Last month, we talked about why inbound marketing matters for B2Bs, specifically industrial manufacturers, and in that post, how crucial it is for B2Bs to have digital content that is optimized for search (if you missed Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers, read it here). Your website is your company’s primary representation in the digital world, and it’s important that your content is optimized to best attract future customers.
In case your manufacturing page content could use a little love, here are a few tips to optimizing B2B page content for the clients you actually want:
Additionally, digital content has many more capabilities than print, including linking, embedding video, and searchability. These are all capabilities you should take advantage of, as interactive page elements like links and video work well to gain viewers’ attention.
How Do You Optimize Manufacturing Page Content?
Like all digital content, your website page content should use SEO principles, specifically, by including the keywords that relate to that page and your business. These should be words and phrases your ideal customers are typing in when they search for your products or services. (For more on why SEO matters for B2Bs, click here.)
But unlike blog posts, content offers, and other digital content, the purpose and tone depends upon the type of page:
Blogs and the like are primarily informative, used to refresh your site’s content, optimize your site for relevant keywords, and provide prospective customers with information they need about your product, service, or industry.
Website page content is also informative, but it’s more explicitly promotional—it informs prospective customers about your specific products and services, as well as your company itself. Your page content needs to tell website visitors what you do, what you sell, how you do it, and who you are, and you need to do it in a way that speaks to the kinds of customers you want to attract.
Check out how we’ve optimized our site for our target buyers: in the main navigation bar under “Who We Help” we have each of our client segments— Manufacturing & Industrial Marketing, Developer & Home Builder Marketing, and Professional Services & Small Business Marketing.
For each of those segments, we have page content that addresses how our inbound marketing and growth services will help clients in those industries meet and exceed their marketing and growth goals. These pages include links to relevant case studies, testimonials, and clients who are in the specific customer segment, to demonstrate our experience in the needs of the industry.
Industrial manufacturers are vastly underserved when it comes to marketing resources. But just like all other businesses, you have something to sell, and in order to sell it, you need interested buyers to know about your business and your offerings. Marketing is the way to raise this awareness, especially with the increasing primacy of the internet in researching and making purchases over good ol’ word-of-mouth. Here’s what you need to know about inbound marketing as an industrial manufacturer.
Were You Even Marketing in the First Place?
For a lot of industrial manufacturers, the answer to this question is no. For another big segment, it’s “we go to trade shows”—so, not really. It doesn’t seem like marketing is really necessary or relevant when you’re an industrial manufacturer, after all, you’re not marketing to consumers, but to other businesses, most of whom need your product to make their product or perform their service. Additionally, industrial products aren’t exactly high appeal; they’re useful and utilitarian, but they aren’t going to bring the boys to the yard.
So, you know you shouldn’t be running TV ads with celebrities endorsing your spring for garage door openers or hubcap bolt covers, but what should you be doing to attract potential buyers? Inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is kind of what it sounds like: rather than going out to your customers with interruptive ads or cold sales calls, you bring interested customers to you. (Learn more about the methodology in our complete guide to inbound marketing.) You do that by creating targeted digital content and ads that will appeal to your ideal customer and the person in the role responsible for sourcing and purchasing your products.
SEO and Digital Content
If you don’t already know this, you need a website and a digital presence. It’s 2018 (almost 2019!). But you don’t just need a website—if yours looks the same as it did in 1998 or even 2008, that’s not good—you need compelling digital content that will appeal to potential customers and make your site easy for search engines to find and categorize. This is SEO, Search Engine Optimization (find out more about SEO for manufacturers here). The content on your site should provide customers with all the information they need about your product, whether they’re just discovering that your product exists or they’re trying to decide on a new supplier, as well as the keywords for which you want your website to show up in the search engine results.
You can also use PPC ads to target your ideal buyers. For industrial manufacturers, LinkedIn ads are the perfect way to do this. Your ideal customers are often buyers or sourcing specialists for a manufacturing company, and they’re professionals who use LinkedIn. Not only is your audience using the platform, their job title and company information is included in their profiles, and LinkedIn uses this information to target ads. You can target ads to people with specific job titles, like “Purchasing Specialist,” “Sourcing Specialist,” etc., as well as by specific company, ensuring that your ads are seen by the people to whom they will be highly relevant, the people you want as customers.
