Today’s buyers don’t want to be “marketed to.” Technology has changed the way that people and companies interact, from a consumer buying a $50 kitchen appliance to the most complex B2B industrial purchases. Today’s buyers want to research a product or service online. They want to read reviews and compare solutions. And if they do want to meet with a salesperson, it has to be on the buyer’s terms.
A lot has changed, but you already know that. Cold-calling is becoming less and less effective, and, for some businesses, you may be relying solely on word-of-mouth referrals for new leads. If you’re wanting to grow your business, these methods leave you with shockingly few opportunities. As your prospects’ buying habits change, so must the way that you market to them.
How Do You Reach Today’s Buyers Without “Marketing” To Them?
How many of you have done marketing campaigns before to up your lead generation? A common complaint among manufacturers is that sporadic marketing pushes are hit and miss, with no real way to determine what worked and what didn’t. Ultimately, one-off lead generation campaigns are a poor way to reach today’s buyers since they’ve become less receptive to cold calls and other traditional marketing efforts. The solution is Inbound Marketing.
Inbound marketing is the highly-effective, proven, long-term solution to today’s marketing challenges. HubSpot calls it “the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business” by engaging them at every step of their buyer’s journey.
Today’s buyers have already completed 70% of the buyer’s journey before ever reaching out to your business for sales. By only engaging with your prospects in that final stage, you’re missing an opportunity to build trust and rapport earlier in their journey. Likewise, when reaching out to a prospect through a traditional marketing push, you’re asking them to buy – to make a decision – without really being a part of their journey before that.
Inbound marketing is especially effective for manufacturing companies because it allows you to engage with your buyer much earlier in the conversation. Through helpful content, you can help your prospective buyers understand their problem in the awareness stage and educate them on possible solutions during the consideration stage. They’re already searching for solutions to their problems. All you have to do is help them find your solution.
Increase Lead Generation by Reaching Out to New Buyers
First, it’s important to identify and understand your customers. Buyer personas are representations of your ideal buyers. These are created from market research, industry knowledge, and information gathered from interviews of your actual customers. Personas are the foundation for any inbound marketing program because inbound is all about building relationships with the right buyers through content that is tailor-made for them.
Content types by Inbound stage.
I know what you’re thinking: you want to sell more products, not blog about them. This is a perfect example of that fundamental shift in the way we do business. Today’s buyers don’t want to be “sold to;” they want to educate themselves on their challenges and the different solutions available. Blogging, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO) are all powerful opportunities to attract your buyers to your site when they’re searching for solutions to their problems.
Furthermore, offering downloadable resources is a great way to convert those website visitors into leads. In exchange for a buyer’s contact information, you provide access to more in-depth content to further help them consider their solutions. Ebooks, whitepapers, product guides, and digital catalogs are all examples of helpful, educational resources that are perfectly geared for manufacturing customers.
The more opportunities your business has to help, educate, and guide your potential buyers, the more faith they will have in your product when they’re ready to decide on a solution.
Continue Nurturing Those Leads Through Your Complex Sales Cycles
Some manufacturers’ sales cycles can last 8-12 months, sometimes even longer. How do you currently keep your leads engaged over that period of time? Occasional “Touching Base” and “Checking In” emails simply aren’t effective.
Instead of vague follow-ups, you should be nurturing your leads by helping them naturally (and painlessly) continue moving through your sales funnel. Try positioning yourself as a valuable, helpful resource rather than a pushy salesperson. Share your content that corresponds to where they are in their buyer’s journey — the decision stage.
Inbound Marketing is an Investment,
Not a Cost
Inbound marketing produces better results over a longer period of time, effectively lowering your cost per lead.
Content Marketing ROI created by Kapost.
This is not a one-off campaign that will yield immediate results; inbound is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re only worried about hitting your sales goals for the end of the current month, inbound is probably not the best fit for you. If, instead, you’re interested in producing a steady stream of more-qualified leads, month-after-month, then an inbound marketing program can get you there.