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In the manufacturing industry, traditional marketing and advertising methods are still considered the gold standard. On the other hand, for companies figuring out how to create a competitive advantage, going digital is the way to get there.

More specifically, inbound marketing is your ticket to more leads, better leads, and more repeat customers–all while gaining an advantage over your competitors. Here’s how it works.

The Inbound Approach

A full 94 percent of business buyers research online before making a purchase. That’s just about everybody. The idea behind inbound marketing is to give buyers all the information they’re looking for so you can get their attention during the research phase. The focus is on educating these researchers rather than interrupting them with ads.

As you answer questions and solve problems with your content, you’ll begin to build trust with potential customers. You’ll also be demonstrating your expertise and leadership in your industry. The result is people who come to you when they are ready to buy.

Inbound Step-by-Step

The inbound method works in four phases. From the early steps of bringing new traffic to your website to the end of the funnel where you exceed the expectations of your customers, here is how the process breaks down.

  1. Attract. In this phase, you want to focus on providing the right information at the right time. The object of the game is to attract people who are not only most likely to become leads, but also those who are the right fit for your products and services.
    Do this with a content strategy built around what people are searching for on the internet. What questions do they have? What are their pain points? Use blogs, ebooks, or even video to start answering and solving. Lastly, get your content in front of the right people with tools like social media to spread the word.
  2. Convert. Once you’ve got visitors on your website, the next step is to convert them into leads. This is accomplished by finding different ways to begin a conversation so you can keep the information flowing.
    Do this with forms on your website, real-time chat from your website, and offers such as demos and consultations. Remember, at this phase, people are still researching and comparing so hold tight on the hard sell.
  3. Close. Now you’ve got some solid, qualified leads and it’s time to move them along toward a purchase. Using the inbound method, much of this phase is still a hands-off process. Each of your leads should be nurtured according to what brought them to you in the first place.
    Do this by first understanding how ready to buy each customer is, and providing more information to help seal the deal. What pages have they visited? What has been downloaded? Nudge prospects along with things like an email series full of useful content to keep building trust and removing roadblocks. When the time is right, you can go in for the sale.
  4. Delight. This last step of the process is all about keeping current customers engaged and happy. When you do this, not only will they return to you when they’re ready for another purchase, but they will also be more likely to recommend you to others.
    Do this by first customizing content to reflect current buyers. You don’t want to pitch products and services to people who have already purchased them. Instead, provide customized recommendations and information based on their history.

Building a Competitive Advantage

There are many traditional methods for attracting customers that still work. Tradeshows and other in-person events continue to draw big crowds. On the other hand, it’s time to put interruptive marketing and advertising to rest. The reason that tradeshows–and inbound marketing–work is because you’re allowing prospects to come to you when they’re ready.

Inbound is also successful because you’re providing value to your potential customers along the way. As you give and give to your prospects, you gain the edge over the competition as people are more likely to choose companies they trust rather than ones constantly pushing for a sale.

Inbound also helps keep your marketing budget in check because you never have to waste time and resources marketing to people who are not a good fit for your business. Commercials and internet ads are broadcast to anyone who can hear. Mailers go out to any company that might fit the profile. But lead generation–and customer retention–will only increase when you’re talking to the right people at the right time, and with the right message.

Get Your Inbound Strategy Rolling

If you’ve been wondering how to create a competitive advantage, inbound is the answer. Building your first inbound strategy might seem overwhelming, but that’s what we’re here for! New Perspective has experience working with manufacturers – particularly in the building materials industry – to create effective marketing strategies. Are you ready to get your inbound strategy off the ground? Contact us to get started.

Create a competitive advantage