The inbound marketing funnel is a great tool that helps us marketers define where each lead is in the decision making process, and treat them accordingly. Are they ready to buy, are they still not sure what you do, or are they total strangers? Most of these stages get a lot of attention with content offers and resources that help them decide what to purchase, and when. You are hoping to acquire new business, after all, so it makes sense to put a lot of emphasis on these pre-purchase stages of the inbound marketing funnel. One stage of the inbound marketing funnel we’ve noticed is often neglected, though, is the “Promoter” stage.
This is the stage after a lead becomes a client. They’ve purchased your product, they’re satisfied with your service, so now you’re done with them, right?
It’s actually very important to any inbound marketing strategy that you continue to nurture those customers long after you’ve made a sale. Loyal customers are more willing to purchase from you again, they’re 5 times less expensive to keep around, and most important to this particular blog, they can help boost your local search results ranking.
Loyal customers are important to any business because they help boost local search results, and can influence new potential clients to convert.
Before we get into the “how,” let’s refresh on why we care so much about local search:
Why is Local Search Important?
If your business relies, in any way, on customers you meet face-to-face, then local search is important to you. Think about the last time you looked for a donut shop, a mechanic, or anything else you wanted, like, right now.
Did you search, “delicious donuts near me” or “quality mechanic in my area”? Chances are you did. And the shops and garages that Google gave you as top results were probably the first you looked at.
The higher your local search ranking, the more people in your area will be exposed to you. It doesn’t matter what you do — whether you’re a manufacturer, a home developer, or a commercial construction company — if you do projects in specific locations, then local search results are important to your business.
Loyal customers are the bread and butter of most companies. Even if you’re in an industry like housing development, where people rarely purchase multiple homes, your loyal customers are the ones who can spread the word about what great work you do. There’s a reason HubSpot’s inbound marketing funnel calls them “Promoters.”
Here are just a few ways loyal customers can seriously boost your local search result ranking:
Social Media Boosts
As people expand the way they’re using social media, there are more and more opportunities for local brands to boost local visibility. If you’re on Facebook at all, you’ve probably seen people asking for recommendations for photographers, wedding venues, restaurants, etc. in their area. If you have local customers who were really impressed with the work you did, you might just make it on one of those “recommended for your area” lists.
And can we just say that those recommended lists will seriously boost your visibility?
People are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know — it’s essentially a virtual version of word-of-mouth. Combine that with the fact that most of those recommendations see massive engagement from Facebook’s interconnected network of friends and groups, and your customers who use Facebook can do you a lot of good in the local search result department.
The Google 3-Pack
Recently, Google cut their local search results display down from 7 top results to just 3. While that caused quite the hubbub, the ultimate goal for most companies with a local presence is the same — to make it into the 3-Pack.
Let’s go back to our donuts example. Say you’re looking for donuts in Grand Haven. Type that into the Google search bar, and this is what you get:
You’ll notice that the top three results have an overwhelming number of reviews. While just 31 for one, there are 245 and 446 for the other two. Considering that donuts aren’t all that hard to find in West Michigan, these companies can certainly attribute their placement in the Google 3-Pack, at least in part, to their loyal customers who’ve taken the time to write a really kind review and post it to Google.
The Moral of the Story?
It’s increasingly more important for companies in every industry to follow the inbound marketing cycle through all the way to the end. While it’s great to put out wonderful content for new visitors to your site, and encourage potential leads to convert, you also need to focus adequate attention on your existing customers, because they are one of your greatest assets, and an integral part of your company’s local search performance.
It’s also good to remember that today’s consumers look beyond just Google for local recommendations. If you have loyal customers you know are impressed with your work, remind them that a little shoutout on social media can go a long way.
Finally, don’t forget about those loyal customers. There’s a reason so many successful companies have a newsletter, offer special discounts, and send out promotions to clients who have been loyal — it’s a great way to show your appreciation, and keep those loyal customers around.
In the end, inbound marketing is all about being helpful to anyone who interacts with your company, and always leaving a good impression. If you’re interested in learning more about inbound marketing, and how it can grow your business in 2019, let’s chat!
Here at Evenbound, we’re always talking about inbound marketing. It’s kind of our thing, so you’ll notice most of our blogs talk about how your inbound marketing strategy can attract more clients, produce more leads, and boost your ROI. What we only occasionally talk about, however, is what exactly the inbound marketing methodology is. While HubSpot used to describe this methodology using the inbound marketing funnel, that’s recently given way to a less-complicated inbound marketing flywheel.
