Hey Sales and Marketing Professionals!
I’m sure you can agree that driving more quality visitors to your website is important, but it can also be very difficult when you’re starting with very low numbers, and you don’t want to rely on pay-per-click advertising.
But what if I told you that by strategically beefing up the Attract stage of your Online Marketing Plan for Manufacturers, you can drive more quality visitors to your website?
In this post, I’m going to show you how pillar content, your blog, SEO, social media, and PPC can work in unison to attract visitors to your manufacturing website.
This is Part 5 of your Online Marketing Plan for Manufacturers. Today, we’re looking at the Attract phase of the Inbound Marketing methodology, which is all about driving more quality visitors to your website.
For this to work you have to have a strong understanding of who the right people are, and the W's' (who, what, when, where, why, and how) of their research and buying process, also known as their buyer’s journey. We covered buyer personas and the buyer’s journey in Parts 3 and 4.
Your online marketing plan is going to focus on - Being in the right place, at the right time, with the right message.
The foundation for the attract stage is going to be educational content. Some Content Types to attract visitors includes:
- Pillar pages
- Blog posts
- Your website pages
- And social media posts
The Attract stage uses all of these types of content together in one strategy, to drive more website visitors.
It starts with Pillar Pages. If you’re new to pillar pages, think of them as a main page on your website. Meaning it’s available from your website’s top navigation bar. It’s a broad, core topic that you are, or can be an authority on.
For example, if you are a plastics manufacturer, you might have a broad pillar page on ‘plastic injection molding’.
This would be a very long page. Think thousands of words. It would be content aimed at answering all of the top questions about the topic, from your buyer persona’s perspective.
Again, refer to Part 4 in this series for examples of the types of content that will resonate with your buyer persona at each stage of their buyer’s journey.
This page is meant to be pure education. You want it to be a resource for people researching ‘plastic injection molding’. You might want to touch on things like:
- How plastic injection molding came to be - who invented the process and when?
- Why it is used?
- What the process looks like?
- What types of parts are best suited for plastic injection molding?
- Strengths and weaknesses of plastic injection molding.
- Cost of plastic injection molding.
- Advances in technology with plastic injection molding.
There are probably other top questions that could be answered, but you get the idea.
Notice, I didn’t include things like:
- How long you’ve been doing injection molding.
- All of your certifications in injection molding.
- OR, examples of your work in injection molding.
We want to think more strategically with our pillar content. If someone has a broad interest in learning about injection molding, they aren’t looking for a provider yet. They are just learning.
We’ll have opportunities in later stages to filter out the actual prospects. The key is to get more visitors to your website, which will obviously include potential buyers.
In Part 6 - Convert - We’ll talk about some ways to turn visitors to your pillar page into leads, but in this video, we’re focused on attracting quality visitors.
You want your pillar content to become THE resource for anyone trying to learn about plastic injection molding. This will invite inbound links from other sites that need a resource for their visitors on plastic injection molding. These links are HUGE factor in increasing your website’s authority and SEO.
Cluster Content Through Blogging
Now we need to look at how we create a cluster of content that integrates with our pillar content.
Cluster Content can be thought of as subtopics for your pillar content. They are typically blog posts that use longer-tail keywords that relate back to the pillar topic.
Using our ‘plastic injection molding’ example, some subtopics might include:
- 5 Ways to Design for Mold Efficiency, Performance, and Longevity
- Getting Your Injection Molding Tolerances and Metrology Right
- 10 Best Materials for Plastic Injection Molding
These are shorter pieces of content that will live on your blog, and link to your pillar content. Every time you write a subtopic for the pillar content, you’ll update the pillar content to include a link to your subtopic. In other words, your subtopic will link to the pillar content, and your pillar content will link to the subtopic.
These links, bind the content cluster strategy together, making a direct connection that Google can easily see.
Do you have a website page that relates heavily to the pillar content or a subtopic blog post? Link to them! And vice versa.
Pillar Content and Subtopic Content Types
I want to take a moment here to note that your pillar content and subtopics should be primarily text, but can also include things like video, tables of data, and graphics. Whatever would be most helpful to the visitor. You can also plan to go back to a pillar page or blog post and add in a video or other more time intensive media after it’s launched.
