With the rise of the digital world and inbound marketing, outbound marketing can get a bad rap. While it’s no longer the only way to reach potential customers, it’s still an important part of any marketing and growth strategy, alongside inbound marketing practices. This outbound marketing shouldn’t be limited to traditional media like radio and newspaper ads, though, but should instead incorporate modern outbound tools. Here are 5 of the best outbound marketing tools for manufacturers and B2Bs.
#1 Social Media
You might think that social media is irrelevant to manufacturers, that it’s just kids sending pictures to each other, rich people hawking fad diets and scam music festivals, and your out-of-touch aunt leaving odd comments on status updates.
But that’s not entirely the case. Social media has huge potential for manufacturers’ outbound marketing efforts.
All social media platforms have some form of advertising, and most have multiple: boosted posts, banner ads, native ads, even direct messaging ads. Not only do they offer all of these kinds of ads, they provide some of the best targeting options for running your ad campaigns.
This is because of the nature of social media profiles—users indicate their demographics, location, and interests in their profiles, likes, and other platform activity. All of that activity can be used to target the audiences who are your desired market.
You might still be thinking that as a manufacturer, you’re marketing to businesses, not people.
But, if you’ve been doing any inbound marketing, you know that even to market to businesses, you have to market to people. There are certain people at your ideal client company that are key decision-makers with regard to your product, whether that is a product designer, a sourcing specialist, or a purchasing associate. You can absolutely market to those people with social media.
For manufacturers or other B2Bs, we find that LinkedIn is one of the best outbound marketing tools available. LinkedIn has very specific targeting options for ad campaigns, down to the specific companies and job titles at those companies that you want to target.
If you know anything about the internet, you know that getting people to your site means showing up on Google. While appearing in the organic search results for the keywords you want to rank for requires a certain amount of inbound marketing savvy—lots of good content, SEO optimization, keyword research, and so on—Google is also an outbound marketing tool.
Like social media platforms, Google has advertisements. And like social media, Google is ubiquitous. If you run Google ads, they’re going to be seen. Plus, Google Ads also have great targeting options by keywords, location, and even audience behavior.
Google Ads include two distinct types of ads: search ads and display network ads. Search ads are native ads (i.e., ads that look like regular search results but are actually ads) that appear at the top of the results page on searches for specific keywords you select.
If you look at the first two or three results the next time you search on Google, you’ll see that they are actually ads, and are designated as such.
Display network ads are banner and sidebar ads that appear on Google sites and sites they partner with, like local news sites, weather.com, and a host of other national and local organizations’ websites. These too can be highly targeted.
How? There are a few key ways. All of the tools incorporated in your inbound marketing software such as lead management systems, prospect reports, and analytics can be used by your sales department to make sales calls and direct mail campaigns more effective. These tools can also help you see which of your marketing content is most effective and with whom it’s effective, so your outbound marketing efforts can be more targeted.
This isn’t just an email newsletter—that’s staunchly an inbound marketing practice. We’re talking about targeted email campaigns that nurture leads and bring them into the sales cycle. Using a targeted email campaign, you can push your brand, product, or service to a specific audience that has a genuine need and use for what you’re offering.
Creating valuable and targeted messages for intuitively segmented leads can yield huge results, especially when your campaigns provide the right information at the right time, without spamming or overwhelming your leads. Using email marketing effectively can transform it from just an inbound technique to a cornerstone of your outbound strategy.
#5 An Outbound Marketing Agency
A tool is anything you use to achieve a desired end state or goal. When it comes to outbound marketing, a full-service marketing agency with years of experience is going to be the best outbound marketing tool at your disposal. Especially as a manufacturing company that may not have a dedicated marketing department or any existing marketing efforts that fall outside the umbrella of sales, a marketing agency can help you reach the growth goals you care about most.
Manufacturers can seriously benefit from outbound marketing tools, especially as more and more of your target buyers trend online. For help developing an outbound marketing strategy that actually works, talk to Evenbound.
