For manufacturing CEOs and sales professionals, generating qualified leads isn’t just a goal–it’s the lifeblood of sustainable business growth. Content marketing can be one of your best methods of achieving goals for lead generation, especially with a well-designed manufacturing website.
Content marketing supports prospects in the three stages of the buyer journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision (Purchase).
Producing thoughtful, quality content is a smart marketing investment that delivers more high-quality leads, and at similar to lower costs, when compared to paid search campaigns. Meanwhile, paid advertising is an expense that requires ongoing spending, in addition to deep understandings of ad products and media buying that require even more costly expertise.
While it’s true some initial costs are involved in content marketing, once you’ve got your content published to your website and other channels, it keeps climbing up the search results, bringing in clicks and leads without spending that upfront investment again.
Here’s a look at the steps to launch and manage a content strategy that generates B2B manufacturing leads.
The First Step: Understanding Your Manufacturing Audience
Successful content marketing hinges on understanding your audience of business prospects, just as a skilled orator tailors their speech to their audience of listeners.
Here’s a high-level look at identifying your target audience, creating precise buyer personas, establishing a consistent brand voice and tone, and ways to understand their pain points, challenges, and needs.
Identify Your Target Customer(s)
- Define the primary industries within manufacturing that align with your products or services.
- Gather demographic data such as age, gender, job roles, and locations of potential customers.
- Explore the specific business niches or sectors within manufacturing that your offerings cater to.
Use your web analytics platform to correlate conversions with age, gender, and other demographics.
Create Detailed Marketing Personas
- Collate data from existing customers, surveys, and market research to build a detailed picture of your ideal customers.
- Identify common traits, behaviors, and goals among your target audience.
- Segment your audience into distinct personas based on shared characteristics.
Use LinkedIn to cross-reference your leads to their profiles.
Establish a Consistent Brand Voice and Tone
- Define your brand’s personality and the emotions you want to evoke in your audience.
- Ensure your brand voice aligns with your manufacturing business’s values and mission.
- Maintain consistency in communication across all content channels and touchpoints.
Create a matrix that narrows your brand personality. Here are some examples: expert but not clinical, engaging but not aggressive, helpful but never pandering.
Research Pain Points, Challenges, and Needs
- Conduct in-depth interviews or surveys with existing customers to identify their pain points and challenges in their manufacturing processes.
- Analyze customer feedback, reviews, and complaints to pinpoint areas where your content can provide solutions.
- Explore industry forums, social media groups, and online communities to gauge your target audience’s concerns and questions.
Analyze keywords from your Google Search Console. Keyword phrases that begin with “how” or “what” offer a peak into customer problems that need answers.
How to Strategize Content for Manufacturing Lead Generation
Creating an effective content strategy is the foundation of manufacturing lead generation. Here are some steps and tips to get you started, beginning with how you understand of exactly what your content should be about.
The Clustered Content Approach
In manufacturing, a clustered content marketing strategy focuses on establishing content “pillar” topics around your manufacturing company’s core business offerings (typically, this is focused on the product(s) you are manufacturing or selling), then producing related content around these core topics and interlinking the content appropriately.
The pillar content serves as the overview or topical hub, and the surrounding “clustered” content linking from that pillar page will cover specific subtopics related to the central theme. In the same way you would intuitively parse in your mind what the business does (products, services, support) and whom it serves (industries, technologies, applications), you can establish these core topics and subtopics for your content cluster strategy.
By interlinking these content pieces on your website appropriately, search engines recognize your organization of content and identify you as an authoritative source on the topics, boosting the website’s search engine rankings for queries related to those topics.
This approach can improve a manufacturing website’s visibility, establish industry expertise, and provide a comprehensive resource for your audience of industrial customers and prospects, making it a powerful strategy for content marketing and SEO.
An example of interactive corporate B2B marketing that generated leads for a global energy brand.
We used interactive content to both inform and boost name recognition of a national 3PL provider.
Producing Compelling Content
Once you have your strategy, it’s time to execute. We’ll explore leveraging industry-specific keywords for SEO optimization, with actions for creating high-quality, informative articles, showcasing industry expertise and thought leadership, using visuals and multimedia for engagement, and utilizing storytelling techniques to make your content relatable.
Use a content calendar for organizing content and a consistent publishing schedule.
Building Awareness to Drive Action
Awareness is the first step towards lead generation. We’ll provide a brief intro and a list of possibilities with concise explanations, including the proper distribution channels (social media, email, industry forums), leveraging email marketing for lead nurturing, and link-building strategies. Learn how to share high-value content with trade publications and business partners to encourage them to feature or link to your content.
Strategic Link Building
Identify high-authority websites, trade publications, or industry influencers in the manufacturing sector. Reach out with high-value, unique content pieces. Encourage them to feature or link to your content, establishing your brand as an authoritative source in the industry.
Measuring and Analyzing Results
Effective content marketing is data-driven. We’ll discuss setting measurable goals for lead generation, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), and analyzing the effectiveness of content marketing campaigns. Discover advanced techniques like A/B testing and optimizing content for lead conversion.
A/B testing can be an advanced analysis technique.
Empower Your Manufacturing Business
The evolving manufacturing sector makes it challenging for your brand to connect with diverse industrial audiences and generate qualified leads effectively. Small and mid-size manufacturing companies with limited marketing resources can benefit from partnering with a digital agency that has years of experience executing successful content strategies for manufacturers with consistency.
High-quality content must combine with marketing tactics that include email, social media, and earned media. Success also requires the underpinnings of a high-performance website that plays an outsize role in organic search performance.
At DBS Interactive, we have decades of proven success at building and executing content strategies that elevate industrial brands and produce qualified leads to increase sales for manufacturers.