If you’ve started developing any kind of digital marketing strategy, keyword research probably isn’t a new term for you. The term is pretty self-explanatory—it’s conducting research to see what keywords will be most effective for your company to increase search engine rankings and conversions. But how many of us actually do the keyword research? As a home building professional, you already have a busy schedule, and wading through lists of keywords probably sounds like the last thing you want to do. Though keyword research can be a bit of a hassle upfront, the payoff from just a few hours of research can be massive.
When you know what your target audience is looking for, it’s very easy to serve that up to them on a silver platter of engaging content. You simply have to write content and develop ad campaigns that center around those keywords. The key though, is doing the research. A lot of us are guilty of just assuming that what we think consumers are looking for is what they’re actually searching. But as a home builder, there are likely a lot of industry specific terms that you use every day that the typical consumer doesn’t know, and isn’t going to search for.
That’s what makes research so important. A little bit of research can show you a wealth of terms that are easy to rank for, and that will get more eyes on your site. But if you’re still not convinced about the benefits of keyword research, here are six specific reasons why keyword research can immensely improve your home building marketing strategy:
Attract an audience that cares
One of the biggest benefits of keyword research is your ability to target an audience that genuinely cares about what you have to say. When you research keywords, you’re looking for words and phrases that consumers are searching regularly, which means when your website pops up for one of those searches, that consumer is already interested in what you have to say. There’s no convincing, and it’s much easier to get them to stay on your page, because you’re providing information about exactly what they were looking for in the first place.
This is one reason why blogging around those keywords you researched is a great thing to do—it gives that target audience content they care about and want to engage with, which keeps them coming back for more.
Increased conversion rates
Keyword research does a lot more than get people to your website. It makes sure the right people are coming to your site. And when you have the right people coming to your site, who legitimately need your home building services, that means more conversions. More conversions mean more money and a bump in ROI. The more strategically you implement keyword research into your website and marketing content, the more qualified traffic you’re going to get.
Consumer behavior insight
The obvious benefits of keyword research have to do with your ability to draw in qualified leads. But what is perhaps a more subtle benefit of keyword research is that it gives you insight into consumer behaviors and trends. When you’re working to see what your target audience is searching for, it’s easier to see what types of content they like, what they’re likely to click on, what’s important to them, and what sorts of content are popular in that target group. With all of this information, it’s a lot easier to stay ahead of consumer trends, and make sure you’re keeping relevant to that target audience.
Organize your time
Keyword research helps you identify what areas of your marketing strategy are improving your bottom line, and what areas of your company consumers are most interested in. Are you getting more conversions from people searching “best homebuilder Grand Rapids” or do you see better results from “how to design your dream home in GR?” When you know which keywords are working the best for your company, you can develop more content that functions alongside those words, because you know they work. This means you’re spending less time developing content you hope will work, and more time creating content that’s guaranteed to get you those conversions.
Spend money wisely
Along the same lines, when you know which keywords are more effective for your homebuilding company, you can save money on your PPC campaign. Paid ads can be cheap, but only if you’re bidding strategically. If you’re bidding on expensive short-tail keywords, like “custom homebuilder,” or “new home” you’ll be paying a lot of money for words that probably won’t get you the traffic you want. By conducting a bit of keyword research, it’s easier to see what longer-tail keywords draw in the most conversions.
For example, “Grand Rapids custom home builder,” and “custom built Grand Haven lakehouse” will cost less per click, and might have a lower search volume, but the people who click on those likes are more likely to convert. After a bit of keyword research, you’re better able to pool more of your PPC budget to those less expensive words guaranteed to get you a better conversion rate. When you go into your paid ad campaigns armed with some solid keyword research, you’re sure to bump your PPC ROI.
