In the B2B manufacturing industry, it’s often difficult to generate new leads. Many companies have worked with the same clients for decades, and while they could use new customers, are unsure of how to go about it. As you may have guessed, the internet and your website play a big part. Today, your website is your greatest tool to create business. When used effectively, it can act as your own virtual sales rep, catching leads 24/7. But to do that, you have to optimize your website to become that perfect lead generation machine you’re looking for.

First, let’s talk about what we mean when we say digital lead:

A digital or online lead is a person who is interested in obtaining your B2B manufacturing company’s product or service. These leads are people who come to your website, read your content, and decide to contact you for more information. Specific to B2B leads, these people are often near to making their purchase decision, have an idea of the size of their purchase, and already have a budget allocated.

You get leads when a site visitor fills out a contact information form, with their name, email address, and maybe a little bit more of their personal information, in exchange for more information, or subscription to your newsletters or email. Once you have those leads, you can focus on nurturing them, through targeted content, until they finally make their purchasing decision.

But how can you get more leads?

There are two things that affect how many leads your B2B manufacturing website generates. The first is overall site traffic, so the amount of people who are coming to, and viewing your site. This includes anyone who looks at your website, whether they’re coming from Google or Facebook.

The second is your conversion rate. This is the percentage of people that come to your site as viewers, and then convert to a lead. For example, if 100 people visit your site, and 2 of those 100 people fill out a contact information form, your conversion rate is 2%.

Typical B2B industry conversion rates span between 2-6%. If you don’t know your conversion rate, or if yours is way below those numbers, don’t worry! We’re going to tell you how to bump them up.

Here’s how to increase both your site traffic and your conversion rate:

Boost Traffic:

Upgrade your website

If you’re like most B2B manufacturers, you probably started your foray into the internet wilderness with a website that basically functions as a brochure for your company. It probably doesn’t have a ton of pages, it doesn’t have a lot of information, and other than your phone number and maybe an email address, there isn’t any other way for potential clients to contact you. While it’s good that you at least have some online presence, this website isn’t doing any work for you.

Your first step to more traffic is to create a website that looks beautiful, is user friendly, interactive, and mobile friendly. It should offer your potential customers the information they’re looking for, with a content-centric design. An old, outdated website is one of the first things that turns potential customers away, so with your new web design, you’ll start seeing a boost in traffic just because it looks more modern. An upgraded website is also a good way to bump your ranking on Google. Google likes websites that are regularly updated, and the more content you have, the better you’ll rank for relevant keywords. The higher you rank on Google, the more traffic you’ll get.

Start a blog

Once you have a new, modern, user-friendly website, it’s time to start a blog. While this sounds pretty intimidating at first, it’s actually one of the easiest things you can do to increase your site traffic. All you have to do is think of questions your clients ask you regularly, and answer those questions in a blog post. Do your best to write posts that address specific pain points of your B2B manufacturing clients in a clear and thorough way.

Additionally, make sure to incorporate SEO tactics into your blog writing process. Your best bet here is to focus each blog post around one keyword. Then, include that keyword into the blog in a way that seems natural. Google has gotten pretty advanced in the past few years, so it’s likely to recognize synonyms, meaning you don’t have to stuff the same exact word or phrase into one blog post 50 times to rank for that keyword.

The 80/20 rule

If you want to increase your traffic and keep people coming back for your awesome information, there’s one content rule you really need to know about: the 80/20 rule. Your blog content should be 80% informational–content that answers client’s questions, and gives them relevant information they can use–and 20% promotional–content that has to do with your company specifically, whether that’s talking about awards you’ve gotten, or just detailing the services you provide.

While this might seem like an extreme ratio, if you look at your blog from a customer’s perspective, it is necessary. While you are trying to sell, no customer wants to read pages of marketing jargon that just talks about how great your company is. That type of content won’t draw in more traffic, and it won’t help you boost lead generation. Use it once in awhile, when you really have something great to say, but make sure it takes the backseat to content that’s actually useful to your target audience.

Social Media

A lot of B2B manufacturers don’t use social media accounts because they don’t think it’s a legitimate way to market their product. They are wrong. If you think about it, almost everyone you know has some social media account, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. And since these social media platforms are so good at targeting ads and content to specific demographics, it’s very easy to get your name in front of the right people. Simply by participating in the conversations that other industry leaders and potential customers are already having on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you extend your online reach. The more people that see your ads, and read your helpful content, the more pathways you create for potential clients to navigate to your site.

