Ready to take your website performance to the next level? As you’ve already learned from our previous blogs, you need a mix of content marketing, SEO, and advertising campaigns to help improve your website. In particular, if you’ve been keeping up with our Manufacturing Leader’s Step By Step Guide series, by now you’ve learned how to:
- Build a strong digital presence
- Drive traffic to your website
- Convert traffic to leads and reach out to your contacts
The next important pieces of growing your business’ market presence involve marketing automation and website testing.
Implementing Marketing Automation
We touched on how marketing automation can help with your email nurturing campaigns in our Step By Step Guide To Converting Traffic To Leads. But the phrase “marketing automation” refers to any platform that helps to automate more than just emails — you can identify warm leads, schedule social media posts, and more. The software can help your marketing and sales efforts by using triggers that automatically enroll users in new nurture paths that can help guide them in their research and sourcing process. Marketers and salespeople use them for valuable insight into leads and their leads’ motivations.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a related tool, though not quite interchangeable, that helps manage sales pipelines. In short, marketing automation and CRM software are used to track potential leads in all of their interactions with your company. They can tell you what pages they have visited, how long they were on those pages, how many of your emails they have opened, and much more. Ideally, you want to implement a platform that gives you all those benefits.
Knowing what a lead is interested in and the strength of that interest can go a long way toward tailoring more effective pitches and a smoother overall sales process too. HubSpot, Pardot, and Marketo are a couple of the big contenders for marketing automation tools, but we highly recommend HubSpot — they offer a free version you can start with.
Implementing A/B Tests
Websites generate leads for manufacturing companies by providing information that industrial buyers are researching before making a purchase. When those leads turn into sales, that is typically called a "conversion."
With the right marketing automation and CRM platform, you will get insight into source tracking (used to segment audiences based on how they found your website), resource downloads, user personalization (the process of curating personalized content based on what’s known about a given user), and click maps.
You’ll then be able to employ a huge variety of strategically important tactics and tests to increase your conversions. You can create customized A/B tests that optimize messaging, formatting, and overall web experience to help you meet your business goals. Whether your online marketing goal involves pushing a product launch, increasing RFQs, or expanding overall brand awareness, the A/B testing process creates two versions of digital marketing assets — emails, web pages, display ads, etc. — to identify which version performs better to meet your goal.
There are two testing methods — conversion rate optimization (CRO) and growth-driven design (GDD). They both stress the importance that any changes you make to your online efforts should be tested to make sure the efforts speak effectively to a user and can help guide them to the most important information for their specific needs. The methods of how CRO and GDD tests are planned and executed are slightly different.
CRO describes best practices for maximizing the ratio of leads that become sales. CRO focuses on establishing action-oriented pages — eBook downloads, quote requests, and any other resource that requires a visitor to input their contact information in order to gain access. The goal of CRO is to optimize these point-of-conversion pages, turning anonymous site visitors into sales qualified leads.
GDD, on the other hand, describes taking a systematic approach to website design with shortened launch times while focusing on the impact. It involves constant research and testing to gain insight into the actions of site visitors, allowing for continuous improvements based on what is learned. GDD requires tight integration with marketing and sales teams because information learned about visitors aims to improve marketing and sales strategies.
Both methods involve tests, but the takeaway for manufacturers is that it’s crucial to rely on data as much as possible when deciding how to build on your website, increase your conversions, and improve your sales and marketing processes.
Testing Examples For Increased Conversions
What's going to separate your website from the next one that your buyers visit?
A lot of it is in how your website looks, functions, and managed. Instead of taking a traditional approach to website design and development — where you build it once and let it sit for awhile — you need to think of your website like you would a machine on your shop floor. It needs to be constantly fine-tuned, calibrated, and optimized for peak performance.
That's really the essence of A/B testing and data analytics — to continuously optimize a website's performance. If your website isn't getting better every day and giving you increased conversions, it's not aging gracefully. Let’s go through some website components you can test.
