Digital Marketing For Manufacturers: Evenbound’s Exhaustive Guide

Digital Marketing For Manufacturers: Evenbound’s Exhaustive Guide

Digital Marketing For Manufacturers: Evenbound’s Exhaustive Guide

If you’re new here, you’re about to learn a whole lot about digital marketing for manufacturers. If you’re not new here, then you know we’ve been working with manufacturers since day one. 
In all of the years we’ve been supporting manufacturing companies with digital marketing services, we’ve used what we’ve learned to develop, publish, edit, and republish dozens of blogs about digital marketing best practices for manufacturers. 
In this Exhaustive Guide to Digital Marketing for Manufacturers, we’ve gone ahead and pulled out just the very best blogs from our years of experience, and combined them into one comprehensive guide. 
How to Use The Guide: It’s comprehensive. That also means it’s long. Read through it from start to finish, or use the menu below to jump to the topics you’re most interested in. 
A Quick Note: The Exhaustive Guide to Digital Marketing For Manufacturers is split into inbound and outbound marketing sections. If you know us (Inbound + Outbound = Evenbound) you know that we believe inbound and outbound marketing together produce the highest quality results for our clients. Check out this blog for more info on the Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing debate. 
Alright, let’s get to it!
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Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers

20 Blogs To Help You Get Your Manufacturing Company’s Digital Marketing Strategy Off the Ground

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Word of mouth marketing just isn’t doing it for manufacturers anymore. I’m willing to bet that’s why you’re here.
Maybe your company was the first to develop a revolutionary part or component. Maybe you’ve been on top of the industry for decades, but are starting to see the leads dry up. Whatever your concern, most manufacturers struggle with a common issue — your leads are looking for your products online now, and you just don’t have an online presence you’re proud of. 
That’s where inbound marketing comes in. Inbound marketing: 

  • Helps you draw in more of the right leads
  • Boosts your digital presence
  • Improves your position in the market
  • Can get you in front of your competitors in search results
If you’ve ever asked someone: 

  • How to get on the first page of Google
  • How to make your name show up ahead of your competitor’s
  • How to get the leads to call you
Then inbound marketing is your answer. This guide to digital marketing for manufacturers starts with inbound marketing because that is the methodology that will set you apart online and help you draw in more of the right leads. 
Each of these resources will help you improve on a specific part of your manufacturing company’s inbound marketing strategy, starting with how you define your buyer personas.
Market to the right people:

Start With Your Buyer Personas

It’s hard to have a good digital marketing strategy if you don’t know who you’re marketing to. 

guide to defining your buyer persona-digital-marketing-for-manufacturers

If you’re not very familiar with buyer personas, start with the first blog. If you’ve heard of them, but want help figuring out how to define them, go with the step-by-step guide. 

Inbound marketing for manufacturers:

The Basics

Now that you know who you’re marketing to, you can dive into the how-tos of inbound marketing. 
The goal here is to draw more of the right leads to your website and manufacturing company, so your marketing and sales team can focus their efforts on converting those leads to sales. 
Here are some of the basics to know about inbound marketing: 
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Convert More of the Right Leads:

Functional Website Design & Intuitive Lead Generation

Inbound marketing revolves around your website. Why? It’s the only space you own on the internet. 
Your website is the place where you can convert all of those visitors into leads. To do that, it needs to be functional. A mix of lead generation strategies and website design tips can help you draw more of the right visitors to your site, and then convert them into leads.

Bringing the Right People in With Lead Generation Strategies for Manufacturers:

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Draw in Leads & Boost Your Digital Authority:

Content Marketing

inbound marketing vs content marketing
If your website is where you convert leads, your content marketing strategy is what gets them to your website in the first place. 
There’s no doubt about it — content marketing is one of the most successful ways to draw the right leads to your site. When you put out high-quality content consistently over time, it has the added bonus of boosting your manufacturing company’s digital presence. (That means you rank higher than the competition.) Here’s how you do it: 

Outbound Marketing for Manufacturers

17 of our best outbound marketing blogs to help you draw in more of the right leads.

The first section of this Exhaustive Guide to Digital Marketing for Manufacturers covered inbound marketing — how to pull in more of the right leads. This section will cover outbound marketing for manufacturers. 
This section is all about how to get the word out about your company, in a way that makes sense to today’s consumer. 
In the past, especially for manufacturers, outbound marketing had to do with a lot of cold sales calls and visits, and a lot of print marketing. Today, almost none of that is effective, and it’s a time drain for your sales team. 
The new age of outbound marketing is all about getting your manufacturing company in front of the right leads in non-disruptive ways.

And you do that with modern marketing techniques like social media marketing and advertising, paid search advertising, and the big one — sales and marketing alignment. As always, let’s start with the basics: 

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Outbound Marketing for Manufacturers:

The Basics

If you’re new to modern outbound marketing, these blogs will help provide a better picture of what great outbound marketing looks like and give you some tools to try out first: 
Getting the Word Out:

Social Media for Manufacturers

Too often, we hear that social media just isn’t for manufacturers. Your product isn’t sexy or cool, and none of your leads are on social media. 
Fortunately, you’re wrong. 
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Social media has a range of uses for manufacturers, from helping you build brand awareness, to putting you in front of legitimate buyers and leads, to helping you hire more of the right people for your growing team. 
If that’s a new thought for you, these blogs have a lot of helpful information that will show you not just why you should be using social media, but how you can leverage it for success. 
Pulling in the leads you want:

Paid Search Advertising and PPC for Manufacturers

Inbound marketing is remarkably effective, but it can take some time to gain traction. Outbound marketing, on the other hand, has the potential to deliver immediate results. 
PPC advertising, done right, is a great way to a) get your manufacturing company ahead of the competition in search results, and b) start drawing in more of the right leads, right now. 
The Final Piece of the Puzzle:

Bringing Your Sales Team On Board

When your manufacturing company has a solid digital marketing strategy rolling, the final step is bringing the sales team on board. Aligning your sales and marketing teams to one set of goals will deliver significant ROI. 

