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
google-analytics

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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hubspot-tools

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? 

Fredricks-Design-Interactive-Header

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.
channel-sales-strategies-example-product

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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Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of mouth marketing has been a subject of discussion in inbound marketing circles for quite some time. It’s a particularly challenging subject for B2Bs, who function in niche industries like manufacturing. Many B2Bs feel that word of mouth marketing is the only, best way to get leads. And while we certainly won’t disagree that word of mouth marketing is powerful, we do have some thoughts (and some stats to back them up), about why traditional word of mouth marketing is out, and why modern word of mouth marketing can’t stand on its own if you’re trying to grow your company. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about what word of mouth marketing is, in both the traditional and the modern sense, and we’re going to talk about when you need it, and when you don’t. 

Word of mouth marketing (or WOMM for short) is a big component of many marketing strategies, but we’re here to tell you why it shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy. Let’s start by taking a look at what WOMM is: 

Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing

Traditional word of mouth marketing is exactly what it sounds like. Before the internet exploded in popularity, companies built brand awareness and grew their business primarily from having their customers talk about them to other industry members. 

In B2B applications, especially in the manufacturing industry, this was a major driver of business because the industries are so niche. The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation. When you had that, you could rely on WOMM to get you both the leads that you wanted and the ones you needed. 

Unfortunately, following the internet boom, WOMM has seen a slow decline in success, even for those B2B manufacturers who have relied on it as their primary form of marketing for decades. So why isn’t traditional WOMM working anymore?

Why Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing Doesn’t Cut it Anymore 

The number one answer to that question is the internet. When the internet blew up, it became easy for anyone to find the products, services, and solutions they needed, right from their own computer or smartphone. No need to pick up a phone or talk to a friend — the necessary information was directly at the consumer’s fingertips. 

For B2Bs, and particularly B2B manufacturers, this change happened slowly. These industries are niche, and many manufacturers feel that they know the key players without heading to the web. 

Today, though, as many incoming engineers and manufacturing sales professionals are tech natives, used to finding solutions and products online, manufacturers are realizing the importance of having a web presence and a dedicated marketing team. 

In all honesty, if you’re still relying on traditional WOMM to bring in leads, you’re not going to see the same growth as your competition. 

To continue to grow and be successful as a company, in any industry, a legitimate digital presence is a required qualification. 

Why? Well, that’s where modern word of mouth marketing comes in.

Modern Word of Mouth Marketing

If I had a dime for every time a prospective client said, “oh we get 90% of our leads through referrals. We’re not sure if digital marketing will really move the needle.” I probably wouldn’t be writing these blogs anymore. 

Guess what? They’re almost always wrong. Why?

Because while traditional marketing methods did bring in a whole bunch of leads for a number of B2Bs in the past, in today’s digital world, the internet has flipped the switch. 

Enter modern word of mouth marketing.

What is Modern Word of Mouth Marketing?

Also known as amplified word of mouth marketing, this new, modern version of WOMM takes advantage of all the new technology that has erupted in the past decade or so, like Facebook, Linkedin, and Google. All of these platforms encourage what is essentially a digital form of word of mouth marketing with reviews that can be published and shared

For many companies, this amplified or modern WOMM has taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. But it’s better. 

With traditional marketing, you could get referral leads, but usually only from people in your area, who you knew or had talked to at a conference or trade show. 

How Does Modern Word of Mouth Marketing Work?

Modern WOMM eliminates the need for any of that proximity. You get all of the benefits of traditional marketing — the company goodwill, the great reputation, and the warm leads — without the constraints.

Anyone can go online, read your reviews, and make a decision about your company and product. They don’t have to be from the same town or even the same country! 

Studies have shown that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much, or more than personal recommendations. 

According to PowerReviews, 97% of consumers consult product reviews.

You already knew that WOMM was important. These facts just drive home the point that digital reviews have taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. 

What’s more, this digital strategy works much harder for you than traditional word of mouth marketing. Take a look:

  • Reviews can be shared, posted, and boosted with social media ad spend
  • Digital reviews make it easier for you to connect with your clients and customers. Easily see who’s left a review, and what they’ve said.
  • Build visible trust. The more positive reviews and comments your company gets, the more trust you’ll have with people just learning about your brand. 
  • The ROI is outstanding. According to IMPACT, word of mouth marketing generates 2x more sales than paid ads. And it doesn’t cost you much if anything at all. 

Why Any Form of WOMM  Alone Won’t Get You Leads

Alright, so modern word of mouth marketing is awesome. I hope we’ve made that clear. At no point would we ever say that word of mouth marketing wasn’t worthwhile, for any company in any industry. 

With that in mind, it is important, especially for my B2Bs out there to remember that modern WOMM isn’t going to help your company grow on its own. To explain why, let’s go back to a statement I made about traditional word of mouth marketing earlier.

“The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation.”

That’s still true of modern word of mouth marketing. 

In today’s world, you can’t have a quality reputation without a quality digital presence. 

Anyone who hears about an awesome company, whether you manufacture parts for automobiles or you develop excellent machine test technology, is going to head to the company’s website first. 

If your website is shitty and from 2001, that lead won’t stick around. 

For the sake of example, let’s say you have an awesome new website. That lead is interested in your company. 

But, when they start clicking through your website, they can’t figure out how your products are priced. There’s no pricing sheet for them to download, or even a content offer explaining to them the differences between your products and product models. Or worse, maybe they can’t figure out how to contact you. 

You’ve lost that lead again. 

WOMM is Best Used in Conjunction with a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

There are a lot more examples I could use, but I think you’ve probably gotten the point. In today’s digital era, WOMM on its own isn’t going to help your company grow. 

While modern WOMM — with reviews and comments that can be shared, liked, and interacted with — is a useful and proven tool, it should not be the only way you expect to generate leads

If you’re a manufacturing company that’s lived off of word of mouth referrals for decades, it’s important to realize that the times are changing. Even with excellent referrals, you’re not going to see the growth you could be capitalizing on if you don’t invest in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Things like:

  1. A website optimized for search engines
  2. Calls to action
  3. Unique landing pages that capture leads
  4. Well-ranking content that puts you ahead of the competition
  5. A professional presence on social media platforms

All of these are factors that will help boost your modern word of mouth marketing potential, and help your company grow as a whole. 

Digital marketing works best when it is applied in a comprehensive fashion. 

Just one or two strategies aren’t going to help your company grow. 

While word of mouth marketing is important for your B2B company, it’s important to realize that there are so many other strategies out there that could be helping you get more word of mouth leads, and just more leads in general. 

If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, or if you’re convinced that digital marketing isn’t going to put you that much farther ahead than the referrals you’re already getting, I invite you to check out the case study below. 

In it, we’ve outlined with clarity how a comprehensive digital marketing strategy has put this cleanroom manufacturer ahead of the competition and helped them grow significantly throughout our partnership. 

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And if you’ve got more questions about word of mouth marketing for B2Bs, or if you’re interested to see how a full digital marketing strategy could put you ahead of those manufacturers who still rely solely on word of mouth, please get in touch. We’re here and we’re more than happy to help.

5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

With the rise of the digital world and inbound marketing, outbound marketing can get a bad rap. While it’s no longer the only way to reach potential customers, it’s still an important part of any marketing and growth strategy, alongside inbound marketing practices. This outbound marketing shouldn’t be limited to traditional media like radio and newspaper ads, though, but should instead incorporate modern outbound tools. Here are 5 of the best outbound marketing tools for manufacturers and B2Bs.

#1 Social Media

You might think that social media is irrelevant to manufacturers, that it’s just kids sending pictures to each other, rich people hawking fad diets and scam music festivals, and your out-of-touch aunt leaving odd comments on status updates.

But that’s not entirely the case. Social media has huge potential for manufacturers’ outbound marketing efforts.

