How Manufacturing Companies Can Generate Leads Through Online Advertising

As someone who’s been watching marketing evolve over two decades, it’s been easy to see the trends and digital marketing adoption for business to consumer (B2C) companies. B2C companies are truly pulling out all stops to market and advertise their brands to customers. Creativity, cheeky humour, mascots, real people advocates… The list goes on. And they using a multi-channel approach – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TV, print and online pay-per-click advertising.

Still advertising like it’s the ‘80s?

Yet when I think about what business to business (B2B) companies are doing to market their brand or services, I’m seeing many companies stuck in the 80’s and 90’s. This is particularly true for manufacturing organizations, many of which seem to love advertising in uninspiring trade publications or tradeshow print materials. The problem here is that this type of advertising offers no opportunity for a potential customer to engage with the company immediately, or find out more information. And even though it may help with brand building, it isn’t where companies are searching for you. Plus, it’s boring.

The benefits of online advertising for manufacturing companies

At a time when B2B buyers are doing more than half (57%) of their research about a company online, before they even contact them, it’s never been more critical to reach your audience in the right places, at the right time and with the right information. This is where online advertising, also referred to as pay-per-click, can make a difference. Here’s a few reasons why a manufacturing company should consider online advertising:

  1. More cost-effective than a print ad in a trade publication.
  2. Broader reach with the ability to hyper-target the ads directly to the cities your audience lives in, as well as the keywords they are searching,  and, the websites they are visiting and the list goes on.. and the list goes on.
  3. Metrics that mean something more than just circulation – you can actually see impressions, clicks, and conversions on your ads.
  4. Opportunity to educate and inspire your prospect via your website or give them a valuable piece of content when they visit your ad. You could even have the ad lead to a video of your product or service in action. Get creative!
  5. Online connection can be made immediately when they visit via your ad. This can be done through a contact form, live chat or clickable phone numbers and email.
  6. Software can be placed on your website to track who has visited and what company they are from — an excellent way to generate qualified leads.

Are you convinced yet? Are you ready to toss (or complement) the trade publication ad in favour of online advertising? Here are a few key insights to know:

You need an inspiring landing page

Online advertising campaigns must start with an effective landing page. A landing page is, quite simply, the page that someone will land on when they click your ad on a search engine or social media channel. When someone gets to this page you want them to stay there, read what your company has to offer and then take an action, such as: fill out a contact form, download a whitepaper or infographic, or watch a video. See our example of a landing page below.

Manufacturing companies can use digital marketing to encourage users to take an action on their website.

It’s important to be creative and visual as much as possible, highlighting your unique selling proposition front and center. Ensure the visitor doesn’t have to scroll down the page to find your call-to-action. Just because your manufacturing industry topic may be boring, your landing page and the content on it doesn’t have to be. Get more tips for best practices about landing pages here.

Search engine pay-per-click advertising

Now that you have your landing page nailed, you can start implementing your ads. Manufacturing or B2B companies are often trying to reach a global audience and have the ability to manufacture for customers outside of where the business runs. This is why search engine advertising is effective. With Google, you can target your advertising accordingly, set a daily budget that you’re comfortable with, and maximize relevance with the right keywords that your audience is searching for. For example, you have the option to create search ads that look like this and appear on the top or side of the search engine:

Manufacturing companies can create ads on the Google Search network, using pay per click text ads like the one pictured here.

Or you can create a display ad, which is an excellent way to generate brand awareness and visually show your brand, product or service. Here’s an example of a display ad:

Manufacturing companies can use display ads to encourage users to click.

In both cases, when a potential customer clicks on these ads, they will go to your landing page. All this activity is tracked, measurable and adjustable so you can see exactly how your ads are performing and identify where changes or improvements should be made.

Don’t ignore social media advertising

If you’ve done your homework into where your customers are researching and reading online, you should know which social media networks they are active on. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is likely to be one of the key places to find and reach your potential customers, so for this post, we’ll place focus there. 

In 2014, TechCrunch picked LinkedIn as the third fastest growing social network based on changes in active usage. In the years since LinkedIn has seen continued steady growth.Their pay-per-click advertising features have only made the network an even stronger place to reach target audiences. Advertisers can choose from recommended posts or fixed ads on the sidebar of the site, all targeted to the industry, audience and decision makers that you want to reach. For a step-by-guide on how to grow your business with LinkedIn advertising, take a look at our slide deck. It’s a foolproof guide to get you started.

Advertising is part of your web presence

Now you can see just how easy it is for B2B manufacturing companies to take a page out of the B2C book by starting with online advertising. While you may not be ready to give up the trade publication advertising just yet, I can guarantee that a taste of what’s possible advertising online will convince you just how important it is to generate leads today.

Digital Giants recommend you use advertising as part of your web presence strategy including your website and search engine marketing, social media and content marketing. Want to know more about building your web presence? Download this resource guide with more information on how to optimize your web presence for lead generation, or this guide that outlines the 7 steps to digital marketing.

If you need more advice on how to creatively market your manufacturing company online, please reach out to us.