Inbound Marketing blueprintGenerating leads – both high in quantity and quality – is the most important objective for manufacturing marketers. A substantial 43% said that customer acquisition is their primary marketing goal, according to a GlobalSpec survey. A successful online lead generation machine is what keeps the funnel full of sales prospects while you sleep.

Many of the manufacturing companies I’m fortunate to talk with every day, whole-heartedly believe they do not need inbound marketing. Their company website does just fine, they say. Why? The reasons are many. Their customers are not online, engineers and industrial designers do not use social media, or their company is already on their customer’s preferred vendor list, so they don’t need to prospect for new business.

It’s no surprise, then, that 9 out of 10 industrial marketers feel their inbound lead generation campaigns are ineffective. In fact, many manufacturers’ websites are little more than online brochures that simply push out company information, rather than attracting prospects right when they’re actively looking to buy.

But that trend is changing. While industrial marketers continue to mix traditional and digital media in their marketing plans, they are shifting more budget and resources to the digital side.

Smart manufacturing companies are not settling for the business they know they are already “approved” with. Instead they are expanding their boundaries and looking beyond where they are today, to focus on where they want their business to be in the future. Rather than spending a lot of money on the traditional “outbound” marketing methods, such as direct mail campaigns and trade shows, they’re opting for long-lasting and more cost effective inbound marketing methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), blogging and online lead nurturing – the core components of an inbound marketing strategy.

So what goes into creating a best-of-class lead generation machine that attracts strangers to your website and converts them into new business prospects? Let’s take a look at the mechanics of a high performing inbound marketing campaign.

The Mechanics of Inbound Lead Generation

The best lead generation campaigns contain most, if not all, of these components. From a tactical perspective, a marketer needs five crucial elements to make inbound lead generation happen. These include:

The Content

Your website content must be relevant to what your prospects are searching for. The company blog is the perfect forum to answer questions that your sales people are commonly asked. In fact, one of our “7000 Marketing Benchmarks” shows that business websites with 100 to 200 pages generate two and a half times more leads than those with 50 or fewer pages.

The Offer

A lead generating website needs a way to convert strangers into prospects. An offer is a piece of content that is perceived high in value. Offers include eBooks, whitepapers, free consultations, coupons and product demonstrations.

The Call-to-Action

A Call-to-Action (CTA) is a text link, image or button that links directly to a landing page so people can find and download your offer.

The Landing Page

A landing page, unlike a normal website page, is a specialized page that contains information about one particular offer, and a form to download that offer. Landing pages often do not contain distractions like page navigation. Their sole purpose is to focus the visitor’s attention on filling out the form.

The Form

You can’t capture leads without forms. Forms will collect contact information from a visitor in exchange for the offer. The data collected on the form will likely vary from offer to offer. Name and email address are the minimum requirement, but you can ask the user to provide other information that might give a sales person a better picture of the contact.

Generating leads online has the power to transform marketing for manufacturing companies, whose website are often underutilized. Creating great content, offers, calls-to-action, landing pages and forms – and promoting them with email and on social networks – can reduce your cost-per-lead while delivering higher quality prospects to your sales team.