Designing a new website can be a time- and money-intensive process, so naturally, when you do decide to redesign your site, you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth and creating a beautiful and functional site that helps drive business growth. If you’re designing a new website, here is a comprehensive website design checklist to help you see if your site has what it takes to attract visitors, convert leads, and foster growth.
✔️ Calls to Action (CTAs)
No website is going to convert visitors into leads without calls to action (CTAs). If you want your website visitors to do something, like enter their contact information into a form or to give you a call or to request a quote, you need to ask them to do that, and you need to make it an easy process.
CTAs are generally clickable buttons with text prompting a specific action, and they should appear in intuitive places on your site, like the top right corner, across your banner image on the homepage, or after useful blog content.
✔️ Landing Pages
A landing page is a page a website visitor lands on when they visit your site from a specific place or link. Landing pages are useful for directing visitors to content or actions that are relevant to them and that you want them to see, based on their behaviors and interests.
If you don’t have landing pages, your PPC ads are not going to get great results. If you just direct people who click on your ad to your homepage, they aren’t going to know what to do next, and they’re probably not going to do what you want them to do, which is likely to give you their contact information or get in touch with your company. A landing page limits visitors’ options and presents them with exactly the content and calls to action that are relevant to them and are therefore more likely to convert.
✔️ Great Images
So much of what we respond to is image-based (insert cliche about how 1 picture = 1000 words), that a site needs great images to compete. Gone are the days of irrelevant stock photos of people in business suits and pixelated images from a digital camera that someone in HR took at the company picnic. High quality, professional images of your facilities, products, processes, or people are going to be attractive to website visitors.
This is especially true if you’re in a B2C industry where they way your products or the results of your services look matter. For example, custom home builders need to have images of the gorgeous homes they build, because that’s what their website visitors want to see. These kinds of images are also perfect for social sharing across a variety of platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest.
Mobile-responsive design isn’t difficult to accomplish, either. Selecting a template for your design that is mobile-responsive will ensure that your content is readable on the tiniest of phone screens and the biggest tablet and that nothing is cut off or hidden to the far right where no one will scroll.
In order to do that, search engines need to crawl your content and find keywords in your content. Search engines rank sites with more unique instances of a keyword and more regularly updated content higher, meaning those sites are more likely to be seen by searchers in the search results for that term and are more likely to get clicked on.
Besides that, a blog is an important way of marketing to your clients and establishing brand awareness and authority. Your blog content shouldn’t just be company updates (though you can include some company updates if you want!). It should address the specific problems, challenges, and stages in the buyer’s journey that your ideal clients are experiencing.
If you can provide content that answers their questions about your industry, product, or service, you’re more likely to show up in their searches, and when they do read your content, they’re more likely to find it useful and even convert.
A custom web design that was hard-coded by a web designer or someone in IT is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. It’s difficult to maintain custom code, it requires a lot of skill and time to produce, and if the developer leaves the company on bad terms, your site could go with them.
That’s why every website should operate on a reliable CMS (content management system), such as WordPress or Joomla. (We use WordPress.) A CMS allows for multi-user access, a user-friendly interface for making changes and updates, design templates that are optimized for mobile, and a content publishing platform that is easy to use.
If you don’t know the difference between social media marketing and social media advertising, it’s okay to admit it. The distinction can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re new to the social media world or to digital marketing—especially since they’re sometimes used (carelessly) as interchangeable. There is a difference between social media marketing vs. social media advertising, and it pays to know that difference and to incorporate both into your overarching digital strategy.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a crucial facet of any digital marketing strategy today. It encompasses your business’s online profiles on social media platforms, along with the social media activity of those platforms: posting, liking, commenting, sharing, and so on.
Social media marketing begins with creating company pages or profiles on relevant social networks. The networks that you choose will depend on your industry; B2Bs will likely find LinkedIn to be the most relevant network, since they’re marketing to other business professionals, while home builders and developers might make use of platforms like Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram to show off images of their homes and properties.