Boost your conversion rate:

Place more calls-to-action 

Another major part of lead generation is how many of your site viewers actually convert to leads. If you want a website that functions as a lead generation machine, then you have to have a good conversion rate. And if you want a good conversion rate, you need calls-to-action. We did a whole blog on creating effective CTAs, but the most important point is that they need to be everywhere.

“Request a Quote” and “Learn More Now” buttons make it easy for potential clients to reach out to you, and they boost your conversion rate. Place them at the end of your blog posts, in the top and middle of relevant pages, and anywhere else you can think of. Sometimes, clients may not be sure if they need help or not. If they’re on the fence, oftentimes an easy call to action button is just motivation they need to request more information. Most simply, the more opportunities your site viewers have to convert, the more leads you’re going to get.

Add gated content

Going along with that last point, gated content is another great way to offer more conversion opportunities. Gated content is highly relevant, informational content that site viewers can access for free, after they give you a little bit of their basic contact information. So, say you had a great ebook about “how to choose the right metal finish for auto bumpers.” This is really useful content for a potential auto manufacturing client. Since they want that information, and they can get it for free, they’re usually willing to put in an email address and phone number to gain access. Then you both win:

You get their contact information and they get the content they needed for free. This is a great way to draw in leads who aren’t as far along in the buyer’s cycle. Then, through your lead nurturing emails and newsletters, you can maintain contact until they’re ready to buy from you. This is a great way to boost your conversion rates, because it offers another conversion form, but it targets a different type of lead. The more gated content offers you have, the greater your potential to capture leads in all stages of the buyer’s cycle.

A/B testing

One of the best ways to boost your conversion rate is to consistently A/B test your Calls to Action, and your landing pages. For instance, do you get more conversions when your buttons are blue or orange? Are people more likely to fill out a contact form if you don’t ask for a phone number? A/B testing will give you insightful data that helps answer these questions, which you can then implement to optimize your site. As long as you have access to your site’s analytics and metrics, you can go ahead and monitor what these small changes do to your conversion rate. A few tips:

Make sure to only change one thing at a time. If you change the color of a button as well as the script, you have no way of knowing which change is actually driving your conversion boost.

Your testing should be controlled. If you tested a blue button for a week – Monday through Sunday – you should give an orange button the exact same testing time frame before you compare results. Site traffic can vary widely by day and time. If you test one color on Monday and Tuesday, and then a different color on Saturday and Sunday, it’s possible that the changes you see are more a result of the different days’ traffic levels than the different color button. People are more likely to look at your website on a weekday than on the weekends, so just measuring the success of one button on the weekday and a different button on the weekend won’t provide you with accurate results.

Other Lead Generation Considerations:

Know your metrics

The best way to keep track of how your website is performing, and how many lead opportunities you’re getting is to stay informed about your site’s metrics. You need to monitor them regularly, at least once a week, if not every day. This how you find out what’s working and what’s not, and how you know which adjustments to make.

Site analytics will also tell you where your leads are coming from. Whether traffic is coming to your site from Facebook, Linkedin, or even a paid ad, you need to know. This will help you optimize your paid ad campaigns and your social media strategies to get the most traffic, and thus leads, as possible.

Develop a plan

The absolute best thing you can do to turn your B2B manufacturing website into a consistent lead generation machine is to make a plan. It’s easy to start something, and then forget about it if you don’t have a schedule with deadlines and attainable goals. By creating a plan that outlines how much content you need per week or month, that states your monthly or weekly lead generation goals, and that reminds you to check your analytics and metrics regularly, it’s much harder to fall off the wagon. When you have goals and deadlines to meet, you’re more likely to implement positive changes, and keep working at them to continue to optimize your website’s lead generation potential.

If you have more questions about increasing your B2B manufacturing website’s lead generation potential, make sure to get in touch.

If you’re looking for more information about boosting your online presence, and drawing in more site traffic, check out our B2B Manufacturing Inbound Marketing Guide. In it, you’ll find all kinds of tips and tricks to optimize your site and your marketing strategy!

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