A/B Testing Your Messaging
Quality content should provide a benefit and should be unique, but many times there are multiple ways of conveying the same message. You can test a couple of versions of a copy, the font, and the placement of the text to see which option results in more conversions. We recommend only performing one test on a page at a time, though. Deploying multiple split tests at the same time makes it difficult to determine which change impacted performance.
It’s also important to note that different people consume content in different ways. For example, more buyers are likely to purchase a product after watching a video about it than if they visited a product page without a video. That is because 95% of a video message is retained versus just plain text. Incorporate videos in your online content marketing to increase the messaging and engagement. Thomas offers free video production services to showcase a video on your Thomasnet.com company profile and increase RFQs online.
Keep a record of your tests so you can track what you’ve tried in the past and how you can improve. Let your tests run long enough to collect the information necessary to make an informed decision, but remember, there are external variables that can affect your tests too — so sometimes results will be inclusive. That’s why it’s important to stay up to date on the latest buying trends and sourcing data.
A/B Testing Your Website Design
On main website pages and landing pages, it’s important to use easy-to-understand language your buyers will follow. But as their needs change, it’s important to test the design of that content on your website too — this also includes technical information, like product specs, equipment capabilities, and CAD assets, which are extremely important for lead generation.
Number Of Form Fields
Test the number of required fields in your landing page forms. When it comes to filling out forms, such as RFQs, some marketers prefer asking for the least amount of information possible because it is believed people begin to bail when they feel they are giving more personal information than they should have to. Test the length on your pages to see which works best for your audience.
Get more creative and test the placement of your forms too. A custom metal stamping company tested right vs. left sided forms and saw the left side form’s conversion rate increase from 4.7% to 8.1%. There are many components you can test that can help increase conversions.
Another manufacturer saw the impact of one small arrow graphic on one of their landing pages. The arrow serves as a directional cue to help users navigate to the download form faster, and helped increase that page’s lead generation by more than 76%. Read more about that little arrow here or read success stories from other manufacturers here.
Collect Customer Feedback
Conduct some customer surveys and ask your customers what they think about your website. It may be harder to navigate than you realize or lack information that could be critical to a buyer qualifying your company. Asking for feedback directly from the people who are loyal to your business will keep them happy and help you learn how to gain potential customers.
Based on the results of your tests, begin incorporating what you learned across your campaigns. For example, if a yellow button CTA received higher clicks than a red button CTA on your landing page, you should consider using the yellow CTA throughout your website. A/B testing examples like these help justify what to optimize in your digital campaigns to boost visitor metrics, click-through-rates, conversions, lead generation — and effectively contribute to your bottom line.
Finding A Full-Service Marketing Partner Focused On Manufacturing
Following the steps above serves to put you ahead of the competition and creates an experience of ease for your customers. At this point, you should be ready to implement tests on your website and get more from your marketing investments. But we understand that each task may get complicated and be a little more work than you expected.
One of the pitfalls for sellers in the industrial and manufacturing space is failing to keep up with marketing technologies and everchanging best practices. Many manufacturers consider hiring a freelancer, agency, or full-time marketing employee to help. (We discuss the pros and cons of each in our blog here.) Our marketing services have been helping manufacturers and industrials meet their business goals, increase RFQs, and tap into new markets.
Curious to see what small improvements can drive website traffic and increase the quality of your leads online? Request a free digital health check from us and we’ll show you exactly that. If you feel you have the right processes and tests in place, but just need some help filling the pipeline and hitting your lead generation goals, download our full marketing guide here or check out these additional resources below in our Step By Step Guide series:
- Existing Online: The Manufacturing Leader’s Step by Step Guide to Building a Strong Digital Presence
- Get Visible: The Manufacturing Leader’s Guide To Driving Qualified Users To Your Website
- Start The Conversation: Converting Anonymous Traffic Into Warm Leads & Reaching Out To Your Contacts
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