Let's talk about how to generate B2B leads in the manufacturing industry. Specifically, let's talk about how to generate original equipment manufacturer (OEM) leads and customers.
Think about your current OEM client base. How did they discover you? They were probably referrals from your excellent word-of-mouth testimonials! While it is a best practice to continue to add value to your current OEM clients, and to keep that relationship strong, at some point you'll want to expand your client base. When the referrals and testimonials run dry, where can you look to generate new B2B leads?
B2B content creation and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for manufacturers are the secret sauce to being found online by OEMs. When done correctly, this digital marketing strategy can enhance your manufacturing business' “findability” online. Manufacturers like you can leverage search engine optimized content on your website to link yourself to OEMs that may not know you exist.
Read below where we'll share our tried and true best practices for B2B content creation and SEO for manufacturers so you can be found online by OEMs.
#4 Answer their questions
Answering questions is different from putting up features and benefits about your capabilities and products. Respond to the things they want to know, as you would speak in a sales call. A great way to do this is to make a list of the frequently asked questions you get on a sales call. After all, I am sure you get the same questions over and over again. Answer them on your website as you would on the phone or in an email – think about what you can tell prospects that makes them say, "Oh wow, that is pretty interesting!” or, “Yes, that’s exactly what I needed to know.”
B2B leads type in questions to their search bars, and they expect to find answers. This is where you and your website come into play! Think of the questions your prospects and customers ask, then add that information to your website. For example, if you manufacture and install Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), a question people probably ask you all the time is "What is the ROI of a CMM?" So put that on your website! Make it a web page, a blog post, a video, a podcast, whatever you feel will resonate with your audience, just make sure it is helpful and educational.
The answer to those frequently asked questions is the type of information you want to put on your website in order to be found, because prospects are typing those questions into their search bars before they even reach out to you.
#3 Use the language they’re searching with
Here are two examples of searches that may seem to be about the same thing but that return vastly different search results:
Packaging robots – Results for a short string search like this can include examples of specific robotic equipment, automation companies who build these systems, high-level overviews of packaging applications, and even articles about how to package a robot for shipping.
How can robots help packaging lines – Results for this long tail keyword search example are more focused on the specific advantages of integrating robots into a packaging line and examples of what they look like in actual facilities. This helps prospects connect the dots and visualize the solutions in their facilities: articles about efficiencies gained, packaging tasks and tooling designed for pick-and-place, positioning, scanning for placement, and information about ancillary equipment used with automated packaging (e.g. conveyors, taping and gluing machines).
If the goal is to learn about using robots on a packaging line, the second search yields more relevant results. When you understand how most people are searching, you can create content that addresses their queries and funnel OEM leads to your website.
No one buying today wants to be sold to - they want to research, consume information, and purchase when they're ready. If you are in manufacturing and working with engineers looking for a solution, always assume they will do research on their own. Your task is to have the information they seek waiting for them online.
Talking about your experiences, offer expertise, and show how you were able to find solutions for other OEMs by saving them time or money or increased their quality. I can already hear you saying, “But we can’t give that information away – it’s our secret sauce!”
It’s entirely possible to make a generic case that expounds on how your expertise and problem solving was able to develop an alternative for an OEM, and you can do it without giving the process away. The key is to highlight how you are pretty darn creative and smart. In other words, you do not have to give out the recipe, you just have to show the final cake that everyone will drool over and then ask you, “Can you help me make that?”
#1 Be responsive and approachable
Give web visitors a reason to further engage with you, for example:
Host a webinar
Offer a great guide or checklist they can download
Write case studies or testimonials about what your other OEMS say about you (no need to name them, but metrics and specific examples should be included)
Post a video product demo or interview with a satisfied customer
When prospects download information or attend a webinar, be sure to send them an email acknowledging that activity (a sales and marketing platform can make this easier). This nurturing is critical because it reinforces the connection and leaves them with a contact for future interactions.
Some of these tips may be a departure from what you’re used to, but I think you’ll see that prospects respond well to this approach. If you’re not sure how to get started, contact us so we can help.