When both marketing and sales are working to the same goals, your efforts are laser-focused on just the tactics you know will pull in and convert more of those deals you’re looking for.  
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And that’s it! With more than 35 resources and plenty of help on everything from defining your buyer personas to enabling your sales team, I hope you found a few blogs that helped you finesse your manufacturing company’s digital marketing strategy. 
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Want to See Digital Marketing for Manufacturers in Action? Check Out These Case Studies

If you’re not sold on digital marketing, or if you want to see some of these tips and tactics in action, check out these case studies. Each highlights how these digital marketing tactics produced significant results that contributed to a different manufacturer’s growth: 
vanguard website mock

Winner of HubSpot's Q1 2020 Grow Better Sales Impact Award

Sales enablement and HubSpot services came together to help shorten the sales cycle for this industrial service provider. In one quarter, Vanguard Fire & Security saw 921 new leads, 96 new customers, and $2.8 million dollars in closed-won sales. 

Check Out the Case Study

angstrom web design

Cleanroom Manufacturer Increases Leads & Conversions

Consistent, ongoing inbound marketing combined with HubSpot’s robust CRM helped this cleanroom manufacturer see a 75% increase in new users, a 355% increase in conversions, and 337 new conversions — all contributing to overall company growth. 

Check Out the Case Study

binsfeld engineering

Inbound Marketing Delivers Significant Boost In Digital Presence for Manufacturer

After just one quarter of dedicated, strategic digital marketing, this manufacturer saw an 87% increase in organic traffic, a 172% increase in new contacts, and converted 10 new customers. For manufacturers who understand the struggle of a long sales cycle, this is a great case study to look at. 

Check Out the Case Study

geolean web page

Digital Marketing for Manufacturing Consultant Drives Qualified Leads and Conversions

If you’re interested to see how a complete digital marketing strategy can produce results for manufacturers in niche industries, this is the case study to see. In the course of an initial 12-month engagement, this manufacturing consultant saw 241 new conversions, a 166% increase in sessions, and a 178% increase in new users. 

Check Out the Case Study

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4 Lead Generation Strategies That Deliver Measurable Growth For Manufacturers

4 Lead Generation Strategies That Deliver Measurable Growth For Manufacturers

4 Lead Generation Strategies That Deliver Measurable Growth For Manufacturers

If your manufacturing company is doubling-down on digital marketing (and you should be) lead generation is probably on the brain. But you don’t just want any leads — you want good, qualified leads who are a good fit for your product, and who are getting ready to make a purchase. 

You’re also going to need to measure those leads and the growth they deliver, so you can show management exactly how your digital marketing efforts are working, and why it’s a valuable investment to continue in the future. 

That’s a big ask, but luckily, digital marketing is one of the — if not the — most measurable marketing methodologies out there. Here are four lead generation strategies that deliver not just the leads you want, but also growth you can measure for your manufacturing company. 

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01. Content Development

If you want to draw in more leads, you need more traffic. Content development gets you there. 

Blogging on topics and keywords that your ideal buyer is already searching for is the best way to pull in more qualified traffic. The more you educate, the higher your manufacturing company will start to rank, and the more authority you’ll gain in the industry. 

Why do you care about authority? Because when you’re the first place someone looks for an answer to their question, you’re also the first place they’ll look when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. 

Boom — lead converted. 

It’s also good to consider that content development can mean a whole lot more than just blogging. 

Developing interesting video content, helpful how-to guides, infographics, and downloadable content offers are all content development methods that work to pull in more traffic and convert leads. 

And as long as you’re measuring and analyzing the stats associated with your content (you are, right?), you’ll be able to see exactly which pieces of content are driving the most traffic, converting them most leads, and delivering measurable growth for your manufacturing company. 

02. Improve Your Website for Conversions

When it comes to lead generation for your manufacturing company, boosting your traffic is the first challenge. The second is sorting all of that new traffic into qualified leads. 

If you’re looking to support measurable growth, it’s important to improve your website for digital conversions. 

That means calls-to-actions, content offers, landing pages, and lead-qualifying forms. 

Your site can have all the traffic in the world, but if it’s not optimized to convert any of that traffic, you aren’t going to see growth, and you certainly won’t be able to measure it. 

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Implement buttons and calls to actions, like “Contact Us”, “Ask the Experts”, or “Talk to an Engineer” that make it easy for your leads to take the action that’s most valuable to you. That might be: 

  • Making a phone call
  • Filling out a qualifying form
  • Sending an email
  • Or even responding to a chatbot on your site

Take the time to figure out what methods are best for your sales team, and for your customers. Then, implement them!

Strategic conversion opportunities give your website visitors the gentle nudge they need to become leads, and they give you the data you need to accurately measure growth. 

When you implement forms and CTAs, you get the contact information you need to nurture those leads into a sale. You also get all the data you need to better understand what your ideal leads are looking for, and what content is most valuable to them. 

03. Invest in Smarter PPC

Manufacturers love PPC (pay-per-click advertising). Why?

It’s easy. Not for your PPC team, but for you. 

Put a little money behind a few campaigns and *bam* instant lead generation. 

All you need is a budget, and you’re ready to go. In general, content doesn’t need to be approved, keywords don’t need to be approved, you just set a campaign, and forget it. 

Unfortunately, this approach to PPC isn’t going to deliver the measurable growth you’re looking for. 

Like I said, manufacturers love PPC. In general, that means your ads cost more because there is significantly more competition. Take one look at the first chart from our Google Ad Benchmarks by Industry article, and you’ll see manufacturers outspend every other industry significantly. 

EB Google Ads Benchmark Monthly Spend

Having a big budget is great, as long as you’re strategic about where you’re allocating it. If you’ve been operating on a “set it and forget it” mentality, you can do a lot more to foster measurable growth. A few tips: 

  • Do a competitive analysis. See what your competitors are bidding on, and maybe more importantly, what they’re not bidding on.  
  • Do keyword research. General keywords like “automotive manufacturer” and “fifth-wheels” are relevant to you, but they’re expensive and don’t signal buyer intent. Look for long-tail keywords that might have less search volume, but are likely to convert greater numbers of highly qualified leads. You’ll spend less to get better leads. 
  • Create strategic, specific landing pages. If your PPC ads direct leads to your home page, you might as well throw your budget in the trash. If you’re running ad campaigns about a specific product, send those leads to the product page, or better yet, to a landing page that funnels those leads into a conversion. 
  • Analyze, constantly. Finally, you can’t just set your PPC campaign and walk away. Pay attention to how your ads are performing over time. Are you spending enough? Are you bidding on the right keywords? Is your ad copy effective? Are you pulling in the right leads, who convert to sales? If something’s not working, change it. 

