With the rise (and domination) of social media, your website has not lost importance, it has gained it. Manufacturing CEO’s, the goal of your social media should be two fold: build trust and send people to your automated marketing and sales funnel. And, the most effective automated marketing and sales funnel is still your website - partnered with an email system and a CRM/Database.
As I speak to manufacturers across the country most are still viewing and investing in their website as if it is a brochure. That's great news for those that understand the true value of the website because that just makes for less competition. Those that understand that the value of marketing automation, even in complex sales processes, is the foundation of a successful and financially efficient marketing and sales process, tend to be the companies currently thriving and looking for ways to grow and solidify their position.
As social media has dominated PR and advertising, the importance of your website has only increased. The ultimate goal as a manufacturer is to use your social media to attract your very precise lead profiles (or Personas), build a connection and trust, and get them onto your website and identified. Once identified, your sales team can step in or you can take the next step and automate the nurture and scoring of leads. Then you ensure you are sending your sales team qualified leads, saving time and increasing the ability to close the valued targets. I can add from painful experience that without automation and qualifying, digital marketing can be a frustrating and a trust-reducing experience between the sales and marketing team.
What makes someone want to come to your website?
The only factor that causes anyone to spend any real time on a website is the level of helpfulness it provides. My advice, keep it simple when thinking about how to market your company online. Educate! Invest in educating your precise, potential customer (or target persona) on the common questions and pushbacks you hear from your current clients and prospects. The questions you have been hearing for years are probably (like 99% probably) being googled as well. Tailor your marketing around those questions and I guarantee success.
Answer those common questions and pushbacks with blog posts and videos on your website, and then advertise those blog posts and videos on your social media.
A great platform will identify your website visitors, track the pages viewed on the website, identify the Persona (profile) based on this activity, enroll them into a nurturing sequence, and notify the salesperson with a link to the contact page in the CRM with all of this data easy to read.
What’s In A Good Specialized Manufacturing Website
- Secure Reliable Platform - Websites today have to be smart and responsive to the changing viewing environments and experiences now available. New devices, new screen sizes, and constantly changing/advancing technology make choosing a platform difficult. It has to handle your needs, grow with the times and make things easy for your firm to keep updated.
- Sync With CRM/Client Database - When your website has success, if the information isn’t automatically populating your CRM or causes two separate databases, you are dead on arrival.
- Intelligent Persona Identification for Automation - Once in the database, a good system can identify characteristics of a contact and assign them a profile type (Persona). This allows for automation to resonate with the contact and make them feel you are talking to them and not a dumb auto-respond.
- Automated Email System - When the email system is on the same platform of the website, magic can be made. Well, not real magic but it feels that way. With the contact info and their persona identified, an intelligent automated system can begin addressing common questions and pushbacks through a series of emails. Educate, don’t advertise.
- Information Gathering For Marketing/Sales Team - Based on the content consumed and the engagement information, marketing and sales can make well-prepared approaches to the prospect to improve the sales process.
- Automation With Intelligent Workflows - A good workflow system tied directly to your website, email marketing, and the CRM can augment the sales process and leverage your sales team. Each sales person can deal with more leads while spending less time on all of them and more time on the higher valued targets. The workflows can mimic successful proven sales patterns you have used over the years and automate them. When embraced the learning curve of new salespeople can be shortened.
Considerations When Choosing Platform
- All-in-One or Multiple Solutions - You can accomplish this foundational platform integrating multiple platforms or choosing an all-in-one platform that can handle most or all of these functions. If you are a middle-market manufacturer or smaller, an all-in-one makes the most sense by a long shot. The efficiency created by an all-in-one reduces many obstacles that managing multiple platforms create. And try keeping up with the platforms talking to each other when they are all being updated constantly. If you choose multiple platforms, consider the cost of the personnel hire you will have to make to manage them all.
- Current Platforms in Use - Before changing platforms, always evaluate the platform you are currently using against your new options. Your current platform may just be getting under used. Also consider if this platform will need to communicate with the ERP system your company is currently using.
What is the ROI?
I get asked this question all the time. Typically I curiously respond before answering, “what is your current ROI?”. Interesting enough, most people can’t answer. (More on that another day.) I can answer the ROI question for you in a technical way with this marketing ROI calculator we use. All digital marketing is trackable, therefore there is more insight to your marketing and sales efforts than you are currently used to.
Big picture is that this enables you to track ROI for not just your digital efforts, but almost all your marketing efforts. When you can track ROI to that level, over time your decisions are based on precise data to invest more into what works and continue to improve your ROI for your marketing and sales investments over time. A good methodology will kill shoot from the hip marketing.
If ROI, data, and a strict budget are important to your company, your website is the foundation of your marketing and sales. Turn your website into an actual team member. Train it, educate it, give it goals and watch it grow and grow. Your website can work with an unlimited amount of people everyday, take advantage of affordable advanced automation and increase your marketing and sales success while making your investments in it more efficient.
Here's that calculator I mentioned: