We don’t think we’re making a radical statement when we say that businesses need to generate leads. All companies need to generate high quality leads in order to close sales and stay in business.
There’s a lot of advice out there on how to get the job done: they say you need to do this, this, and this – then you’ll magically be generating leads, closing sales, and making money. But we find that many of our building materials manufacturing clients already are doing this, this, and this – and a little of that, too. So how can you really make inbound marketing work for your lead generation problems? First, let’s lay out the basics.
What is Inbound?
If you’re not familiar with inbound, a lot of marketing advice is going to sound like jargon and buzzwords. But inbound really is an effective way to market! Rather than interrupting your prospects and forcing your marketing message onto them, inbound involves attracting potential customers to your website by educating them about their problems and possible solutions. It’s all about building trust with your prospects and going into the conversation more prepared to help them. And when people trust your company, they are more likely to buy from you when the time is right. And yes, inbound marketing does work for manufacturers!
Where Do You Begin?
There is no shortage of inbound marketing tactics out there. You could invest in blog posts, video marketing, social media, paid search, search engine optimization, ebooks, white papers, webinars, emails….. The list goes on and on. So what should you be doing? There are some elements that are essential to any inbound strategy.
Attract Visitors with Content Offers
Content is the backbone of your inbound strategy. Your prospects don’t need to talk to a sales rep in order to make a decision anymore. They’re doing their own research online, searching for answers to their problems with Google and other search engines. So if they don’t need to speak to you, how can you reach them?
Provide them with the answers they’re looking for. Your website should have content dedicated to proving your expertise in your field. This will include consistent content such as blogs or videos, as well as more valuable content offers. Offering your visitors something of value will help educate them on the problems they’re having and how you can help them.
Many manufacturers believe that content marketing doesn’t have a place in their industry. But remember, people buy from companies they trust, and when you provide content that really helps your prospects, you’ll earn their trust. Even better? If your information is valuable enough, people will share it – and you’ll be able to reach even more potential customers.
Use your imagination when you create content offers. You may want to create an ebook or whitepaper, have a free product demonstration or offer a consultation. Think your budget can’t handle the manpower and the time to create sharable content? Think again! One secret we’ve seen used time and time again is to repurpose old blogs. Take all of the valuable information you’ve already written about and turn it into a comprehensive guide or video.
Before you create your valuable content offer, ask yourself these things:
- Is it relevant to your target audience? One of the biggest mistakes in content creation is making content that doesn’t resonate with your audience. Consider your buyer personas carefully when creating content.
- Where is this person in the marketing funnel? Are they trying to figure out a problem? Are they exploring solutions to a problem they know they have? The worst thing you can do is spook a lead by asking for too much information right away or providing an offer that’s more like a sales pitch. Where they are in the buyer’s journey is important.
- Is this optimized for lead gen? Make sure you do some keyword research before creating your content. If no one is searching for your content, your hours of work may be better spent elsewhere.
Score Leads with Landing Pages
What’s a landing page? It’s the page the your prospects land on before they download your content offer. This page is not like a standard web page; it’s special. Its sole focus is to convince your visitor that whatever content offer you are presenting them with is the answer to all of their problems. It aims to convince your prospect that your offer is worth trading something valuable: their contact information.
Remember not to be sneaky. Inbound is about helping your prospects – if you convince them that this content offer is valuable, it better be valuable.
Landing pages can be shared through social media, emails, or even QR codes. If you attend trade shows or other marketing events, consider bringing some tablets along and having prospects fill out the form on your landing page without leaving the booth.
Strike Email Gold with Forms
The form is the unsung hero of lead generation. Sure, it’s nice to have an informative offer and a landing page with beautiful graphics and snappy call-to-action. But the forms are what truly capture your leads. Maybe not their attention, but definitely their information. Creating a form is both an art and a science.
When a stranger fills out a form on your landing page to reach a content offer, suddenly they’re not a stranger anymore. You’ll have their email address – a way to reach them again and again for email newsletters or other content offers. You can nurture leads through content they want and like until they make a purchase.
How to Increase Lead Generation With Inbound Marketing
This is some pretty bare bones information about inbound; these are the things you must have, no matter who you are and who your customers are. Now let’s get back to all that marketing advice you’ve heard over the past few years: you’ve heard that you need social media, blog posts, live videos, and a million other marketing tactics.
What if you’ve already been using some, if not all, of those magic inbound tactics and you’re still not seeing success? Should you consider yourself an inbound failure and give it up? No. The most common mistake we see manufacturers make is implementing inbound tactics before taking the time to create a real inbound strategy.
There’s no “one size fits all” answer, even if some marketers would have you believe that there is. You may want to try some of these popular marketing tactics, but if you don’t have a solid marketing strategy created for your business and your customers, clever tactics aren’t going to help much.
It all begins with strategy. Take the time to understand who you are as a company, who your customers are, and who your competitors are. Really dig deep and create a marketing strategy designed to work for you – not for all those people giving you generic advice.
Need some help creating a strong marketing strategy? Download your free strategic marketing planning kit – it has everything you need to create a strategy based on research, data, and your own company.