Generating manufacturers’ leads involves the mechanics of how you and your customers find each other and start a relationship. It lacks some of the creativity and excitement of content marketing or website design, but it’s a crucial step in customer acquisition.
If prospective clients can’t continually find you, then you can’t maintain your manufacturing business.
In this article, we’ll tell you about:
- What an effective manufacturer leads generation effort looks like
- How to make sure you capture the leads
- The digital transformation
- Making it worth your prospects’ while
- Google Ads and other pay-per-click ads
- Industrial directories
- Retargeting and remarketing
- The long-term rewards of an effective manufacturer leads program
Ready to get new manufacturing deals and repeat business — all in one place?
What does an effective lead effort look like?
An effective manufacturing lead-generation effort requires using a lot of different channels simultaneously. Different people respond to different things, even if they are all interested in the product or service you offer. The same person will even respond to different things over time, while still maintaining an interest in your business’ specific value.
But you don’t know where they get their information, what they do with it, or how they make decisions. There is no straightforward way to find out. But you can maintain consistent visibility and findability via:
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
- Industry relationships
- Trade shows or other appearances
- Online visibility
- Useful content in a variety of media
- Consistently high-quality products
- Customer service
Make sure you capture the leads
Imagine a salesperson who does not take the name and contact information of a prospect after talking to them. “They sure seemed interested! I’m sure they’ll buy something at some point.” That’s a short-lived sales career.
A lead is not a lead until you have a name and email address you can use to build on. It isn’t just an interested person. A lead is an interested person you know about — someone you can now take an active interest in. You have to actively work to get that information.
There are a couple of points to be conscious of here.
The prospect must be interested
They raised their hand in some way, or at least an eyebrow. They did something that indicated their interest, and you interacted with them, whether that was directly or through your website.
It’s important that they gave you a sign of interest and volunteered their contact information in some way. This is the only way to get high-value manufacturer leads.
You have to be interested too
What makes a lead a lead is your active interest in them. It’s your desire to learn more about them — and their needs — and to continue to communicate in a way that they find useful. It’s work, but it pays off.
The digital transformation
The online environment has transformed how you find and nurture leads — and this transformation will continue, meaning that a technique that worked well this year may be significantly less effective next year.
At the moment, you need to pay attention to social media — largely LinkedIn, but possibly other platforms where you know your prospects hang out — plus search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, industrial directories, and retargeting. Referrals will always be important.
Make sure people can see you and talk to you. The best social media strategy utilizes the platforms that have the best chance of generating leads and possible sales. Anyone you hire or use for this should have a real interest, not only in social media but also in what your manufacturing business does and what it provides.
When someone has a question about your industry or a problem you could solve, and types some terms into a search box to find something out, you want to come up as a useful source of information.
If you provide a useful manufacturing service, it’s guaranteed that someone wants that service and will look to find it, learn about it, and make decisions about it — online.
Your job is to figure out what search terms and concepts that a person would use to find the service you provide. Research which of those terms are most searched for, and then use those keywords to generate content that search engines will identify as a match for those terms.
Make it worth your prospects’ while
Aside from the free content that helped people out and enabled them to trust you, aim to provide more content that is also free but requires users to provide their contact information to access. Examples might include an instructional e-book about how to choose machine tools or a checklist that will simplify their workflow. This is sometimes called gated content or a lead magnet.
The conversion rate (the percentage of people who download) can be quite high if you’ve understood your potential customers well, used the same words they use to describe their problem, and created readable, useful content.
In addition to creating content that comes up high in organic search results, you can also use those same keywords to create paid ads that will appear on Google search results pages.
You can use these to call out a piece of gated content that will interest a prospect. If they click on the ad, reach the landing page, and fill out the form to access the content, you have them as a lead.
Industrial directories have long been a good way for manufacturers to get visibility, and in the digital world they are still important — and a valuable means of generating leads. Like everything else, most of these have gone entirely online.
Since these directories are known sources of useful and confirmed information, they generate a lot of traffic. Appearing in these directories, and having links back to your website from them, raises your search rank.
They are also a good source of leads. Visitors to these directories are already good prospects for you. When they click through to your site, they become good subjects for retargeting.
Retargeting and remarketing
One advantage of digital contact is that it provides a lot of incidental information, such as a cookie you leave on a user’s web browser after they visit your site. If they came from a site like an industrial directory, they are high value and worth marketing to — even if they have not downloaded something and given you their contact information.
You can serve up specific display ads to such individuals as they browse elsewhere, thus keeping your business top of mind and addressing their specific needs. An ad with a link to a content asset can get them to finally click through and give you their contact information.
You have many customers who are immensely satisfied with the product or service you provide. It solves a specific problem for them and helps them succeed in achieving their specific business goals.
But no matter how happy they are with your service, many are unlikely to recommend you to someone, unless someone (you) asks specifically. And this remains a very personal interaction — less digital than most of your lead-generation activity.
Word of mouth happens when you provide good service, but it happens a lot faster and more effectively if you ask for it.
The rewards are long term
Lead generation is a matter of consistent effort over time. It can be frustrating, but nowhere near as frustrating as never getting any leads, which will be the inevitable result if you don’t seize the opportunity.
It takes time to start getting leads consistently. But now you know how to gain a steady stream of new customers — the goal of any operation. Over time, you can tweak one thing or another, try something new, alter what you spend money on, or even try pausing something to see if you can save some money. But all of those changes will be built on a foundation of the new customers who are the lifeblood of your business.