If you run a manufacturing business, chances are you’re not tapping into one of the most powerful and cost-effective sales tools at your disposal – search engine optimization (SEO). 

Many manufacturers still don’t fully understand what SEO is, how it works, and the tremendous impact it can have on their bottom line. They continue relying primarily on traditional lead generation tactics like sales prospecting and trade shows.

That isn’t bad, but here’s the reality — SEO can help manufacturers generate more qualified leads and sales than any other digital marketing channel, and at a lower cost per conversion. 

Manufacturers still tend to overlook the immense benefits of SEO and leave money on the table, but we’ll clear up some of the common misconceptions about it and explain why you need to make it a core part of your digital marketing strategy.

Misconception #1: Manufacturing Businesses Don’t Need SEO

To someone completely new to the world of SEO, it can seem like a major undertaking. You might also think that everyone’s already doing it, so it won’t be easy to reach new customers using this marketing strategy.

Luckily, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, especially for the manufacturing industry. SEO remains a hugely underutilized tool for reaching new customers in the manufacturing industry, with a lot of room for maximized profitability. 

This means a lower cost-per-click on SEO search terms and a higher likelihood of your business being found over other competitors. You’ll reach more customers with less prospecting from your sales team, which turns into profits that positively impact your bottom line.

Misconception #2: SEO Marketing Isn’t a Measurable Process

Thanks to technological advances and more sophisticated search engines like Google, determining the ROI of SEO is much more predictable than it used to be. Google Ads changed the game by making online advertising less of a mystery so that any industry can determine the lifetime value of a client with only a few pieces of data.

All you need to know is the cost-per-click of a potential customer, how many clicks convert into a lead, how many leads will turn into a customer, and the conversion rate of turning these leads into sales. 

With just these few data points, you can turn SEO into an efficient profitability machine because you know that your marketing dollars are being spent on something that is guaranteed to convert into sales. 

And similar to manufacturing, marketing is a process that can be fine-tuned and measured to work seamlessly with your business. In essence, it’s all just inputs and outputs that you optimize over time to fit your sales goals. 

With some trial and error, you can produce predictable outcomes and predictable revenue growth that can help scale your business all at a lower cost than other traditional marketing efforts.

Misconception #3: SEO is Just Another Sales Support Tactic

One of the most common mindsets manufacturers have is viewing marketing, including SEO, as merely a supplemental sales support tool. They rely heavily on their sales teams to self-generate leads through prospecting.

Think of it this way instead…SEO is a sales enablement tool, not just a sales support tool.  

Using SEO to drive sales and revenue allows sales teams to focus their efforts on higher-value activities like lead qualification and closing deals. That means less time spent prospecting with a much higher ROI, which goes directly to your bottom line. 

Looking at the numbers shows just how powerful this enablement can be. If your sales team currently spends 40% of its time prospecting and 60% qualifying and closing, shifting this to a 10/90 split and letting SEO lead generation do the heavy lifting for your sales team can increase their profitability by 50%. 

In essence, you’re letting SEO generate leads and bring more sure-thing clients directly to your doorstep with less legwork. This is the difference between sales support vs. sales enablement. 

If you want to make your marketing efficient, you should invest in SEO to drive the best return on investment that you can get from marketing so that you can correspondingly decrease the cost of sales and increase the output of your sales team.

Misconception #4: Increased ROI Isn’t Possible with SEO

One of the most costly misconceptions manufacturers have about SEO is underestimating its ROI. They view other marketing channels as more likely to deliver a greater bang for their buck. But the data says otherwise.

A single sale in the manufacturing industry can generate upwards of half a million dollars in revenue. And due to the less sophisticated nature of the market with regards to online marketing, the cost of customer acquisition is much lower than in other industries with SEO. This means that as little as $5000 invested in SEO marketing can make a sale faster and more cost-effectively than any other sales approach.

SEO, time and time again, has the highest return on investment of any type of marketing campaign out there. Extensive research has consistently shown SEO delivers higher ROI than paid search, social media, trade shows, print/broadcast ads, and every other marketing channel out there.

On average, B2B manufacturers see SEO generate:

  • – 3-5x higher ROI vs. pay-per-click ads
  • – 62% lower cost per lead than sales prospecting
  • – $15-$30 in revenue per $1 spent on SEO

And those are just averages. Dollar for dollar, investment in SEO yields dramatically higher returns than manufacturers tend to assume.    

Failing to recognize SEO’s superior ROI means leaving profits on the table.

Misconception #5: The Bottom Line Impact is Minimal

Tied to underestimating the ROI of SEO, manufacturers often view SEO as merely an “operational” cost incapable of driving serious bottom-line growth. They see any impact as marginal at best.

However, the numbers tell a very different story. Because of its inherently higher returns, investing in SEO can transform a manufacturer’s profitability. For example, if you’re paying a salesperson $10,000 to generate $100,000 in profit, and suddenly they have a way to generate $150,000 in profit through SEO marketing, you’re decreasing your cost of sales. 

The end result is higher profits from superior sales productivity and lead cost efficiency. And those benefits compound year after year as SEO budgets and traffic continue growing.

Rather than a cost of doing business, SEO done right acts as a profit and growth engine for manufacturers. Its bottom-line impact is anything but minimal.

Misconception #6: SEO Won’t Help Scale the Business

The key advantage of SEO, given its efficient lead generation, is that it enables manufacturers to scale sales without incurring a proportional increase in sales costs. For example, you can double your SEO budget and traffic without having to double your sales team. The increased pipeline feeds right into your existing sales capacity.

This creates a powerful scalability effect. As you scale SEO, profitability climbs because the cost per customer acquisition drops even as revenues rise. Rather than limiting growth potential, SEO is one of the most scalable and cost-efficient sales channels manufacturers can leverage for expansion.

Sustainable Growth Needs SEO

The data leaves little doubt – manufacturers who harness the untapped potential of SEO in their industry and stop overlooking it in their marketing strategies will maximize their profitability and growth.

Manufacturers who actively optimize and invest in SEO set themselves up for higher efficiency, lower costs, and the ability to scale without the typical surges in staffing and expenses. Sustainable business growth in a world dominated by digital marketing demands a foundation of strategic SEO in order to gain an advantage over competitors.

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