Inbound marketing offers manufacturers a golden opportunity to thrive in the digital world. Rather than going to the shops or approaching your sales team, your customer's research products online before they buy. Using the inbound marketing tools below you can capture your customer’s attention early in the buying process, and nurture them with engaging, relevant content until they become loyal, delighted customers.
Inbound marketing is powerful because it shows not just why but how your products can make your customers’ lives better. When your customers find a solution to their problems on your website they’re much more likely to buy from you. In fact, 95% of buyers purchase from a company that has:
“provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.”
This approach has other significant virtues. Manufacturers who use inbound marketing build deeper relationships with their customers, making it easier to up-sell other products and create brand advocates. It also makes financial sense: inbound costs 60% less per lead than traditional outbound techniques, and it shortens your sales cycle, so you’ll see revenue faster.
Read on to discover how to:
- Create a successful marketing strategy
- Use buyer personas and keywords to connect with your ideal customers
- Use software to monitor your performance
- Generate content that converts leads
- Develop an effective social media strategy
- Nurture your leads with email marketing
- Combine your sales and marketing teams
Create a Successful Marketing Strategy
Effective inbound digital marketing begins when you align your company’s sales and marketing strategy with its overall business goals. Your sales and marketing teams should get together to discuss how many qualified leads are needed to generate product sales, and how many sales are needed to hit your revenue targets.
At this stage, it’s important to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll measure regularly to monitor progress.
If you feel your website isn’t currently receiving enough traffic, you might focus on SEO, keywords and social media strategy; if your site isn’t generating enough leads, you could focus on metrics linked to your user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimisation (CRO); while a lack of sales may mean you need to focus on new nurturing strategies.
When you have clear targets based on your website’s current performance, you should document your inbound marketing strategy and share it with your colleagues across the company – manufacturers who experienced the most success with inbound all agree this small step is essential.
Once you’ve aligned your goals with your marketing strategy it’ll be easy to identify the return on your investment (ROI) your inbound approach will bring.
Use Buyer Personas and Keywords to Connect with Your Ideal Customers
Once you have a clear idea who your customers are, it’s a lot easier to connect with them online. Your marketing team can use their psychological skills and industry insight to identify your ideal customers by creating ‘buyer personas’ that break down the age range, job role, income level and outlook of each of your potential buyers.
The next step is to combine the insight gained from these personas with keyword research using Google Analytics. This allows you to identify the most popular words and phrases that customers use when searching online for products like yours.
When you know more about your customers, you can adapt the content of your website to show how your company’s products meet their needs. As you include popular keywords on your site, your search ranking will improve. Premium content that taps into your customers’ needs will help to grow traffic to your site, drive lead generation and increase sales.
Use Software to Monitor Your Performance
The best inbound marketing companies understand that the fastest way to achieve your goals is to regularly monitor your KPIs. Automated marketing software allows you to keep track of your metrics and determine where you should focus your marketing efforts.
Marketing software helps you identify where your website’s traffic comes from, and how easily your users travel down the marketing funnel from awareness of your brand to consideration of your products, and eventually the decision to buy.
As well as giving you valuable insight into which marketing campaigns are most successful, automated marketing software helps you improve your website’s user experience and identify which content converts most visitors into leads.
Combined with CRM software, you can identify how productive your lead nurturing campaigns have been, iteratively improving your strategies to boost product sales.
Generate Content That Converts Leads
A successful inbound marketing plan relies on your company’s ability to produce premium content that matches your customers’ needs. There are many different ways to spread your marketing message, so how to you decide which one to pick?
The answer is not to pick one type of content. Instead, create a variety of articles, blogs, white papers, industry interviews, case studies, infographics and videos. If you’re unsure which type of content to use, the rule of thumb is to pick the easiest way to get your information across.
It’s important to remember that every piece of content should be tailored to the needs of your ideal customers, and include popular keywords to boost your search engine ranking.
Videos can be a great way to show the features of your products, infographics are great to illustrate financial information and complex processes, while articles and blogs can discuss how your products can make your customers’ lives better.
Case studies and white papers can provide valuable, in-depth information and are ideal for lead generation and to nurture leads until they are ready to buy your products. In every case, make sure your content includes clear Calls to Action (CTAs), so your customers know where they can find more information and buy your products.
Create a content calendar so that you can keep track of the work you produce. It’s a great way to check you’re covering all your bases and keeping things fresh and interesting. It also helps you plan for important events like industry events and product launches.
Develop an Effective Social Media Strategy
Once you’ve invested time and effort creating premium content, you want to ensure that your ideal customers can find it. Social media is perfect for this because it gives you the opportunity to engage directly with customers and industry leaders, and to use targeted advertising to find new leads.
Information from your buyer personas will help you identify the social networks that your ideal customers most commonly use. If you are a B2C manufacturer, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter might be the most effective platforms to use; while B2B manufacturers might find LinkedIn, Twitter and industry forums more effective targets.
Social media is a great place to nurture leads from your website. Regular, targeted posts allow you to keep in touch with leads, share product endorsements, and keep your brand top of mind until your customers are ready to buy.
Pay per click (PPC) advertising on social media can also be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. Many social media networks allow you to tailor your advertisements and content so that you reach specific demographics, interest groups and locations, enabling you to reach ideal customers who might not otherwise come across your products.
Nurture Your Leads with Email Marketing
One of the reasons many companies don’t achieve their revenue goals is because they don’t nurture their leads. Research shows that companies that nurture leads make 50% more sales than non-nurtured leads. This is why email marketing is so important.
When a visitor to your website provides their contact information in exchange for your premium content they indicate that they are interested in finding out more about your products.
By sharing a variety of helpful, relevant content and industry information by email, you can build a positive, helpful relationship of trust with your customers. More detailed product information or a helpful video might be the information your customers need to decide to buy from you.
Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than those who aren’t nurtured, so it’s worth including email in your inbound toolkit.
Combine Your Sales and Marketing Teams
According to a survey carried out by Hubspot in 2015, companies that combined their sales and marketing teams saw marketing revenue grow by an average of 208%.
Inbound marketing is most effective when sales and marketing work closely together, sharing customer insights and qualified leads. The ‘smarketing’ approach brings together the strengths of the two teams so that both can access the same information and resources and work together to boost revenue.
Armed with data from automated marketing software and CRM data, your ‘smarketing’ team can streamline the inbound marketing process, building on their successes and devising innovative new ways to reach your company’s revenue goals.
By combining these inbound marketing tools, manufacturers can take advantage of recent changes in customers’ buying behaviour to create long-term loyalty and trust. Red-fern Media can help you take advantage of this golden opportunity.