Again, this depends on the platform and your industry. Industrial manufacturers may not have much luck posting photos of their products on Instagram. (Are the insides of factories usually very aesthetically pleasing? No.) But, they’ll have more success posting content about their processes, sharing their blog content, sharing relevant articles and news from industry publications, and posting infographics on LinkedIn.
Twitter is great for sharing links, but because tweets are limited to 280 characters, it’s not the place for longform content.
Instagram is designed for sharing images, and while you can use an image to promote a piece of content, you can’t link from a post directly. You have to include the link in your bio, which might not be the most effective way to direct people to that link.
Why Do Social Media Marketing?
One of the major principles of inbound marketing is bringing your ideal customers to you. Since your ideal customers are using social media—everyone is—having a social media presence is a necessity if you want to draw in potential customers.
Creating a community through social media marketing has some major benefits, like building brand awareness and helping to establish your industry reputation as an authority in your field. Also, it can establish your company as enjoyable to interact with, which can result in people converting to customers when they do need your company’s products or services.
What is Social Media Advertising?
Social media advertising (also known as paid social) involves running paid ads on various social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. These can include banner ads as well as native ads and activities like boosting posts or like campaigns. Social media ads are often charged on a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression basis.
You can use paid social to promote content, like a whitepaper or guide that your company or marketing agency has created. You can develop an ad around this content you’re offering, or boost the posts where you shared the content offer. This increases the reach of your content, which can lead to more website traffic and conversions of visitors to leads.
Why do Paid Social?
Promotional posts on social media don’t have a ton of reach on their own and aren’t likely to get a lot of organic engagement. Paid social allows you to specifically target audiences. This targeting is no joke, either. Depending on the platform, you can target audiences by criteria such as location, age, gender, search history, interests and activities, device use, even things like employer or job title.
Since you’re paying either by the number of clicks or impressions (views) your ad gets, you want to ensure that you’re getting the most for your social media ad budget. You do this through targeting, which ensures that only the most relevant people (aka, your ideal customers) see your ads. This makes paid social a high-ROI advertising strategy.
Additionally, the analytics that social media advertising platforms provide you can help better understand your audience and fine-tune your advertisements for better reach, engagement, and ROI.
Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising
Essentially, advertising is a form of marketing that uses advertisements, which are paid notices that appear on public platforms. Not all marketing is advertising, but all advertising is marketing.
Which is Better? Social Media Marketing or Social Media Advertising?
If you’ve read this far, you probably already know what we’re going to say: you need both.
Social media marketing helps you build a community and foster relationships with current and potential customers—it’s a long game.
Social media advertising puts your name/products/services/links in front of people who are looking for what you offer right now.
Both of these strategies can generate leads and sales, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. Using social media for both its organic (unpaid) and paid methods of reaching your intended audience is simply the most effective use of the vast power of social media.
If you’re considering running any sort of PPC or other outbound marketing strategy, you need to be using Google Ads. It’s one of the best digital marketing tools available to any company and when used effectively, can yield huge results for boosting website traffic, generating leads, and making sales.
Here’s the complete guide on how to use Google Ads so that you can take advantage of one of the best advertising tools on the web.
What are Google Ads?
Search ads are a form of native advertising that appears on search engine result pages. When a user makes a query, search ads that are relevant to the keywords used in the query will appear at the top of the page as a sponsored result. These search ads look very similar to the organic search results that appear below them on the page.
Google Display Network
The Google Display Network is a network of sites from Youtube to Weather.com to your local news station’s website that partner with Google and host advertisements. Unlike paid search, these advertisements appear directly on sites in the GDN, in banners, sidebars, etc. Rather than appearing as search engine listings, they appear as clickable images, which you can design.
Google Ads has a lot of great features, including comprehensive and relatively easy to understand analytics so you can gauge the success of your campaigns, optimize future efforts, and measure marketing ROI. You can target very specific audiences and appear in searches for critical keywords, as well as selectively bid on cost-effective keywords and targeting options to maximize your marketing budget and ROI.
