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Online Marketing Case Study: 1500% More Leads in 6 Months


McHone Industries has been one of our favorite clients right from the beginning. They're dedicated, ambitious, and - most importantly - super fun to work with.

This is the their story of business growth over 6 months.

Who Is McHone Industries?

McHone Industries is a family-run manufacturing business located in Salamanca, NY. Their metal manufacturing journey began in 1974, focusing on steel tube production. Since then, they've grown into a full-service metal fabrication vendor. 

They're talented, creative, and work hard to make projects as cost-effective as possible for their customers.

What Was Their Problem?

Flashback to December, 2015. It was cold, snowy, and bleak. No one should have been doing business without a proper online strategy. But lo, McHone Industries came limping out of the darkness, starving for a website redesign and a warm bowl of new customers.

This is you, slapping me for that awful analogy.

So here's the story. Arnie McHone wanted to grow the company, but he was struggling. He was relying heavily on word of mouth to find new clients. He'd tried traditional marketing tactics (email lists, cold calling, etc.) but wasn't seeing any results.

At least they had a website, right?

Or, not so much.

McHone's website started out like most small-town manufacturers'. It was four pages small. It produced no ROI. Overall, it was feeling like a poor investment.

But, Arnie understood the power of the Internet. He knew they had to be online to stay competitive. He wanted to see a return on the website. Above all, he wanted people to know McHone Industries exists.

So, he approached us at protocol 80. He'd heard good things about us, and were willing to make the investment in this newfangled inbound marketing. They had no idea what it was, but hey, it seemed to be working for others. Might as well give it a shot. 

What Was Our Approach?


We had to build a strategy that met their two biggest goals:

  1. Get the word out about McHone Industries
  2. Show ROI for their website AS WELL AS the cost of p80's marketing services

Of course, they needed a full inbound marketing strategy (and that's ultimately the service we're providing). However, their biggest obstacle to success was an all-encompassing lack of valuable content.

They had no blog. No links. No conversion paths. No downloadables. The website was full of sales-y, self-promotional copy. Nothing interesting, relevant, or valuable to anyone but committed buyers. This had to change before we could make progress.

So, we put together a comprehensive content marketing strategy focused on brand awareness and lead generation.

content marketing for brand awareness

McHone Industries' Personalized Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing and manufacturing seem like unlikely friends. But they work well together. Especially since the vast majority of manufacturers are still floundering about offlineThat was the biggest secret behind McHone's quick wins.

1.  Like Taking Candy From a Baby

Here are the things that came together for McHone's perfect storm of content:

  • The manufacturing industry is still focused on traditional marketing - This provides huge opportunities for unique content, search rankings, branding, and thought leadership.

  • Lack of content on common manufacturing topics (Only 20% of manufacturing marketers have a documented content strategy)

  • Lack of access to valuable manufacturing information - It was easy to create and distribute the info that buyers would usually call a manufacturer to obtain.

  • No content + high interest = lots of high-volume, low-competition keywords

  • They prefer to be more hands-off with content - This makes it easy to produce content and results quickly.

We took advantage of these opportunities for both their blog and premium content.

2.  Interest, Value, & Opportunity

We started with the standard buyer persona identification and buyer's journey mapping. Through interviews with current and previous customers, we identified two main personas: the Buyer and the Engineer. Both of these are involved in the buying process at different journey stages.

Based on direct interviews, we learned what they found valuable. Buyers hover in the decision stage, and they're interested in services, pricing, and customer proof. Engineers are more research-focused, interested in manufacturing processes, materials, and design. 

Luckily, we found one area of overlap: their interest in specifications. We'll talk about that in a moment.

3.  Ongoing Blog Efforts

McHone's blog went from nonexistent to churning out about ten posts a month. Thanks to the advantages listed above, they're now ranking #1 for multiple incredibly relevant keywords (both long-tail and short-tail, representing all stages of the buyer's journey). 

Here are their two top performing posts of all time:

  • Aluminum vs. Steel: Which Material Is Right for You?
  • Carbon Steel Tubing Advantages and Disadvantages

4.  Premium Content Offers

Aside from a blog archive, the McHone site also needed conversion paths and lead generation opportunities. Over six months, we created multiple premium offers covering a range of topics. Each offer is supported by site links, blog posts, CTAs, and a landing page + accessories.

We mentioned above that both personas have an interest in specifications. So, let's talk about one offer in particular: their Tube Sizing Quick Reference Guide.

If these were ponies, and if I were a betting lady...

This offer is by far the most popular with engineers AND buyers. It's generated a number of highly qualified leads, leading to valuable quoting opportunities. These prospects enjoy having concrete numbers and guides to follow for engineering and purchasing. 

Along this vein, they now offer a comprehensive Tube Bending Design Guide as well. 

5.  Analyzing, Measuring, Reporting

After only a month, our efforts produced ROI for both the website AND our services. Not just lead gen - actual, real-life revenue. 

We sit down every week to review, report, and optimize to keep results moving. As you can see from Arnie's testimonials throughout this article, the McHone team is happy with the results. 

The Results

Here are the most notable results after just 6 months of intensive content marketing:


  • 1500% increase in leads per month
  • 600% increase in qualified sales opportunities
  • 570% increase in monthly traffic
  • 1107% increase in mobile traffic

So, after six months, our strategy far surpassed their initial expectations. The increase in traffic and leads indicates a definite increase in brand awareness. And, our favorite metric: we were able to produce ROI for the website AND our services after only one month.

(Another qualitative result: they had to hire a full-time salesperson to handle all the new leads coming in. If that isn't a success, I'm not sure what is.)

This has been an incredible journey for us, as well as our friends at McHone Industries. Taking a company from zero online sales opportunities to these great results? As a marketer, there's nothing quite like it. 

Their progress has been so phenomenal, we created a case study to show the world how they've grown. You can download it for free below. ↓

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