If you’re new to inbound marketing, or just aren’t quite sure what the terms mean, then this is the blog for you! We’re going to break down the basics of the inbound marketing funnel and compare them to the new inbound marketing flywheel:
What is the Inbound Marketing Funnel
Also known as the inbound marketing methodology or inbound flow chart, the inbound marketing funnel looks like this:
The inbound marketing funnel refers to where a lead is in their process of choosing your company over the competition. If you’re familiar at all with the generic sales funnel, or buyer’s journey, the inbound marketing funnel offers a similar way of looking at things. The inbound marketing funnel labels clients with a different title based on how interested they are in what you have to offer — so you know what types of content to send them, and when.
Strangers – Consumers who don’t know about your brand or your company.
Visitors – Strangers who come to your site and learn a bit about your company
Leads – Visitors who have progressed further into your site, and eventually give you their contact information.
Customer – Leads who convert into customers by purchasing your product or service.
Promoters – Customers who are delighted by your continued efforts to make sure they have everything they need, and who are so pleased with your company and your service that they love telling their friends and family about you.
While it’s fairly easy to understand these 5 stages of the inbound marketing funnel, especially as they line up with the old, traditional sales funnel, HubSpot has recently transitioned to a flywheel model instead.
Bear with me for a second, I promise the flywheel is a little less complicated to understand.
What is the Inbound Marketing Flywheel?
The inbound marketing flywheel offers an easier way to conceptualize how customers feed growth. Instead of thinking of each individual customer making a journey from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel, and then dropping out, the flywheel offers a more holistic look.
Instead of focusing so much on pulling customers through a funnel and forgetting about them, the flywheel puts the focus on customers at all times, relating to them in three different ways:
Attract: Pulling in strangers to your website and brand. This stage is also used to illustrate the process of attracting existing customers with a new content offer, product, upgraded service, etc.
Engage: How you interact with those customers, leads and prospects. Sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time is a great example of how you engage with people in your flywheel to close more deals.
Delight: What you do to keep those customers in your flywheel. Excellent customer service, personalized follow-up and check-in emails, and even rewards programs are great ways to delight your existing customers and turn them into promoters.
Perhaps the most difficult-to-target are strangers. Strangers don’t know you from Adam, which means it’s your job to somehow catch their attention. In today’s oversaturated world, consumers are constantly barraged by advertisements and non-relevant content that makes your job just that much harder.
It’s important to attract key buyers that you know want or need your product or service, and the best ways to do that are:
Social Media Advertising
Social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have super powerful advertising capabilities. When you put out an ad on social media, you can choose exactly who sees that ad, from age to occupation and even to what type of content they “like”.
Basic like campaigns or simple banner ads are cheap, and they’re one of the best ways to get your name out there. That is the point of this stage of the flywheel, after all.
Since you’re marketing to strangers, the first step is introducing yourself. Your goal for the attract phase is to increase your awareness, which means you need to look for social media advertising campaigns that can get you plenty of impressions.
Clicks are great, but most people won’t click on your ad until they’ve seen it a few times, or they’ve heard about you somewhere else. For consumers at the stranger level of the inbound marketing funnel or flywheel, focus on ads that cast a wide net, and get your name out there.
Attract Qualified Visitors with Google Ads
Another paid way to introduce your site and company to strangers is to invest in Google Pay-Per-Click Ads. If you think about it, most people looking for information are going to search Google before they do anything.
From there, they’ll make their decisions based on the results they get. If you’re the first to pop up, even as an ad, that’s a major step to brand recognition, and getting someone to click through to your site. Check out this blog for information on optimizing a PPC campaign, and see this one for more information about what PPC actually is.
Attract Organic Traffic with SEO
Another key way of making yourself visible to strangers is ensuring you have impeccable SEO. Search engine optimization is the process of making your website highly visible to search engines. The more search engines like your site, the more likely they are to show it to consumers.
Improve your SEO, and you’ll improve your online search engine ranking. The higher you show up in rankings, the more eyes you’ll get on your site, which means more strangers turning into visitors. Best of all, SEO is free. No paid ads here!
Improve your SERP Rankings with Blogs
Another key, free way to attract strangers is to start a blog. The more you blog about topics that are relevant to your target buyer, the more of an authority you’ll become in the industry.
