I know someone who works as a substitute teacher. In talking the other day, he mentioned that the students were asking if they could use Chromebooks because they couldn't figure out how to use a regular laptop.
This completely blew my mind. I went through school using those chunky laptops that were as thick as a textbook and weighed as much as a five-year-old.
First I realized: I am officially an old person, this is what it's like to be out of touch.
Next I realized: the clients we work with didn't even have computers at school when they were growing up.
Perhaps that's where the disconnect begins. For younger talent and people who are still climbing the ladder in their careers (25-40), they grew up during a technological explosion. 100 years passed between the invention of the telephone and cell phones; it was only ten years after that that we invented the first smartphones.
The past 30 years witnessed some of the most incredible advances in technology we've ever seen, though we continue to advance at an unbelievable rate.
Today's consumers, buyers, businesspeople, everyone who's at the peak of social influence grew up during that era of explosive technological growth. They're familiar with all of the devices produced by that growth.
What's one thing all those fancy modern devices have in common? They all connect to the Internet.
That's almost half of the world's population.
Why isn't my business getting found online?
Jeff Bullas, a decorated online marketing expert, asks the most important question: "If your product or service cannot be found when you type it in to a search engine, how are you going to survive in the new world of online business?"
The manufacturing industry in particular tends to be behind the times. Manufacturers are generally stuck in their ways, avoidant of change, and unfamiliar with the online landscape. (Sorry, manufacturers. You know it's true.)
The very simple answer is: you're not getting found online because you're not online.
And no, just having a website is not "being online."
So what else do you need? The answer is multi-faceted, but comes tied neatly in a little package known as inbound marketing.
What's inbound marketing and why should I care?
You're wondering how to get found online. This is how.
Inbound marketing is a term that encompasses a large group of online marketing tactics. It's extremely popular because it works. It speaks to your best buyers, it educates and informs, and it costs 62% less per lead than traiditional marketing.
The major tenets of inbound marketing include:
- Don't annoy your prospects.
First and most importantly: inbound marketing is not TV ads or cold calling. You're not trying to butt into their life in any way possible. You're not going to email your leads 10 times in one day, because you're never going to hear from them again.
In fact, you're not even going to email them once a day. You're going to email them MAYBE once a week.
That is the difference between having a new friend and having a stalker.
- Educate your prospects.
This might seem counterintuitive, but you DO NOT want to sell yourself to your potential customers. They already know you're trying to make money and sell stuff. What they really care about is whether or not you can solve their problems.
Educational content allows you to address their problems in an objective way and make a good first (and second, and third) impression.
- Allow your prospects to come to you.
No chasing. No annoying. If someone needs a service you provide, they will find you.
"But," you say, "that's the problem. Nobody is finding us."
And that's why you need inbound marketing.
How will it help me get found online?
In our Manufacturer's Guide to Inbound Marketing, we identify the major components of inbound marketing. To get found online, you need to utilize SEO, PPC, blogging, social media, CTAs, landing pages, and more.
All of those pieces work together to create your own personal brand megaphone. Some are more obviously helpful than others (e.g. social media lets you interact directly with your customers and competitors), but they all assist in building brand awareness.
"Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links. Indexed pages and indexed links translate into higher rankings with the search engines, and that means more website traffic to your site."
The key is being active and involved. Nothing here is "set it and forget it!"
Inbound marketing requires consistent optimization, weekly social media activity, and at least monthly blogging. The payout is people finding you online.
No pain, no gain, right?
How do I know if it's working?
One of the perks of inbound marketing is how trackable it is. You'll be able to see exactly how much traffic you're attracting to your website, who fills out your landing page forms, who's sharing your content on social media, etc. You can get names, phone numbers, titles, businesses, whatever info you need. (Creepy, but effective.)
Beyond the basic quantitative measurements, the results are qualified by the right stuff: the right traffic, the right readers, the right commentors, etc.
You don't want just any traffic to come to your site. If you're a manufacturing company trying to attract senior buyers, you should see an uptick of senior buyers visiting your site.
Inbound marketing is all about getting the right information to the right people at the right time.
That's all, folks.
Don't get discouraged if you don't see results overnight. It takes time to build the kind of online presence that results in major sales.
And, if you need assistance building up your online presence, there are plenty of friendly inbound marketing agencies who would be happy to help.