Manufacturers who once relied on a handshake at a trade show or a connection made at a site demo have found the need to rethink their marketing strategy.
With 46.8% of the global population using the internet in 2017, more and more businesses are moving into the online space. Manufacturers are quickly beginning to realize that maintaining a competitive SEO strategy is critical for success.
What Do Manufacturers Need To Know About SEO?
SEO means getting your business in front of the right customers at the right time, and the right time is when they search for a need you can fill. The key is ensuring that search engines point people to your website when they’re searching for services like yours.
However, you might be wondering if SEO is really necessary for manufacturers. After all, for the longest time manufacturing companies didn’t have to put much effort into marketing to be successful.
Times have changed.
To understand what’s taking place right now, we need to go back a bit…
Background Of Manufacturing Marketing
Regardless of industry, the sales/buying process has always been the same for prospects. They’ll find you in one of four different ways: referrals, loyalty, partnership deals, or marketing/outreach.
Since the first 3 ways are limited in scope and more difficult to pull off in the 21st century, that leaves marketing as the best way to grow your business.
But that’s not to say that marketing is easy. In fact, marketing and manufacturing have been in conflict as far back as 1977.
In the 20th century marketing was never really essential, and most industrial companies had an easy time succeeding without it. New clients were easy to come through word of mouth referrals, direct mailing, and the like.
Now the trend is reversing. Industrial companies no longer have an easy time succeeding without doing some form of marketing.
While manufacturers were traditionally a central part of the growing economy, they’re now lagging behind every other sector. This is mostly because the manufacturing industry as a whole is still stuck in the 20th century when it comes to marketing.
The problem is compounded by the fact that in a post recession economy, manufacturers are hesitant to spend more money on marketing.
While the majority of manufacturers stagnate, some are making big gains.
Those who are making the gains are successfully using, you guessed it, SEO.
Industrial Marketing In the 21st Century
With the birth of the internet, a period of rapid change took place and shaped how businesses operate today.
Print started to become less popular as prospective customers moved online. As the amount of supplier and product information on the internet continues to increase in the 21st century, buyers and purchasing managers are beginning to rely on it more than business acquaintances for information.
All of this explains why getting to the first page of Google was, and still is, the main goal of SEO.
This is not all to say that traditional marketing isn’t effective anymore – it still is.
But relying on traditional marketing alone will put you behind many of your competitors that are now accessing this large and growing segment of new prospects. Known as online searchers, many of these new prospects are sub-36 years old.
Reach Your Prospects With SEO
If clients can’t find your brand online, you’ll have a hard time selling to them.
This axiom is especially true now that millennials have overtaken the baby boomers as the largest demographic in America.
As the millennial generation ages, graduates from college continue to enter the workforce at around 20-36 years old.
Many of them are engineers or have purchasing roles. They rely on the internet – especially search engines – to find the information that they need to make informed specification and purchasing decisions.
The rest of your prospective clients are catching up to this trend. Today, everyone is looking for help online.
This is the reality of the 21st century: if a potential customer has a problem or needs help with a pain point, they’re more likely to search online for a solution first, instead of engaging with you in person.
By reaching them where they’re searching right now, you’ll be poised to get on their radar both presently and in the future. This allows you to start building trust with them.
Should You Really Do Online Marketing?
It is understandable if you’re apprehensive about venturing into this new area. After all, both buying and selling manufacturers tend to stay within their small circle of existing relationships where it’s comfortable and familiar.
But you and I both know that growth requires leaving your comfort zone to achieve more for your business.
If you feel that online marketing is out of character for your small company brand, I understand. However, there’s nothing to worry about as long as you’ve got the right marketing strategy.
A good marketing strategy won’t make your company lose its personal touch. If a marketing company has ever made you feel out of sync with your companyś culture and goals, get rid of them!
Manufacturing is changing along with the digital revolution, so you shouldn’t keep manufacturing and your marketing/advertising separate any longer.
How to do SEO manufacturing
So how do you market to prospects online in the industrial space?