In a competitive market like manufacturing, it’s important to be strategic about paid advertising. Optimize your PPC strategy, and you’ll find you’re spending less to get greater numbers of qualified leads. 

04. Track Contacts & Leads with a CRM

The point of this article is to give you lead generation strategies that will deliver measurable growth for your manufacturing company. All of these strategies will get you the lead generation you want, along with some level of measurability. 

But, if you want to take your data to the next level, and get a clear picture of exactly which of your lead generation efforts are delivering growth, a CRM (customer relationship management system) is the way to go. 

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You already know we’re here for HubSpot. It’s affordable, it’s functional, and it gives you data on literally everything, from who is on your site to who is converting from your paid ads. 

But you don’t have to go with HubSpot just because we say so. There are a number of CRMs out there — you just have to find the one that fits you best. 

Find an option that is easy for your team to use, and that helps you measure, track, and analyze the contacts and leads coming to your manufacturing company’s website. Here are a couple of tools to help you get started:  

When you implement a CRM, you get instant cross-company data on every contact, lead, and prospect your marketing and sales teams are interacting with. You can see where they came from, what pages of your site they’re interacting with, and what emails, sales touches, or content pieces are pulling them closer to making a purchasing decision. 

That’s the measurement you need to define and align around the marketing tactics that are delivering growth. 

For manufacturers, finding and marketing to the right leads is often the most difficult part of the sales cycle. These strategies should help, but if you’re looking for more answers, the Evenbound team would love to chat.

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3 Manufacturing Marketing Strategies That Drive Sales

3 Manufacturing Marketing Strategies That Drive Sales

3 Manufacturing Marketing Strategies That Drive Sales

Quality manufacturing marketing strategies can be a struggle to find and implement. For many manufacturing companies, marketing is only recently necessary. In decades past, you probably relied primarily on word-of-mouth referrals, and for the most part, you still do today. The problem is that fewer of your ideal buyers are relying solely on word-of-mouth referrals.

Maybe you’ve recognized that you need to grow your position and presence in your market. Maybe you’ve noticed that competitors have a more prominent digital presence than you. 

Whatever the reason, there are a range of manufacturing marketing strategies you can use to draw in more of the right leads and shorten the sales cycle. If you’re looking for ways to grow your manufacturing company, these three manufacturing marketing strategies are proven to help you close more of the right deals, faster. Let’s take a look. 

01. Align Sales and Marketing Teams

Marketing isn’t a new concept for most manufacturers, but it does tend to be a tricky one. Many of the manufacturers we’ve worked with here at Evenbound either: 

  • Don’t have a marketing team. They have a few sales people who take the lead on some marketing initiatives, like developing mailers, brochures, or updating the website, but they don’t have a dedicated team of marketers supporting the manufacturing company. 
  • Have a marketing team that functions separately from the rest of the company. Marketing has its own department that doesn’t often interact with sales reps, product engineers, and more.

Both of these strategies are understandable — in the past they’ve worked well. But neither strategy is winning you sales today. 

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Today, any consumer, including the buyers and purchasers your manufacturing company so often sells to, is inundated with marketing and sales messaging. That means it’s more important than ever for you to absolutely nail any marketing message that’s going out into the world. 

Sales and marketing alignment is the first step to setting your manufacturing company up for marketing that drives sales. 

Since we have so much content out there already, I won’t go too far into it. When you’re on board, check out some of these other blogs we’ve got up on the site:

I will mention a few key points though. 

Sales and Marketing Alignment: Why it Works for Manufacturers

Sales and marketing alignment isn’t some huge, scary thing. It’s just getting your marketing and sales team in the same room, so they can share their separate experiences and expertise with the other team. 

When your sales and marketing teams are in the same room they can decide together: 

  • Who to market to
  • What a good lead looks like
  • The best methods to draw those great leads in
  • How to work together to nurture and close those ideal leads

Sales and marketing alignment is a manufacturing marketing strategy guaranteed to boost sales. 

When you have a dedicated marketing team who understands what leads are the most attractive to your sales team, they can implement manufacturing marketing tactics and strategies that work to pull that ideal lead in. 

02. Account-Based Marketing

When it comes to manufacturer marketing, it’s not uncommon to market to a small pool of companies. We often find our industrial manufacturing clients know exactly who they want to sell to. Especially if you’re selling a niche product for a specific market, you likely already know the key industry players. 

That’s why Account-Based Marketing is such a useful manufacturing marketing strategy. 

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a hyper-specific marketing strategy that focuses on targeting marketing efforts to key accounts, rather than marketing to a large group of potential prospects or to a more general industry. Check out this handy ABM diagram from the team at Intercom for a visual: 

abm-diagram

When you use account-based marketing as a manufacturing marketing strategy, you do the work of identifying key companies and accounts that you know would be a great fit for your product or service.

Then, your marketing team gets to work developing highly-targeted marketing content that’s addressed to the five or six stakeholders at that company. These are the people who are most likely to make the decision to go with your product over a competitor’s. 

Why is Account-Based Marketing An Ideal Manufacturing Marketing Strategy?

While ABM doesn’t work for everyone, it’s a great manufacturing marketing strategy, especially for heavy industrial manufacturers who know exactly where they want their products placed. The benefit for companies like this is that you’re putting all of your marketing efforts into accounts that you know can deliver significant returns. When you close, ROI is known and significant. 

The benefit of ABM for manufacturers is that you’re only spending time and resources on the accounts you know can convert and deliver ROI for your company

03. Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers

The third manufacturing marketing strategy here won’t come as much of a surprise if you’re familiar with the Evenbound team. 

