strategies used by leading manufacturers
20+ effective, proven tips for generating more qualified leads
Step-by-step instructions to attract and retain more repeat customers
No matter what industry you’re in, the competition is heating up, so traditional marketing methods simply aren’t enough anymore. Isn’t it time to get ahead of the curve and cash in on the inbound marketing phenomenon?