Since the dawn of inbound marketing, it’s been clear that B2B manufacturing leads need nurturing. They have the longest buyer’s journey of nearly any other industry; purchases of that size often have to go through a long chain of approval, and have to be researched extensively, so there’s nothing quick about it. B2B buyers need a lot of nurturing to get through the sales funnel of any B2B manufacturer. What hasn’t been clear, however, is the best way to work on that lead nurturing. Many people, marketers included, have advocated that email marketing is the singular best way to nurture leads in the B2B manufacturing world. But what if that’s not true?
It actually isn’t, according to a study done in 2014 by Bizo, in association with Oracle Marketing Cloud. Their study, which interviewed more than 500 B2B company executives about their lead nurturing strategies, found that email marketing alone is not an effective way to nurture B2B leads.
So why isn’t email marketing working?
Well, the inherent problem with email marketing is that you have to have a lead’s email in order to email them. And while contact forms are pretty good, they can’t always tell if they’ve been given a fake email, and they certainly can’t make email recipients open those great lead-nurturing emails you’ve put out. According to Bizo’s study, 79 percent of marketers report that their email open rates don’t exceed 20 percent.
That means that if you send a great, well thought out, helpful, nurturing email to 100 potential clients, 80 of them won’t even read it. And of the 20 that do, maybe one or two people will actually convert. Maybe.
Your email database is small compared to the amount of potential buyers that are out there.
You might not even have the right email address for many contacts.
If you do have a potential client and the right email address, it’s unlikely that a potential client will open the email.
If a potential client does open the email, they probably still won’t convert.
Both marketers and B2B manufacturing executives are having this issue with email marketing. So, if email marketing isn’t effective, what is, and how can you implement a lead nurturing program that does work?
For starters, you have to know how the modern B2B buyer shops. And today, that basically means a lot of research. The average B2B buyer will research until they’re almost positive that they know what they need, before they call a sales rep.
All of this research is actually making the buyer’s journey longer, too. According to Bizo, the average marketer has plenty of reason to believe that the amount of time from lead to sale for a B2B buyer has increased over the past three years. And a longer buyer’s journey means that marketers for B2B manufacturing companies have to beef up the lead nurturing program that much more.
It’s clear that the average B2B buyer does a ton of research before even contacting a company, and in many cases, is 90% of the way through the buyer’s journey before they even talk to a sales rep. So if clients are making their decisions before they make it to your sales team, how do you make sure they buy from you?
You need to make it into their research process.
According to Bizo’s study, the most effective lead nurturing strategy is one that is multifaceted, and relies not just on email marketing, but on a whole host of other lead nurturing methods. The more tactics you use, the more stages of the buyer’s journey you can target. By getting the attention of potential leads while they’re in the research phase of the buyer’s journey, you’ll be better able to pull them through your sales funnel. Not sure how to do that? Don’t worry, we’ve got options for you.
Things to consider incorporating into your lead nurturing strategy:
We’ve talked about how B2B marketers need to get in front of potential buyers while they’re still doing the research. The absolute best way to do that is to create content, and publish it for those researching leads to find and appreciate. To do this, think about trying to answer the most common questions your company is asked. You might already be doing this in your email marketing, but the point of making content freely available to those who aren’t subscribed is that you’ll be reaching a larger audience.
The more useful content you have out there that helps your potential buyer answer his or her questions about your product, the more likely they are to call you when they finally get close to purchasing. The easiest way to get your content out there is to start a blog. As you continue to publish relevant content that helps buyers, they’ll begin to seek out more information from you. That’s when you can begin to capture their email address and market to them based on their specific needs.
It’simportant to remember that you want to create content that addresses questions in every stage of the buyer’s journey. For instance, you might write one post that talks about how to choose the right fittings for your operation. This addresses buyers that are just getting started in their research process. Someone searching for this content doesn’t even know what type of product they need yet. From there, you can create content that addresses “how many units should I purchase based on my production levels?” This will speak to those clients that are a little farther along in the buyers journey. They already know what product they need, they just aren’t sure how much is enough yet.