There are four key elements to SEO success: keyword research, SEO friendly content, external/internal links, and SEO-focused site architecture. Here’s the quick lowdown on all four:
- Keyword Research: Choosing the right keywords to focus on is important. You don’t want to waste time and money optimizing your website for the wrong keywords. If you choose the wrong keywords to focus on, then you won’t get the right kind of interested, paying visitors to your website.
When analyzing keywords, there are three things that we look at:
- Intent: are the keywords “buying keywords” or “research keywords?” For example, if someone searches for “types of laser cutting,” they’re likely in research mode – they aren’t ready to make a purchase decision yet. But if someone searches for “precision CNC machining companies near me” then they’re very likely ready to buy soon.
- Difficulty: You don’t want to choose keywords that are too difficult for you to rank for. Be sure to choose keywords that aren’t too competitive in the search. Competitive keywords are usually in large, lucrative niches. The trick is focusing on ranking for long-tail versions of these keywords. Long-tail means keywords that are at least three words or more. At Analytive, we’ll help you sort through keywords and find the ones with which you can likely rank.
- Volume: How many people are searching for that keyword every month? Tens of thousands of searches is a great thing! If there are fewer, we need to be sure that those keywords are high intent. In manufacturing, potentially only 10 people a month look for your product or service, but if they find and convert to leads, that lead could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
SEO Friendly Content: This means creating content with engaging copy, great visuals, and helpful information to keep visitors on your website longer.
The longer people stay on your webpage, the higher Google will rank you – and thatś a win-win. Engaging content that ranks high in search takes time to create, but it’s 100% worth it.
It’s important to please Google, because almost everybody today uses Google for one simple reason – it works. Google shows us the best content for what we’re looking for.
Speaking of content, today’s B2B customers don’t want to be sold to, they want to be “solved to.”
Statistics make this fact evident: manufacturing buyers review an average of 10.4 sources before making a buying decision. Expensive or complicated solutions (e.g. large capital purchases) demand even more time and learning from manufacturers.
Wouldn’t it be great if they decided to spend that time on YOUR website?
Just being a unique or different kind of company isn’t enough to convert visitors – showing HOW you’re different should be your top priority. You can do this with content marketing.
Content marketing shouldn’t be overly sales focused, but rather should focus on helping solve problems. It should also be tailored to where the reader is at in their buyer journey.
Remember – whether you create blogs, white papers, case studies, or videos, their purpose is to position you as a trusted authority and problem solver in your niche.
- External/Internal Links: Links are another important component of manufacturing SEO.When a high quality website links to yours, envision it as a personal recommendation to Google stating why they should pick you to rank in their search engine.
Getting these quality links isn’t easy, and it’s possible to make mistakes when trying to get them. Internal links on the other hand are less risky overall, and can help drive meaningful backlinks to your website.
- SEO-focused Site Architecture: Your website will hold it all together – from the backend coding to the page loading times, it should be built with SEO in mind. All the pieces of your website have to work together for success in the search engines.
Here are a couple examples of how a good SEO agency can benefit your company.
- We helped rebrand and update a domain for a manufacturing B2B business. We cooperated with their team to create amazing content, following the principles that we teach in our course.
- Over a 6 month period, we have increased organic search traffic to their website by more than 156% in a competitive niche.
- The company is now edging out the main competition in that niche, which have been around for over 150 years!
- This industrial service firm had already been optimized by another agency, but there were many other missed opportunities we were able to seize upon.
- We increased their number of leads as well as their quality. Now the majority of their leads are from clients that fit their needs. No more pointless leads that don’t pan out. Their new leads almost always convert into paying customers.
- Using the lessons we teach, we increased their search traffic by more than 40% in 6 months.
So Why Hire Us?
Most manufacturers are immediately overwhelmed by all the new, ever changing information and concepts, so many decide to hire an SEO agency to handle this part of the business for them. It still benefits manufacturers to understand SEO, however, so that they can feel confident in the decisions being made by the agency.
We work with manufacturing businesses of all sizes. Want us to do a FREE SEO audit on your website? Give us a call or fill out the form below.