Industrial manufacturers are vastly underserved when it comes to marketing resources. But just like all other businesses, you have something to sell, and in order to sell it, you need interested buyers to know about your business and your offerings. Marketing is the way to raise this awareness, especially with the increasing primacy of the internet in researching and making purchases over good ol’ word-of-mouth. Here’s what you need to know about inbound marketing as an industrial manufacturer.
Were You Even Marketing in the First Place?
For a lot of industrial manufacturers, the answer to this question is no. For another big segment, it’s “we go to trade shows”—so, not really. It doesn’t seem like marketing is really necessary or relevant when you’re an industrial manufacturer, after all, you’re not marketing to consumers, but to other businesses, most of whom need your product to make their product or perform their service. Additionally, industrial products aren’t exactly high appeal; they’re useful and utilitarian, but they aren’t going to bring the boys to the yard.
So, you know you shouldn’t be running TV ads with celebrities endorsing your spring for garage door openers or hubcap bolt covers, but what should you be doing to attract potential buyers? Inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is kind of what it sounds like: rather than going out to your customers with interruptive ads or cold sales calls, you bring interested customers to you. (Learn more about the methodology in our complete guide to inbound marketing.) You do that by creating targeted digital content and ads that will appeal to your ideal customer and the person in the role responsible for sourcing and purchasing your products.
SEO and Digital Content
If you don’t already know this, you need a website and a digital presence. It’s 2018 (almost 2019!). But you don’t just need a website—if yours looks the same as it did in 1998 or even 2008, that’s not good—you need compelling digital content that will appeal to potential customers and make your site easy for search engines to find and categorize. This is SEO, Search Engine Optimization (find out more about SEO for manufacturers here). The content on your site should provide customers with all the information they need about your product, whether they’re just discovering that your product exists or they’re trying to decide on a new supplier, as well as the keywords for which you want your website to show up in the search engine results.
You can also use PPC ads to target your ideal buyers. For industrial manufacturers, LinkedIn ads are the perfect way to do this. Your ideal customers are often buyers or sourcing specialists for a manufacturing company, and they’re professionals who use LinkedIn. Not only is your audience using the platform, their job title and company information is included in their profiles, and LinkedIn uses this information to target ads. You can target ads to people with specific job titles, like “Purchasing Specialist,” “Sourcing Specialist,” etc., as well as by specific company, ensuring that your ads are seen by the people to whom they will be highly relevant, the people you want as customers.
Fredricks Design is a leading industrial design and engineering studio that creates, develops, and engineers innovative product solutions. They serve clients in a number of technologically advanced industries, including autonomous transportation, themed attraction, and healthcare.
Click to view the full “Before” image of the Fredricks site.
Because Fredricks Design serves cutting edge clients, they wanted a fresh website that would accurately reflect their ingenuity, expertise, and scalability in creating exceptional product solutions for a variety of industries. Their two existing websites were disjointed, and made use of a static one-page design that did not offer potential clients insight into what types of products they were capable of delivering.
Fredricks Design needed a single digital platform that would consistently represent their brand, showcase their innovative work, and draw in new, qualified clients.
The HA Digital Marketing Approach
One of our greatest challenges in approaching this new website design project was ensuring their site content would speak to the technical nature of Fredricks Design’s work, without alienating non-technical potential clients. Considering Fredricks’ reputation as a leader in industrial design and engineering, it was also important to merge content from two different sites into one new website that would maintain consistent branding, showcase their work effectively, and position them as a creative innovator exploring new frontiers in both design and engineering.
We started the website design process with a lengthy discovery session with the Fredricks Design team, to determine exactly what industries, and what people in those industries Fredricks Design most often speaks to. With clearly defined buyer personas in place, we were able to form a concrete strategy going forward for the Fredricks Design website and inbound marketing project.
Implementing Design with an Inbound Focus
Click to view the new Fredricks site!
While website design is paramount for any new project, it must also be backed and supported by helpful, clear content that gets the client’s message across.
We focused on creating site content that answered Fredricks Design’s buyer persona pain points by building out clear case studies, developing in-depth content offers, and converting some of Fredricks’ useful paper marketing content into digital resources that speak to key concepts in their industry and answer their client’s most frequently asked questions.
With informational, targeted content written, we were able to apply a next-level design that delivers in both aesthetic and function. The new Fredricks Design website matches their brand and style guidelines, and is modern, exciting, and highly visual.
Because the work that Fredricks Design does can seem nebulous to new clients, it was important to clearly define past projects to potential clients, so they could see real, tangible examples of the work Fredricks produces, and the results their innovations deliver. CAD-rendered drawings and actual sketches from past projects were used to define the site visually, and to create context for first-time site visitors.