By targeting each stage of the buyers journey, you’ll be able to draw in more qualified leads, and nurture them through their journey. Instead of just hoping you can get clients who are ready to buy, you’ll be addressing leads that you know need to buy, and your great content will show them that you’re a knowledgeable, honest source that they should consider purchasing from.
When we talked about content, we were talking about addressing those qualified leads that need your product and have just started the research process. But what about those qualified leads who have already made it to your site? According to the Bizo study, most B2B companies can get hundred or thousands of visitors to their business website every day. How do you capture them, and pull them through your sales funnel?
Calls-to-action are your best friend in this situation. B2B companies that don’t have calls-to-action will only convert an average of 1-5% of those visitors that come straight to the site, typically because there isn’t a clear, visible way for those new visitors to contact the business about their order.
The fix here is to implement calls-to-action that give site visitors a very obvious way to get in touch with your sales reps. These typically take the form of brightly colored buttons that say “request more information here,” “get help with your order now,” or “request a free quote.” By offering up clear pathways for site visitors to take the next step, you’ll boost your conversion rates, capture more email addresses, and have someone to send your email marketing efforts to.
A successful lead nurturing campaign has to have buyer personas. Buyer personas are essentially fictitious people that closely resemble some of your most frequent buyers.
Say, for example, that you manufacture parts for laboratories. One of your buyer personas is likely to be a lab manager. This is often the person responsible for making purchasing decisions on lab equipment, and in charge of any renovations that may occur.
In creating your buyer personas, think of who your most common clients tend to be. How old are they? What are they like? Do they have lot of free time, or are they very busy in their job? What are their biggest pain points when looking for B2B manufacturers, and what do they want from a manufacturer?
By defining these fictitious people, you’ll be creating a more solid idea of who you’re marketing to. When you understand who you’re marketing to, your lead nurturing efforts will become a lot better. You’ll know what each potential client is looking for, and you’ll have a better idea of how to address their pain points. From there, you can identify potential leads based on those buyer personas, and you can market to them specifically, providing tailored content that answers questions you know they have.
We said earlier that email marketing is not effective alone as a lead nurturing technique. That doesn’t mean that you can’t ever use email marketing; just the opposite, in fact. Email marketing is incredibly effective if used properly and in conjunction with other aspects of a multi-faceted lead nurturing strategy.
So, if you have the other aspects of your lead nurturing campaign straightened out, email marketing can be an exceptional tool. It’s a great way to target specific buyer personas, once you’ve got their email address. You can send these leads more of your great content that’s specifically relevant to where they are in the buyer’s journey. This is content that answers questions they’re likely to have, which in turn pulls them through the sales funnel.
When you’ve got your buyer personas nailed down, you can easily segment your automated marketing tools to send specific emails out to leads that fit those certain buyer personas. When they recieve content that they really needed, and that helps them in their buyer’s journey, they’re more likely to contact you later on down the line.
We’ve included social media as our last point in the lead nurturing segment because it really is important. Many B2B manufacturers write off social media platforms as frivolous websites that can’t be used to attract real clients. Believe it or not, your clients are on those social media sites. For B2B manufacturers, the two platforms that seem to work the best are Linkedin and Facebook, because they allow for highly targeted advertising. On both platforms, you can pick and choose what type of person you’d like to display your ads to, even going so far on Linkedin to limit ads to specific job titles.
So say you’re marketing to that lab manager. Linkedin can isolate your ad or content to show up in front of lab managers alone, targeting that specific buyer persona, wherever they are in their buyer’s journey. Facebook does much of the same thing, but since it’s not a site for strictly professionals, it can tailor ads based on age and location demographics rather than title.
Social media is another measurable way to nurture leads. Just think of all the times you’ve added something to your cart on Amazon, only to find it on the ads on the side of your Facebook wall. It’s not a coincidence, that’s lead nurturing through social media at work.
The changing times and changes in technology have altered the way we market, the way buyers purchase products, and even the way they research the products they’re considering buying. These changes mean that B2B manufacturers have to alter their methods too, in order to bring in the greatest number of qualified leads possible. No longer will a simple email marketing strategy get the job done. If you want to truly nurture potential buyers through the sales funnel in a way that expedites the process and gets you more clients, you’ll need a multi-faceted approach to your lead nurturing strategy.
We hope these tips help show you what a comprehensive, effective lead nurturing strategy looks like. If you have any more questions on lead nurturing in the B2B manufacturing world, or if you’re looking to implement some of these practices into your own marketing strategy, make sure to get in touch with the experts at HA Digital Marketing. We’ve been working with B2B manufacturing companies for years, so we’re confident we can help you get on the right track with your lead nurturing efforts.
And for more information on generating and nurturing more qualified leads for your B2B manufacturing company, make sure to check out our Inbound Marketing Guide for B2B Manufacturers. Click below to download for free!
In the B2B manufacturing industry, it’s often difficult to generate new leads. Many companies have worked with the same clients for decades, and while they could use new customers, are unsure of how to go about it. As you may have guessed, the internet and your website play a big part. Today, your website is your greatest tool to create business. When used effectively, it can act as your own virtual sales rep, catching leads 24/7. But to do that, you have to optimize your website to become that perfect lead generation machine you’re looking for.
First, let’s talk about what we mean when we say digital lead:
A digital or online lead is a person who is interested in obtaining your B2B manufacturing company’s product or service. These leads are people who come to your website, read your content, and decide to contact you for more information. Specific to B2B leads, these people are often near to making their purchase decision, have an idea of the size of their purchase, and already have a budget allocated.
You get leads when a site visitor fills out a contact information form, with their name, email address, and maybe a little bit more of their personal information, in exchange for more information, or subscription to your newsletters or email. Once you have those leads, you can focus on nurturing them, through targeted content, until they finally make their purchasing decision.
But how can you get more leads?
There are two things that affect how many leads your B2B manufacturing website generates. The first is overall site traffic, so the amount of people who are coming to, and viewing your site. This includes anyone who looks at your website, whether they’re coming from Google or Facebook.
The second is your conversion rate. This is the percentage of people that come to your site as viewers, and then convert to a lead. For example, if 100 people visit your site, and 2 of those 100 people fill out a contact information form, your conversion rate is 2%.
Typical B2B industry conversion rates span between 2-6%. If you don’t know your conversion rate, or if yours is way below those numbers, don’t worry! We’re going to tell you how to bump them up.
Here’s how to increase both your site traffic and your conversion rate:
Upgrade your website
If you’re like most B2B manufacturers, you probably started your foray into the internet wilderness with a website that basically functions as a brochure for your company. It probably doesn’t have a ton of pages, it doesn’t have a lot of information, and other than your phone number and maybe an email address, there isn’t any other way for potential clients to contact you. While it’s good that you at least have some online presence, this website isn’t doing any work for you.
Your first step to more traffic is to create a website that looks beautiful, is user friendly, interactive, and mobile friendly. It should offer your potential customers the information they’re looking for, with a content-centric design. An old, outdated website is one of the first things that turns potential customers away, so with your new web design, you’ll start seeing a boost in traffic just because it looks more modern. An upgraded website is also a good way to bump your ranking on Google. Google likes websites that are regularly updated, and the more content you have, the better you’ll rank for relevant keywords. The higher you rank on Google, the more traffic you’ll get.
Start a blog
Once you have a new, modern, user-friendly website, it’s time to start a blog. While this sounds pretty intimidating at first, it’s actually one of the easiest things you can do to increase your site traffic. All you have to do is think of questions your clients ask you regularly, and answer those questions in a blog post. Do your best to write posts that address specific pain points of your B2B manufacturing clients in a clear and thorough way.
Additionally, make sure to incorporate SEO tactics into your blog writing process. Your best bet here is to focus each blog post around one keyword. Then, include that keyword into the blog in a way that seems natural. Google has gotten pretty advanced in the past few years, so it’s likely to recognize synonyms, meaning you don’t have to stuff the same exact word or phrase into one blog post 50 times to rank for that keyword.
The 80/20 rule
If you want to increase your traffic and keep people coming back for your awesome information, there’s one content rule you really need to know about: the 80/20 rule. Your blog content should be 80% informational–content that answers client’s questions, and gives them relevant information they can use–and 20% promotional–content that has to do with your company specifically, whether that’s talking about awards you’ve gotten, or just detailing the services you provide.
While this might seem like an extreme ratio, if you look at your blog from a customer’s perspective, it is necessary. While you are trying to sell, no customer wants to read pages of marketing jargon that just talks about how great your company is. That type of content won’t draw in more traffic, and it won’t help you boost lead generation. Use it once in awhile, when you really have something great to say, but make sure it takes the backseat to content that’s actually useful to your target audience.
A lot of B2B manufacturers don’t use social media accounts because they don’t think it’s a legitimate way to market their product. They are wrong. If you think about it, almost everyone you know has some social media account, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. And since these social media platforms are so good at targeting ads and content to specific demographics, it’s very easy to get your name in front of the right people. Simply by participating in the conversations that other industry leaders and potential customers are already having on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you extend your online reach. The more people that see your ads, and read your helpful content, the more pathways you create for potential clients to navigate to your site.
Boost your conversion rate:
Place more calls-to-action
Another major part of lead generation is how many of your site viewers actually convert to leads. If you want a website that functions as a lead generation machine, then you have to have a good conversion rate. And if you want a good conversion rate, you need calls-to-action. The most important point is that they need to be everywhere.
“Request a Quote” and “Learn More Now” buttons make it easy for potential clients to reach out to you, and they boost your conversion rate. Place them at the end of your blog posts, in the top and middle of relevant pages, and anywhere else you can think of. Sometimes, clients may not be sure if they need help or not. If they’re on the fence, oftentimes an easy call to action button is just motivation they need to request more information. Most simply, the more opportunities your site viewers have to convert, the more leads you’re going to get.
Add gated content
Going along with that last point, gated content is another great way to offer more conversion opportunities. Gated content is highly relevant, informational content that site viewers can access for free, after they give you a little bit of their basic contact information. So, say you had a great ebook about “how to choose the right metal finish for auto bumpers.” This is really useful content for a potential auto manufacturing client. Since they want that information, and they can get it for free, they’re usually willing to put in an email address and phone number to gain access. Then you both win:
You get their contact information and they get the content they needed for free. This is a great way to draw in leads who aren’t as far along in the buyer’s cycle. Then, through your lead nurturing emails and newsletters, you can maintain contact until they’re ready to buy from you. This is a great way to boost your conversion rates, because it offers another conversion form, but it targets a different type of lead. The more gated content offers you have, the greater your potential to capture leads in all stages of the buyer’s cycle.
One of the best ways to boost your conversion rate is to consistently A/B test your Calls to Action, and your landing pages. For instance, do you get more conversions when your buttons are blue or orange? Are people more likely to fill out a contact form if you don’t ask for a phone number? A/B testing will give you insightful data that helps answer these questions, which you can then implement to optimize your site. As long as you have access to your site’s analytics and metrics, you can go ahead and monitor what these small changes do to your conversion rate. A few tips:
Make sure to only change one thing at a time. If you change the color of a button as well as the script, you have no way of knowing which change is actually driving your conversion boost.
Your testing should be controlled. If you tested a blue button for a week – Monday through Sunday – you should give an orange button the exact same testing time frame before you compare results. Site traffic can vary widely by day and time. If you test one color on Monday and Tuesday, and then a different color on Saturday and Sunday, it’s possible that the changes you see are more a result of the different days’ traffic levels than the different color button. People are more likely to look at your website on a weekday than on the weekends, so just measuring the success of one button on the weekday and a different button on the weekend won’t provide you with accurate results.
Other Lead Generation Considerations:
Know your metrics
The best way to keep track of how your website is performing, and how many lead opportunities you’re getting is to stay informed about your site’s metrics. You need to monitor them regularly, at least once a week, if not every day. This how you find out what’s working and what’s not, and how you know which adjustments to make.
Site analytics will also tell you where your leads are coming from. Whether traffic is coming to your site from Facebook, Linkedin, or even a paid ad, you need to know. This will help you optimize your paid ad campaigns and your social media strategies to get the most traffic, and thus leads, as possible.