Better organic ranking
The final benefit of strategic keyword research comes in those all-important Google search rankings. You’ve always wanted first page results, right? Well, keyword research is just one of the ways to get your website up there. When you implement those strategic keywords into your website, Google’s search bots will recognize them and categorize your website accordingly. The more relevant keywords you have, the better your organic search ranking is going to be. For homebuilders, it’s most important to make sure you have appropriate local keywords incorporated into your website. Keywords like “West MI Homebuilder,” “custom home builder Grand Rapids,” and “Lake Michigan custom homes” indicate to Google both what you do, and where you are. When your site makes that clear, you’ll begin to rank better in those local search rankings, which gets more eyes on your homebuilding website overall.
Check out these three tools:
If you want to implement more keyword research into your home building company’s marketing strategy, but aren’t quite sure how, check out these three free tools that make it pretty easy:
Google is kind of the main authority when it comes to SEO, so it’s no surprise that their keyword tool is at the top of our list. Super handy for anyone working with a PPC budget, or even if you’re just getting into keyword research, Google Keyword Planner is very user friendly, and easily links to your gmail or Google+ business profile. It’s a free Adwords tool that makes planning your paid ad campaigns a breeze.
If you’re looking for a few more research options for free, SERPs has just about everything you can imagine. Their free tools allow you to drill down on results based on location or domain, and even suggests possible keyword alternatives if you get stuck. This is a great one for developing a content strategy because you can see the top 250 search results for any keyword you select, and you can save your research to your desktop in case you want to return to it later.
This is another great free tool, but know that if you want in depth statistics, like search volume or CPC, you’ll have to upgrade the Pro version. Even if you don’t upgrade though, Keyword Tool lets you research keywords on all of the big four search engines, and generates results for both short tail and long tail keywords: which isn’t as common as you’d think. For basic level keyword research, this can be a very convenient free tool.
Now that it’s clear why thorough keyword research is so important, it’s time to get working! Implement those keywords into your website, and you’ll start to see an increase in qualified organic and directed traffic in no time. And if you’re looking for more ways to improve your home building website’s SEO, check out our other blog posts to learn more.
Remember word of mouth marketing? It used to be the number one way for B2Bs to generate qualified leads. Well, online B2B reviews are kind of the new, improved version. B2B buyers love to read reviews about companies they’re considering purchasing from, because it gives them a clearer idea of what to expect, and how to judge the quality of service they’ll be receiving.
The average buyer does about 60% of their research before they even consider contacting a B2B company. And since we live in the 21st century, they do most of that research online. Having a decent amount of online reviews can seriously boost your conversion rates. It’s a way of providing potential clients with the information they need to decide to pick up the phone and call. What’s more, it’s information they largely trust, because it’s given by objective third parties who have had direct contact with your B2B. So what all do you need to know about online review for B2Bs, and more importantly, how can you generate quality online reviews for your B2B manufacturer? Let’s get into it:
Reviews are a search engine ranking signal
First and foremost, if you’ve been looking for a way to boost your B2B’s SERP ranking on Google, reviews can really help. A study conducted by Moz, a respected SEO guru, shows that online reviews account for about 8.4% of Google’s ranking factors. Though that’s not a huge percentage of Google’s ranking algorithm, reviews are certainly one factor that can work to boost your SERP ranking and generate more qualified leads at the same time.
B2B Reviews show up in search listings
When you get reviews on Google, your overall star ranking will show up next to your company name in search listings. Research shows that consumers are more likely to click on starred search result options over those that don’t have any stars. That’s because stars show clients that the business has been vetted, even if only cursorily, by other clients. Google estimates that you can increase click through rates by as much as 17%, just by having star reviews next to your company name in search results.
But what about negative reviews?
We get it, when you open yourself up to reviews from customers, it’s possible that you’ll get the odd negative B2B review. And sure, that’s scary. Your company does everything it can to keep clients satisfied, but there are just some customers who can’t be helped, and they’re often the ones to leave a negative review. Many companies we talk to are concerned about inviting customer reviews for just this reason, but in fact, negative reviews can have more of a positive impact than you’d think.