Not to mention, Google is the internet. Nearly all online searches in the US are performed using Google, and there are thousands and thousands of sites, local and national, in the Google Display Network. Google Ads will get your ads seen, no question.
Once you’ve entered all of this information, you’ll be ready to start your first campaign.
Create a Campaign
In Google Ads, a campaign is an overarching category containing ad groups. Ad groups are sets of keywords and associated ads.
If you’re creating your first campaign immediately after entering your business information and creating your account, you’ll be taken right to creating your first campaign. If you’ve already created an account, log in to your account and click the + icon on the Campaigns page.
From there, you’ll need to select the network you want your ad to appear on (i.e., search network or display network). Note that you can have your campaign run on both the search and display networks at the same time, or just one of those networks. You’ll also need to set a goal for your campaign (sales, leads, or website traffic are the options Google provides) and name your campaign.
Then you’ll select the locations where you want your ads to be shown. This can be general, like the whole US, or more specific, like the region, state, or city. You’ll also want to select the languages your potential customers speak.
Next, you’ll be prompted to choose a bidding strategy. Since Google Ads are pay-per-click (PPC) ads, each time someone clicks on your ad, you have to pay for that.
Bidding allows you to limit the amount you spend on your campaign for maximum ROI. The interface offers you many different bidding strategies depending on your campaign goals, including maximize clicks, maximize conversions, target page search location, target outranking share, target CPA, target ROAS, enhanced CPC, and manual CPC.
Then enter a daily budget for your campaign, based on how much you want to spend on that campaign.
You’ll then be prompted to enter start and end dates for your campaign, as well as ad extensions.
Ad extensions are extensions of your ad: they allow you to include additional information like an additional sitelink, more business information (like hours or storefront location), or a phone number.
Keywords are the key to effective Google Ads, and effective PPC ads in general. You’ll need to select keywords that are:
The Google Ads platform has a keyword planner that can be useful in generating keywords. Under “Get keyword ideas” you can enter a related website or your product or service, and the keyword planner will suggest possible keywords.
If you’ve already been doing some digital marketing or updating your website, you may already have a keyword strategy in place and have some specific keywords, based on research, that you want to target.
Track and Review Metrics
In the Ads interface, select the tool icon in the top right corner, then select “Conversions.” Then select the + button, then select the type of conversion you want to track: website, app, phone calls, or imported from another system. From there you’ll define and categorize your goals, and add a global site tag and event tag to your landing page to track the conversions.
To review your ad performance, start at the Overview page. You can customize the line chart that appears to show you the data that is most interesting and relevant to you, such as clicks, conversions, conversion rates, and cost per conversion.
The tiles below the chart display useful information and data trends, such as which devices are accessing your campaigns, or your campaign activity today compared to the average number of clicks over the course of the campaign.
If you’re looking at your website traffic for the month and are disappointed by it, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. No matter what your product, service, or industry, there are things that you can start doing today to boost web traffic to your site.
These 5 strategies are proven to boost web traffic and can help you turn around those disappointing numbers.
Write More Content
More isn’t always better, except that it is, especially when it comes to content on your website. The equation is simple: more content = more keywords used = more opportunities for searchers to find you.
We can complicate that a little by adding that your search engine ranking will increase the more you use keywords in unique instances in your content (i.e., the more blogs and pages you have on a subject, the higher your ranking for the related keywords).
But aren’t people’s attention spans shrinking? I thought no one read anymore?
Here’s the deal: people aren’t necessarily reading all of your content. They’re skimming it. The more content you have, the more they’re going to get out of it, since they’re only seeing and digesting less than a third of the words on the page.
Plus, it establishes authority for your organization—the more you have to say about something, the more it seems like you know what you’re talking about.
Get Active on Social Media
Social media is one of the best tools for reaching potential customers and leads. Everyone (or nearly everyone) is using at least one form of social media, if not several.
