A B2B Manufacturer’s Guide to Inbound Marketing

A B2B Manufacturer’s Guide to Inbound Marketing

A B2B Manufacturer’s Guide to Inbound Marketing

You finally have an up-to-date website, ongoing PPC campaigns, and an accurate Google business listing. Your inbound marketing strategy is tight. The leads should be rolling in, right? But for some reason, your landing pages aren’t getting the results you hoped for. Why aren’t your landing pages converting?

Research shows that 94% of B2B buyers are doing their own research online.

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?

It’s all about inbound marketing. If you’re looking to draw in qualified leads, and turn them into long-term clients, check out that page to figure out where you can get started. Or, just give us a call. We promise that’s a lot easier.

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Online Research – The Undeniable Reason That Inbound Marketing Works for B2B

Online Research – The Undeniable Reason That Inbound Marketing Works for B2B

Online Research – The Undeniable Reason That Inbound Marketing Works for B2B

As an inbound marketing company with expertise in B2B manufacturing, there are a few things we’ve come to recognize as absolute truths with B2B sales and marketing. One of these absolute truths is that everyone does online research before making decisions. By everyone, I mean everyone in the world. We all do it. We’ve heard time and time again from manufacturing companies their customers “aren’t online.” That’s complete bull-sugar.

The fact of the matter is that while you may be likely to retain your current customers, you’re not going to get new ones (or better ones) by just sitting around. And telling your sales team to “hit the ground running” and “pound some pavement” isn’t going to get you the results you want either. Why?

Because your new clients aren’t out on the road, or a phone call away. They’re online. Doing research.

But, you don’t have to take our word for it:

According to a 2014 study done by the State of B2B Procurements, 94% of business buyers conduct some sort of online research before they make a purchase. That’s irrefutable evidence that your customers are in fact, online. The study also showed that:

  1. 77% of those B2B buyers use Google for their research
  2. 84% of them check out business websites before buying
  3. 34% visit 3rd party websites for unbiased information
  4. 41% read the user reviews

These stats make it pretty clear that people want to gather all the information they possibly can before they call your sales team. They know that they need your general product, that’s not the issue, they just need to know specifically which one they need, and from what company. A B2B manufacturing purchase is no small investment, and people are taking the time to make educated decisions based on the information that is available to them.  And that information is sought after on the internet.

Your best potential clients are Googling whatever product they need, figuring out everything they can about it, and then, as the last two statistics show, comparing prices and quality before making their final decision. They want to know they’re getting the best product for the best price, and they’ll do extensive research (at least 79 days worth of it according to this study) to ensure they’ve made the right decision before they finally make a purchase.

What these stats are telling us is this: Your buyers are empowered. They know what they need, they just want the information to help them make the best educated decision for a solution. Your buyers don’t want to be sold on anything, they want the information to make their own decision.

That means they don’t want blogs or posts that tell them how great your company’s product is and how well it will work; that’s amateur infomercial content that won’t get you anywhere. Instead, they want the facts. They want complete, unbiased information that tells them how to troubleshoot their machine, what size machine they need for their factory, or what product will function best for their operations.

But why the different marketing stance? And when did your buyers become so empowered?

Consider who is making these purchasing decisions today. True, it used to be old, senior executives of the company who had the power and the ability to say “I want that product, and I want it in x amount of time, no matter the cost.” Then they grabbed their Rolodex and started making calls. But what you need to know, as a B2B manufacturer in 2016, is that your target market isn’t middle-aged men with business cards on a Rolodex anymore.

Who are they then?

Google conducted a study with Millward Brown Digital in 2014 that focused just on B2B buyers. They wanted to know who was buying, how they bought things, and what their buying process was.

One of the most relevant discoveries to you, is that nearly half of the people responsible for the B2B buying decisions were millennials. And what do we know about millennials?

They’re digital natives.

They grew up with technology in their hands. By the time they made it into the workforce, they already had Blackberrys and were firing off emails like they were born to do it. And let’s face it, they were.

Millennials are the most tech savvy generation in the workforce, and they’re taking over as B2B buyers. Google’s study shows that they research, research, research, do some price comparison, and then research some more, before they even consider making a call to a sales person.

So, what we’re trying to get at here, is yes, your customers are online. In fact, they’re all over the internet. The Millennial generation now makes up the largest percentage of B2B buyers, which means they deserve your attention. And if you don’t have useful digital content for them, they’re not going to come to you.

The old marketing plan used to be, “get your name out there, make sure people are aware of your brand, and hope they call you.” We suggest that you don’t hope. Although we do appreciate the positive mental attitude, you can’t build a business on hope alone. Don’t hope that someone will call you. Know it.

And how do you know that people are going to call you?

By generating compelling content that is useful to your buyers.

The research shows that people don’t want to be sold to anymore. Your buyers are empowered business men and women, who want to come to their own conclusions with the help of great, informational content.  

That’s why content marketing works.

People are doing online research, and when you come up with all kinds of great content that helps them decide what products are right for their company, then you become a trusted authority.  

When people trust you to provide decent, helpful, informational content, they’re more likely to purchase your product, because you’ve nurtured that relationship. They know you have their best interest at heart, and are working to sell them a quality product that will improve and make their lives easier, not just for your own personal gain.  

Sound too touchy-feely for a B2B manufacturer?  

That’s okay, we’ve got examples.

You’ve heard of John Deere, right?

Perhaps the largest manufacturer of farming and agricultural equipment, John Deere makes just about every kind of large machine that works outdoors: from tractors to combines to lawn mowers. But the real question is, why have you heard of them?

(If you’re guessing we might be hinting towards content and inbound marketing, you’re right)

Believe it or not, John Deere started content marketing over 100 years ago. John Deere’s son, Charles, started a 14049575075_f81e3d6de8_bmagazine called The Furrow back in 1895, not as a catalogue to sell their equipment, but as a genuine farming magazine, dedicated to helping other farmers better their business.  The magazine had tips and articles on farming, like how to grow your farm, and how to make a larger profit in the agricultural industry. Now, more than 100 years later, The Furrow is still circulated to millions of customers on six continents, and is translated into more than 30 languages.  And without even so much as mentioning themselves in their magazine, John Deere has become the leader of the agricultural industry.

And honestly, that’s the trick.  In all of their magazines, through hundreds of years of publications, John Deere has probably mentioned their own equipment a handful of times. Because endless self-promotion doesn’t do anything for your customers. The Furrow educates and informs its readers in an unbiased way, and those millions of customers respect John Deere for that. Though John Deere foots the bill for the magazine, it is completely independent of the publication itself, and yet one third of all of the millions of readers of The Furrow buy John Deere.

If that’s not a testament to content marketing, we don’t know what is.  

John Deere published the best, most informative content that was relevant to their target market. Readers appreciated the honesty, and really appreciated the lack of selfish product placement. And because John Deere had the best unbiased content that spoke to their potential clients, they got the business anyway. No hard-selling techniques, no cold calling, just proven content marketing.

And this business model works across the board.

We’ve proven to you by now that your customers are researching online voraciously. With 94% of your potential customers searching for information about you and your product on the internet, you’ve got a massive opportunity to target customers through content creation. You know they’re doing the research, you just have to provide the information that fuels that research process.

The facts is, your best potential buyers are online. They’re tech-savvy, and they’ll put in the time and the effort to do months of online research deciding which big-ticket item they want from your B2B. To reach those buyers, you need to develop quality content that addresses their pain points and feeds them the information they’re looking for. When buyers keep coming back to your content for reference in their research, and to help them make major purchasing decisions, you become their adviser and the company they trust to purchase the product they need.

Inbound marketing works. And if you’re looking to make it work for your B2B manufacturer, we can help

What Are LinkedIn Showcase Pages and How Can They Work For Your B2B?