Believe it or not, most consumers are more likely to trust a company that has a few bad reviews over a company that has all five star reviews. Today’s consumer is very aware of scams where companies buy reviews to boost their overall rating. A few negative reviews show a consumer that people are giving their actual opinions, and the reviews listed are unsolicited.
It definitely hurts to get those negative reviews, but you can also use them to your benefit by replying to the negative commenter, and doing what you can to resolve or explain the situation. Now, don’t try to refute their negative claims, even if they’re wrong or unnecessarily critical. The best thing you can do with a negative review is to comment, say you’re sorry for the commenter’s poor experience, and offer to fix it. From there, it’s up to them. A tactful, apologetic response will go a long way when future customers are looking into your B2B. Whatever you do, don’t respond while you’re angry. That will only make matters worse.
Improve trust in your brand, lower ad costs, boost conversion rates
It’s important to remember that 60 percent of research for a B2B purchasing decision is done before the buyer ever contacts your company. That’s why reviews for B2B manufacturers can be such a great help. They work to make your company stand out from the competition by providing a solid star rating. Additionally, it’s a form of advertisement that costs you almost nothing, except the time it takes to send an email to a client requesting a review. Online B2B reviews on platforms that your ideal clients regularly surf, like Google+ and LinkedIn, will ultimately have a positive effect on your conversion rate. They provide potential clients a barometer with which to judge your products and customer service, and they help to boost your online presence, getting more eyes on your website and your company. So on to the biggest question of all:
How do I get B2B reviews, and where?
It’s easy to say that B2B reviews are great and that you should have them, but how do you get people to write them?
First, it’s important to decide where you’d like to have your reviews show up. The best, most influential platform is probably Google+, because that’s most every researcher’s first stop, but Linkedin, the Better Business Bureau, and Angie’s List are also great options.
From there, devise an email that thanks previous customers for their business, and requests their honest feedback. Your email should make it as easy as possible for people to review you, and should link to those outlets you’re looking for reviews on.
Let them know what’s in it for them, too. There are a variety of incentives you can provide that make writing a review seem more enticing, and work to further your relationships with those existing customers. For example, you might consider entering all reviewers into a raffle where they could win a prize, or you could offer a small discount on their next parts purchase from you. This is a great way to turn first time clients into repeat customers, and it gets you the reviews you were looking for!
The biggest part of successfully requesting B2B reviews is timing. You’ll want to figure out the best time to ask for reviews by determining when people are most apt to fill them out. In most cases, the sooner the better. You want to ask for a review when your excellent customer service is in the forefront of their minds. However, depending on your B2B’s product, it might make sense to wait until they’ve had your product for a few weeks, and are starting to realize the real benefits of your great product. Test out review requests a few ways, and see when you get the highest number of responses. After a bit of trial and error, you should be able to send out review requests that get a pretty good response rate, especially when you’re offering incentives.
Quality online reviews are invaluable. They show Google that you’re a real, legitimate company that does great business, and they offer new potential clients an insight into how your company works, and the level of service you provide.
If you have more questions about boosting your online presence or requesting more reviews for your B2B, feel free to get in touch with us at Evenbound. We’ve been working with B2B manufacturers for some time now, and would be more than happy to answer any questions you’ve got on inbound marketing, online reviews, or web presence. Get in touch with us today!
Many B2B manufacturing companies lack a robust social media presence, and it’s no surprise why: there’s an abundance of content out there that discourages B2B manufacturers from utilizing social media. The truth is, however, that social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and even Instagram are extremely useful, not to mention inexpensive, methods to reach a considerably larger audience than you ever thought possible.
That’s why we’re here: to bust a few of those common myths about social media for B2Bs. Any effective marketing strategy in this century should be making use of social media platforms, because regardless of your product or your business type, it’s one of the most pervasive ways to get the word out about your company. Here are five of the most common myths we’d like to demystify for B2B manufacturers:
Myth #1 B2B customers aren’t on social media
As a B2B company, it’s easy to forget that you’re still marketing to people. Sure, your end goal is to sell your product to a business, but a person is in charge of making that purchasing decision. And more than 1 billion people are active on social media today, regardless of their position or profession. It’s important to remember that Generation Y and Millennial employees are beginning to flood the workforce, both generations that grew up with and continue to use social media platforms on a daily basis. When such a massive percentage of the population is on social media, it’s hard to say that none of your potential clients are on social media.