Inbound marketing is a smart, cost-effective, and proven manufacturing marketing strategy. 

If you’re implementing the other two manufacturing marketing strategies mentioned earlier, inbound marketing is only more effective. 

When your sales and marketing teams are aligned, and you have a clear picture of who exactly you want to market to, inbound marketing is a powerful tool for manufacturers

How Does Inbound Marketing Pair with ABM & Sales and Marketing Alignment?

Inbound marketing works to draw in the right, qualified leads to your website. By developing and putting out content that your ideal buyers are searching for, you pull them into your site in a way that’s helpful, rather than disruptive. Let’s take a look at how HubSpot visualizes inbound marketing: 

inbound-marketing-flywheel

For more information about HubSpot’s Flywheel, check out our blog: Understanding the HubSpot Flywheel. 

When you become a part of your lead’s researching phase, you can then nurture that lead with more content and marketing and sales contact that helps them through their buyer’s journey. 

Then, when that lead is ready to make a purchasing decision, you’re top of mind. If you’ve been nurturing that lead, answering their questions, and providing the resources they need to make the right decision for their company, they’ll choose to buy from you. 

Does Inbound Marketing Actually Work for Manufacturers?

So that was a lot of information, but not a lot of data. Let’s look at some numbers to see if inbound marketing actually does work for manufacturers. 

This graph shows the number of sessions of a company that sells a very niche industrial manufacturing product. 

Results-session-increase-from-inbound-marketing

As the Evenbound team began to publish content and optimize the client’s website for search engines, you can see that their sessions — or the number of people coming to their website — began to rise. From October to March, that traffic more than doubled. 

Since we’re optimizing their site for keywords that are relevant to that manufacturing client’s ideal buyer, that increase in sessions represents a significant increase in the number of qualified leads making it to that client’s site. 

With more qualified leads coming to them, that client can now nurture those leads with email marketing, retargeting, and personalized sales interactions, to close more of the right deals, faster. 

I get it, that’s just one example. If you’re not sure these manufacturing marketing strategies really work, take a look at our previous work. We have a range of case studies that showcase exactly what we’ve done to deliver quality results for manufacturers. All of our case studies are ungated and free for you to look at whenever is convenient for you. 

But you can also check out this one and many others on Our Work page. 

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And if you have any questions about implementing marketing strategies like Account-Based Marketing or Inbound Marketing to drive sales for your manufacturing company, just give us a shout. We are pros at marketing industrial manufacturers, and we’d be more than happy to help you too. 

5 Essential Inbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

5 Essential Inbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

5 Essential Inbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of inbound marketing for manufacturing companies. We’ve seen first-hand how properly implemented inbound marketing strategies can quickly skyrocket forward-thinking manufacturers ahead of the competition.

If you’re looking to boost your position in the market by trying your hand at inbound marketing, know that you don’t have to do it alone. Here are 5 essential inbound marketing tools that are particularly useful for manufacturers.

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01. A Website That Converts

If you’re trying to boost your manufacturing company’s inbound marketing game, you need a website that’s working for you. It doesn’t have to be the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen, but it should be functional. And when I say functional, I mean:

  • Optimized for search
  • Updated in the last two years
  • Features a regularly updated blog
  • Highly visible calls-to-action
  • Includes landing pages with lead-capturing forms
  • Makes it easy for potential customers to contact you

At the very least. 

For inbound marketing to work for your manufacturing company, your website has to function as your communication hub. You need to have somewhere new leads will navigate to, and opportunities for them to contact you when they’re ready for more information. 

If your website is set up to: 

1) Rank well on search engines, and 

2) Convert new visitors into leads and prospects,

Then you’re ready for the next four inbound marketing tools. 

If any of these bullet points have you scratching your head, I got you. 

See what a quality inbound marketing website looks like for manufacturers. And check out this content offer to see what upgrading your website (the right way) can do for you. 

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02. Google Analytics & Google Search Console

If your website is optimized for search engines and you’re consistently putting out great content, then tracking is a key inbound marketing tool you’ll need to assess your progress. The best tools we recommend for this are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 

Google Analytics will tell you who is visiting your site. The tool offers a detailed breakdown of which pages are driving the most traffic, how long people are staying on your site, and more. Google Analytics is one of the best inbound marketing tools out there to measure the user-related data attached to your website. And it’s free. 

Google Search Console is perfect if you’re looking for more insight into how to improve your site for search engine rankings. Google Search Console is also free and will tell you how your site is ranking, give you organic search data, and offer helpful tips on how to improve your site. For example, Google Search Console will tell you if you have duplicate page content or page redirect errors that could hurt your site’s search engine rankings. 

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Google Search Console

How to Use Google Search Console

  • Organic search data
  • Inbound and outbound links
  • Website Improvement Tasks
  • Malware Detection
  • Shows You Site Errors
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Google Analytics

How to Use Google Analytics

  • Audience demographics
  • Referral traffic
  • Conversion tracking
  • Custom reporting
  • User behavior

Both of these tools are essential inbound marketing tools for manufacturers because they give you real-time data on the performance of your site. They show you which pages are performing well, and they provide insight into your audience’s behavior. Which pages are people spending the most time on, and which pages might you be able to optimize for more conversions? 

Using search console and analytics in tandem will help you answer those questions, and optimize your website for better inbound marketing performance. 

03. A CRM

A CRM or customer relationship management system is the next essential inbound marketing tool for manufacturers. A CRM is especially important for manufacturers with channel sales, or with a large customer base. A good CRM will help you keep track of all of those customers, from the minute they begin interacting with your website to when they close on a sale. 

As far as what CRM to choose, we always recommend HubSpot, especially for manufacturers. 

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Many manufacturers are transitioning from an old CRM, or are moving to a CRM for the first time. The benefit of HubSpot is that it’s remarkably user-friendly, and it’s a powerful, all-in-one solution that makes it easy for you to get all of your operations on one page. 

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With HubSpot, you have sales, marketing, and service tools all on the same platform, plus all of the inbound marketing tools and metrics you need to really make the most out of your marketing campaigns.