What Are LinkedIn Showcase Pages and How Can They Work For Your B2B?

What Are LinkedIn Showcase Pages and How Can They Work For Your B2B?

So you’ve realized that LinkedIn is a great platform to market your B2B, but you’re unsure how to go about it. Or maybe you’re already optimizing your Company Page, but you’re looking for more ways to generate leads from LinkedIn.  Well, here’s a great way to do both! Introducing LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages:

Though they’ve been around for awhile, shockingly few B2Bs are truly utilizing Showcase Pages in a way that can help them generate leads. Believe it or not, they’re fairly simple, and by putting a little bit of extra effort into your LinkedIn account, you could see massive results in your lead generation, just by effectively adding a couple of Showcase Pages. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, first of all, what are Showcase Pages all about?

Well, LinkedIn originally released Showcase Pages to replace their old “products and services” pages. The concept was to create a better, more appealing way for companies to “showcase” their products and services. A Showcase Page essentially creates a targeted feed that users can follow to get your content regularly. This page links directly to your company page, and provides you with a platform to express one aspect of your business in depth. Showcase pages are different from the previous product and service pages in a few ways:

  • A larger hero image – With a hero image larger than even the one on your company page, you’re free to make a statement. Choose something that’s relevant to that specific Showcase Page, and relates to your company as well.
  • They feature a two column layout – This is a great way to publish content, and it has the added benefit of making your content more easily digestible for the reader.
  • You can buy sponsored updates on Showcase Pages, unlike Group Pages
  • Different from your Company Page, there are no tabs at the top of Showcase Pages to distract viewers or cause them to bounce off your page.
  • Additionally, all Showcase Pages link directly back to your company page, which drives traffic, and gives followers the opportunity to check out all of the other great services you offer.

What makes Showcase Pages ideal for your B2B?

While Showcase Pages were originally designed specifically for products, it turns out they’re also super useful for targeting B2B buyer personas.  Showcase Pages are a wonderful tool for lead generation because they allow you to directly target specific buyer personas. Each Showcase Page has its own feed, and individuals follow it separately from your other pages.

Let’s say your top buyer personas are animal dentists and home builders. They have almost nothing in common. While both the animal dentists and the home builders need, or can benefit from your product, content that’s relevant to one won’t always be relevant to the other.  That’s where Showcase Pages become useful.

Now that you know why you should use them, how should you use LinkedIn Showcase Pages?

As a B2B, you can make a Showcase Page for each persona, and market directly to that persona.  No longer will your animal dentists have to wade through content meant for home builders to get to content applicable to them.  With Showcase Pages your clients and potential leads can get rid of the noise and follow only the content that is relevant to them.

While LinkedIn does give you 10 Showcase pages for free, we caution you not to overdo it. Creating too many pages, or breaking down your services too far will create a lot of extra work for you, and it’s likely that your Showcase Pages will become too thin, making them useless to your followers.

Ultimately, there is a lot of information that you can cross-promote, so long as you have a manageable amount of Showcase Pages. Some content will be relevant to multiple pages, so don’t feel like you have to publish content exclusively to one Showcase Page.  You want to make sure that, even though you’re targeting your content toward a certain buyer persona, they still know about your entire range of offerings. Overlap is encouraged, as long as it’s tasteful and remains relevant to the persona you’re targeting.

As a final point on Showcase Pages, it’s important to remember that they won’t work for you unless you’re creating quality content to promote on those platforms.  While the Showcase Page does create a straightforward, targeted arena for the client you want, they won’t visit your page or follow if they aren’t compelled by your content.  So, like many facets of digital marketing, it all comes down to your content. If you’re running multiple Showcase Pages, you should make sure you have great, unique content that’s specifically relevant to the buyer personas you’re targeting on each page.

You can check out some of our Showcase Pages here:

B2B Manufacturing Showcase Page

Attorney & Law Firm Showcase Page

Residential Home Builder & Developer Showcase Page

Dentist & Orthodontist Showcase Page

Please be sure and follow any that you might find useful.

