Gone are the days when marketers make fly by the seat of their pants decisions or decisions based on what they THINK will work for their prospects and customers. In a B2B world, not taking a data-driven approach can be one of the biggest mistakes a manufacturer makes when putting various tactics into place. It is essential to constantly evaluate your prospect and buyer’s behaviors and the analytics behind their actions. Taking this information and using it to make educated decisions about the tactics you employ will make a huge difference in gaining the attention of qualified leads.
One of the biggest mistakes manufacturing companies as well as other industrial B2B companies make is that they believe online marketing doesn’t really apply to them. “Our website is not going to generate qualified leads,” we often hear. “It’s mainly a place to show that we are a reputable business and provide resources for our current customers.” While both of these statements are correct, we KNOW that even product designers, engineers, procurement engineers and buyers are doing research online when they have a business problem they can’t solve.
It is essential for manufacturers to establish a strong web presence and strategy that will help them be found (and oftentimes contacted) by prospects AND customers. This allows a business to establish a level of trust and be a valuable resource through digital channels.
Here are a few additional mistakes and misconceptions that manufacturers should avoid:
If we build it, they will come.
One of the biggest misconceptions in regard to building a new website is that who builds it and the platform its built on doesn’t really matter. In the industrial and manufacturing world, it is not uncommon to hear that a site has been built by an IT guy or gal (or someone who took it on as a side project working out of their basement). Don’t get me wrong – there are some really smart people working out of their basements. Just be careful not to pigeonhole yourself into a situation where your site is built on a platform that cannot be edited by anyone except the person who created it.
Websites should be built on reputable content management systems with marketing software capabilities (like HubSpot) that will allow you to make frequent updates, additions AND run simple or robust lead generation campaigns.
Do you wish that you could drive more visitors to your site or use it as a platform to help generate and convert leads? So many manufacturers think that if they build a beautiful website, people will just find it – without doing much to actually drive people there.
Your website should be a living, breathing platform that is continually evolving and providing new and interesting resources for your visitors.
Content will sell itself.
More and more manufacturers are implementing content marketing strategies and seeing great benefits with doing so. The challenge is that many who are new to content marketing believe that just the act of producing and posting the content will initiate a viral effect with automatic engagement and shares. “We think our material should just sell itself.”
The reality is that it doesn’t work that way. Be super active promoting material by getting it in front of ideal customers. In fact, many digital marketing experts recommend you follow the 80/20 rule: spend 20% of your time creating the content and 80% of your time working on methods of promoting your content (social channels, social ads, influencer outreach, etc.).
Online resources are too technical.
Nobody knows your business better than you do. And we all like to talk about what we do that makes our business great. Asphalt manufacturers talk about sourcing premium materials and installation efficiencies. Plastic injection molders talk about automation, design solutions that reduce costs and the latest resins. When creating valuable content, it is important to remember that prospects and customers are not necessarily looking for all you can do – but what can you do specifically for them. How can you answer a critical pain point? What do you do differently from others in your industry that will save your prospect time and money?
While it is important to make sure you are incorporating enough technical elements in your content to sound authentic and reputable, it is also important to keep it at a level that is understandable for your site visitors. Having individuals review your content who work outside of your department or those who are not directly connected to your business can be a beneficial step.
The absence of calls-to-action.
When was the last time you offered up your contact information without someone asking you for it or offering you something valuable in return? If the only opportunity a visitor has to provide their contact information via your website is through a “contact us” button, you are probably missing opportunities to add qualified leads to your database, as well as obtain important information about those prospects.
Adding additional calls-to-action (CTAs) on your site can be beneficial as well. These may come in the form of gated material with “download” buttons for access to educational content such as eBooks, tip sheets, whitepapers and more.
Placement of CTAs on your web pages is an important factor as well. Using heat map software such as Hotjar can give you a good idea of how visitors are interacting with your web pages. By using the data provided by heat maps, you will be able to view the areas visitors hover, click and how far they scroll. Analyzing this data will determine if CTAs need to be moved or added on a page.
A website that is not mobile-friendly.
In 2015, Google began penalizing websites that did not pass their mobile-friendly test. This means that websites with mobile compatibility are awarded higher rankings in search results. Not only will your organic search rankings suffer if you do not have a mobile optimized website, but you will likely turn off visitors as well. In 2016, mobile internet use surpassed desktop use.
These factors show that it is critically important for marketers in an industrial or manufacturing industry to understand that your prospects ARE using mobile to do research, engage with businesses on social and much more.
Implementing the wrong strategy or trying too many tactics.
Does everything you should (and could) be doing with digital marketing overwhelm you? If you are a marketer that constantly hears “we should be blogging,”… “we should be on LinkedIN,”… “we should try PPC,”… I understand your pain. It’s easy to get sucked into the digital marketing black hole (SEO, PPC, SnapChat, Email, etc). Don’t make the mistake of spending your marketing dollars haphazardly chasing the next big thing in digital marketing.
Establishing a well-thought-out digital marketing plan and implementing, testing and evaluating a few key tactics will allow you to focus on the channels that will truly offer a strong ROI for your business.
What digital marketing mistakes have you overcome and what tactics have proven to be beneficial for your business?
Free Resource: Business Growth Playbook
Use this playbook as a guide to be more effective with your sales and marketing efforts.