The 4 essential steps to generate leads in 3D Printing Industry
Leads generation: here is a subject that has spawned countless articles.
Simply do a quick search on Google and you will see just how many pieces have been published on the topic.
You are bound to ask me why I am bothering to add another article to the pile. The bottom line is that the method for generating leads varies from one sector to the next.
In this article, I am going to talk about the steps that additive manufacturing professionals can follow to generate leads.
In this fast-growing sector, it is not always easy to know how to reach out to the target market, attract visitors and then convert them.
So here are the four essential steps that 3D printing professionals can use to generate leads.
1. Define the target market and the ideal lead
The first step for generating leads will influence all the other steps, namely define the target market and the ideal lead.
It is vitally important to know who you are reaching out to, i.e. the people who will be using your products or services. This step is so critical that I could write a whole article about it.
If you know who your prospects are, you will be able to understand them and give them the information that they are looking for.
Before you can define your target market, you need to define your personas.
A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers and is based on such real facts as their problems, their needs, their challenges, their obstacles and the way in which they use information.
If you offer a wide range of products and services, several different personas will emerge. This will enable you to clearly segment your target market and your products and services.
To define a persona, you will need to gather as much information as possible. There are many different ways to go about it.
Initially, you can have a word with your sales teams, because they are the ones who are most often in contact with your customers and prospects. In other words, they hold an invaluable source of information.
You can also search on the internet for some intel about your prospects’ profile, about the type of information that they look for on the web and about the chatrooms and forums that they might visit.
Lastly, you should ask your customers. Ask them questions about what made them consider and ultimately choose your solutions, their everyday challenges, their needs and their online practices. This has got to be the most important source of information that you can tap into, and your customers will tend to be satisfied with your approach!
2. Attract visitors with content
Once you have defined your target market, you need to create a plan of attack!
The aim is to attract them to your website, so that they can check out your range of products, services and solutions. You need to build a content strategy geared towards your personas and their needs and challenges.
It is important to follow the buyer’s journey, which refers to the different stages that prospects go through, from realizing that they have a need through to purchasing the most appropriate solution.
Therefore, your strategy will feature content tailored to each stage to help prospects advance along the path to purchase, hone your image as an expert in your field and guide them towards maturity.
As such, your website needs to offer content addressing your personas’ every question, obstacle and challenge, so that you can give them exactly what they are looking for and ensure that your products are THE solution to their needs.
Content will play a key role in the additive manufacturing sector. It will both attract and educate your prospects. You are obviously aware that your target market is often immature and needs a lot of information about the subject to be reassured and convinced.
3. Convert your leads with the conversion funnel
Once visitors have landed on your website, it would be a shame to see them go away without managing to get any intel about them.
Therefore, you should set up a conversion funnel to encourage them to leave their contact details and other useful information. Then you will be able to offer new content and help them along the buyer’s journey.
You will need to disseminate calls to action across your website and among your content. Those CTAs should offer additional value-added content, such as white papers, infographics and videos. Content should be adapted to how far your visitors have progressed along the path the purchase. For example, there is no point offering white papers talking about your company and your solutions if your prospects are right at the start of the buyer’s journey.
Similarly, forms should be designed in such a way that they get increasingly complex as prospects advance along the buyer journey. It might be a wise idea to use smart forms that do not ask visitors the same question twice if they have already submitted a form on your website.
That way, you can gather precious information about your visitors and contact them when they are ready.
4. Measure the quality of the contacts generated
The last essential step for generating leads in the 3D printing sector is to measure the quality of the contacts generated.
Since the target market often lacks maturity, the aim is not to give the sales teams a stream of prospects who are not ready to be contacted.
To measure the quality of your leads and ensure that they are ready to talk with your sales team, you can create a lead scoring system when defining your conversion funnel.
Lead scoring involves attributing a number of points to leads whenever they perform a key action on your website (submitting a form, opening and clicking on an email, visiting price pages, etc.).
You can choose how many points to award for each action, from the lowest to the highest depending on the level of engagement for each page / content. Finally, you must set a threshold from which a lead will be considered to be qualified and ready to be transferred to the sales team.
Another way of measuring lead quality is to hold regular meetings with the sales force and ask them for their opinion about the leads you have given them. Their feedback will enable you to adjust the score and define the actions for improving the subsequent quality of the leads if your efforts failed to deliver the required results the first time round.
There we go! Now I think that you are ready to generate qualified leads, even though the target market may sometimes be reluctant. The most important thing is to respect your leads and their path to purchase, and let them spontaneously show their interest. Marketing nowadays is a lot different to yesterday’s methods and should enable you to support, guide and educate your leads.