To support the website’s new design, HA Digital Marketing helped round out Fredricks Design’s inbound marketing strategy by creating attractive content offers, writing optimized blogs, and incorporating calls-to-action and targeted landing pages to help convert new visitors. We worked to drive traffic to the new site by developing segmented email workflows, and implementing targeted paid and social advertising campaigns. We also helped Fredricks Design onboard to the HubSpot platform, as they were functioning without a CRM. These efforts, combined with their newly responsive, dynamic website, delivered the following results.
Just two months after its launch, the Fredricks Design website has seen exceptional results, and is providing measurable growth for the company. The new site has delivered:
143.45% more users
146.44% new users
138.92% more sessions
183% increase in overall site traffic
Since the new website launch, overall site traffic has nearly tripled, and organic traffic has more than doubled as well. Fredricks Design went from seeing about 50 to 100 organic visits per month, to an average of 200 visits per month in the two months following the launch. This marked bump in organic traffic points to a successful optimization of the website itself, as well as effective targeting of key phrases that Fredricks Design’s buyer personas are looking for.
Another metric that indicates content success is most viewed pages. After the home page, Fredricks Design’s most visited page is a blog written and optimized for key industry phrases by the HA Digital Marketing team, which tells us that our partnership with Fredricks Design is working to boost their site’s ranking, and provide helpful, engaging content for their visitors.
As a result of the increase in organic traffic the website is providing, Fredricks Design has already converted one organic lead, nurtured them through the inbound marketing funnel using the HubSpot CRM, and closed the lead as a successful sale. For the notoriously slow-moving B2B world, this is an impressively short sales cycle, and an excellent example of how a well-designed website, a targeted inbound marketing strategy, and a savvy sales team can work together to effectively generate and close on warm leads.
Inbound Marketing Growth in 2019
In just two months, the Fredricks Design website has more than doubled its traffic, bringing awareness of the company and their services to a wider pool of qualified potential clients. Beyond this initial metric success, the website has already begun to prove its value as a tool for legitimate business growth. With continued implementation of their inbound marketing strategy, and support from Evenbound, the Fredricks Design team is well on their way to exceptional growth in 2019.
Optimizing Your Facebook Ad Spend With Inbound Marketing
In recent years, a solid social media ad campaign has become just as important as a PPC ad campaign for many industries. The fact is, most people spend a great deal of time on social media sites, and because of the exceptional targeting power of social media giants like Facebook, the platforms offer the segmentation data and the exposure many inbound marketers are looking for.
If your company is thinking of starting a Facebook ad campaign, or already has a Facebook ad strategy in place, applying a few inbound marketing tactics can help optimize your Facebook ads for ultimate results. Here are 7 inbound marketing tactics you can use to boost the effectiveness of your Facebook ad strategy:
#1 Target Facebook Ads To Your Buyer Personas
Remember those buyer personas you spent so long drafting and editing? Well, they’re good for a lot more than just your website content. Use your buyer personas to determine your Facebook ad targeting settings. You can’t make content (or ads) perfectly suited for everyone — so don’t try.
Instead, segment your ads based on buyer persona, and build different Facebook ad sets to target different personas with different interests. Facebook offers a vast suite of targeting tools, so you can set ads to go out to people with specific likes, dislikes, hobbies, job titles, and more — all things you probably already have outlined in your buyer personas. Use those buyer personas to develop Facebook ad campaigns that go out to consumers you already know have an interest in the products or services you offer.
#2 Set Clear, SMART Goals
Inbound Methodology tells us that we should always set SMART Goals. That is, goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
This principle is directly applicable to your Facebook ad strategy as well. Whether you’re looking to boost engagement, or drive traffic to your website, it’s important to define a goal for each Facebook ad you create, so you understand immediately when your ad is successful, and when it’s not. Here’s how you can apply SMART goal setting to your Facebook ads:
Specific: 500 likes, or 100 new followers. A specific, ultimate goal for your campaign to work towards.
Measurable: If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, is there a certain percentage of traffic you’re looking for? Do you want a certain number of new contacts? How will you measure the success of your Facebook ad?
Attainable: If your last campaign resulted in 15 new followers, you shouldn’t set a new campaign goal of 100 followers. That’s just unrealistic. While it would be amazing if you reached 100 new followers, you need to make sure your goals are set based on real, hard data, and are possible to reach. Otherwise, your results will always be discouraging, and you may not be able to see the benefits that your ads are creating.
Relevant: Your goal should be relevant to the campaign you’re putting out. If your ad talks about the story behind your company, your goal might be engagement focused. If you’re advertising a free ebook or webinar, your goal might be more conversion-based.
Timely: Don’t let your Facebook ad run in perpetuity, but don’t set it to run for just a few hours either. Plan for your campaign to run for a specific amount of time that will help your company work to its goal, and that will produce enough data for you to learn from and implement on your next ad campaign.
