RFI submissions for steel on Thomasnet.com are up 217% year-over-year (year-to-date 2020 vs. 2021). So how can steel and metals companies ramp up their existing efforts to increase their RFI submissions? We took a look at some steel and metals companies to see how they’re using their website to target engineers, procurement managers, and MRO managers.
Lead-Generating Website Components
1. Videos That Grow Brand Awareness & Customer Engagement
In 2021, you don't need a high-priced video budget to succeed as a marketer. Instead, more manufacturers and industrial companies are realizing they just need to create content that engages, educates, and intrigues their audience.
According to HubSpot's 2020 State of Marketing report, video beat out heavyweight contenders like email, blogging, and infographics as the most used type of marketing content. It’s no surprise why — 95% of a video message is retained versus only 10% when reading text. So m
Expand your audience reach (and minimize confusion of complex industrial topics) with videos of your shop floor or your products and services. Manor Tools has so many videos of their services, they created a video resource hub and used the page as a lead generation opportunity with a CTA for engineers to set up a design meeting.
2. Featured Projects & Job Samples That Showcase Your Work
Content creation platform Ceros recommends, “If your work is good enough, people will care about it, whether it is 500 words or 5000 words.” Creating useful content puts you ahead in the thought leadership game, so don't get stuck on word count. While blogging is still important, more manufacturers are spending more time creating quality content like industrial guides, glossaries, and final product portfolios. And when you add mixed media to your pages (think videos and graphics), visitors are likely to stay on your website longer.
Take Corrugated Metals’ Featured Projects website section. Design engineers are tasked with identifying, developing, and creating components for systems and products. As they research specs and attributes of standardized products, they conceptualize and create the necessary drawings for custom components and their end need. An online showcase like Corrugated Metals’ Featured Projects helps engineers see the quality of a steel and metals manufacturing company’s work.
As buyers move down to the middle of the marketing funnel, they’ll be looking closely at examples of your actual work. A crucial part of evaluating you is your past performance and how you’ve solved similar customer problems. Each job you complete is another opportunity to add a new industry, challenge, or application to your portfolio and showcase your versatility to engineers.
Take note that Corrugated Metals not only provided high-quality images of their final projects, but they also listed out the project specs — information that is key for design engineers. Corrugated Metals' lead generation strategy has a lot of components made successful with help from the industrial marketing experts.
"We set a record for quotes in Q1, increasing them by 197% over the previous year. The average value of quotes has grown. We have received orders on the same day. The sales team can’t believe how many good opportunities they have now," Ken Carlton, VP of Corrugated Metals.
Read this case study on how Corrugated Metals used digital marketing to tap into the defense industry.
3. Exit-Intent CTAs That Grow Your Contacts List
You spend a lot of time researching topics, keywords, creating outlines, and publishing superb content you know your target audiences are interested in. So it’s natural to feel uninspired when you see your pages’ exit rates and conversion rates not yielding the results you’re expecting.
Compare your performance results with the latest 2020 Industrial Marketing Benchmarks.
There are a few solutions to this problem. First, optimize your content based on the data you uncover (although you may already be doing this regularly.) Take the time to learn more about your buyers’ behaviors with A/B tests. Test the placement of your forms, the colors of your CTAs, the length of your forms, graphical elements — the list can be seemingly endless. Still, we call out some examples individually tested on manufacturing websites that have generated leads here.
One of our favorite CTAs to increase lead generation is an exit-intent CTA, a pop-up on a website when users try to leave the page. Continental Steel uses it on their website to increase conversion rates and add to their database of contacts to nurture. Note how their CTA language calls out three specific problems their audience has. You’ll want to make sure your exit-intent CTA language is either tailored to the content on the page the user is leaving or generally speaks about the challenges you’re an expert at solving. Remember always to tailor your content around your audience’s needs — we dive more into the how and why of personalized content in our extensive guide How To Meet The Needs Of Industrial B2B Buyers.
4. Chatbot Functionality To Encourage Fast Communication
Chatbots are platforms that provide automated responses to website visitors in a chat-like function. They give your customers instant access to information and arm you with another way of capturing qualified visitors' information. We like how easily HubSpot lets us create chatflows with a bot to connect with website visitors.
The right marketing apps and tools like HubSpot help boost email signups and encourage lead generation on your website. However, they should all work toward the same goal and be designed so it is clear to buyers what they should do next, like a contrasting colored footer banner or a sticky ad at the top of your navigation that follows the user — see 32 Industrial Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, & Ideas for more examples.
BONUS: Thomas Verified And Registered Badges To Increase RFQs
Thomas’ supplier badging system is a quick and easy way for your audience to narrow down their search query for a supplier. Thomas Registered and Thomas Verified, the two Thomas supplier badges, offer increased validation for a company to ensure that engineers, MRO managers, and procurement professionals find the right supplier for their needs. A Verified Supplier Badge on a customer's RFQ page will likely create a 92% improvement in submissions. Learn more about the advertising programs here or you can simply start with a free company profile.
USTEK Inc.’s online lead generation efforts began with a free company profile on Thomasnet.com. “Over the past 18 months we’ve quoted 37 new RFQs, for brand new customers, which is fantastic,” said Amy Holbrook, USTEK Operations Manager. “Every single one of them came from online advertising on Thomasnet."
The digital landscape is always changing. If you’re having difficulty managing your online efforts or your sales and marketing teams are not producing the results you’re expecting, contact us to see how we can improve your lead generation strategy. We offer a free digital health check to see how you compare to competitors and the components you need on your website to stay engaged with buyers.
"As a marketing department of one, it has been really helpful to have Thomas around to help with our marketing strategy as opposed to making it up as we go," said Jeff Collin, Partner at Renown Electric. Renown Electric is now #1 on Google Search results and bringing in high-quality website traffic.
Additional Website Redesign Resources:
- 25 Website Must-Haves To Get More Leads
- Ways To Increase Clicks On Your Manufacturing Website
- 10 Best Industrial Website Designs
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