The ultimate guide to lead generation for manufacturers
Generating leads is a must for forward thinking manufacturers. Not only are marketers under pressure to bring in new leads to maintain an active sales funnel, but those leads are expected to be of a certain quality too. With a typical lead generation strategy composed of numerous elements, it can be tricky to identify the areas needing that extra bit of help.
In this blog, we will explore the areas marketers should focus on to increase the quality and quantity of leads for a manufacturing company. Before we go into further detail, let’s first look at the mechanics of lead generation. From a tactical perspective, a marketer needs four crucial elements to make inbound lead generation happen.
An offer is as a useful information resource, which may be beneficial to a potential lead. An offer can take the form of a whitepaper, live webinar, eBook, template or a checklist.
2. Call – to – action (CTA)
A CTA can be either a hyperlinked word/ line of text, an image or a button that links directly to a landing page, where people can fill out a form to receive the content offer.
3. Landing Page
A landing page differs to other web pages in that it is specific to one offer. The page information and form is designed to encourage page visitors to download the offer.
Forms are essential for generating leads, and without them you wouldn’t be able to gather contact information from landing page visitors.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look into each element in more detail…
1. Create appealing offers
The main goal for marketers is to make offers so appealing that people want to say “yes”. To entice leads to download, an offer must be irresistible, limited and in high demand. The perceived value of an offer must be greater than the personal information you are asking of your leads.
So, how do you create irresistible offers?
Create Enticing Titles
People most definitely judge a book by its cover. Even if you write an amazing eBook, without a catchy title no one will be drawn to download it. Take the time to create an offer name that mirrors the quality of the content inside.
Create Offers for Each Stage of a Buyer’s Journey
While every company wants their prospects to visit their website and instantly get in touch with a member of sales, not every lead will be ready to make a purchase. Most buyers in the manufacturing industry like to carry out their own research before reaching out to a sales rep. Every lead is at a different stage; some may be aware of what they need and the various solutions available to them, while others will require more influencing before making a decision. It’s crucial to create different offers to reflect this prospect disparity.
For example, someone who is in the early stages at the top of the buying cycle would be interested in a useful ‘How To’ guide, while those further down might find a free consultation or trial more appealing.
High value offers
Offers vary in informational value, and certain formats have been found to work better as lead conversion tools. Some top performing offer formats include eBooks, guides, presentations, templates, research & reports, whitepapers, kits, live webinars and videos.
2. Calls – To Action (CTA)
A call to action is an image or line of text used to prompt your audience to take action. The action you want your visitors to take could be anything from downloading an offer or signing up for a free trial or consultation. Without attractive and prominent CTA’s, you will fail to capture people’s interest. CTA’s can be used across all your marketing efforts, from social media and email, to product pages and display ads.
How to create a great CTA:
Make it visible
“Above the fold”, otherwise known as the top half of a webpage, is the optimum location for CTA placement. By only having a CTA at the bottom of the page, you risk losing those who don’t scroll.
Make it clear
Don’t lose focus of what the offer includes when trying to be ‘quirky’ or ‘different’. Be as specific as possible and state exactly what users will receive by clicking on the CTA and filling out the form. For example, “Download our ultimate guide to robotic process automation”.
Make it ‘pop’
A CTA shouldn’t blend in with the colouring and design of your website. Try using contrasting colours to really make your CTA stand out.
Link CTAs to a specific landing page
CTAs shouldn’t be used to send people to your website homepage where they can become distracted. Instead, direct visitors to a specific page where they can learn more and potentially convert.
3. Landing Pages
As one of the most important elements of lead generation, landing pages are used to capture a visitors information through a lead-capture form. By solely focusing on one targeted offer, distractions are eliminated and the only visible action is to complete the form.
Here’s how to optimise a landing page:
Dropdowns, links or clickable buttons to other areas of your website will only side-track visitors, decreasing the chance of conversion. One of the best ways to increase your landing page conversion rates is to simply remove the main navigation from the page.
Keep it simple
Less is more when it comes to landing page design. Be simple and informative, unnecessary clutter will only distract visitors. As well as the offer headline, include a short summary explaining what the offer is and its benefits.
Highlight the benefits
In a brief paragraph and/or bullet points, make it clear what the benefits of the offer are. Rather than listing what the offer includes, convey its value. Instead of “Includes specifications of product XYZ,” say something like “Find out how XYZ can increase productivity by 50%.”
Promote social sharing
Social sharing is a great way to spread awareness of your offer. Incorporate buttons on your landing page to encourage visitors to share your content across the various platforms; email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are the most popular. When prospects share content with their connections, you increase the number of people reaching your landing page who have the potential to convert to leads.
Without a lead capture form, there’s no way to convert your website visitor into a lead. Forms can be used to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletter, download a content offer or sign-up for a trial or consultation.
Consider the following points when creating your lead capture form;
The best way to approach form length is to only ask for the information you really need, the less fields the better. A longer form can be off-putting, but on the other hand, the more fields you require, the better quality those leads might be. The best way to determine what works for you is to test a few options.
To submit or not to submit
By using the word ‘submit’, prospects may be deterred by the thought of signing up to something. Instead, emphasise the benefit they will receive by signing up for your offer. For example, ‘Get your free demo or ‘Download Now’.
Make the form look shorter
A form can be off-putting for prospects if it appears lengthy with multiple fields to be filled out. It’s a good idea to reduce the space between each field or place the title to the left-hand side of each field rather than directly above it. Small changes such as these can make a massive difference to how the length of your form is perceived.
5. Multi-channel lead generation
Your website shouldn’t be a standalone tool for lead generation. There are other channels manufacturing marketers can use to capitalize their lead generation efforts; social media, email, or even trade shows. The objective is to make it easy for buyers to research, evaluate and purchase products in any way that is most appropriate for them. It’s all about having the right marketing mix.
Here are some channels that can help manufacturers boost lead generation:
Did you know that B2B marketers that blog get 67% more leads than those that do not? (HubSpot). Ensure each blog post refers to your buyer persona and has a prominent call-to-action to encourage visitors to click through and download your offer.
Many businesses may think that email marketing is best used when communicating with existing customers. Not so! Email can be a great channel for new lead generation, so long as you have consent from recipients.
Here are some ways you can use email to boost lead generation:
- Send people valuable offers
By sending informative and valuable offers – whether it’s downloads, discounts or educational content, people will more likely share your emails with their friends or colleagues.
- Provide people with the tools to share
Don’t forget to add a ‘Forward to a Friend’ link or social media sharing buttons within each email so people are encouraged to pass on the message.
Want to drive footfall to your trade show booth? Check out our 3 simple steps to trade show email campaign success.
Social media is an advantageous communication and lead generation channel that many manufacturers are taking advantage of. LinkedIn in particular is a prime hub for manufacturers to increase online brand awareness and build industry authority with highly targeted content and networking. (LinkedIn blog)
Here are some great tips for generating leads from social networks.
- Build a loyal following
Social media connections are really about people-to-people, not always company-to-individual. Get to know your audience online, communicate and share information. In order to generate leads, you need to have human interaction with others.
- Social media is dialogue
Rather than focusing on self-promotion, the goal is to interact with others and be helpful. Don’t always post about yourself, share links to other articles things you’ve found online, interact in LinkedIn groups and broaden your network with other industry professionals.
- Influence your connections
Publishing and sharing content that directs traffic to targeted landing pages is the single biggest lever to increase lead generation through social media. Share your new content offers by posting links to landing pages.
- Lead generation forms
If your opting for paid LinkedIn promotion, collect even more high-quality leads from your ads with pre-filled forms. Lead Generation forms are available for both sponsored InMail and sponsored content. With over 500 million users, LinkedIn has evolved into an influential marketing tool and an ‘absolute must’ for manufacturers.
While promoting your offers on many channels is crucial for lead generation, it’s also equally important to make it easy for people to find your landing pages through search engines. To do this, you need to apply search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to your landing pages:
- Pick a primary keyword for each landing page and focus on optimizing that page for that word. If you oversaturate a page with too many keywords, the page will lose its importance and authority because search engines won’t have a clear idea of what the page is about.
- Place your primary keywords in your headline and sub-headline. These areas of content have greater weight to search engines.
- Naturally incorporate the keywords in the body content, but don’t use them out of context. Make sure they are relevant with the rest of your content.
- Include keywords in the file name of images (e.g. mykeyword.jpg) and use them in the ALT tag.
For forward thinking manufacturers, generating leads online has the power to transform marketing activities. Using great offers, clear calls-to-action, direct landing pages, concise forms and multi-channel environments; you can reduce your cost-per lead while delivering higher quality prospects to your sales team.
These basic lead generation practices are just the beginning. This guide contains many best practices for every aspect of lead generation to help bolster your conversion rates, but these tactics are only the tip of the iceberg. Continue to tweak and test each step of your inbound lead generation process in an effort to improve lead quality and increase revenue.