Summer shutdown is upon us.
When production on the floor halts this season and all your machinist colleagues are off-the-grid, you can do so much more than kick back while your MRO manager cleans and evaluates the shop floor.
This is a great time to get introspective about what you've accomplished this year, how you can continue growing as a marketer and re-evaluate what's left to meet Q3 and Q4 goals. Let's take a look at your opportunities.
Take stock of where you stand and tweak.
Each company has its own set of pain points — trying to collaborate between marketing and sales, keeping customers happy while diversifying their offerings, expanding into new industries, etc. While valid, the solutions should be a part of your larger marketing plan, and for now, we want to focus on quick wins you can focus on during shutdown.
So let's talk about quick ways to solve two common problems: optimizing for leads and qualifiying them once they convert.
Optimizing for leads: When leads come to your website, some drop off immediately, some stick around for a while and others fill out RFQs. Do you currently have any insight into this? Hotjar is a great (free!) tool that can show you heat maps, recordings of user activity and analysis of your form fills — and it's super easy to drop in the code and get the performance data.
Qualifying leads: This is crucial for continuing the transparency between marketing and sales, and we recommend using lead scoring to make it happen. By automatically assigning value or readiness to a lead, it can help your marketers craft better campaigns and sales folks prioritize their pipelines.
Read up on what others are saying.
You’re probably subscribed to a few newsletters or you read a few blogs that relate to the industrial marketing space. But now’s the time to kick back and really invest in expanding your horizon — more than the 800 or so words you’re reading right now.
Master a new skill or tool.
Regardless of your career stage, there's always room to learn — especially with how fast-paced digital marketing is. There are low-cost opportunities you can take a look at while sitting at your desk, in addition to tools and training to invest in, but it can be difficult to figure out where to allocate your time.
A great starting point is to make sure you're brushed up on the basics. HubSpot offers free sales, inbound marketing and email marketing training worth looking into — plus, once you take the certifications, you can add badges of completion to your LinkedIn profile.
If you're all set on the marketing and sales side, there are a number of SEO and website analytics tools to check out, which give you a much deeper look at what's happening than what Google Analytics shows.
For example, Panguin Tool can help you see how Google’s search algorithm updates have impacted your traffic and BrowserStack allows you to perform web-based browser testing. We've got a number of other suggestions — take a look here.
Prepare for upcoming trade shows.
The spring trade show busy season has passed, but there are still a few big manufacturing trade shows coming up this fall and winter. Obviously, your packing list will be a bit different if you're exhibiting rather than walking the floor, but you can still make sure you're getting the most out of the event.
A social strategy and a gameplan are a must for any attendee, and if you're giving any items away, you should brush up on promotional products people actually want to get. (Spoiler alert: Pens are out and technology is in.)
Even if you don't have the budget to attend these industry events, there's no rule against interacting with prospects on social media who are there or using the event hashtag.
Set yourself up for success.
Not sure what emails or blog posts you'll be sending out for the rest of this year? Map out your content calendar. Write some backup content while you have the breathing room or conduct some outside interviews. Reach out to relevant news organizations about partnerships or work to get one of your customers some additional exposure.
And just remember, it's never too early to start planning for Manufacturing Day, Thanksgiving, the holiday season or 2017. They'll be here before you know it!
Test and strengthen your social media.
Testing is everything when it comes to digital marketing. You want to try out subject lines, messaging style, time for deployment, engagement windows and pretty much everything else you're working on.
On social media in particular, you need to cater to your audiences accordingly. (And trust us, they like different engagement style and frequencey on each network.) So when it comes down to figuring out the best days, content and times to post, take a look at the data in your social media monitoring tool and see what caused the most positive reactions.
Let's use Twitter as an example of great way to test: Take a recent blog post you've written, write up a batch of tweets and send them out in the course of one week. Then the following week, mix up the same exact posts and shoot out at a different time. This is as simple as it gets with an A/B — same message, different time. You could also do a similar test with just upping the number of posts. Look for the most likes, favorites or replies and analyze everything.
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