What’s more, B2B purchasing decisions require a considerably greater amount of research than B2C decisions. Your standard B2B decision maker is reading everything they can about your product, about your competitor’s product, what your warranties are like, what your company is like, etc. before they even consider talking to you. The best way to make sure that these decision makers have access to that information they’re looking for is for you to make it easily accessible to them on the platforms they use the most. Any purchasing researcher loves to read reviews and testimonials from previous clients, recommendations from other industry professionals, and especially case studies with hard facts. The best way to make sure they have this information and give your company a second look is to put it out yourself on social media.
Myth #2 Social media tactics that work for standard B2Cs won’t work for B2Bs
Sure, you’re not offering a buy one get one free deal on your parts, and you’re not selling something easily consumable like coffee or t-shirts, but that doesn’t mean that social media is out for your B2B company. The fact is that no matter whether you’re a B2B or a B2C, you’re marketing to people, and communicating with people is largely the same across the board.
Every consumer, whether they’re a person or a company, has pain points and different needs, that social media and content marketing work to solve. Certainly, you’ll have to approach your social media promotion a bit differently, but primarily in the sense that the content you’ll be delivering is different than the content a B2C company might offer. Where promotions and brand-building stories might work better for them, your company will draw in all kinds of qualified leads when you put out whitepapers and case studies that help inform those decision makers about your product, and show them why they should choose to buy from you.
Myth #3 Our product isn’t sexy enough for social media
It’s true that automobile parts or cement mixers aren’t quite as interesting as say, Starbucks coffee. But the job of the B2B manufacturing marketer is a bit easier in that regardless of the sexiness of your product, someone genuinely needs it. Your company is creating these parts to fill a demand for that product, which means someone is looking for it.
So it doesn’t matter if your product is sexy or not––there’s a purchaser out there who needs to read about it, research it, and then purchase it for their company. Your job is to make sure that the content they need is out there, and easily accessible. The best way to get your content out there for all of the decision makers looking for your product is to put it on social media.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can just put out any old boring spec sheet and expect people to immediately pick up the phone. It is still important to make sure you’re putting out content that is easily digestible for your target client, and that solves their pain points. You don’t want to put them to sleep with your content, but don’t worry if your product isn’t the most exciting thing out there. So long as you’re selling something people need, and your social media content is working to solve client pain points and pull them through the sales cycle, you’ll start to see a boost in that lead generation you were looking for.
Myth #4 Social Media works as another platform to broadcast our company news
This is one of the biggest myths out there about social media for B2Bs, and it’s not all that surprising that it exists. Many B2Bs are reluctant to get into social media in the first place, and then when they do, they’re not sure what to post, so they fall into the same push marketing tactics they’ve relied on for years.
The fact is that your social media accounts are not just another platform to blast your company news. People who follow your brand are likely to care about what’s happening at your company, but they’ll easily get bored if you’re only sharing things that matter to you. It’s important to remember that social media is a platform to increase social engagement, reach new clients, and nurture existing client relationships. To do this, you can’t just tell all your followers how great you are, even though we’re sure it’s true!
You need to make sure that your platforms function as a comprehensive resource for your followers, offering them access to information that they’re actively searching for, and that will help them in their purchasing decisions. This is the most effective way to make sure you’re regularly gaining new followers, and generating qualified leads via social media.
Myth #5 Social media doesn’t provide ROI, and it can’t generate sales leads
It’s true that social media analytics tend to measure the results most helpful to B2C companies, like number of likes and clicks. Though these metrics aren’t the most helpful for B2Bs, it’s important to remember that the end goal of social media marketing is to generate qualified leads and increase revenue for any company. You can easily tweak your social media analytics to monitor the metrics that matter most to your B2B, like conversions and click throughs.