#3 Tell, Don’t Sell
When it comes to creating ads for social media, especially for Facebook, it’s key to keep inbound marketing best practices in mind. That means forget about the hard sell. Especially if you’re a B2B company, a “Buy Now” ad isn’t likely to convert the way you want.
Consumers run from the hard sale like the plague, so put effort into drafting a narrative, and offering up something unique and worthwhile. The more interesting and compelling your offer, the more effective your campaign will be.
#4 Test, Smartly
Always test for your goals by sending out more than one version of your ad. You never know what photo, what content, or even what call-to-action button consumers will respond best to, so it’s always good to test your ads.
How to test multiple Facebook ads:
Let’s say you have two different graphics for the same ad. Create one ad set, targeted to your specific buyer persona, and upload the first image to that set. Launch the first set, and then go back into your Facebook ad manager. You can now duplicate that set — so the ad with the other graphic goes out to the exact same consumers — and simply change the image. Set both ads to deploy simultaneously, and you’ll be able to watch the ads progress, and see which graphic performs best in your targeted audience.
When you’re testing your ads, it’s important to only change one aspect at a time, so you know exactly what is driving more or less engagement, and so you can accurately apply those results to future ad campaigns.
Facebook allows you to adjust and tweak ads at any point in your campaign, and you should take advantage of that. If you’re a few days into an ad that’s just not performing, you can pause it or adjust your settings for better performance. On the other hand, if you have an ad that’s facilitating a ton of conversions and boosted engagement, you can extend it or bump up the budget slightly. Making adjustments in real-time allows you to maximize your budget on the spot. This way, you’re not wasting money on an underperforming ad.
#6 Focus on Long Term Value
While your immediate budget and spending goals are important, it’s equally important to keep an eye on how much you’re spending relevant to your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). When you’re just starting your Facebook Ad campaign, it’s easy to worry that the money you’re spending isn’t worth the leads you’re getting. A surefire way to figure out if that’s true is to consider your customer lifetime value.
For example, let’s say it costs you $80 to acquire a customer. Let’s also say that your average loyal customer spends about $800 over their lifetime as your customer. Even if you don’t make $800 immediately from each customer, you know that over their lifetime as your client, you have essentially spent $80 to earn $800. That’s a pretty attractive ROI, if you ask us.
Bottom line — Don’t get caught up in the immediate shock of spending, unless you’re shelling out a lot on ads that aren’t producing new business. Your goal should always be long-term success, and to accurately measure that, you need to look at the ratio of what you’re spending compared to what you’ll make in the long run from each of those new customers you’ve acquired.
#7 Inbound-ify Your Facebook Ads — Turn Them Into Funnels
Finally, if you want to apply really successful inbound marketing tactics to your Facebook ad strategy — embrace the funnel.
If you’re familiar with inbound marketing, you’ll know that it’s best practice to create content for consumers in every stage of the inbound marketing funnel. From a stranger to your brand to an interested lead, each consumer at each level of the funnel will be seeking different information. Traditional inbound marketing targets leads moving through the funnel with email workflows that provide the right content, at just the right time. You can apply this idea of nurturing leads through the funnel to your Facebook ad strategy too!
Facebook Ad Funnel Basics
Facebook allows you to create ad funnels, which work much the same as an email workflow. You start with a top-level ad that tells consumers a little bit about your company. Let that ad run for a few days.
Then, send out a second ad to the consumers who interacted with the first ad. If your first ad was a video, then you can send your second ad to just the people who watched say, 20 percent of your video. If your first ad was a static image, you can send the second one to just those consumers who clicked on or in some way interacted with the first.
From there, you can keep your ad funnel going about as far as you want, until you’re targeting only the most interested, engaged consumers for that particular ad set. This is a great way to optimize your spending, and it also helps to pull people through the inbound marketing funnel, ensuring they’re even more qualified for your products and services by the time they make it to your website.
Though it’ll take a bit more work to set up a Facebook ad funnel, it’s a useful tool that will give you increased insight into how your ideal customers and target buyers react to your social media advertising strategy.
Why Inbound Marketing Tactics Work for Facebook Ads
Inbound marketing tactics are so effective for Facebook advertising campaigns because they are already designed specifically for today’s consumer. The average consumer (who just so happens to be the exact same person you’re targeting on Facebook) prefers a warmer sales experience than the traditional hard-sell. Since inbound marketing is already geared to those consumers, it’s easily applied to a Facebook ad campaign to boost your results and maximize your spend. Learn more about using outbound marketing to attract, engage, and close qualified leads here.
The foundation of inbound marketing is getting to know, on a personal level, your ideal consumer. If you’d like to know a little bit more about how you can use inbound marketing to grow your company in 2019, let’s chat. We’re a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner, and we’ve been doing inbound marketing for about as long as it’s been around. We’d love to help you grow, so schedule time with our president, John Heritage to see what Evenbound is all about.