With everything from chatbots to email workflows to lead tracking to automated customer satisfaction surveys, HubSpot is robust enough to support even large manufacturing companies but easy enough to use that the onboarding phase won’t feel like taking a trip to the moon. 

04. A Keyword Research Tool

There are about a million inbound marketing tools on the web that are advertised as a keyword research tool. In many cases, choosing the right one comes down to user preference. The bottom line is that if you’re a manufacturer looking to make a serious impact with inbound marketing, you need to do keyword research

Keyword research is essential to boosting your organic ranking, and it’s also really helpful when you’re setting up strategic paid search campaigns. 

  • For organic search, look for keywords with a high search volume and low competition for organic and strategic content opportunities. 
  • For paid search, look for keywords that are highly relevant to your products and that have a low cost per click for paid keywords.

Here are a few of our favorite inbound marketing tools with robust keyword research capabilities. All of these options offer a range of SEO and keyword research tools for free. 

While SEMRush and Moz do have paid plans, I recommend you use their free versions for a few months. If you feel you need more functionality, the paid plans might be worth it for you, but generally, the free tools will give you more than enough data. 

SEMrush

Free basic tools, $99.95/mo for a basic plan

SEMRush offers a wealth of data with up to 10 requests per day on the free version. It will tell you what keywords you’re ranking for, what keywords your competitors are ranking for, and it will help you find new keyword opportunities. 

Google Keyword Planner

Free

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that’s included with your Google Ads Account. You’ll get the most accurate keyword data here, but it is a bit less user-friendly than other options. It’s also good to remember that the data you get from Google Keyword Planner is ad-specific.

Moz

Free basic tools, $99/mo for a basic plan

Moz is one of the best free tools out there. We recommend their keyword explorer if you’re trying to find new keywords, but they’ll also help you find backlink opportunities, and put a number to your domain and page authority. Plus, Moz is just the best for any kind of SEO education. 

05. SpyFu

The last essential inbound marketing tool I’d like to bring up is called SpyFu. While it’s a great tool for any company, it’s particularly useful for manufacturers, who are often operating in tight industries where your competitors are close and well known. 

While other industries can get away with minimal competitive analysis, we’ve found it’s absolutely necessary for most manufacturers. And if you’re looking to complete a detailed, comprehensive competitive analysis, SpyFu is a tool that can help. 

Check out this basic competitive analysis I did for Starbucks. 

spyfu-overview

Using Spyfu’s free version, I typed in their URL, and the tool populated all of these results. I can see their top keywords, how much traffic they get, and from where. I can also see what keywords they’re bidding on for paid search, their top ranking pages, and importantly, I can look at their keywords in relation to their competitor’s keywords. 

(Click on an image to enlarge.)

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For manufacturers, this is an exceptionally useful tool. You likely already know your top competitors. Plugging them into SpyFu will give you a wealth of knowledge you can use to optimize your inbound marketing strategy. From what keywords to focus on for your blogs to what keywords to bid on, the competitive analysis portion of SpyFu’s results is what’s most relevant to manufacturers. 

As you can see from my demonstration above, the free version of Spyfu is remarkably robust. You might get everything you need from that initial breakdown. But, if you want more data and access, SpyFu offers paid plans starting at $33/mo. 

Moving to a modern marketing method is a big ask for many manufacturers. It’s likely you’ve been relying on word of mouth for years, and switching to an involved marketing methodology like inbound can feel like a lot of work. 

We can say from experience — if you put in the effort, inbound marketing will deliver the results you want. 

These inbound marketing tools should help make the transition a bit easier, too. With more data and analytics, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on the inbound marketing tactics that will deliver the greatest returns. 

And if you run into any questions along the way, the Evenbound team is always here to help. Inbound marketing is what we do, and manufacturers make up a significant portion of our client base. We’d be happy to offer up any advice you might be looking for. 

Like this blog? You might like our article on the 5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers. Same format, same length, just different tools to help you boost your outbound marketing game. 

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Revenue-Driving Channel Sales Strategies for Manufacturers

Revenue-Driving Channel Sales Strategies for Manufacturers

Revenue-Driving Channel Sales Strategies for Manufacturers

Channel sales offer a number of benefits for manufacturing companies. Channel partners help you bring in significantly more sales than a single sales team ever could. You’ve got built-in trust with channel partners, and you have the customer service support you need to help every client if they need it. 
But, channel sales have a few drawbacks, too. The biggest being that it’s difficult to control, manage, and track the sales process. The feedback cycle can be slow, which means it’s hard to react quickly to shifts in the end-user’s buying preferences. These drawbacks can make it difficult to measure the success of your channel sales strategies. It’s not always easy to see how your product is doing at any given moment or to establish effective marketing and sales tactics. 
If you’re struggling to improve your channel sales process, or are looking for ways to better support your channel partners for bigger, faster sales, here are a few revenue-driving channel sales strategies to help manufacturers grow that bottom line in a big way. 

Focus on Existing Partnerships First

Most sales teams know it costs significantly more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. That same theory applies to your channel partners. 
The best channel sales strategy is the one that helps you capitalize on the resources you already have.

Before you go out trying to recruit new partners, make sure you’re supporting the ones you already have.

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Communicate with your channel partners

A great place to start is to just talk to your existing channel partners. 
  • Does your team talk to your partners regularly? If they do, what have your partners been saying lately?
  • What do your partners think about your product?
  • How do they feel about your service or support?
If it’s been a while since you connected with your channel partners, you might consider sending out a survey with a few quick questions, and a few open comment boxes encouraging partners to let you know if there are areas where they feel you could improve. 
Jokes aside, keep clear, open lanes of communication for your channel partners to provide feedback whenever it’s convenient for them. 

And when you do get feedback, act on it. 

In addition to making some improvements, make an effort to set up regular, quarterly meetings with your channel partners. After all, they’re the ones interacting directly with your customers.

The better your relationship with your channel partners, the better you’ll be able to understand your end consumer. 

Develop marketing resources to support your channel partners

Once you have open, clear lines of communication with your channel partners, consider developing some marketing resources they can use to better sell your products. 

 

Let’s think about it: if you were a busy sales or marketing team, which product would you push? 

