The internet has changed the business landscape forever. Unfortunately, too many manufacturers follow outdated, outmoded and just plain wrong advice about how to leverage the internet and really grow.
But when you do it right you can experience tremendous growth:
- A software manufacturer that went from $2 million to $44 million in revenue in just a few years.
- A health care manufacturer with a 1,231% increase in the number of qualified website leads in 3 days.
- Another company with an 800% improvement in buyer responsiveness with this communication channel (hint: it’s not social media).
These companies grew with the proven and powerful strategies I’m going to show you below:
1) Embrace Email Marketing
I know – email is so 2005. Today it’s all about social media, right?
According to a Channel Target Media study email is:
- Used more than social media: 20% use Twitter weekly, 70% use Facebook and 96% us email.
- Trusted more than social media: When it comes to permission marketing email was preferred in 76% of users. Facebook came in at 4%.
I’ve seen the same message sent to social media followers and to a clients email list. The result? An astounding 800% improvement in response rates from the email list.
Email may not be flashy or exciting – but it’s an absolute workhorse and offers you a much higher ROI than any other relationship or communication channel online.
2) Increase Qualified Leads While Lowering Costs
The quickest way to bring more traffic (and hence leads and customers) to your website isn’t free traffic – but paid. Things like Google Adwords, Facebook or sponsored ads.
However, most manufacturers overpay for their leads by an order of magnitude.
To really get the results you deserve from your online lead generation focus on three things:
- Be willing to constantly test;
- Start with headline changes – this will be 80% of your improvement;
- Only test one variable at a time.
Following these very basic guidelines allowed one client to see a 1,231% increase in the number of qualified leads sent to their website in only three days. Their acquired lead cost also dropped 18%.
3) The Paradox of E-commerce
E-commerce is simply the act of selling your product online. But if your only goal is to ‘sell something’ then you have immediately placed your product – and your company – in the commodity realm (after all, there’s nothing new under the sun).
To reap the rewards of the web – manufacturers need to use their website as a relationship and brand-building tool first. Then focus on selling.
In short, E-commerce is the end – not the beginning.
4) Ignore SEO and Embrace Value Marketing
You’ll hear a lot of noise about search engine optimization (SEO). I can attest to the fact that in 2009 it was all true. But today, SEO (at best) can be a slow, frustrating slog. Worst case you can see rankings drop (or disappear).
In the last year I spoken with a number of executives who have spent considerable sums of money – some into the six figures – only to see rankings drop and – in some cases – disappear. They then spend another six figures and another year or two trying to regain those rankings.
The reason? SEO no longer works the same way it use to.
Manufacturers who are having success online and moved into a new, more rewarding and more profitable avenue that I call Value Marketing (VM).
I’ve written other places about how to pull off VM but suffice it to say that with VM you start with your client or customer first (what value can you provide to them to make their buying decision easier) rather than the search engines (how can I reverse engineer the search engines algorithm and rank high?)
5) Focus on One Thing
Years ago I listened to an interview with a small software manufacturer who grew his online revenues from $2 million to over $40 million in a matter of years. His secret? TOT (The One Thing).
Their website was originally designed like so many other websites – with a lot of distracting information. But from his initial experience he knew that the way to sell more software was to get people to try it. Once they did they discovered how good it was and ultimately bought it.
So rather than having a website that covered 100 different things he focused in on his “One Thing” – getting visitors to sign up for a free 30 day trial. Once he did that his revenues took off.
There’s other ways to do your “One Thing” but one of the surest – and most profitable – is to prove your value for free in exchange for the visitors email address. This isn’t to ‘sell’ to them. But to build a relationship and trust. If you make that your one thing the revenues will follow.
Curtis Alexander helps industrial manufacturers leverage the internet to transform their business. You can learn more ways to grow your business online or contact Curtis at www.curtismalexander.com