Manufacturers, in general, have been slow to learn and adopt digital best practices like content marketing to stand out in the 21st century. Not being absolutely sure about website traffic isn’t an option in the breakneck speed and high stakes of the digital world.
You must craft a strong manufacturing marketing web presence that gathers great website traffic from all sources.
7 Sources of Website Traffic to Boost Your Manufacturing Marketing Efforts
The following website traffic sources all combine to form a holistic picture of how people are finding your site. (Helpful hint: If you’re not analyzing these sources and adjusting your strategy according to real numbers, you’re effectively shooting your manufacturing marketing efforts in the foot.)
Here’s a (colorful) example of what traffic analytics could look like:
Now, let’s break them down and try to make sense of how they could benefit from a strong inbound marketing strategy.
1. Organic Search
These are people that are hitting your website via search engines. Most likely, they’re searching for solutions to their pain points. For example:
- “How do I install a network printer?”
- “How can I trailer my classic car without scratching it?”
- “Asphalt paving construction companies near me”
As you can see, they have pretty specific queries related to their needs. Your goal is for your pages to rank highly enough in search engines with kick-ass keywords so folks find your content on or near the first SERP (search engine results page).
Keywords used to be more than enough, but search engines like Google have changed their algorithms through the years (with upgrades like “Hummingbird” and “RankBrain”) to better serve users while combatting keyword stuffing and gaming the system. For our friends using HubSpot, the keywords tool will be sunset in May 2018. Now, with most online searchers using voice recognition, queries have become more conversational and user intent and content relevance is most important for ranking highly in SERPs.
2. Direct Traffic
If you’re getting more direct traffic, that probably means you’re scoring huge points for brand awareness. People know your company name and url, and they’re actively entering it in their web browsers to poke around your site.
A helpful piece of advice (for the sake of more accurate numbers) is to turn off your company’s IP address(es) in your analytics software, so your own employees visiting the company website don’t register in the overall traffic numbers.
3. Email Marketing
We hope you’ve signed on to the content marketing philosophy by now. A logical step is to nurture a list of contacts you’ve gathered over time, using email.
Feeling proud of a recent blog post? Email your contacts with a link and a brief preview to entice them to click. But before a contact or blog subscriber will feel compelled to click your link (and thus increase your website traffic by one), they have to feel the attraction toward your email.
Manufacturing marketing emails typically get only about a 22% open rate and a 2.3% click rate. Those rates are roughly typical across many different industries. So even the best are doomed to die in an inbox graveyard, get deleted, or worse, get marked as spam.
To beat those odds, you must have smart, goal-driven subject lines and preview text leading to relevant, enlightening topics that prompt action. When possible, segment your contact database to ensure the right people receive the right content at the right time. (Ex. - Send “value engineering” blog emails to contacts who filled out a related form on your website, and send “production timeline” emails to those who’ve downloaded content of that variety.)
4. Social Media
Social media is a powerful educational tool in professional circles. Share blog content, pictures and videos of product demos, and third-party resources on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and the like to establish thought leadership in your industry.
By choosing the right hashtags and tagging members of the industry “brain trust,” your content could go viral with the ideal audience, creating ample opportunities for potential buyers to interact with your content (and land on your site.)
But beware: There are best practices for ideal posting times, dates, and frequencies that differ with each social media platform.
5. Paid Search
Sometimes in the digital world you have to “pay to play.” If you’re a manufacturer, like many, that needs great web traffic now (or, better yet, yesterday), pay-per-click (PPC) may be a great option.
Building organic search traffic and domain authority is a slow and steady process. In some instances, it can be very subjective. You can write a damn good blog post (or series of blog posts) on something very beneficial to your buyer persona, but your great keywords and back-breaking research sit there like a brick and generate little, if any, traffic. Trust me on this one - I’ve experienced that heartache.
That’s where services like Google AdWords can help B2B companies experience massive business growth and ROI through sponsored search advertising. How does it work? Well, essentially, you can supplement other content efforts by throwing money at relevant keywords to show up as ads on the first page of search results. This helpful tool can also target audiences by:
- Search history
- Past online purchases
- & More
But let’s reiterate: PPC is a strong supplement (like taking your daily vitamins) to an overall healthy digital marketing strategy.
6. Paid Social
Standing out in a social media landscape cluttered with garbage ever populating users’ news feeds can be hard early on - really hard. And now, with platforms like Facebook having altered their algorithms to feed people’s feeds only with stuff they want to see, giving them content they need to see is an uphill battle.
So here’s another “pay for play” strategy to supplement your marketing efforts. Do you have a highly performing blog post that’s relevant to targets in a particular demographic or location? Put some cash behind it. Paid ads and boosted posts are certain to reach those targets. The ROI potential is obvious: 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives have used social media to make purchasing decisions.
Here’s where you can reap the rewards of creating truly remarkable content and becoming an industry thought leader. Referral traffic hits your site after clicking a link from a separate site - perhaps another blog, e-magazine, or e-newsletter devoted to your industry. If the culmination of all your marketing efforts have paid off (if your keywords rock, your social and email campaigns hit the mark, and you’ve sprinkled in some “pay for play”), your target audience would be delighted to share your brilliance.
Some might simply link to your content as a source for theirs. Or a global trade magazine with a massive digital reach could come calling to publish your work in its entirety (we felt like throwing a parade in the office when that happened recently with one of our clients).
Increase Web Traffic and Take Your Manufacturing Marketing to the Next Level?
You must know, respect, and leverage all the sources of website traffic available in today’s digital world. Each source requires a strategy all its own (and sometimes perhaps a little cash to sweeten the pot). But if you take the time to analyze how each affects your overall web traffic picture, your manufacturing marketing efforts can make smart decisions that, in turn, affect lead generation and sales.