For the last two months, we’ve been talking about getting new business from your existing customers and profiling them to find other companies like them that you can advertise your services to.
Today I’d like to extend that conversation a bit by taking a look at lead generation within a highly targeted segment of possible customers. If you are “old school” and think that the only way to increase sales for your manufacturing company is to have salesmen pounding the pavement making cold-calls to prospects, this series is for you. Our aim is to help you find more customers with methods that use today’s technology and venues. These methods are fast, easy and inexpensive.
Before we dive in, let’s review highlights from last month that lead us to where we are now. We looked at sizing up your existing customers to figure out what their NAICS code is, and who their competitors are. Chances are your existing customer’s competitors and companies within their segment may also need your services. Once you’ve determined what you are looking for, you can either purchase or make a list of companies that become your “target.”
Now the Fun Begins With Lead Generation!
The goal is to make them come to you with an inquiry about your services.
To do this in any industry, you must gain the potential customer’s attention and spark their interest. Here’s where I want you to wrap your old-timer brain around the idea that there are more effective methods than cold-calling. While we’re at it, why not kill two birds with one stone? Let’s get new customers for your manufacturing business AND build your web site’s SEO so that more potential customers find you. So…how do you gain the attention of new potential customers? How do they find YOU in the sea of companies that provide the same services you do? It used to be that if you had a decent web site, you were head and shoulders above the rest. But, here’s the thing – every Tom, Dick and Harry has that now. How do you differentiate your company so that it is found first?
Are SEO and Content King?
What drives SEO changes like the wind. Currently content is king. By content, I am not referring to your company information or advertising. I’m referring to information on a particular subject. Here’s an example: I want my company to be “found” by manufacturing companies that are building their businesses and need to find precision machined parts. Instead of spending a fortune advertising the availability of CNC machined parts, I provide information on how to build your manufacturing business or tips for what CNC machined parts are best and why. How does this help me? It allows my company to appear more often in search engines, AND before others in my industry. With informational articles posted to your web site on a regular basis, you increase your web site’s visibility.
Regular web site updates are another key factor in SEO. If your web site hasn’t been updated on a regular basis and your competitor’s has, chances are he is appearing in search engines before you do. Posting regular articles solves the issue of regular web site updates AND helps to position you as a leader in the industry. Regular articles can also be part of a monthly industry newsletter and sent via email to your target companies we spoke about earlier. Not all will bite and click through to your web site, but many will. Now you’re creating lead generation for almost no cost.
Social Media Can Help With Finding Leads
Here’s another example. On LinkedIn, I belong to several manufacturing groups. There is a gentleman named Steve Norall who is a member of some of the same groups. Steve posts the most interesting information about different issues affecting the manufacturing community in our groups. Steve, though, is NOT a manufacturer. He works for a company called Cerasis – Freight Logistics. Steve is in front of a highly targeted audience of new potential customers EVERY day.
He has positioned himself as an expert in his industry, WITHOUT spending tons of money on advertising. Articles, which link back to your web site, provide increased SEO. That means that more people find YOU. You are generating a lead every time someone clicks through to your web site. You’re generating a lead every time someone comments or shares your article. Now that’s what I call lead generation.
Create Consistent Content on Your Blog
Let’s look at an example closer to home. Suppose you are a manufacturer of carbide indexable insert tooling, and you also rebuild and repair old tooling. You might consider writing articles geared toward those that use your products.
Subjects might include improving your shops “up-time,” or the importance of fast turnaround time in the tooling repair business. How about a series on the history of custom carbide tool manufacturing in the USA – talk about something that would increase SEO! A company hosting articles like that on their web site and sharing them on social media venues would almost instantly be considered The Experts in the field and most likely produce lead generation. Not a bad position to be in!
Getting Your Customers To Your Website Is The Name of the Game
All of this is designed to get people to your web site. Once they arrive, you have a lead. Give them an opportunity to easily get a quote from you. We live in the age of Instant. People want what they want and they want it NOW. Make sure your web site is easy to navigate and gives people the opportunity to submit quote requests, without giving out too much personal information or giving up their firstborn. Give them a reason to interact with you, perhaps with a short poll on an issue affecting the industry. Don’t make them work too hard to find your contact information. If you do, you’ll lose them to a competitor.
Give people an opportunity to leave their email address if they choose to receive more articles or a monthly newsletter. Once you have their email, you have a relationship with a new potential customer. You have a lead. You have the opportunity to build a long-term relationship. Relationships are built with communication. If you provide quality communication on a consistent basis, you will gradually increase your “stock.” Your company will be viewed as leading the field. Even if you’re not even close to “leading the field,” at this juncture follow these techniques and you’ll get there!
So you’re not a writer? That’s no excuse! Do what you are good at – build things, invent things, machine things…get somebody else to do what you don’t want to or don’t have time to do. Use a virtual assistant to create a monthly newsletter or articles. There are dozens of web sites where for a nominal fee, you can have an article written on a particular subject. Whether you do it yourself or hire a service, if you want to play on the new worldwide playground and ensure your company’s continuity, just do it! Dive in boys, the water is warm and lead generation is not as hard as it used to be.
Have you tried any of the techniques we’ve suggested for finding new customers? We invite you to write in and tell us about your results. Everything we are suggesting, I’ve done for my own company. The payoff has been incredible and I know it will be for you too. Until next month, thank you for reading and best wishes for continued success!
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