No doubt every manufacturing company is looking to generate more leads. After all no one can afford to just sit and wait by the phone. Nor can you afford to invest time and money in outmoded outbound-oriented techniques that consistently fail to make the grade (hello…cold calls calling).
So then, what’s a manufacturer to do to generate leads? Set up a more inbound approach that makes it easy and natural for prospects to initiate a relationship at a pace that is comfortable for them. What’s a good way to get started? With the following four steps:
1. Know How Your Website is Performing
The old life saying goes, you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. The same is true for your website. To begin a successful journey of generating more leads, you should first add metrics tools to your site. Installing Google Analytics, will enable you to get into the nitty gritty of where your traffic is coming from, how that traffic moves through your site, what pages are most utilized, which ones need some love, what people are searching for and how your visitors found you. You can also install a tool like Hotjar, a tool that helps show you how visitors are interacting with your site through heat mapping, recording of interaction and form analysis.
Yes, it will take you some time to understand these tools and learn how to interpret the data they gather. However, the insights you gain will be invaluable in terms of making improvements to your site based on user behavior rather than best guesses or the company president’s opinion.
2. Update Your Website to be Content-rich and Keyword-focused
Once you have metrics information in-hand, the next step is to dive into some on-page search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Why? Well, consider that:
- 93% of the B2B buying process begins with an Internet search. (Pinpoint Market Research)
- 76% of B2B buyers leverage three or more information channels when researching a purchase. (Blue Nile Research)
If you’re going to generate leads, you have to set up your content in such a way that it’s easy for Google (and other search engines), and, more importantly, your leads to find it. Begin by asking yourself and your sales staff what the triggers are that attract and deliver prospects to you: How do they define the problems you can help solve? How do they define the goals they want to achieve? You want to use their language and use it to develop a list of the keywords and phrases you can vet using tools like Google Adwords Keywords Planner, Google Trends, Moz, StoryBase and SEMrush, to name a few. Once vetted, you’ll have a good sense of what types of phrases will best align with what your ideal audience is likely searching.
The next step is to work these words into your site content, including page copy, page titles, meta descriptions, headlines, URLs and the alt tags on images. You can also use the phrases (long-tail keywords) to create potential blog article or video titles that you can flesh out into prospect-attracting content.
3. Start a Blog
Creating a blog, using Blogger or Wordpress.com and installing it on a subdomain of your website is a no-nonsense way to add the content you need to attract visitors by addressing their questions and pain points—if it’s in a helpful, non-salesy manner. As an added bonus, doing so will help establish you as an authority in your industry AND the more articles you publish, the more opportunities there are for search engines to find you.
If you’re feeling skeptical about the value of implementing this, consider:
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
- B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that do not blog. (Openview)
As noted in point two above, use the keywords you’ve generated as a basis for building a calendar of articles. As you plan, make the most of your content effort by determining what topics could be built into eBooks or other formats that can be used to attract and generate leads. Also, think about how you can pull together a quick and dirty blog summary email to incrementally engage your prospects and current customers with your content.
4. Invest in Consistent Social Media Efforts
Once you have your on-page SEO initiatives established, get the most use out of them by consistently promoting them via social media channels relevant to your prospects and customers. With a bit or research, and input from your sales staff—who ought to have a sense of what channels prospects and customers hang out on—you should be able to determine where to focus your efforts.
Keep in mind, however, that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other channels each have their own personality and information style. A “publish the same thing everywhere at the same time” approach isn’t going to provide the optimum visibility for you. You’ll need to be adept at modifying your approach by each channel and provide a range of content to keep prospects engaged with you. All in all, publishing regularly on social channels will help bring more people back to your site, providing an opportunity for them to gain confidence in your manufacturing company’s expertise and ultimately fill out a form to convert into a lead.
By following these four steps, you’ll be well on your way to generating more effective leads, as prospects will develop a relationship with you that they’ve initiated within a time frame that works for them.