For those reasons alone, not to mention the advertising, sharing, and engagement capabilities of these platforms, social media is a critical part of any digital strategy, and for increasing traffic to your website.
So, first of all, have a social media presence on all of the platforms that are relevant to your industry, whether that be LinkedIn and Twitter or Instagram and Houzz. Ensure that your website URL is in your bio (Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest) or in the designated profile field (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Houzz) so that people can find it.
You should also be using your social media to promote your content. Share your blog posts across your social media channels so that followers and their followers can read, like, and share them. You can also refer users to relevant content when they have questions about your company, products, or services. Those shares will bring users directly to your content on your site, boosting traffic.
Use Mobile-Friendly Design
Mobile-friendly design or mobile-responsive design is web design that accommodates different types of devices and different screen sizes, as well as the differences in the way that internet users interact with websites on different devices.
A website with mobile-friendly design will have pages that adapt to various screen sizes, ensuring that design elements and text scale to the appropriate size for the screen they’re displayed on and that text, buttons, menus, etc. are readable and usable.
Additionally, internet users searching on mobile are going to have different behavior than those using computers. They’re less likely to read long content (scrolling thumb is realllll) and they’re also less likely to complete long forms.
So, you may want to consider how your content presents to the mobile user, as well as shortening or autofilling forms.
Over 60 percent of searches are performed on mobile devices, and, according to HubSpot, 63 percent of people expect a mobile-responsive website design. What this means is that website visitors want to view your site on their tablets and smartphones. If they can’t, you’re going to lose their attention and they’ll navigate away from your site.
More to the point though, mobile-friendly design is crucial if you want to boost web traffic. Why?
The answer won’t surprise you: Google’s algorithm.
Since 2015, Google has been using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for mobile searches. In 2016, Google began mobile-first indexing, meaning that rather than the desktop version of sites being what the algorithm uses to determine the value of the content to the user, mobile pages are indexed first.
People are using Google all day, every day, everywhere.
That means that people, all day, every day, everywhere are seeing Google ads. And that’s why they work.
Google ads are a simple, comprehensive, and targeted way to reach your desired markets and direct them to your website and landing pages. Whether through paid search or the Google Display Network, Google ads can drive traffic to your website.
Write Guest Blogs
Guest blogging is the practice of writing blog posts that are featured on other blogs in your field or industry.
You might be thinking, Why should I write content for someone else’s blog and boost their SEO and web traffic when I could post it on my blog?
Well, guest blogging:
Builds credibility—By being invited or allowed to guest blog, you’re having other industry professionals vouch for your knowledge and experience.
Reaches new audiences—The site you’re guest blogging for might have a greater or slightly different audience than your blog, and by writing a guest blog, you’re reaching a new audience for whom your products and services are relevant.
Gets your site a link—The site you’re guest blogging for is going to include some information about you, the guest blogger, and your organization. This will include a link to your site (or it should!). Google takes into account the number of inbound links to your site in search engine ranking, and higher search engine rankings equal more web traffic.
Doesn’t preclude similar content on your own site—Obviously, you can’t just copy one of your existing blogs and send it to another site as a guest blog, or they’ll get penalized for duplicate content. But what you can do is write on the same subject as a guest blog you wrote on your own site. Make sure the wording and formatting are fresh, but the ideas conveyed can be reimagined and posted.
More content to promote on social media—just because it’s not on your blog doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote it through your social channels. Your followers may find the content interesting and useful and choose to engage with it and with your company.
While you’re at it, you should have guest bloggers on your blog as well. The benefits of guest bloggers on your site include:
Building credibility by linking to other, credible industry professionals
More content and unique instances of keywords
Outbound links to reputable, relevant sites
Social sharing of the content by the author, amplifying your social media activity
Tried everything and still not seeing a traffic boost? Let’s chat. Inbound marketing is our thing, and we’re experts at driving the right, qualified traffic. We’d love to see how we can help.