Marketing tactics for B2B manufacturing have changed considerably through the years. It used to be that trade shows, publications and cold calling were the ways to get the word out about products and services and generate sales. Those approaches are taking a back seat to online lead-generating inbound methodologies.
As a result of these changes, the buyer’s journey is evolving, too. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s an exciting time for manufacturers because it presents opportunities to add value beyond a typical commodity exchange — where price is no longer the only consideration or influencer in the decision-making process.
More than ever, manufacturers need robust and interactive websites loaded with rich, original content that attracts prospects, builds trust and converts visitors into sales qualified leads. The number one entry point for these prospects is a company’s blog, where free, original content educates visitors about your industry and products.
But there’s more to a successful blog than a catchy headline and interesting content. Today, we’ll look beyond the actual blog itself and explore all the elements that go into creating a lead-generating blog page.
I can’t write an article about blog pages without briefly touching on the actual content. Even though we’re focusing more on the blog page “add-ons” today, be sure to explore ways to generate effective blog content and keep fresh ideas for your manufacturing blog flowing.
I do want to point out a big mistake that I see some organizations make, however — using a blog as a promotional sales tool. Let your product pages serve that function, not your blog —Do not make your blog a sales pitch!
With that said, your product may very well be a solution to the issue being discussed. Go ahead and mention it as a viable option, but steer away from overly zealous “sales-speak” that comes across as grandiose and can leave readers feeling like your article is self-serving.
Once a visitor is on your site, the goal is to keep them there. When your original content is thought-provoking and demonstrates authority, visitors will be more likely to want to read more. When an easy search function is enabled, it allows them to explore other articles on your website using specific keywords.
Another way to guide readers and keep them on your website is by providing internal links that expound on the subject matter. For example, this article mainly focuses on the blog page of a website, but what if you want to know if it’s the right time to get a completely new website? See what I did there?
Linking to reputable external sites that verify statistics, cover a news story or supports a claim is also encouraged. When you provide external links, make sure they open in a new browser window or tab so that your website can be referenced again quickly. Since we’re a partner marketing agency, we like to link to a lot of HubSpot’s great marketing articles.
Closing CTA and Lead-In
Having someone read through your entire blog post to the very last word is an accomplishment in today’s soundbyte world. Reward them and keep them engaged. The goal of every blog article is to guide visitors to a call-to-action (CTA) that points to a landing page for gated materials in the forms of eBooks, case studies, whitepapers and more. These types of content can serve as companion pieces to your blog and are generally more in-depth.
Accessing the content, however, will require that the visitor “give” something in exchange in the form of their contact information. Use your closing sentence or two to encourage readers to download this expanded content and include an attractive, straight-forward graphic that shows them exactly what they’ll get. Inbound navigation guides visitors from the CTA to a landing page where they submit the conversion form and then access the content you’ve provided.
Side-bar CTAs are especially helpful for those with short attention spans or those who merely skim your blog to glean some basic information. Placing an eye-catching CTA on the side of your blog will attract a select number of visitors to click on it and be taken to a landing page. From there, you can nurture them on their buyer’s journey.
An inbound website’s navigation should be simple. Gone are the days of dizzying lists of options in a website header. Today, there are typically five or six menu items to choose from, with drop down options from there. Your blog menu button also can be categorized with drop-down options, such as resources, case studies and news releases. If your company specializes in products for multiple industries, consider narrowing the focus (e.g., medical, automotive, consumer, etc.). This helps users sort through your blog posts to find those most relevant to them.
Make it Mobile Friendly
Mobile devices account for more than 50% of B2B website traffic, and that number will only increase. The design of a responsive website will adjust based on the screen size being used, and will reconfigure the shape and size of different elements to create an enjoyable and user-friendly experience. This is a must in today’s market.
Maximize your blog by incorporating these tools and tips. While vitally important, a blog is only part of an effective inbound website strategy. There’s much more, so I’m going to follow my own advice and direct you to check out our free Inbound Websites for Manufacturing Planning Guide by clicking on the conveniently placed CTA below.