Has your manufacturing business suffered a major setback after the 2020 pandemic and you cannot seem to recover from it even in 2021? While the answer might be yes for most businesses, this answer is doubly true for many manufacturing companies. If you are still stuck in the old ways of meeting in person to convince the prospect and close a deal, it is time to change your ways. One way to do this? Adopt these helpful strategies from our guide to digital marketing for manufacturers below!
Digital marketing is the new law of the business world, and the sooner your manufacturing business adapts the sooner you will start to see progress and growth. And this law is not going to change even when things get back to normal, simply because of the ease it brings to the buyer.
However, we also understand that adapting to a new way of marketing is easier said than done. So, we have specially created this article for manufacturers like you to guide you in understanding the nitty-gritty of digital marketing.
In this article, not only will we cover some of the most crucial strategies in digital marketing for manufacturers in 2021, we’ll also discuss the benefits you can expect from implementing these strategies.
Why Do You Need Digital Marketing?
Manufacturing is an industry that is notorious for having a long sales cycle. From engaging a lead to closing a deal, the cycle can last forever.
This is why it is important to ensure that your prospect remembers you and still finds your business irreplaceable. And, digital marketing can do so effectively without disrupting the buyers.
Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing leverages inbound marketing, which is all about pulling the customers towards your business instead of push-selling. By implementing digital marketing, you can stay on your prospects’ minds, but not in the annoying sales way but by constantly providing value.
This will not only help your target customers remember you but will ensure that they choose you over your competitors.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Manufacturers
In this section, we shall cover the seven most important strategies in digital marketing for manufacturers. We have listed them in the order they should be implemented. So, without delay, let us dive straight into it.
1. Create a User-Friendly, Trustworthy Website for Visitors
A bad website is the bane of all digital marketing strategies. Hence this is the point we must address first. All your digital marketing campaigns are going to lead up to your website. If your website does not seem credible and easy to navigate, it will put off the visitor. As a result, all your other digital marketing strategies would lead to nothing if you do not have a proper, well-designed website.If your website does not seem credible and easy to navigate, it will put off the visitor. #WebDesign #B2BMarketing Click To Tweet
So, what are the key elements that make your B2B website “user-friendly” and “trustworthy”? Let’s find out.
- Make sure your homepage has a clear selling point. A clear selling point is one that immediately communicates what you do and how you can provide value
- Addressing the pain points of the potential buyer and providing a reliable and direct solution upfront
- Captivating visuals on each page that convey useful information regarding the specific page in few words
- Detailed product/service-level description that answers all probable questions in the prospect’s mind
- Side by side comparison functionality for multiple product specs and design needs
- Engaging and informative industry content that positions you as an experienced, authoritative figure in the manufacturing industry
- Access to downloadable computer-aided-design (CAD) files to help buyers visualize how your product fits into their model
- A straightforward structure that guides the visitor step-by-step from product information to purchase
- Relevant catalogs and documentation regarding the proper use and installation of your products
- One clear call-to-action instead of providing too many choices that ultimately confuse the buyer
- Mobile-friendly interface for ease of access via portable devices
- Reputable certifications within the manufacturing industry to build trust and show expertise
- Good customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies as social proof
- Important contact information and good customer service
2. Focus on Search Engine Optimization
The next big step after building a website is to make sure that the website gets discovered by the target audience. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by focusing your attention on search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO-optimized website will rank higher on Google searches for particular keywords, and that is exactly what you want.
But how you do it? Some of the following tips might be of help in optimizing your website and reaching more people.
- Keyword Research – Use industry-specific long-tail keywords that fit with your prospective customers’ user intent. Keywords with a low search volume, low ranking difficulty, and high relevancy will work like magic. For example, an automobile manufacturing agency based in LA should use a keyword like “automobile manufacturers in LA” instead of something generic.
- Length of Content – Recent studies show that the average reading time of a blog post is 7 minutes, which equals a word length of roughly 1600 words. In other words, long-form content is better suited for SEO.
- Content Format – Content that is broken up into click-worthy headings and subheadings with appropriate keywords, will rank better for SEO.
- Site Design – SEO favors sites that are properly organized, easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing, and mobile-optimized. If your site is too cluttered with images, advertisements, and text, it will put off visitors from staying on the site.
- URLs – Top ranking sites have short, clean, and focused URLs that include the main keyword upfront, that the content it is trying to rank for.
- Meta Descriptions – A good meta description describes the content in short, simple yet unique terms. Using front-load keywords is a great idea here.