You can also follow Evenbound here:
https://www.linkedin.com/company/evenbound/

And you can connect with me on LinkedIn here:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnheritage

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6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

Linkedin is the ultimate social media platform in terms of generating leads for B2B companies.  Though Linkedin started just as a way for people to get their resumés out there, it’s evolved into something much larger, and has become a must-have tool for any B2B marketing strategy. Marketing on Linkedin is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. Everyone in the network is a professional, so once you figure out how to market directly to your target customers, you’ll be generating leads in no time. Here are our top 6 tips to get Linkedin to work for your B2B company:

1) Join Discussion Groups

A great way to get your company’s name out there and develop authority is to join discussion groups. Do other professionals have questions that you can answer? Can your company provide knowledge and insight to a certain group?

Since you can only join about 50 groups on Linkedin, make sure you choose groups that are highly active, directly related to your company, and medium-sized. A group that’s too small won’t generate many leads, and in a group that’s too large, your comments and posts are likely to get lost in the shuffle. You can search groups on Linkedin and check them out before you join, so use this tool to make sure every group you join is highly relevant to your B2B company.

Also remember that this is not the place to directly solicit your B2B company. Rather, you’re gaining trust and authority by posting relevant and insightful comments that address the questions of the group.

 

2) Share Content

You know all of that optimized content you’ve been working on for your blog and social posts? Well, Linkedin is an excellent platform to publish that informational, interesting content.

You’ll be publishing to other industry professionals who know exactly what you’re talking about, and are likely to fit your target audience. Linkedin is a great place to share your B2B company’s targeted content, both on corporate and personal pages.

 

3) Connect with decision makers

Linkedin was originally created so that business professionals could connect with other business professionals, so use that to your advantage. You can easily determine who company decision makers are by looking at their job titles and description.

Once you figure out who’s calling the shots you can connect with them and set up a meeting to explain the connection. Before you approach them, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with their profile and page so you can provide a pitch that is personal and relevant. Showing that you’ve done your research, and are legitimately interested in their business’s needs and pain points is the best way to make a good impression.

 

4) Make your company page work for you

Your company’s page is the first thing that people look at when they hear about you, or are considering your product. Often before contacting you, potential clients will check your social media pages, and the best way to ensure they do contact you is to make sure your Linkedin page is compelling.

Your page should include your logo and a visually interesting picture that captures your business well. You should also have a concise, clear description of what your B2B company is, and what it can do for your clients. Think of your company’s page as a way to generate leads. If you can get them to click through to your site from your Linkedin page, you’re doing it right.

For more information about optimizing your company page, check out our free visual guide on creating the perfect B2B Linkedin page!

 

5) Use the Advanced Search

A really handy tool that Linkedin provides to help enhance your marketing strategy is their advanced search. You can use it to find professionals that are good potential leads by selecting filters relevant to your B2B company. You can filter your search by industry, location, current company, and past company, to ensure that you’re finding people who are viable leads.

Another great aspect of the Linkedin Advanced Search is that you’re able to save searches, even if you don’t have a Premium account. Once you’ve saved your search, Linkedin will periodically send you emails with people who fit your search qualifications.

 

6) Consider upgrading to a premium account

Finally, it could be worth the investment to upgrade to a Linkedin Premium account. A premium account means Linkedin will send you more-targeted recommendations, will let you view unlimited profiles, and will also let you see, in more detail, who’s visited your page in the past 90 days.

You’ll also be able to send InMail, a handy email marketing tool, if used correctly. Linkedin offers a 30 day free trial, so you can test to see if Linkedin Premium is something that’s truly beneficial to your company. After the trial period, plans start at $59.99 a month.

We can’t emphasize enough how integral Linkedin is to any B2B marketing strategy. It’s proven to be the top lead-generating social network for B2B companies, and it only continues to expand. If you have any questions about optimizing your business’ Linkedin account to generate more leads, or want help developing your B2B company’s digital marketing strategy, let’s talk.