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Option #1

A product that came from the manufacturer with a ton of ready-made email campaigns, social media content and imagery, and print collateral.
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Option #2

A great product, but with no support from the manufacturer, you’ll have to develop content and marketing strategy from the ground up.
As a busy marketer myself, I can go ahead and tell you that if I had beautiful marketing content at my fingertips, that is absolutely the product I’d put in my email marketing campaigns and social media posts. 
If you’re regularly creating and providing marketing resources that make it easy for your channel partners to talk about and support your brand, there’s a much higher likelihood that they will. 
Consider developing imagery, social media content, and even email marketing campaigns your channel partners can take and use however they like. 
When it’s easy for them to get the word out about you, they’re more likely to do it. And when more of your channel partners are putting out great branded content and email campaigns about your products, you’re going to start to see more sales. 

Create Sales Enablement Content

The best way to drive revenue with channel sales strategies? Think of your team as an extension of your partner’s sales team. Not the other way around. 
If you’re not selling directly to consumers, then your sales efforts should be focused primarily around doing everything you can to enable your partner’s sales teams. 
  • What content could they benefit from to help close sales faster?
  • Are their email sequences or workflows you could develop to help the sales team nurture and close leads?
  • What about pricing sheets or helpful documents that show customers how to choose between a few similar products?
Again, discovering what sales enablement content might be most helpful to your channel partners starts with talking to them. Find out where their sales teams tend to get stuck, or where leads tend to drop out of the funnel. 
Then, look for ways to develop content and sales enablement materials that address those pain points in the sales cycle.

The more you empower your channel partner’s sales teams with the content and tools they need, the more sales they’ll be able to close, and faster. 

Provide Education and Consider Establishing Partner Certification

This is an especially useful channel sales strategy for manufacturers with partners who supply more than just your products. 
Think about it — if you had two very similar products in stock, one that you knew a lot about, and one that you didn’t, which would you talk about to a customer?
Probably the product you were comfortable with. 
When your channel partner’s sales team feels comfortable talking about your products with customers, those are the products and parts they’ll sell.  
How to get to that top-of-mind position?
Offer it up — the more education and onboarding resources you can offer to your partners, the better. 
How to get them to use it? 
Incentivize learning more about your products. 
One really common way to do this is to establish certifications or different partner tiers. 

How manufacturers can implement certifications to boost channel sales

GAF logo
GAF logo
One of my favorite examples of a smart, effective certification program for channel sales comes from  GAF, the shingle manufacturer. GAF has a special certification, its Factory-Certified Master Elite Roofing Contractors. This certification is only given to about 2% of roofing contractors in the US. 
What’s unique about their certification is that Master Elite contractors have exclusive access to top-tier products, and are the only contractors allowed to offer GAF’s gold-level warranty. 
For GAF’s certified contractors, being Master Elite certified is a clear benefit. They can offer better warranties and better products, which means more consumers who value a quality roof will seek them out. But, this incentivizing certification program also provides value to GAF. 
GAF-Master-Elite-Program
GAF knows that only their top channel partners — their Master Elite contractors — can offer high-tier warranties and products. These contractors have to take many educational courses and must provide a certain level of service. This helps GAF ensure that they’re protecting their brand’s reputation, while also helping them sell more of those top-tier products. 
While your certification program doesn’t have to be as involved as GAF’s, tying your educational materials to some sort of reward is a great way to show your appreciation for top-tier partners, and incentivize other channel partners to get educated about your products.

More than just showing your appreciation, these awards and rewards can also help boost your brand’s reputation, and get your name out there. 

And when your brand is the first that the end-consumer thinks of, you’re driving revenue, guaranteed. 

Implement Tracking & Reporting

It’s always difficult to track partner sales. 
Especially for manufacturers, it’s tricky to get a full understanding of how well your partners are doing, and which of your specific efforts are driving revenue. 
They’re not your books, so it can be tough to get the data and sales info you need to see what efforts are working, and which aren’t. Here are a few ways you can implement tracking and reporting to evaluate your progress and double-down on the efforts driving revenue. 

Tracking and reporting tactics

If you’ve already implemented other channel sales strategies, like setting up close communication with your existing partners, tracking and reporting become much easier. 

01. Ask your channel partners what’s working

The best way to figure out what’s working is to talk to your channel partners.
Surveys are helpful and can be implemented either on a quarterly schedule, or a few months after you implement a new marketing or sales effort. 
Make sure to ask your partners specifically which efforts they feel are driving value. If they’re comfortable, you can ask them to share their data collected from that new marketing campaign or sales enablement tool. 

02. Implement your own reporting

Though you can’t always get all of the numbers you want, your sales team and account managers can implement their reporting methods to track the success of your channel sales strategies. 
If your channel partners use a common CRM, their account managers can ask for view-only access to take a look at key performance indicators like conversion rate, how many deals have closed, and where those leads originated from. 
This should help you identify which of your efforts are working, and which might need a bit of finessing. 

03. Key performance indicators (KPIs) that indicate channel sales success

If you’re really in the dark when it comes to your channel partner’s sales data, there’s still a range of questions you can ask and data you can collect. 
Obviously, the biggest indicator of success would be an increase in sales. 
But, if you’re implementing new channel sales strategies, like helping your channel partners set up ad campaigns, email marketing workflows, and more, you want to know which of those efforts are working. 
Here are a few KPIs to look in on to determine what is driving your channel sales success: 
  • Average sales cycle length 
  • Percentage of partners who used provided sales and marketing materials
  • Percentage of partners who completed ongoing training
  • Partner satisfaction score — how they’re responding to your regular surveys
  • Percentage of partners who attempted, and who completed certification
HubSpot also has a full list of ways to measure your channel sales program’s success. I recommend checking that out for more ideas on tracking and reporting. 