- Off-page SEO – This includes a host of activities such as guest blogging, social media outreach, influencer marketing, and brand mentions. Off-page SEO can improve your site’s SEO by increasing its authority and trustworthiness
- Outbound Links – Link to high-quality, trustworthy, and authoritative sites to increase page SEO.
- Inbound Links – Build your brand up as an authoritative figure in your industry by producing quality content, consistently. Although it is difficult to get people to link to your site, do not be tempted to use black hat techniques.
- Social Media Presence – It is important to stay active on social media. Your search engine ranking improves if people share links to your site on social media.
3. Invest in Paid Search and Display Ads to Increase Reach
While organic search is the best way to get discovered, it does not always work despite your best efforts. The reason is, organic search works only when people are aware of the products you are offering. What about the prospects who are still not aware of your existence but could do with your products?
This is where paid search comes in. These are sponsored Google search results for highly targeted search terms. While you need to have a budget for this, the great thing about pay-per-click (PPC) is that you only pay when a user clicks on your sponsored link.
It is a great way to target prospects who are at the top of the funnel. Meaning, they are people who are not aware of your company but they are associated with businesses that have pain points that your products can easily solve.
While PPC works purely for customer intent, your prospect would not always go out looking for you. This is why you need Google Display Ads. It creates brand awareness on the Google Display Network by showing your ad across multiple third-party websites that users are browsing every moment. This does not limit your ad to just the search engine results page (SERP) but allows you to actively reach out to the prospect.
Apart from websites, Display ads can also appear in the following formats:
- Text – Headline and URLs on website sidebars
- Banner – Image and animation in a custom layout
- Gmail – Personal inbox advertisements
- Apps – Mobile app advertisements
It is best to use both of these types of Google ads in tandem for B2B purposes since it serves as a great tool for top-of-the-funnel marketing. For best results, always break Display and Search ads into separate, network-specific campaigns instead of targeting both search and display networks with the same ad campaign.
4. Create Brand Awareness on Social Media
Social media is hands down one of the most important digital marketing tools for manufacturers. A recent study shows that 75% of the B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/vice president executives use social media when making purchase decisions. As one of the digital platforms with the highest online traffic, social media provides the necessary social proof to buyers during their awareness and research stage.
This is why it is important to have an active and responsive business page on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Social media provides a space to directly interact with customers in real-time, unlike any other digital marketing platform. Let us see how you can use this opportunity to create brand awareness and visibility for your B2B business.
- Set specific, relevant, measurable, and attainable social media marketing goals that are time-bound (SMART). You will see concrete results at the end of each campaign.
- Highlight your employees and use employee advocacy to humanize your business.
- Post original, interactive and shareable content that engages the audience. Multimedia posts perform best in this regard.
- Feature customer reviews, testimonials, whitepapers, and case studies to earn trust.
- Always respond to customer queries and comments to provide excellent customer support and develop customer relationships.
- Keep tabs on your competitors to get insight into current industry and marketing trends.
- Research current buyers’ issues through surveys and polls to work towards providing a pain-point solution.
- Crosslink your website and all your official social media handles to send over leads to your website and vice-versa.
- Run targeted social media advertising campaigns to increase sales-qualified leads.
- Keep track of the numbers and analyze your social media growth over time.
5. Use Content Marketing to Provide Value
Content marketing is going to be a key component of all your marketing channels, especially your website and social media. It is not just another marketing strategy whose results you can measure in numbers since the content is not created to just bring in leads and opportunities but rather to provide value to the customer. Through content marketing, you can acquire valuable data and personalize the customer experience. The content you create is going to represent the value your company can provide to your buyer.
B2B content writing can come in various forms such as articles, social media posts, blogs, e-newsletters, case studies, eBooks, videos, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, research reports, and so on. And they all provide value to the viewer/reader in separate ways.
But enough wrestling with the concept of providing value. Let us take a deeper look into how manufacturing companies can actually create content that provides value.
- Create buyer personas and understand your audience well
- Only create content that your audience would be interested in
- Narrow down your focus to very specific points instead of trying to cover a broad spectrum
- Tackle each content from a unique angle that your competitors are not providing
- Address your reader’s pain points and provide effective solutions
- Publish well-researched content consistently
- Make sure your content is either informational or entertaining (ideally both)
- Highlight what your company can provide that other manufacturing companies in your industry cannot
- Repurpose content from one format into several and distribute across multiple digital marketing channels
- Use storytelling only where it will make the content easier to read and comprehend
- Back up your arguments and assertions with authentic data
- Maintain continuity by creating and sharing content that reflects and develops a coherent brand voice
6. Develop and Nurture Relationships with Email Marketing
Say you have successfully generated leads and acquired new clients through one or more of the digital marketing methods discussed above. But now what? How do you retain those leads to make sure they come back to you again? Whether it is for new clients or existing ones, a strategy needs to be put in place so that they do not forget you or replace you. And that strategy is email marketing.
