Companies that manufacture industrial parts often have the luxury of long-term contracts. Once a design engineer selects the supplier for a particular part that fits a project’s need, it is “designed in” to the product. Until the product gets redesigned, or unless the supplier really messes up, the manufacturer will likely be the preferred vendor for some time.
This is an ideal circumstance for a sales rep or distributor of industrial parts, since their role in this scenario is simply to fulfill repeat orders and continue to service the account. However, when your competition has long-standing relationships with their vendors and customers, it can be a challenge to land new business.
The key to generate more manufacturing leads, and close more new business, is to know when a competitor’s customer is looking to make a change. A good inbound marketing strategy can help identify when qualified prospects are looking for a new supplier. Here’s how.
Know when prospects are looking
People use search engines to find information – typically an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. While a specific search term, like “industrial lubricants,” is often an indication that the searcher may be ready to make a buying decision, the unfortunate truth is that most web searches are far more general in nature. People often search less specific terms, like “how to prevent a CNC machine from overheating,” for an answer to a problem they’re having. But if you are in the business of manufacturing and selling industrial lubricants, wouldn’t you like your site to appear in that search result too?
Create content that attracts qualified visitors
It’s no coincidence that both website visitors and search engines are looking for the same thing – quality content. The information you publish on your website shows up in the search results of your prospects. If your website content is informative, educational, or in some other way helpful to your reader, you will earn their click.
Perhaps the best way to publish helpful content is in a company blog. Great company blogs answer the questions that your prospects ask. Over time, through a dedicated inbound marketing strategy, you’ll build a library of helpful articles that address a wide variety of topics specific to your industry. These articles show up in the search results of the people who are currently looking for those answers.
Convert strangers into leads
While a company blog is a great way to attract qualified visitors to your website, the ultimate goal is to convert these visitors into leads. After all, you’ll need their name and email address, as well as other demographic information, to use in your sales follow-up.
With few exceptions, the whole point of having a website is to generate sales leads. Many industrial marketers use blogs, search engine optimization, and other online marketing efforts to drive traffic to their site, but they are frustrated that they don’t convert the amount of sales leads they expected.
One way to convert website visitors into leads by offering additional, downloadable content, such as eBooks or whitepapers. At the bottom of every blog article, insert a call-to-action button and link it to a corresponding landing page where a visitor can fill out a form to download the offer. That way, when someone gets to the bottom of your blog post, they’re not left hanging. Instead, they can download your offer for more related content, and it's an opportunity to pull them into your sales process.
How to get started
Buyers of industrial products looking for a new supplier will likely start their research with an online search. The helpful, industry-specific content that you publish on your company blog attracts those visitors who are actively searching for that information. An inbound marketing strategy converts leads and turns your website into the sales tool you expected it to be.