5 Essential Inbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of inbound marketing for manufacturing companies. We’ve seen first-hand how properly implemented inbound marketing strategies can quickly skyrocket forward-thinking manufacturers ahead of the competition.
If you’re trying to boost your manufacturing company’s inbound marketing game, you need a website that’s working for you. It doesn’t have to be the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen, but it should be functional. And when I say functional, I mean:
- Optimized for search
- Updated in the last two years
- Features a regularly updated blog
- Highly visible calls-to-action
- Includes landing pages with lead-capturing forms
- Makes it easy for potential customers to contact you
At the very least.
For inbound marketing to work for your manufacturing company, your website has to function as your communication hub. You need to have somewhere new leads will navigate to, and opportunities for them to contact you when they’re ready for more information.
If your website is set up to:
1) Rank well on search engines, and
2) Convert new visitors into leads and prospects,
Then you’re ready for the next four inbound marketing tools.
If any of these bullet points have you scratching your head, I got you.
See what a quality inbound marketing website looks like for manufacturers. And check out this content offer to see what upgrading your website (the right way) can do for you.
If your website is optimized for search engines and you’re consistently putting out great content, then tracking is a key inbound marketing tool you’ll need to assess your progress. The best tools we recommend for this are Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Google Analytics will tell you who is visiting your site. The tool offers a detailed breakdown of which pages are driving the most traffic, how long people are staying on your site, and more. Google Analytics is one of the best inbound marketing tools out there to measure the user-related data attached to your website. And it’s free.
Google Search Console is perfect if you’re looking for more insight into how to improve your site for search engine rankings. Google Search Console is also free and will tell you how your site is ranking, give you organic search data, and offer helpful tips on how to improve your site. For example, Google Search Console will tell you if you have duplicate page content or page redirect errors that could hurt your site’s search engine rankings.
Both of these tools are essential inbound marketing tools for manufacturers because they give you real-time data on the performance of your site. They show you which pages are performing well, and they provide insight into your audience’s behavior. Which pages are people spending the most time on, and which pages might you be able to optimize for more conversions?
Using search console and analytics in tandem will help you answer those questions, and optimize your website for better inbound marketing performance.
A CRM or customer relationship management system is the next essential inbound marketing tool for manufacturers. A CRM is especially important for manufacturers with channel sales, or with a large customer base. A good CRM will help you keep track of all of those customers, from the minute they begin interacting with your website to when they close on a sale.
As far as what CRM to choose, we always recommend HubSpot, especially for manufacturers.
Many manufacturers are transitioning from an old CRM, or are moving to a CRM for the first time. The benefit of HubSpot is that it’s remarkably user-friendly, and it’s a powerful, all-in-one solution that makes it easy for you to get all of your operations on one page.
With HubSpot, you have sales, marketing, and service tools all on the same platform, plus all of the inbound marketing tools and metrics you need to really make the most out of your marketing campaigns.
With everything from chatbots to email workflows to lead tracking to automated customer satisfaction surveys, HubSpot is robust enough to support even large manufacturing companies but easy enough to use that the onboarding phase won’t feel like taking a trip to the moon.
For more information about HubSpot, what it is, and what it does, check out these resources.
There are about a million inbound marketing tools on the web that are advertised as a keyword research tool. In many cases, choosing the right one comes down to user preference. The bottom line is that if you’re a manufacturer looking to make a serious impact with inbound marketing, you need to do keyword research.
Keyword research is essential to boosting your organic ranking, and it’s also really helpful when you’re setting up strategic paid search campaigns.
- For organic search, look for keywords with a high search volume and low competition for organic and strategic content opportunities.
- For paid search, look for keywords that are highly relevant to your products and that have a low cost per click for paid keywords.
Here are a few of our favorite inbound marketing tools with robust keyword research capabilities. All of these options offer a range of SEO and keyword research tools for free.
While SEMRush and Moz do have paid plans, I recommend you use their free versions for a few months. If you feel you need more functionality, the paid plans might be worth it for you, but generally, the free tools will give you more than enough data.
Free basic tools, $99.95/mo for a basic plan
SEMRush offers a wealth of data with up to 10 requests per day on the free version. It will tell you what keywords you’re ranking for, what keywords your competitors are ranking for, and it will help you find new keyword opportunities.
Google Keyword Planner
Free basic tools, $99/mo for a basic plan
Moz is one of the best free tools out there. We recommend their keyword explorer if you’re trying to find new keywords, but they’ll also help you find backlink opportunities, and put a number to your domain and page authority. Plus, Moz is just the best for any kind of SEO education.
The last essential inbound marketing tool I’d like to bring up is called SpyFu. While it’s a great tool for any company, it’s particularly useful for manufacturers, who are often operating in tight industries where your competitors are close and well known.
While other industries can get away with minimal competitive analysis, we’ve found it’s absolutely necessary for most manufacturers. And if you’re looking to complete a detailed, comprehensive competitive analysis, SpyFu is a tool that can help.
Check out this basic competitive analysis I did for Starbucks.
Using Spyfu’s free version, I typed in their URL, and the tool populated all of these results. I can see their top keywords, how much traffic they get, and from where. I can also see what keywords they’re bidding on for paid search, their top ranking pages, and importantly, I can look at their keywords in relation to their competitor’s keywords.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
For manufacturers, this is an exceptionally useful tool. You likely already know your top competitors. Plugging them into SpyFu will give you a wealth of knowledge you can use to optimize your inbound marketing strategy. From what keywords to focus on for your blogs to what keywords to bid on, the competitive analysis portion of SpyFu’s results is what’s most relevant to manufacturers.
As you can see from my demonstration above, the free version of Spyfu is remarkably robust. You might get everything you need from that initial breakdown. But, if you want more data and access, SpyFu offers paid plans starting at $33/mo.
Moving to a modern marketing method is a big ask for many manufacturers. It’s likely you’ve been relying on word of mouth for years, and switching to an involved marketing methodology like inbound can feel like a lot of work.
We can say from experience — if you put in the effort, inbound marketing will deliver the results you want.
These inbound marketing tools should help make the transition a bit easier, too. With more data and analytics, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on the inbound marketing tactics that will deliver the greatest returns.
And if you run into any questions along the way, the Evenbound team is always here to help. Inbound marketing is what we do, and manufacturers make up a significant portion of our client base. We’d be happy to offer up any advice you might be looking for.
Like this blog? You might like our article on the 5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers. Same format, same length, just different tools to help you boost your outbound marketing game.