You need more leads.
It’s that simple. You need more qualified leads. Leads that will become customers, and then advocates, which end up bringing you more leads.
So how do you get those leads? Luckily, I’m here to help.
I’m an engineer.
“Say that again? Don’t I need a marketer, or a sales person, or somebody who went to school for this?”
No, you need an engineer. You need an engineer because we know all about data and testing. They're the most important things we do.
Create a theorem. Test it.
Make a model. Test it.
Build a prototype. Test it.
This is the approach you need to use if you want more leads; it's one of the fundamentals of inbound marketing.
John Wanamaker, a pioneer in marketing, famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”
With the right tools, metrics, and testing you can figure out which half is wasted.
Engineer Your Social Media Presence
To make sure you are getting the most out of social media you need to analyze your results. Posting randomly to Twitter or Facebook might get you a few visits, but unless you understand your audience you will never get predictable and sustainable growth.
For instance, did you know that for B2B businesses LinkedIn is the most effective social network? Facebook might be the largest, with over a billion users, but it's next to useless in generating quality leads in an industry like capital equipment manufacturing.
There's a ton of tools out there for tracking social media, the most popular being Hootsuite and Buffer. They'll help you manage profiles and generate analytics, but there are many more to try. Test out a few and find the one that works for your situation.
Once you pick a tool, use it!
See what posts are working and what are not. Then, change one thing at a time and test to see if it makes a difference, if even only a small one. Those changes will add up over time to pay off big in the long run.
Search Engine Optimization is About Precision
Another important place to be testing is your websites' search engine optimization (SEO).
First, you need to make sure that your website's pages have SEO in the first place. Do all of your pages contain correct title tags and meta descriptions? Do your images contain descriptive alt tags? Are your headlines formatted with H1 tags? These are all important for telling Google what your content is actually about.
Your tools don’t need to be fancy. I'm sure you have Excel somewhere. If not, you can use free tools like Google Docs’ Sheets or Apple's Numbers to keep track of your title, description, and alt tags.
If you want a tool more specific to on-page SEO, HubSpot has a great web page performance tool. It will point out areas where you can make improvements. These include missing descriptions, problems with internal links, and page loading issues.
Once you have all of your on site SEO figured out you can watch your site's performance over time and make adjustments to improve your website's traffic.
Construct Content to Be Your Lead Attraction Agent
The number one thing that will get you to consistently rank on search engines is good, quality content. How do you know what quality content is, or that it is the right kind of content for your target persona?
There is an adage about quality that strikes true.
“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A".
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.” - Art & Fear, David Bales and Ted Orland
Part of the reason we blog so regularly at Weidert Group is because we are monitoring the results and figuring out what works best. That's how we create quality content.
Stop theorizing about what content you should make. Go out and make some. See how people respond to it. Then, try again based on the responses to see if you can improve. Over time your quality will improve as long as you are testing for the right things.
Use A/B Testing to Drive Continuous Improvement
A/B testing sounds like something complicated that is actually simple in practice. It is the comparison of two different things to learn which works better.
In social media it would be which tweets get more favorites or retweets. For a landing page it’s which copy or image results in more form submissions. For a blog headline it’s which title gets more people to click on and read the post.
By breaking things down into their fundamental parts, changing one thing at a time, and then testing them, we can pinpoint what works best.
Base Your Efforts in Marketing Analytics
Analytics are the real meat of testing. Once you gather some data it is time to analyze it and figure out what it means.
The big daddy is Google Analytics, which can tell you when people are visiting your site, how they got there, how long they were on certain pages, and where they went from there. It’s great. It’s free. There's no reason you shouldn't be using it.
A useful tool for manufacturing companies is HubSpot's Prospects tool, which tries to figure out what companies are visiting your website. It will also show you how they arrived (Google, direct, social media, email link, etc), what pages they visited specifically, as well as their time on each of these sites. It allows you to see if the content you created to target specific markets is actually being seen by them.
Always Be Testing
I've touched on just a few available tools, but there are hundreds more out there being created by the best minds in technology, with new ones showing up every day.
When it comes to understanding what works and what does not in getting visitors to your site and converting them to leads and customers, it pays to think like an engineer.