Reward High-Performers

Have great partners? Let them know! Offer incentives to high performers and partners who close the most deals and do the best job of educating themselves, and their customers. 
While you don’t have to hand out cars like Oprah, incentives help you show your appreciation for the channel partners who are doing great work, and they also serve as an example for newer partners who might not be sure how to implement all of the great tools and channel sales strategies you’re providing. 
Let’s say you host an awesome industry event. Give top performers a certain number of free tickets. 
Or, offer exclusive materials or products to just top-tier partners. Thinking back to the GAF example I used earlier, you could make certain highly-technical products available only to top-tier channel partners, or you could simply provide extra support to those top-performers. 
Whatever you do, it is a good idea to reward your top-performing channel partners. The more your channel partners see that you’re there to truly support them, the more empowered they’ll feel to sell your products and parts. 
Channel sales offer many benefits to manufacturers, but they’re also notoriously difficult to track and manage. These channel sales strategies for manufacturers should help you get a better handle on how your channel partners are doing, establish strong relationships, and start putting marketing and sales efforts together that drive overall revenue for your manufacturing company. 
Struggling with your channel sales strategies? Talk to the team at Evenbound. We’ve worked with many manufacturers who rely on channel sales, and we’ve helped them all align marketing and sales efforts and grow revenue. We’d be happy to help you too. 
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Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Pretty is as Pretty Does: Great Website Design is More Than Just Beautiful

It sounds like an old line (and it might be) but it’s true. A beautiful website might impress all who gaze upon it, but it’s not bringing you new visitors or leads to look at your manufacturing company’s website. 

We’ve written a lot about why you shouldn’t just waste money on another website redesign, and about what makes a great website, but today, we want to talk about a few website design best practices for manufacturers. 

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These best practices focus on what makes for great design, but also, what design elements can make your manufacturing website work for you by drawing in qualified traffic and converting leads. 

If you’re a manufacturer planning a new website or a website redesign, here are a few best practices and key website elements to make sure are included in your new site:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We have written magnum opuses on website SEO for manufacturers, and so have a million other digital marketing experts (see here and Moz, for a complete beginner’s guide to SEO), so we won’t belabor this point. 

We will say that if you want your website to generate leads, you need to implement SEO tactics. Search engine optimization is absolutely necessary if you want to rank well, rank ahead of your competition, or generate digital leads. A couple of web design best practices to keep in mind regarding SEO include:

  • Pick Keywords and Key Topics – Figure out what you want to rank for (we suggest keywords relevant to your company that have a high search volume and low competition) and make sure your website is built out to match those keywords and topics. 
  • Check on Site SpeedIf your site isn’t speedy, people will ditch. Use Google’s PageSpeed Tool to see how you’re doing, and to get recommendations on how you can improve. 
  • Eliminate Duplicate ContentThis is a tough one for manufacturers because you tend to have technical content, manufacturer descriptions, and product guides that a ton of people copy and use. Do what you can to make sure that the content on your site is original, and you’ll see better performance. 
  • Pay Attention to Meta Data – Title tags, meta descriptions, image alt text, and other little technical updates can go a long way to improve your search engine performance. If you don’t know what these are, check out this guide to SEO Meta Tags, and get to work!

 

We’re not spending a ton of time here because there’s a lot of info out there about SEO, and also because it’s not strictly a website design best practice. That said, if you want to see eyeballs on your site, it’s worth it to invest in some quality SEO updates. 

Intelligent Design From Your Logo to Landing Pages

What do I mean by intelligent design? 

I mean solid, clear branding, and a design that funnels visitors through the buyer’s journey. 

Wait, design does that?

Yep. We’ve talked about it before in our blog about website design elements that boost conversions

A quality design and intuitive color palette works to draw your customers’ eyes where you want them.

It also solidifies your brand in the mind of your leads — an important characteristic for manufacturers, where you’re typically competing with just a few key brands. If your is the most recognizable, buyers are likely to keep you in mind when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

A few intelligent website design best practices to keep in mind include:  

  • Keep your branding consistent. Your logo should always look the same. Use the same color palette, font, and general design guidelines across every platform. 
  • White space is your friend. It’s easy for manufacturing websites to become overrun with text and highly technical content. It’s okay to have a decent amount of content but use white space to break it up. Letting your website breathe will go a long way to make visitors feel more comfortable, and less overwhelmed on your site. 

  • Use strong elements sparingly, and with intention. It’s great to have a few bold colors in your color palette, but be sure you’re using them sparingly. On any given page, you shouldn’t be trying to pull your visitor’s eyes in more than one or two key directions. Calls to action and chatbots are two great examples.

A little bit of intuitive design can go a long way. When your design is consistent across platforms, you’ll start to build that brand awareness that’s so important in manufacturing industries.

When you use intelligent design on your website, you’ll highlight call-to-action buttons and forms on landing pages, helping those potential leads convert that much faster. 

Eye- Catching CTAs

This goes to our point about intelligent design. A well-designed website with a consistent, smart color palette can do a lot to pull the eyes of your leads and visitors to the information that’s most important to you. 

When it comes to a manufacturing website, conversions are everything. 

There’s only so much technical information you can put out there before your leads are going to need personal one-on-one help from your marketing or sales team. 

CTAs, or calls-to-action, are what work to convert those visitors into leads. 

By designing calls-to-action that are bright, bold, and eye-catching, you can ensure that whenever your visitors have a question, there’s a CTA opportunity for them to reach out. 

The key to lead generation is providing the right content, to the right person, at the right time. Click To Tweet

You’ve already got two out of three — someone who cares about what you have to say is on your site (they’re the right person). If they’re there for any length of time, that means they’ve found some sort of content they care about (the right content). 

Your CTA delivers that third component — the right time.  

If that lead has a question about what they’re reading, or better yet, has decided they want to talk to a salesperson, a well-placed and well-designed CTA will catch their eye. 

This is exactly the right time to convert that lead, and your CTA is clearly visible and ready to help them out. 

This is one of the reasons it’s so important not to discount design when you’re developing or redesigning a website. If your CTAs are easy to see and navigate to, you’ll see conversions off of pages that offer the right content. If they’re poorly designed or hidden on your page, you’re missing out on qualified leads. 

Strategic Navigation

Manufacturers are notorious for crazy navigation menus. And we get it — you’ve got a lot of products, case studies, brochures, and materials for people to look at. That’s all awesome content, and you do want people to see it. 

It just doesn’t all have to be in your top menu. 

