How to Get More Qualified Prospects

According to a 2015 study on digital media use by IHS Engineering360, 77 percent of engineers use online content and digital media to find equipment, components, services, and suppliers. In short, this means your online industrial marketing should be prioritized accordingly to get more qualified prospects. It may be a difficult fact for manufacturers, distributors, and engineering service professionals to accept, since investing in sales teams and outbound marketing was the norm for so long. Although the traditional purchasing cycle has not changed, buyers want to research, self-serve, and in some cases even self-select.  Below, we will share the best practices for staying ahead of this trend.

Focus your target keywords

Did you know that there are approximately 40,000 Google searches done every second, which equals 3.5 billion searches per day? So how about industrial terms? For simple searches, we found these numbers:

  1. Engineer – 673,000 per month
  2. Offshore – 368,000 per month
  3. Manufacturer – 246,000 per month
  4. Upstream – 40,500 per month

So what about more specific industrial searches?

  1. HVAC system – 22,200 per month
  2. Chemical companies – 8,100 per month
  3. O-ring sizes – 5,400 per month
  4. Construction companies in Houston – 880 per month

This data is a good example of why we recommend focusing online industrial marketing on relevant keywords, not just popular ones. For instance, focusing on the keyword “construction” may give you a lot of traffic in the hundreds or thousands, but focusing on “construction companies in Houston” will give you a piece of the 880 searches per month of buyers looking for what you do, aka qualified prospects. Even if you only get 5 percent of this traffic, it’s still 44 relevant visitors per month to your site.

Anticipate the Q&A

Remember, your team are experts in your industry, know what problems you are best at solving and what solutions your customers are looking for. At your next staff meeting, ask each participant to make a list of the most common problems/issues faced by the customers they come into contact with. Use this info to create an editorial calendar outlining a schedule for content creation that addresses these common customer problems. Positioning your company as a thought leader helps to strengthen your online presence and increase credibility.

For example, sizing is a huge concern for many buyers. If this is a common need for your prospective buyers, tackle it from all sides. This could include a dedicated web page, video, infographic, webinar, regular social media posts and even a series of blog posts. All these efforts will ensure that whenever anyone (especially those who live in your area) types this query into Google, some portion of your content or your website will be some of the first results they get.

Make it easy to be contacted

 Once you have qualified prospects on your turf reviewing your quality content, make it as easy as possible for them to take the next step. This includes having all contact info available on the same page and including a CTA (call to action) on each page. Be sure all contact forms, email addresses, phone numbers, and social media accounts are working and current. Nothing is more frustrating than using a contact form or an email address when you want additional information, only to have it bounce back – or just as bad, to get a response a week later. If you have a case study, video, catalog, technical article or other “asset content”, ask for a name and email address in exchange for a download.

Many industrial companies now have Live Chat services available on their websites, making it possible for a visitor to get a question answered immediately without having to pick up the phone or wait for an email response.  Most Live Chat interfaces require the person initiating the contact to give their name and email address, so you will still have what you need for further lead nurturing.

Follow-up quickly

Once you have the prospective buyer’s contact information, follow-up as soon as possible since it is likely they will move on to the next search engine result and send the same questions to them. Often, if a buyer has no experience with you or your competitors and you haven’t done a good job of explaining why you’re better, they’ll start working with the first company that responds to their inquiry, such as Dude’s Construction. Train your sales and other staff to see which web page or item of information led to the initial contact and have them be ready to discuss it in detail, including having approximate quotes for price and delivery.  Even if the prospect tells you they are still researching, contacting them in person and passing along all the information they need will greatly increase your chances of converting them from qualified prospect to paying customer. In the meantime, you can continue to keep your name in front of them through targeted email marketing.

Marketing and sales need to collaborate

Industrial marketers need to help sales teams create a deeper engagement with prospective customers through content marketing. Traditional sales teams cannot convert alone anymore because the prospect is in control for a larger portion of the sales cycle. If you want to see real results, marketing and sales need to have a more blended approach to the online marketing effort.

If you are interested in how to get more qualified prospects, contact us for an obligation-free consultation to see how we can help.

Author: Kerry O'Malley

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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