As the digital marketing manager for a manufacturing company you have a lot of responsibility on your hands and a management team that is scrutinizing your every move. Proving a return on investment is critical for garnering more funds for the marketing budget and perhaps saving your job. For the purposes of this article I am assuming you have done your homework and are actively involved in today’s digital marketing / inbound marketing practicums. Serious results in digital marketing require serious tools so I also assume the following:
- The marketing team consists of you and maybe one other person
- You have a blog and are posting articles at least once a week
- You are using a marketing automation software such as HubSpot
- You are using landing pages and calls to action in every blog post, landing pages and website pages
So, where might you be going afoul? Why are the leads not pouring in? Having worked with hundreds of manufacturing companies to help them build a result-driven digital marketing strategy I have found the following three areas are often the cause for poor lead generation. If, by chance, these three areas don’t pertain to you feel free to call me for a free assessment. Sometimes it just takes a third party to review your system to find your specific challenge areas.
1. It’s your website.
Again and again we see that the website is the problem. Manufacturing companies are often not willing to invest hard earned dollars into a new website, especially after the last two or three websites have provided terrible results. The website is the HUB of your digital ecosystem. It’s not just the front door to your organization but the focal point for all things regarding public information regarding your company. Your website should be converting visitors to leads and, if you are not getting leads, there is a good chance your website was not built with visitor to lead conversion in mind. At SyncShow, we have found that many “website development agencies” don’t know a thing about lead conversion. You may even have a new, beautiful website but if it is not converting visitors to leads and pulling prospects deeper down the sales pipeline then it’s as worthless as the five year old brochures sitting on the closet shelf.
An effective website, built for lead generation, should have a formal funnel defined. This funnel should provide your visitors the information THEY are looking for and not necessarily what YOU want to tell them. The website should have information and supporting content for each of your primary messages. We follow a simple set of rules for developing a website:
- Tell visitors what you do
- Tell visitors who you do it for
- Show / prove to visitors that you have done is successfully for others just like them.
Believe it or not, most websites don’t do one of the three bullet points above. In fact most manufacturers’ websites are full of irrelevant information that the visitor does not care about. Make your website simple, clear, and to the point. Determine where YOU want visitors to go and what YOU want them to do. Think in terms of action. Then, develop content around what your CUSTOMERS WANT and give it to them. Then, watch the leads come funneling in.
2. It’s your content.
Your leads don’t care about your last company party or that you donate to a local charity (unless that charity is a formal part of your industry). If the content is about your company then it shouldn’t be written or part of your employee recruiting strategy. Remember, content marketing is about education. Today’s fast-paced buyers want information that matters to them, including how they can improve their job role or corporate performance. Your content should be closely mapped to your buyers’ needs. What questions do your buyers have about your product, service or industry. Write down all of the questions your prospects and customers ask you and you should have a list of at least 100 topics you can produce content about. Remember images trump content and video trumps images. Consider the topic, consider your buyer, and then determine the appropriate format to publish in (examples: articles, videos, infographics, ebooks, calculators, quizzes and tests, case studies, white papers, etc.)
3. You are not promoting your content.
If you build it they will not come, unless you promote your content. If your website is sound and your content strategy is strong and you are still not getting leads it most likely has to do with traffic and visibility. To get leads you need a lot of traffic. The average conversion rate from a visitor to a qualified lead ranges from 1-5%. If you are regularly posting relevant content to your blog, website, and social media properties, you need to promote that content where your buyers are consuming content. Many times you can be effective by promotion in digital channels however, good ole direct marketing can be effective too. First, ask your customers where they consume information and then put together a comprehensive promotion strategy to get your content found. We have found the following areas to be effective at improving brand awareness and driving qualified leads:
- LinkedIn. Find groups specific to your industry or relevant to your buyers and publish educational content within.
- Consider Youtube, Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
- Direct mail.
- Email. Promote your content via a newsletter or email campaign.
- Trade shows, sponsorships, and advertising.
- Cold calling. Yes… I said cold calling.
With any of the promotional recommendations above, you must have a formal funnel strategy defined. As mentioned earlier in this article, consider the ACTION you want the buyer to take and provide a clear path to get them there. Make it easy, clear, and simple and watch the leads come pouring in.