When you’re the company everyone turns to for information about the next big thing in your industry, you’re also the first company they recognize, think of, and then buy from once they get around to making a decision.
Create blogs that are interesting, relevant, and content rich. Don’t just write listicles every month, try to put out some deep content that answers questions and proves useful for your target buyer.
The more content you have out there, and that’s promoted on your social media platforms, the more consumers you’re speaking to, and the more likely they are to come to your site to see what you have to say.
Visitors are strangers who’ve made it to your website. They want to learn a bit about you, and see what it is your company has to offer. Once they make it to your site, your goal is to engage with them. Learn what they’re looking for and what their pain points are, so you can nurture those leads with personalized marketing that provides the solutions they need.
Here are a few ways to engage with visitors in a meaningful way that keeps them interested in your company:
Content offers are often put on websites in the form of gated content. Gated content is content that requires an email address and name to access it.
It is a key way for any inbound marketing agency to pull potential clients and visitors through to the lead stage of the funnel. Offer up some amazing, in-depth content that you know your key buyer just wouldn’t be able to resist, and simply ask for their email address in return for the downloadable PDF. Once you have their email, that visitor becomes a lead, and you can target them in other ways.
Today, it’s becoming more popular to leave those content offers ungated. This is a more natural, seamless engagement for your customer. You can still offer up a PDF version of the content in exchange for an email, which means you’re still getting the info you need, but you’re guaranteed a qualified lead when you do get their contact information.
Engage with visitors outside your website with remarketing campaigns. Extremely effective, these campaigns most often show up on Facebook, Instagram, and Google, and remind visitors they looked at while they were on your website.
If they added a pair of shoes to their cart, but bailed before making it to checkout, a remarketing campaign will show those shoes on other sites they frequent, like Facebook and Google, and remind them of the purchase they almost made.
This is a great way to get visitors to come back to your site, where you’ll have another chance to engage with them and further nurture that lead until they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.
Longer, more in-depth content is a key way to engage with and nurture a lead until they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. Leads in the “engage” phase have a lot of questions. They’re considering the best options to solve their pain points.
By providing answers to their questions, and by providing as much detail as they can stand, you’re assuring them that your product really is that great, and you’re eliminating any fears of buyer’s remorse they might have.
Create thorough content that genuinely helps them make a decision and stay away from the b.s. — consumers can smell it from miles away.
If you want someone to make a purchase, you have to make it easy for them. Make it super obvious how a lead or prospect can purchase your product or service with calls-to-action.
Whether they need to simply checkout, or call your office, or fill out a form, calls-to-action can get them there. These colorful buttons are everywhere these days, and they’re perhaps the best tool to convince a lead to convert. Make it easy for leads to buy or pick up the phone, and they will.
Finally, after a long journey through the inbound marketing funnel, you’ve converted a lead into a customer. They’ve made a purchase, and now you can wipe your hands of them.
Not so fast!
This customer can be useful to you. More than that, who’s to say they won’t buy from you again? Customers who are delighted by your helpful service can become your best promoters.
They’ll leave 5 star reviews, tell their friends about you, and share all your posts on social media. Be good to those customers, and they’ll be good to you. (It’s way cheaper to retain customers than it is to go out and find a brand new one, too.) Here’s how to help them out.
After someone’s made a purchase, don’t just forget about them. Send them emails about add-on products or services they might like now that they have your other offering. If you sell something that pairs really well with that purse they bought, let them know!
The more customized and tailored your follow-up emails, the more likely they are to purchase again. Another good way to turn your customers into promoters is to ask them for reviews after they’ve received their product.
A simple “how did you like your socks?” email, with a link to write a review on your site or on Google can go a long way in boosting your reputation, and making it easier for the next consumer to convert to a sale.
Exclusive, personalized messaging
People love to feel like they’re getting the inside scoop. If you have a newsletter that’s exclusively for people who have purchased an item or service, and if you offer occasional exclusive deals, people will start to talk. The better you take care of those existing customers, the more they’ll tell their friends about you, which will start that inbound funnel all over again.
The inbound marketing funnel and the inbound marketing flywheel were both designed to make it easy for you to align and optimize your sales and marketing teams.
If you notice you’re getting plenty of site traffic, but visitors seem to drop off before offering up their email address, start focusing on more valuable content, and maybe consider remarketing.