To do this, it’s a good idea to link your social media accounts to your existing CRM or marketing automation platform. You can also make use of the multitude of social media analytics tools that exist specifically to increase B2B company’s social media tracking capabilities. Either method will give you a clear indication of your social media accounts’ ROI, and they’ll also help you figure out what to do to improve your company’s online presence.
Okay, but how do I get started?
It should be clear that social media marketing is an integral part of any marketing strategy in the 21st century. Your clients are on social media, it’s proven to produce results, and more than anything it’s ridiculously affordable. The hardest part is getting started. If your B2B manufacturing company is looking to boost your social media presence, but isn’t sure where to start, just pick one platform, and go from there.
We recommend Linkedin for most B2B companies. It’s very easy to use, and it’s the social media platform most likely to capture the attention of your ideal client. To get started, check out our blog on Linkedin for B2Bs, create your company page, and work on posting and engaging with other industry professionals regularly. Once you have the hang of that, you can start expanding to other social media platforms as you have the time and the resources to do so. If any of this seems overwhelming, or you still feel like you don’t quite have a grasp on social media for B2Bs, feel free to get in touch with HA Digital Marketing. We’ve worked with a number of B2Bs, and would be happy to answer any questions you’ve got regarding social media or inbound marketing for B2Bs. Shoot us a message or email, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
B2B sales have never been easy, but in the past 20 years, constantly changing technology and evolving sales methods have made common B2B sales challenges even more difficult. Gone are the days where you send your sales team out to that new factory they’re building over in Ohio to pitch your product, and gone are the days of cold calling. The internet and social media has completely overhauled the way the B2B consumer finds and purchases products.
If you’re like many B2Bs out there, you’ve probably recognized the change. If you’re looking to stay relevant in this new technological age, inbound is one of the best ways to start solving some of the most common B2B sales challenges. (Learn more about the basics of inbound marketing here.) Whether you’re a B2B business owner or sales rep, you likely already what your sales team faces on a daily basis, but we’ve got a few ideas for you, proven to solve a lot of those unique challenges:
B2B Sales Challenge #1: Technical Products
B2B products are often complicated technical products. And even if your buyer has a degree in engineering, they might not know that your product exists. That’s what makes B2B products so difficult to sell.
Your client doesn’t need a long drawn out sales pitch, they need an education. They need you to tell them why your product or service provides a solution to a problem in their industry, and they need to know how. They’ll want to know how it works, how it fits into their production process, and what their ROI is going to be.
The Inbound Marketing Solution: Content that Educates
We’ve talked about it before, but what the modern B2B consumer really wants is content that allows them to learn about the product on their own. They want to be able to peruse helpful information at their leisure, until they decide what’s best for them and their company. For the B2B sales team, this should come as a relief. If clients are educating themselves on products and business solutions, that means your sales reps spend less time doing it face-to-face. This saves them time, and saves the company money.
You just have to make sure that you’re still the one providing the information they need. Inbound marketing comes in handy here, because you can create all of that educational material that potential clients are looking for, and put it up online where they can peruse it in a way that best suits them. By providing content in a bunch of different formats, like blogs, infographics, and even informational videos about your product, your clients are able to learn in the way that best suits them.
B2B Sales Challenge #2 – Buyers want to control their buying cycle (and it’s long)
Purchasing a heavy-duty piece of manufacturing equipment requires a bit more thought than that 25¢ cup of lemonade on a hot day. A B2B purchase is the furthest you’ll ever get from an impulse purchase. It takes a long, long time before a client decides to bite the bullet on that expensive machinery. And it makes sense. No one wants to buy an expensive software solution for their company, or a million dollar piece of equipment only to find out it doesn’t provide the service or ROI they were expecting.
These are major sales, at a high price point, and they require a bit of due diligence. That’s why most modern B2B buyers want to control as much of that buying cycle as possible. They have to ensure they’re going with the right product from the right company before they present it to higher-ups. Once that happens, they’ll still have to wait for budget approval before they can make the purchase. All this contemplation leads to a long buying cycle, which as you know, is frustrating for your B2B sales dept.
