Establishing a truly effective B2B marketing plan can be challenging in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. There are many components to an effective digital lead generation strategy, and since buying habits can change quickly, and with technologies quick to advance, how can a growing manufacturer get started?
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
You might consider a targeted approach called account-based marketing (ABM). This involves identifying the specific companies you hope to do business with and creating a marketing campaign specifically tailored to those target audiences. Every prospect will be different — with different issues, goals, and needs; and your goal is to appeal to these potential customers on an individual level by presenting content that speaks directly to them.
The idea is to clearly define the clients you want, then launch campaigns tailor-made for each of them rather than sending broad messages. It sounds like more work, but because account-based marketing involves digital efforts, you’ll know where your efforts are going and see the efficacy with sophisticated analytics. You’ll be taking actionable steps toward reaching the exact audience you want to work with, so efficiency is a friend to any marketing budget.
Research shows that ABM has a higher ROI than other marketing initiatives. According to BCG, brands that create personalized experiences by integrating advanced digital technologies for customers are seeing revenue increase by 6% to 10%.
Create Your Marketing Plan And Set Goals
Before beginning any new marketing effort, you’ll need to form a clear plan with tangible, realistic goals that everyone on your team can work toward.
Without a well-thought-out goal or plan, it will be difficult to analyze data and determine if a strategy has worked. So plan carefully, set realistic goals, and document them. Paying attention to the metrics regularly will help you understand what's working and what isn't and will guide you on what to change.
See our 2020 Industrial Marketing Benchmarks to see how your current efforts fare with the rest of the industry.
B2B buying habits change often so it's important to keep yourself updated on the latest stats and sourcing activity so you can adjust your efforts accordingly. To see the top sourced industrial products and services last quarter, check out 2020 Q4 Sourcing Activity Snapshot.
Research High-Value Accounts
Surely there’s a list somewhere, on a piece of paper or tucked away in a mental file, that lists the powerhouse companies you hope to one day land as clients. Now is the time to pull out that list and get to work. When determining which of these accounts to target first, consider revenue potential, of course, but also consider the potential for repeat business.
Do some research on these targeted clients and try to understand their position in the market fully. What are their goals? What kind of issues do they deal with on a day-to-day basis, and how can your products or services help alleviate them? Who’s in charge of these companies? Who is the department head you’ll be in touch with most often? Who is the gatekeeper? What are they like? Try to form an idea of their personality, and create messaging that speaks to their needs.
Once you understand your target audience, you can create useful, engaging messaging that speaks directly to them — and, in turn, encourages them to do business with your company.
Need some help with a list of accounts to target? Thomas WebTrax™ is a free online tool made specifically for manufacturers and industrial to see the exact companies in-market for what you offer, how they’re interacting with your online presence, and where they are in the buying journey.
Create Personalized Content For Each Account
By this point, you should have a full understanding of your buyers' problems, goals, and needs, and can now get to work providing them with a valuable solution. Understanding exactly who these audiences are will help you more easily create the content they're looking for. After that, you’ve identified the companies you want to target and how best to approach them, remember to document your findings in your marketing plan. And since the messages are super personalized, targeted customers are already highly qualified leads. It’s the perfect combination for manufacturers to get more new customers.
Need more insight on gathering info on the key characteristics of your buyers? Read Persona Targeting: The Three Most Influential Buyers Of The Buying Process.
Consider their specific production goals, and outline clearly how you can help them realize these goals — and, ultimately, increase their bottom line. Develop content that’s directly appealing, informative, and pertinent to the companies you want to attract. Your personalized messaging should be relevant, well-informed, and engaging to ensure it stands out from the competition. Use strong headlines: ones with a number, a strong adjective or two, and a clear description of what the reader will find in the piece. Content offers can be anything from eBooks and white papers to videos and infographics, which are all core of an inbound lead generation marketing plan.
Brands that create personalized experiences by integrating advanced digital technologies for customers are seeing revenue increase by 6% to 10%.
In devising such a plan, the impulse of many manufacturers is to target buyers at the end of the buying process, give them purchasing-relevant information, and urge them to contact your sales team.
The buying process is exactly that — a process, with beginning, middle, and end stages. But the issue with the above approach (aside from it being a commonly used approach) is that it ignores the beginning and middle stages of the sales process. If a dream customer comes across your site at the beginning of their buying process, when they’re most likely looking for informational and educational content, but can only find company information (good end-of-process content), they will probably go elsewhere.
To catch good leads (including those dream customers) at any point in their buying process, it is important to offer a diversified array of offers, some for the beginning, middle, and end stages of the buying process.
Here are some top of funnel content marketing ideas:
Educational blog posts
General industry news and insights
- Factory tour videos
Some middle of funnel content marketing ideas:
Product comparison guides
And some bottom of funnel content marketing ideas:
Spec sheets and brochures
Additional content marketing guidance for you:
- 10 Content Marketing Ideas (With Examples)
- How A New Website And Content Marketing Increased CJWinter's Sales Leads By 60%
Execute Your Campaign And Promote Your Content
Now that you’ve got everyone clear on the game plan and your content is created, the next step is to make sure it gets to the right channels for optimal impact, like social media ads, PPC, email nurturing, etc. You'll want to be everywhere your target buyers are.
Many manufacturers see success from advertising on the Thomas Network, which has more than 1.1 million registered users, including buyers from 93% of the Fortune 1000. They source industrial products and services on the platform every day, but those buyers can't contact you if you're not listed.
“Qualified leads are coming to us now, and since prospects can easily search our capabilities and qualifications (on Thomasnet.com), those who contact us are more inclined to do business with us.” — Bill Boyer, CEO, Boyer Machine & Tool Co., Inc.
One manufacturer of industrial adhesives, Toagosei America Inc., drove more than 73K website impressions from industrial decision-makers in one newsletter email sponsorship from Thomas Industry Update (TIU). Their content advertising strategy directly yielded an increase in brand awareness and qualified website traffic.
Additional reporting of their newsletter ads in TIU showed high click-rates from professionals in the plastics assembly industry — an industry they were not specifically targeting in previous online marketing campaigns. Thanks to digital marketing methods, Toagosei America now has the insight to break into a new industry and grow its business.
Track Your Marketing Efforts
Finally, make sure there’s an effective way to track and measure your efforts — and your successes. You’re bound to get mixed results, so it’s essential to set up a method for gauging the efficacy of various tactics. Plus, based on these results, you’ll be able to adjust your efforts going forward. You'll have the data to justify your adjustments so your campaign (and your business) can continue to grow — because marketing is not a one-and-done approach. There are many ongoing components to a lead generation strategy that are only successful if they are aligned and tailored to the needs of your prospects. According to Corporate Visions, 74% of buyers choose the rep that was first to add value and insight.
Want to learn more about targeting your dream customers with the right content? Reach out to the industrial marketing experts at Thomas to learn more and discuss how we can help. We have been connecting B2B buyers and suppliers for more than 122 years. Our industrial team is comprised of marketing experts and degreed engineers just like you who understand the complexities of your business.
“I don’t have a sales team on the street. I have Thomasnet.com. It’s an efficient way of getting qualified leads, and my program pays for itself every year.” — Jim Holland, President, Moore Addison
Thomas offers a free digital health check to see exactly what you can improve your online efforts to get more high-quality leads and sales.
For additional information to help you engage your dream customers, see:
- How Big Companies Choose New Suppliers
- The 2020 Ultimate Guide To Marketing For Manufacturers
- How To Meet The Needs Of B2B Buyers Today
- The Manufacturer's Step By Step Guide To Converting Anonymous Website Traffic To Leads
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