The inbound marketing methodology offers an easy, clear way to attract, engage, and delight your leads and customers — keeping your flywheel spinning as quickly as possible.
We know this is a lot of talk, and it’s not always as simple to implement an inbound marketing strategy as it might seem. If you’re looking to move into pull, inbound marketing methods, but aren’t sure how, let’s chat! A simple one-on-one conversation might answer more questions than you’d think.
If you’re a home services provider in 2018, you know that customers are using the internet to find you, specifically, search engines. But even though you know that search engines are an important tool for reaching future clients, you might not know how to show up in the search results. That’s where SEO, and more specifically, local SEO, comes in.
What is Local SEO?
We’ve got to start by defining the component parts:
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. What that means in non-robot/internet nerd terms is that the content, for example, a website or website page, is optimized for search engines to read, understand, and categorize the content.
We don’t want to insult your intelligence by defining what local means, so we won’t. But adding those two together, local SEO means search engine optimization for local search results. So, “West Michigan roofers” or “Grand Haven landscapers” or “Grand Rapids area remodelers.”
Why is Local SEO Important?
As a home services provider, you serve a specific area, or specific service areas. You want customers within that area, and potential customers want a service provider in their local area. No one wants to have to wait for two hours for a service provider to drive to them for an emergency repair, they want someone in their town. That’s why local SEO matters, so people in your area can find you. They are searching for service providers and using location indicators in their searches: “roof repair near me,” “roof repair Muskegon,” etc.
Local SEO is also crucial for getting to the top of that search results page. There are thousands, perhaps millions, of service businesses like yours in the world, and they’re all trying to rank for the most common keywords for your industry. That’s a lot of competition, and you’d have to pour in more time, energy, and money than it’s worth to end up at the very top of the page for a general keyword like “roofing” or “landscaping.” We say, when the odds aren’t good, make better odds (not like the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing though, just to be clear). You might not be competitive globally for your industry keywords, but you can be locally, and that’s where your client base is, anyway. You can rank first for “remodeler Cedar Springs,” because your competition is going to be only a handful of other local contractors.
Local SEO is one of the best ways for home services pros to reach future customers, so if you’re ready to start implementing local SEO best practices, you need to get in touch. Contact us to discuss your online presence, website, and digital strategy. And if you’re looking to learn more about inbound marketing, check out our sassy, irreverent, and a little bit funny smartass guide to inbound marketing below:
Manufacturing buyers are not going to the Yellow Pages to find suppliers anymore: they’re searching online. If you want those buyers to find your company, you’re going to have to show up in the search engine results, and to do that, your site needs to use SEO best practices.
Quick Refresher: What’s SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO practices are things that best allow search engines to crawl and understand your site, making sure it shows up as a result in relevant searches. SEO strategy involves how you structure the pages on your website, the keywords you use, how often you add and update content, and how content is tagged, among other things.
Why is SEO So Important for B2Bs?
Like we said earlier, the people who are looking for your products and services are looking online. And, unlike B2C products, traditional advertising doesn’t do much for B2Bs. Have you ever seen ads for washing machine screws or rearview mirror assemblies? Neither have we. While a brand of soda might appeal to a lot of people and draw a lot of attention, your products or services are targeted toward specific applications in specific industries, and you need to target those potential customers with your digital marketing efforts.
SEO for B2B manufacturers is what will help people find you, and more specifically, people who want what you’re selling. That’s because SEO entails strategically using the same words your ideal customers are using when they search—keywords. When you use the right keywords, people who are looking for the services or products you offer, even searchers who have never heard of your company or don’t remember your company’s name, will find you.
SEO draws more people to your website, and that is the best way to get your site higher in search engine rankings and to convert interested site visitors to sales leads. The higher your site ranks in the search engine results, the more likely it is that potential customers will see your site and navigate to it. Plus, internet users are savvy, and they are more likely to click on a top organic search result than a paid search ad.
Additionally, the content you create when you implement SEO practices like blogging will help you establish authority in your industry and build trust and credibility with future customers. If buyers appreciate and trust the information you provide them, they’re more likely to purchase from you.
Think it’s about time to start implementing SEO practices on your site? Evenbound can help! We’ve worked with a number of B2B manufacturers, and have delivered serious results. Check out this case study to see how our inbound marketing strategy can help you get on page one: