Regardless of your function on the marketing team, you should be working toward one common goal: Generating high-quality leads for your sales team.
We all have struggles, though: Maybe you deal with some finger-pointing between sales and marketing. Or you’re trying to generate a higher volume of leads from organic search. You could very well be obsessing over the idea of bringing in a $1,000,000 deal (which, hate to break it to you, probably won’t happen off of a first-time engagement).
Whatever your challenges are, there’s room for improvement and ways you can jumpstart problem solving.
Here are five quick tips you can implement immediately to start seeing some traction:
Tip 1: Stop writing terrible email subject lines.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge an email by its subject line — at least one-third of recipients do.
You’re excited about whatever you’re promoting; you have a new product or service offering, opened a new facility, or launched a flashy new calculator on your site. And that’s great! But people aren’t going to be quite as excited as you are, so keep these in mind:
- Use excessive exclamation points or capital letters: “WE LOVE GEAR PUMPS!!!!!!!”
- Be unnecessarily vague: “Question…”
- Be spammy: “You NEED this FREE guide to save your company MONEY now”
- Use a fake “FWD:” or “RE:” at the beginning — you’re better than that
- Personalize the message: “Joan, a crucial oil update…”
- Ask a question: “Sourcing for an aluminum supplier?”
- Keep it concise: “7 tips for cutting cost”
- Play to their ego: “What top procurement people are doing in 2017”
Plus, almost every email marketing tool includes some sort of A/B testing functionality, so there’s plenty of opportunity to test, tweak, and try again to see what’s most effective with your email list.
Tip 2: Spend some money on social media.
Don’t buy followers. Read it again: Do. Not. Buy. Followers. Not only is it a little off-putting if you have three tweets and 15,000 followers, but there have been rumors in the space that Twitter and Facebook are going to start mimicking Google’s algorithm for detecting and penalizing spam.
That said, you can (and should!) start trying out advertising on social media platforms.
Hopefully you’ve ditched the notion that your prospects aren’t on social media, but in case you haven’t, here’s the argument: You don’t think your prospects are on social media? You think all of those buyers at those Fortune 500 companies simply stare off into space on their off hours and don’t communicate with the rest of the world? Even with the next generation of industrial buyers moving up quickly in the ranks?
Almost 25 percent of engineering marketers are increasing their budgets of social media marketing this year, and considering the overwhelming majority of the working world visits Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter every day, it’s a relatively easy place to play around with advertising for your business.
There are tons of guides out there for best practices on this topic, but Facebook and LinkedIn have simplified the process enough to help you narrow down your target prospects by job title, age, location, etc. All you need is a text post and/or image and a credit card, and you can get started. Don’t go nuts, though — $50 will get you started.
Tip 3: Make Google love you.
You’re probably hoping for a magic bullet or quick fix to jump to that number one spot on the search results page, but unfortunately, that’s not reality. However, it is relatively easy to clean up your site and optimize your content to help improve your ranking.
For starters, take a look at your website and ask the following questions:
Are my URLS truncated?
They should look like the second one, by the way — it helps search engines crawl your website more effectively and index your pages.
Is my website mobile-friendly?
Unless you avoided the internet in 2015, you heard about Google’s “Mobilegeddon,” where the company rolled out higher rankings to websites for mobile searches.
While it’s true the overwhelming majority of buyers are searching on desktop, you also probably didn’t even have a website 15 years ago. And it’s probably not going to take nearly that long for industrial buyers to begin their search on an iPhone. Get ahead while you can.
Do I have any intrusive interstitials?
Say that five times fast. But seriously, you know those full-page ads that pop up as soon as you drop on a website that have those annoying tiny close out boxes? Spoiler alert: Search engines don’t like them either.
In January, Google rolled out penalty for those intrusive interstitials that occur directly after a user clicks from a result to a webpage, which means if you have something pop up in a path later in the website, you’re in the clear.
Do I have any bad backlinks?
You know backlinks are critical for search engines — algorithms seek out relevancy and effectiveness. They’ll use social media mentions, attribution in blog posts and articles, and mentions on your local manufacturing association’s website to consider your authority.
But you need to keep an eye on your links to make sure there’s nothing abnormal, which you can do fairly quickly by logging in to Google Webmaster Tools. Disavow any bad links, and do not, under any circumstance, buy links from content farms.
If you are interested in learning more on increasing your SEO traffic in 30 days — download a free eBook on the topic here.
Tip 4: Create effective content.
Your prospects are visiting your website, reading up about your offerings, checking out your blog posts, and testing out your calculators all before they even give their information. If you don’t have offerings, blog posts, calculators, or any other content for folks to read, what’s to stop your potential customers from finding someone who does?
Your website should be a conversion machine, bringing in marketing qualified leads and RFQs — and it all starts with content.
Once you’ve determined who your target personas are for your company, you’ll understand their pain points and create materials to help them solve their problems.
For example, we know design engineers want examples immediately, so while specs and content is great, CAD files and calculators are even better because they provide immediately actionable information. When in doubt, listen in to sales calls, and you’ll see the patterns emerging very quickly about emerging customer frustrations. Answer them, and you’re in the game.
Tip 5: Smarket.
Okay, okay, so this one isn’t necessarily a lead generation tip, but once you bring in the leads, it’s just as important to close the deal.
If your sales team is managing their pipeline in Excel spreadsheets and your marketing is working off of automation or other software tools, it fosters a “blame game” mentality. You know, the one where “Marketing is generating crappy leads!” and “The leads are good… sales just doesn’t know how to close!” — which you definitely want to avoid.
There are a lot of helpful tools to bring transparency between the two teams, but it’s also important to consider how else marketing can help sales. We’ve already talked about effective email subject lines, but the same principles also work for selling. (Please, please, please, never “cold” call or use the word “I want” in your conversations.)
You also will want to keep an open dialogue between the two teams in what materials are helpful for getting a prospect to sign on the dotted line, so marketing has better feedback on what works in their campaigns.
There are so many different approaches to marketing — even in the industrial space — but we wanted to give you a few actionable tips to get started.
If these ideas seem to be way outside of what you’re used to in your company’s marketing efforts, head back to the basics with our eBook, “An Introduction to Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers.”
Any other questions? Get in touch with me on LinkedIn.