Inbound Marketing Solution – Content that addresses each stage of the buyer’s cycle
You already know that your B2B buyers have to go through each stage of the buyer’s cycle: awareness, interest, consideration, and decision. Make sure that you have content that helps those clients in every stage of the cycle. If you’re answering their questions all the way through their buyer’s cycle with quality, educational content that they can trust, you’ll be able to close a deal considerably faster than if you wait for them to figure it out on their own or set up a meeting.
Whether you devise a foolproof set of infographics, gated content offers, free trials, blogs, or webinars, your content has to speak specifically to each client. This means you need content for potential buyers that speaks not only to where they are in the buyer’s cycle, but also to their industry and market. By answering their questions, regardless of their place in the decision making process, you develop authority, and draw them through to a final decision much quicker than if they’re left to their own devices.
What’s more, this method is helpful and relationship building. Potential clients are able to easily access the information they need, without feeling like they’re being sold to, or forced to make a decision before they’re ready.
B2B Sales Challenge #3 – Multiple Decision Makers
Let’s say a production manager wants a solution to increase production efficiency. When she comes to your company for the product that will provide that solution, she not only has to gain approval from her higher ups, say the CEO and CFO, but she’ll have to work with the production engineer to ensure that the new solution can be integrated smoothly into the production process. This means that at the very least, the B2B sales team has to convince four people that this is the right purchasing decision.
Inbound Marketing Solution: Content for each audience
The best solution to the multiple decision maker issue is to provide content that addresses each decision maker’s greatest concerns. Let’s think about it: the production manager needs to know how your product or service will increase efficiency. On the other hand, the bigger players, like the CEO and CFO, need to know how this purchase will affect their bottom line. And last but not least, the production engineer needs to know the specs and info on the product, so they can ensure it will function seamlessly with production, and so they can determine how and where to install it.
To make sure that you’re answering everyone’s questions, inbound marketing best practices suggest you develop buyer personas. You can then use those to create content that targets each decision maker. By providing solutions for each party’s pain points, you’re working to get everyone on board with your product, and reach a decision that satisfies everyone.
B2B Sales Challenge #4 – Proving ROI
Finally, another challenge that B2B sales teams face is proving that their methods are effective, especially when it comes to marketing. Many B2B companies are reluctant to invest more money in their marketing practices because they aren’t sure the ROI will be favorable. But consider this: when your inbound marketing method is effective, your sales team has less work to do, and can focus on converting important, qualified leads.
By implementing an inbound marketing strategy that speaks to all of the major decision makers, educates buyers about your product, and speeds up the notoriously long buyer’s cycle, your sales team really only has to handle the most productive part of the sales process: closing the deal. But how do you prove it’s working?
Inbound Marketing Solution – Metrics and Analytics
Your inbound marketing strategy will work to feed you the most qualified leads, will help you weed out the leads that aren’t qualified or the buyers who aren’t yet serious, giving your sales team the opportunity to really focus on the leads you know show great potential. Best of all, an inbound marketing strategy is easily monitored through website metrics and analytics. Over time, this is the easiest way to prove ROI.
When you implement inbound marketing best practices, you’ll be able to see who’s coming to your website and what they’re interested in. Based on this online behavior, you can judge where they are in the buyer’s cycle. By monitoring site and search engine metrics and analytics, you’ll be able to learn what you’re actually getting out of your inbound marketing strategy. That’s invaluable information that not only proves ROI, but helps your sales team close deals, and shows you how to refine your strategy to further increase ROI in the future.
Are you a B2B Manufacturer? For more information on how inbound marketing can boost your ROI and solve the most common B2B sales challenges, check out our our inbound marketing page to learn more about what we can do for you.
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 Evenbound. 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 below how we helped a cleanroom manufacturer convert more qualified leads than they had ever before.