All social media platforms have some form of advertising, and most have multiple: boosted posts, banner ads, native ads, even direct messaging ads. Not only do they offer all of these kinds of ads, they provide some of the best targeting options for running your ad campaigns.

This is because of the nature of social media profiles—users indicate their demographics, location, and interests in their profiles, likes, and other platform activity. All of that activity can be used to target the audiences who are your desired market.

You might still be thinking that as a manufacturer, you’re marketing to businesses, not people.

But, if you’ve been doing any inbound marketing, you know that even to market to businesses, you have to market to people. There are certain people at your ideal client company that are key decision-makers with regard to your product, whether that is a product designer, a sourcing specialist, or a purchasing associate. You can absolutely market to those people with social media.

For manufacturers or other B2Bs, we find that LinkedIn is one of the best outbound marketing tools available. LinkedIn has very specific targeting options for ad campaigns, down to the specific companies and job titles at those companies that you want to target.

If you want to know more about LinkedIn’s outbound marketing potential, we’ve written about it, a lot. Check out The Definitive LinkedIn Guide for B2Bs and LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing to get started.

#2 Google

If you know anything about the internet, you know that getting people to your site means showing up on Google. While appearing in the organic search results for the keywords you want to rank for requires a certain amount of inbound marketing savvy—lots of good content, SEO optimization, keyword research, and so on—Google is also an outbound marketing tool.

Like social media platforms, Google has advertisements. And like social media, Google is ubiquitous. If you run Google ads, they’re going to be seen. Plus, Google Ads also have great targeting options by keywords, location, and even audience behavior.

Google Ads include two distinct types of ads: search ads and display network ads. Search ads are native ads (i.e., ads that look like regular search results but are actually ads) that appear at the top of the results page on searches for specific keywords you select.

If you look at the first two or three results the next time you search on Google, you’ll see that they are actually ads, and are designated as such.

Display network ads are banner and sidebar ads that appear on Google sites and sites they partner with, like local news sites, weather.com, and a host of other national and local organizations’ websites. These too can be highly targeted.

#3 Inbound Marketing Software

Does this seem like a contradiction? Probably. But the thing is, inbound and outbound strategies should always be working together, and not only can your inbound and outbound strategies support each other, but your inbound marketing software can also help you with outbound marketing efforts.

How? There are a few key ways. All of the tools incorporated in your inbound marketing software such as lead management systems, prospect reports, and analytics can be used by your sales department to make sales calls and direct mail campaigns more effective. These tools can also help you see which of your marketing content is most effective and with whom it’s effective, so your outbound marketing efforts can be more targeted.

#4 Email

Again, this might seem like double-dipping, since email marketing is generally considered an inbound marketing practice. But, again, it can be both. You send emails out rather than waiting for them to come in, and in our book, that’s outbound marketing. Click To Tweet

This isn’t just an email newsletter—that’s staunchly an inbound marketing practice. We’re talking about targeted email campaigns that nurture leads and bring them into the sales cycle. Using a targeted email campaign, you can push your brand, product, or service to a specific audience that has a genuine need and use for what you’re offering.

Creating valuable and targeted messages for intuitively segmented leads can yield huge results, especially when your campaigns provide the right information at the right time, without spamming or overwhelming your leads. Using email marketing effectively can transform it from just an inbound technique to a cornerstone of your outbound strategy.

#5 An Outbound Marketing Agency

A tool is anything you use to achieve a desired end state or goal. When it comes to outbound marketing, a full-service marketing agency with years of experience is going to be the best outbound marketing tool at your disposal. Especially as a manufacturing company that may not have a dedicated marketing department or any existing marketing efforts that fall outside the umbrella of sales, a marketing agency can help you reach the growth goals you care about most.

Manufacturers can seriously benefit from outbound marketing tools, especially as more and more of your target buyers trend online. For help developing an outbound marketing strategy that actually works, talk to Evenbound.

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