When a visitor shows up to your site and they see a menu with 15 different options, it’s overwhelming. It’s tough to find what they’re looking for, and it might even turn them away. 

Implementing strategic navigation is a website design best practice that works to funnel site visitors exactly where you want them. Work to narrow your navigation or menu bar down to just four or five options, and a contact button. 

And honestly, the simpler the better. “Products”, “Solutions”, “About Us” and your traditional standbys are all great for your top-menu navigation because they’re what your visitors expect. Navigation isn’t the place to reinvent the wheel. 

And if you have more stuff than what fits in your new, strategic navigation bar? Don’t forget the footer! Your website footer is a great place to add a few extra links if you really need them. 

Responsive Design

One key website design best practice that manufacturers can’t overlook is a responsive design. The goal of your website is to draw in qualified leads, right? 

It’ll have a hard time doing it if it’s not designed to meet visitors where they’re at. 

Mobile devices account for more than half of all internet traffic. 

What does that mean for your manufacturing website?

It has to be responsive.

Visitors will navigate away from a website that doesn’t meet their device. What’s more, you’ll lose in search engine rankings without a responsive site. 

Websites that are not responsive rank much lower on search engines than websites that do. This is a problem in two ways:

  1. You won’t get much traffic (read: qualified leads) to your website
  2. Your competitors will outrank you

As we’ve mentioned before, most manufacturing industries are pretty competitive. Even if your competitor’s website isn’t that great, they’re going to rank higher if theirs is responsive, and yours is not. 

In an industry where exposure and reputation really matter, this is an issue, and it’s one that’s pretty easily solved. 

Designing your website on a responsive theme can provide huge dividends, both in your company’s authority, and in the qualified traffic you’re able to draw in. 

Content That Speaks to Your Ideal Buyer

Manufacturers are great at technical content. Your sales team probably has stacks or digital files full of product brochures that run through the specs of any product or part you sell.

The problem with that content is that it’s not always digestible, and it’s also not always the content your buyers want. 

Depending on where your leads are in the buyer’s journey, a product guide might not answer the questions they have about your product. It’s important to develop content that speaks directly to the questions and concerns your ideal buyer has. 

Not sure who your ideal buyer is? We’ve got a Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Persona here to help you out. 

Yes, sometimes that means technical content, but it also means developing content that builds your authority. Content that shows your visitors and potential buyers that you have the best, most helpful information, and are an authority in the industry is what will help you build positive relationships that close sales. 

Think about what would be helpful to you if you were in your ideal buyer’s shoes

Is is it a guide that helps them figure out which of your products is best for them? Maybe it’s a simple glossary of the technical terms they’ll need to know. 

Whatever it is, take some time to build out a bit of quality content that is genuinely helpful. 

The more answers your ideal leads can find on your website, the more often they’ll come back, and the more likely they are to purchase from you when they’re ready to make a decision.

Intuitive Content Layout

Great content is one key to a great manufacturing website, but an intuitive content layout is the website design best practice that will ensure your leads are reading that great content. 

Today’s internet user is not a hard-core reader. No one, not even content strategists like me, read every word in every blog post, case study, or article. 

What they do is skim. 

If your web design strategy includes a content layout that calls attention to the most important parts of your blogs and guides, you can guarantee those leads are reading the information that you know is most important to them. 

A great content layout is the difference between someone glancing at your blog and navigating away and someone filling out a conversion form that turns them into a lead. 

Develop a content layout with lots of whitespace, regular images, media, and headers to break up large blocks of text. 

This will help ensure your site visitors are reading as much of your content as possible. The more they read, the more likely they are to stick to your site, and keep coming back. 

Not sure what great content layout looks like? Take a look at our pillar page for Website Design. There’s a ton of content on this page, but because we’ve got an awesome lead designer, Laura, none of it feels overwhelming. 

You get one little bite-sized piece of content at a time, along with some cool motion and visuals. This encourages you to keep reading — who doesn’t have time for one more little sentence? 

In that way, our pillar pages are working to keep visitors on the page with a killer content layout. 

Motion, Interactivity, and Video

Jumping off the last point: motion, interactivity, and especially video are key web design elements for any manufacturing website. 

You’ve got a facility, right? A plant, a factory, a shop? 

Whatever you call it, you make things. Chances are you’ve got some cool machines and some cool people working for you. Take a video of them, and include it in your web design! 

Video is quickly becoming one of the top web design best practices for any industry, but it’s especially effective for manufacturers because you have things going on. 

What’s more, it’s probably ten times easier to explain your product in a video than it is in a lengthy brochure. 

Video — along with interactivity and motion on your site — works to keep people on your website. 

And, as we’ve mentioned before, the longer someone is on your site, the more likely they are to convert. 

For manufacturers, yes, cool scrolling headers and a bit of motion on the page are great, but we really can’t stress video enough. 

We’ve worked with many B2B manufacturers, and video always works to boost conversions. 

People love to see how things work, and if they can watch a 30-second video over reading a product brochure, they're going to do it every time. Click To Tweet 

If you’re the one with the 30-second video on your site, you’re going to be the one to get the lead. 

Interactive Chatbots

Most B2B manufacturers serve a highly technical industry. 

Whether your site visitors are looking for the right product for their application, or aren’t sure which parts they need for their particular machine, chatbots are a great way to ensure your company is always available to answer those questions, whenever they come up. 

Chatbots can be set to specific product pages and customized in a million different ways to fit your manufacturing company’s needs. 

Are there questions you get all the time about your product line that can be answered easily? Do you have a helpful guide or content that solves some of those questions?

You can set a chatbot up to address any of these problems. Not only does this help you convert leads, but it frees up both your sales and marketing teams from answering simple questions over and over. 

Website Design Best Practices for Manufacturers

Web design isn’t always easy for manufacturers. If you’re new to the process, it can be tough to marry highly technical products and components with a creative, intuitive design that also works to draw in and convert leads. Implementing some of these website design best practices should help. 

Not sure where to start? We get it. Form and function aren’t always easy to put together. We’ve been designing websites that work for manufacturers for decades. If you’re ready for a website that delivers qualified leads directly to your sales team, we’re ready to help.

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