It is a digital marketing tool for manufacturers that cost the least but pays the most. Email marketing implements lifecycle messaging, helps increase subscriber engagement, improves segmentation, enables data analysis, and ultimately increases revenue generation.
With email marketing, you develop and nurture a fruitful relationship with the client in a way that benefits both parties. Let us see how B2B email marketers can do this properly each step of the way.
- Send a welcome email as soon as the client signs up to your mailing list. In this mail, you should introduce your company, lead them to the best content on your website and initiate a specific call-to-action.
- Generate company news update emails when you have relevant information to share with the client. This can include new product/service launches, big changes in the company, website redesigning, and any new achievements.
- Send out whitepaper emails to provide value to the client. You can use gated content such as e-books, infographics, blogs, webinars, and case studies, to move the reader further down the marketing funnel.
- Use curated content emails to direct subscribers to your website and social media accounts. This works in tandem with your content marketing strategy.
- Send re-engagement emails to clients that have lost touch with your company. It is the perfect way to restart the conversation and remind the user of the value your services and products can provide.
Apart from marketing purposes, email should also be used to make your customers feel that you care. After a customer makes a purchase always send an email asking for feedback on their customer experience. This would also help you improve your products and services.
7. Implement Omnichannel Marketing
Sure, all the digital marketing strategies we have delved into so far are great. But they cannot do much for any company, including your manufacturing business, without the aid of the other strategies.
What we mean is, if you noticed, whenever we discussed one digital marketing strategy, we had to talk about another. For example, social media marketing does not mean much without good content, and an efficient website cannot fetch any results without SEO.
Omnichannel marketing uses this interconnectivity of digital marketing to its fullest potential, by creating a seamless and integrated customer experience from the first touchpoint to the last. This means that each channel works together to create a unified message and a brand image for your manufacturing company.
Omnichannel marketing is a challenging and resource-intensive strategy. It is not about increasing the number of eyeballs on your brand but about ensuring a consistent customer experience regardless of what channel they use. It is customer-focused, not channel-focused.
How your omnichannel marketing strategy would look in the end, depends on your industry, product/service you are promoting, existing marketing strategies, and assets. Having said that, we will give you a few examples of how you can have an omnichannel marketing strategy in place.
- Be present on multiple social media platforms where your target audience is likely to be. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter are among the most relevant here. Make it easy for them to find you everywhere.
- Use remarketing ads on these social platforms as well as Google, based on user interactions on your website. So, your audience will see your ads on all platforms.
- Provide the option for customers to take up a query on one platform and seamlessly transfer it over to another, without having to start all over again.
- Develop mobile-optimized apps that serve the same purpose as your website. As a result, the user never has to leave the app for any part of the exploring and buying process.
There are hundreds of ways different brands implement omnichannel marketing. Keep an eye on other businesses in your industry to find out more about how you can make this work for you.
Benefits of Using Digital Marketing for Manufacturers
Before we wrap up, you should be aware of the main benefits you can expect from devising and implementing a coherent digital marketing strategy for your manufacturing business.
- Greater brand awareness and recognition. New brands can create a space for themselves and stay on top of their prospects’ minds.
- Exposure to the right kind of customers who convert through various channels.
- Low expenditure on advertising and increased control of the marketing cost.
- Easy access to customer data to analyze and develop buyer personas.
- Measurable marketing campaigns that make it easier to track success.
- No lost opportunities due to the high efficiency of reaching the right customer at the right time and place.
- Ability to track trends and beat competitors.
- The high social currency of your content being passed from one user to another and chances of becoming viral, leading to greater brand awareness.
- Option to personalize advertisements and marketing strategies for each potential customer.
- Better customer experience throughout the buying journey.
- Increased opportunity for word-of-mouth testimonials from satisfied customers through the digital medium.
- Greater return on investment (ROI).
Digital marketing for manufacturers can be a tough nut to crack, but once you crack it the results are boundless and incomparable, as opposed to any other forms of marketing you have been using so far.
In this article, we have put forward all the basic cornerstones of digital marketing and briefly elaborated on how those strategies can be personalized and implemented for manufacturing companies. Although it is best to use a mixture of all of these strategies, even if you pick a few you will see several of the benefits we have listed above. If you follow through, 2021 is going to be your year.
So, buckle up to take the industry by storm with these streamlined strategies in digital marketing for manufacturers like yourself.
If you need any further information or require help in implementing online marketing for your manufacturing business, do not hesitate to contact our team of digital marketing experts at OneIMS.