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6 Ways Linkedin Can Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

6 Ways Linkedin Can Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

Linkedin is the ultimate social media platform in terms of generating leads for B2B companies. Though Linkedin started just as a way for people to get their resumés out there, it’s evolved into something much larger, and has become a must-have tool for any B2B marketing strategy. Marketing on Linkedin is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. Everyone in the network is a professional, so once you figure out how to market directly to your target customers, you’ll be generating leads in no time. Here are our top 6 tips to get Linkedin to work for your B2B company:

  1. Join Discussion Groups
    A great way to get your company’s name out there and develop authority is to join discussion groups. Do other professionals have questions that you can answer? Can your company provide knowledge and insight to a certain group? Since you can only join about 50 groups on Linkedin, make sure you choose groups that are highly active, directly related to your company, and medium-sized. A group that’s too small won’t generate many leads, and in a group that’s too large, your comments and posts are likely to get lost in the shuffle. You can search groups on Linkedin and check them out before you join, so use this tool to make sure every group you join is highly relevant to your B2B company. Also remember that this is not the place to directly solicit your B2B company. Rather, you’re gaining trust and authority by posting relevant and insightful comments that address the questions of the group.
  2. Share Content
    You know all of that optimized content you’ve been working on for your blog and social posts? Well, Linkedin is an excellent platform to publish that informational, interesting content. You’ll be publishing to other industry professionals who know exactly what you’re talking about and are likely to fit your target audience. Linkedin is a great place to share your B2B company’s targeted content, both on corporate and personal pages.
  3. Connect with decision makers
    Linkedin was originally created so that business professionals could connect with other business professionals, so use that to your advantage. You can easily determine who company decision makers are by looking at their job titles and description. Once you figure out who’s calling the shots you can connect with them and set up a meeting to explain the connection. Before you approach them, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with their profile and page so you can provide a pitch that is personal and relevant. Showing that you’ve done your research, and are legitimately interested in their business’s needs and pain points is the best way to make a good impression.
  4. Make your company page work for you
    Your company’s page is the first thing that people look at when they hear about you, or are considering your product. Often before contacting you, potential clients will check your social media pages, and the best way to ensure they do contact you is to make sure your Linkedin page is compelling. Your page should include your logo and a visually interesting picture that captures your business well. You should also have a concise, clear description of what your B2B company is, and what it can do for your clients. Think of your company’s page as a way to generate leads. If you can get them to click through to your site from your Linkedin page, you’re doing it right. For more information about optimizing your company page, check out our free visual guide on creating the perfect B2B Linkedin page!
  5. Use the Advanced Search
    A really handy tool that Linkedin provides to help enhance your marketing strategy is their advanced search. You can use it to find professionals that are good potential leads by selecting filters relevant to your B2B company. You can filter your search by industry, location, current company, and past company, to ensure that you’re finding people who are viable leads. Another great aspect of the Linkedin Advanced Search is that you’re able to save searches, even if you don’t have a Premium account. Once you’ve saved your search, Linkedin will periodically send you emails with people who fit your search qualifications.
  6. Consider upgrading to a premium account
    Finally, it could be worth the investment to upgrade to a Linkedin Premium account. A premium account means Linkedin will send you more-targeted recommendations, will let you view unlimited profiles, and will also let you see, in more detail, who’s visited your page in the past 90 days. You’ll also be able to send InMail, a handy email marketing tool, if used correctly. Linkedin offers a 30 day free trial, so you can test to see if Linkedin Premium is something that’s truly beneficial to your company. After the trial period, plans start at $59.99 a month.

We can’t emphasize enough how integral Linkedin is to any B2B marketing strategy. It’s proven to be the top lead-generating social network for B2B companies, and it only continues to expand. If you have any questions about optimizing your business’ Linkedin account to generate more leads, or want help developing your B2B company’s digital marketing strategy, let’s talk.

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