Technology has totally changed the way we make decisions and buy products. In the manufacturing sector it’s no different. You need to ensure you can be found, then have the means to convert these visitors into prospects, leads and customers. A process more commonly known as inbound marketing.
If you haven’t already embraced the inbound marketing methodology, here’s 5 reasons why implementing inbound marketing campaigns should be top of your 2015 marketing plan.
1. Get found by new prospects
90% of your audience is on Google, looking for solutions to their problems, or products to help them achieve their goals at work, or a special piece of machinery that will improve their operations. Perhaps you offer the solution, maybe you have the perfect piece of equipment that will solve all their issues…. But how do you get in front of them?
SEO (search engine optimisation) is a part of the inbound marketing methodology and will help your website rank for specific keywords. The better optimised your pages are for SEO, the more likely it is you’ll rank on Google’s first page of search results. Make sure you’re optimising for keywords that your audience are actually searching for, and remember that many factors affect SEO such as internal links and referring domains as well as on page SEO. Using social media and a blog can help by providing more pages for search engines to index, and also building more links back to your site.
Another reason to blog is to get found by prospects who are looking for a solution to a problem. It’s all very well optimising your site for keywords such as ‘CNC milling machines’ or ‘pre-stressed concrete products’ but if your audience haven’t realised that’s what they need yet, they won’t find you. Blogging about things like “How to improve production line efficiency using new CNC technology” will help prospects find you earlier in the buying cycle, then when they are ready to buy, you’re already positioned as a trusted provider who helped them address their problem from start to finish.
2. Generate more leads
If you’ve got Google Analytics set up, I’m sure you’ve got a good idea of how many people are visiting your website. Your SEO and blogging work will help increase this, but how can you find out who these visitors are and provide them with what they are looking for?
Following an inbound marketing methodology, you should offer these visitors something of value to them in exchange for their details. How? First you need to identify who your audience is, then begin creating content to solve their issues and help them achieve their goals. Things like eBooks or buyers guides can work really well in the manufacturing sector. Using calls-to-action across your site and social media channels, you can drive visitors to custom landing pages for your new content, where they can submit a form in exchange for your offer. This effectively transforms your website into a lead generation tool, acting as a 24/7 business development manager for all your website visitors.
3. Reduce long sales cycles
The more specialist your product, and the higher value it is, the chances are, the longer your sales cycle will be. Obviously, making a purchasing decision on this scale will always be a lengthy, considered process, usually involving multiple decision makers, but how can inbound marketing help reduce this?
Well, imagine you’ve captured the details of a number of prospects on your website, and they aren’t at the decision making stage of their buyer journey yet. You can either call them up at regular intervals on the off-chance that they’ll be receptive to your sales pitch but risk coming across too pushy, or alternatively, you could identify the various stages they’ll go through during their decision making process and provide useful content to help them. If for example, you know that your typical buyer will need to get signoff from a procurement department, putting together an information sheet that demonstrates how your solution can deliver return on investment might be helpful content to email to them when you know they’re close to making a decision. However, a product buyers guide for example would work well at the consideration stage, where a prospect may be narrowing down their search for products with specific features.
4. Reduce marketing budgets
You might be wondering how inbound marketing can reduce your marketing budget when you’ve got to produce all this content. Well yes, it is time consuming to create, but when you weigh it up against what you are spending your current marketing budget on, you might be surprised how cost effective it is. Take advertising for example, are you publishing adverts and editorials in trade press or industry magazines, or online? How much is that costing you, and are you able to measure what results you are actually getting? I guarantee an inbound marketing campaign would be much more targeted, measurable and cost effective.
Another example is telemarketing, if you outsource it, it’s probably costing you thousands a month, or a lot of time and resource in-house, but what results are you getting? How many people do you need to speak to before you find someone who’s interested, and even then, how often do those leads convert to new business opportunities?
5. Gain competitive advantages
Last but not least, one of the main reasons you should be using inbound marketing in the manufacturing sector is because your competitors probably won’t be. As an industry, uptake of digital marketing tools and techniques is behind the overall average* this means you’re onto a trick that your competitors might have missed. If they’re all busy focusing on direct mail, emails and telemarketing, whilst you’re online, catering to the needs of your audience, who are also all online (well 90% of them at least anyway) you’re well positioned to generate more leads and win more business.
Download our latest eBook for the manufacturing sector below to learn more.