Develop a plan
The absolute best thing you can do to turn your B2B manufacturing website into a consistent lead generation machine is to make a plan. It’s easy to start something, and then forget about it if you don’t have a schedule with deadlines and attainable goals. By creating a plan that outlines how much content you need per week or month, that states your monthly or weekly lead generation goals, and that reminds you to check your analytics and metrics regularly, it’s much harder to fall off the wagon. When you have goals and deadlines to meet, you’re more likely to implement positive changes, and keep working at them to continue to optimize your website’s lead generation potential.
If you have more questions about increasing your B2B manufacturing website’s lead generation potential, make sure to get in touch.
If you’re looking for more information about boosting your online presence, and drawing in more site traffic, check out our B2B Manufacturing Inbound Marketing Guide. In it, you’ll find all kinds of tips and tricks to optimize your site and your marketing strategy!
As a home builder, you probably spend a lot of time juggling all kinds of moving parts. When you’re dealing with clients, contractors, and realtors, there’s not always a lot of extra time left over to manage things like your website. But if you’re looking for more leads, your home builder website is probably the answer. So how can you devote enough time to your website to get the leads you want, without running yourself into the ground?
Check out these three easy ways to improve your website and get more leads! Each of these changes is relatively low maintenance, can be implemented fairly quickly by yourself of a hired professional, and will undoubtedly help you get those leads you’re looking for. Let’s get started:
#1 Site Plan and Pricing Requests
Your potential clients might not always be certain that they’re ready for a new home. If that’s true, they’re probably in the researching phase of their buying cycle. This means that they’re considering a new home, but they haven’t decided if building a home is right for them. At this point, site plan and pricing requests are your best bet to getting a foot in the door. It’s low pressure, doesn’t require a commitment, and provides the information they’re looking for. If you offer potential customers the option to either request more information, or request a quote, you’ll bump up the number of leads your website is generating in no time.
But how do you implement these requests?
Well, in the digital marketing biz, we call them calls-to-action. Basically, they’re brightly-colored buttons on your website that offer your site viewers a service that a legitimate client would want. For home builders, this tends to be an offer for more information about site plans, or for an estimate. This is a great way to weed the windows shoppers from the potential clients who are actually considering building a home.
Why do they work?
By putting calls-to-action in visible locations on your site, you’re making it very easy for people to contact you. Most often, calls-to-action appeal to two types of people:
Those who are on the go, and don’t have time to sit down and talk to you, but are considering building and legitimately want more information.
Those who don’t like to talk on the phone, but want to build.
It’s true that people are busier and busier all the time. Many people surfing the web are on their phones between meetings or on lunch, and while they don’t want to talk on the phone at the moment, they do have the time to put in a simple request for more information. So make sure you have these requests readily available for your busy clients, and more importantly, make sure you respond. Someone filling out a request isn’t doing it to waste your time. They’re a legitimate lead, so make sure you treat them that way.
#2 Landing Pages
Another one of the easiest ways to boost your lead generation is to incorporate landing pages into your website. They’re a top converter, and get you the contact information of potential clients right away. But let’s start at the beginning. What is a landing page?
A landing page is a unique page of your website that lets you capture contact information, like name, email address, and phone number, through a conversion form that site visitors voluntarily fill out.
It’s pretty easy to see how landing pages get you leads: you get the contact information, and can then call or email the potential client. But how do you get site viewers to fill out the landing page conversion form in the first place?
It sounds like it might be a tough task, but actually, if you’re offering that viewer something in return for their information, landing pages can be one of your biggest lead generators. Say you have a content offer, like “How to Design your Dream Home.” A qualified client really wants that content, and since it’s free, they won’t have much of a problem putting their email address in as collateral if it’s something that will genuinely help them.
It’s a lead generation best practice to direct site viewers to relevant landing pages whenever they’re coming to your site. If you’re sending out emails to potential clients, and especially if you’re running internet ads, it’s a waste of your time to direct site viewers to your home page. While this does get them to your website, you’re not actively converting potential clients. Instead, make sure that those links take site viewers to a relevant landing page. You’ll start to see the results in no time.