Getting Eyes on Your Content
Just publishing a pillar page, or subtopic content doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a flood of new traffic. This is especially true if you have a very low trafficked website. That’s how social media and pay-per-click come into your Attract strategy.
Let’s start with social media. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc… When I refer to social media, I’m talking about the channels your buyer persona spends time on. In your persona interviews (Part 3 of this series), you should have uncovered which social networks they use.
Social channels offer us an excellent platform to distribute our content, and other people’s content that would be helpful to our buyer personas.
If you have a very small following in your social channels, I recommend deploying the 10:4:1 rule for a period of time, until you have more followers.
This rules says that out of 15 social posts:
- 10 should be shared content from other people (tagging them and giving them credit)
- 4 should be your own sub topics/blog posts
- 1 should be to your pillar page, or a landing page with an ebook to download
At the same time, you should be following as many relevant people in your social channels as possible, from your company’s social accounts.
You’ll want to research which hashtags are used heavily in your industry and be sure to use them when possible to expand your footprint to non-followers that are searching by hashtags.
As your social reach grows (again, refer to Part 2 for Metrics and Smart Goals), you can test changing the ratio from 10-4-1 to something like 8-5-2, or 7-6-2. You should never do away entirely with sharing other people’s content if it will help you buyer persona.
Remember, people that find your content through social can share your content, expanding your reach, and maybe driving more inbound links. A huge factor in SEO.
Social Media Tips:
There’s A few things I’d like to note on using social media:
- A blatant sales pitch will be treated like a cold call at dinner time… people won’t like it. Save any attempts at this until you have 1,000s of followers. Then measure the unfollow rate carefully to see if it’s worth it.
- There are tools, like HubSpot, that make monitoring social media channels for engagement (likes, follows, shares) very easy, so you don’t have to jump from channel to channel
- Your industry and the specific channel you’re using should be tested for acceptable posting frequency and best times of day. There are broad suggestions online if you search for them, but your mileage may vary.
- Be proactive in continuing to follow new, relevant accounts, and sharing people’s posts. There’s a goodwill effect with social media that can pay dividends over time.
Please understand that your social reach will take time to grow.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising - When You Need Traffic NOW
To that point, getting eyes on your pillar content and subtopics may require some investment in pay-per-click advertising, depending on your level of patience, and the amount of traffic you currently get to your website.
I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of PPC here, but I will leave you with a few pointers:
- Google is a great place to start - Adwords can get your pillar content or subtopics at the top of search results for a very low cost per click, especially if there’s little paid competition an/or the keyword is longer-tailed.
- Set a daily budget so your spend is predictable. If you only want to spend $500-1,000/month, that’s achievable.
- Refine your targeting as much as possible. If you are only competitive on the east coast, only show your ads to folks on the east coast.
- Social channels are another great option for paid traffic, with even more targeting tools.
- Promote content that performs well organically too - this seems counterproductive, but if it resonates with the organic audience, you should get it in front of a broader paid audience as well.
Time Frame to Execute this Portion of Your Online Marketing Plan
I can hear the groans now! You already have a lot on your plate as a marketer, sales professional, or executive, so how are you possibly going to do all of this?
Here’s how I’d break down a quarter if I were you:
- Get your pillar content done and published on your website
- Setup and brand all of the relevant social channels for your persona
- Follow 100 accounts in each channel, and start sharing other people’s content exclusively with a few thoughts on what you shared
- Share your pillar page twice
- Write a subtopic blog post that relates to your pillar content, every week
- Integrate your blog content in your 10:4:1 schedule
- Follow another 100 accounts in each channel
- Write a subtopic blog post that relates to your pillar content, every week
- Integrate your blog content (old and new) into the 10:4:1 schedule, ramping up the volume of posts each week where appropriate
- Plan next quarter’s sub topics that relate to the pillar content
- Review your metrics - see Part 2
How to Setup the Technical Pieces
If you’re hung up on how to setup a blog and get that going, check out my video on the ‘10 Steps to start a manufacturing blog’.
Now, Get Started!!
We covered an awful lot in this post, and honestly, we could go much deeper on each topic, and deploy many more tactics. However, this is a great start to your online marketing plan.
If you have questions, leave a comment below. Remember to subscribe on YouTube to get all of the videos in this series. Next up, we’ll talk about the convert stage of the inbound marketing methodology. We’ll look at how we turn website visitors into leads.