If you are an industrial or a manufacturing marketer, you know all about the constant pressure of generating high-quality sales leads. Upper management asking you to fill the pipeline with ever-shrinking budgets is a given these days.
There are three key ideas in the headline of my post – 1) Industrial blogs, 2) Lead generation and 3) Inbound marketing. In this post I’ll talk about how the three work together nicely in industrial and manufacturing marketing.
Various studies and my own experiences with industrial clients show that filling the top of the lead-gen funnel is still the number one goal.
A study of over 1,400 small and mid-sized businesses found that marketers with blogs generated 67% more leads. (Source: HubSpot).
Industrial marketers who don’t use a blog are missing a key component of feeding the top of their sales funnels. The single biggest benefit of blogging that I know of is getting found early and often when engineers and industrial professionals are researching solutions using search engines.
Let’s say you are a Tier II parts manufacturer for the automotive industry. You could write a blog post titled “Injection molding using engineered resins for automotive products.” It would attract very specific readers, albeit a small number, who very closely match the profile of your ideal prospect/customer.
With a static Web page, it would be difficult if not impossible to rank high using those long tail keywords as a keyword phrase.
An industrial blog will help to establish you/your company’s expertise with free content. Building this kind of thought leadership and online credibility helps you grow your list of new prospects and leads. Site visitors from your blog are more receptive to giving up their contact information in exchange for more valuable content that is locked behind registration forms on your Website.
To learn more about how an industrial blog can help your lead generation efforts, read my earlier post, “Why Your Sales Funnel May Run Dry Without a Business Blog.”
When industrial marketers have a singular focus on lead generation, there is a tendency to neglect lead nurturing. Marketing does not end with filling the top of the funnel.
A vast majority of those prospects will require continued attention or lead nurturing before they are ready to be handed off to sales. In the past, I have written about the importance of lead nurturing for better conversion. See my post “B2B Lead Generation without Lead Nurturing is Doomed to Fail.”
That brings us to the third leg of the lead generation trifecta – Inbound Marketing. Why is it so important?
Consider this; businesses that primarily use inbound marketing have a 62% lower cost per lead than companies that do mostly outbound marketing. (Source: HubSpot, The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing)
What is even more amazing is the fact that this has not changed much from 2010 to 2011 as shown by the chart below from eMarketer.
Here’s more proof that blogs do generate leads; the same study found that nearly three in five respondents had acquired a customer through a company blog or LinkedIn (the best performing social media channel for B2B).
Don’t confuse marketing automation with inbound marketing. It is not an either/or proposition. I recommend starting with inbound marketing with content and then moving on to marketing automation for optimizing the flow through the funnel and maximizing your conversion. (See my post “Marketing Automation vs. Inbound Marketing”).
This post should provide you with a quick overview of how an industrial blog is the cornerstone of inbound marketing for lead generation.
Does your company use a blog? If so, how well is it working for you? If not, what’s stopping you from launching one? Share your thoughts here.