If you’re looking to generate leads, there’s no better platform for home builders than Houzz. It’s an entire website created by home service professionals for those seeking home improvement and home building inspiration.
Houzz is super useful for you, because everyone on Houzz is a potential client. The majority of Houzz users are looking to either build or renovate, which means that your target market is literally at your fingertips. Simply having a Houzz account and linking it to your website will bump up your online presence exponentially.
If you’re active on Houzz, which you should be, your presence and lead generation opportunities increase that much more. Thousands of people use Houzz every day to find inspiration, and more importantly, to find home building professionals in their area. To optimize your lead generation potential, your Houzz account should display pictures of your previous projects, and link over to your website.
We hope these tips help you modify your website to generate more leads for your home building company! If you’re looking for more information about improving your website, make sure to check out our Home Services Website Design Guide, created specifically for home services professionals like you. Get it here:
If you have any more questions about improving your website, or implementing digital marketing best practices to increase your lead generation, make sure to get in touch. We’re always happy to help!
B2B manufacturing sales have got to be one of the most difficult deals to close. Even when you finally get a qualified lead, it can take them months to get the money together and make a decision. That’s why your top priority is always focused on generating more leads. But what if your website is currently killing your chances to rope in some of those great qualified leads you’re looking for?
If you’re like most B2B manufacturers, it might be. Here’s the top three reasons why:
If your website was built before 2008, there’s absolutely no way it’s going to send you leads. You probably built it because the competition did, and then you forgot about it, didn’t have the time to put into it, or just really didn’t know what to do with it. If your site is old, it makes your company look old and outdated. And with 94% of B2B buyers researching their options before they even make an initial phone call, that’s putting you way behind. You have to have an updated website with user-friendly navigation, and a responsive design before you can even think about generating qualified leads.
You don’t know your ideal client
If you don’t know who you’re marketing to, it can be really difficult to attract that type of lead. To have a website that works for you, you need to understand what your ideal buyer looks like. How big is their company? What’s their budget? Who is the main decision maker? Once you know who you’re trying to attract, it will be considerably easier to develop a site, and content for that site, that speaks to your ideal buyer, and draws in more qualified leads: the leads that you know want and need your product.
This is another biggie for lead gen. If your site doesn’t have a call-to-action, or a way for people to get in touch with you, it can’t generate leads. It probably seems super obvious to you that if people wanted your product they should call you, but qualified leads need a little nudge. Just having a button that says “get a quote now” or “contact us today” makes your service accessible to potential leads. People that are really serious about your product will click the button to get in touch with your sales team, or leave you their contact information. With their contact information in hand, voila! – you have a new qualified lead.
So now that you know how your site is crippling your lead generation capabilities, it’s time to fix it:
If you want to turn your B2B Manufacturing website into a lead generating machine, we can show you how. We’ve put together a comprehensive, full-scope Digital Marketing Guide that will take you through the basic steps of optimizing your B2B Manufacturing website for increased lead generation. With a website that is user-friendly, and that addresses your ideal client, you’re sure to see the qualified leads rolling in in no time.
If you think about it, who would put thousands of dollars into a product without first researching the product and the companies that sell it? You probably wouldn’t, and the statistics show your customers won’t either.
Your qualified buyers: the ones who already know they need what you’re selling, have to be convinced that you’re the best choice. They’ve probably already done some initial research on the product, and they may even be well versed in the product itself, but how do they know that you’re the B2B manufacturer to buy from?
The answer is an inbound marketing strategy. To become that best choice, you need an inbound marketing strategy that gets you site-views from those qualified leads who are already searching for your product.
And by marketing we don’t mean the old “let’s try it and hope it works” guessing game. We mean an inbound marketing strategy that is proven to get results: an analyzed, researched and segmented process that all comes down to specific best practices.
By implementing our comprehensive Inbound Marketing Guide, you can reach clients where they’re at, and harness that research into a lead-generating machine: your website.
We’ve got the information and the data that tells you what you need. And what you need is to develop a concrete digital marketing strategy, track its progress, and keep refining and refining your process until you’re hitting the right customers, at the right time, every time. How do you do that?