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Attending trade shows and reaching prospects through one-on-one emails are two well-known strategies for acquiring leads. But in an industry where you may have to wait out a prospect’s 18-month contract with a competitor before closing them, these marketing and sales strategies are not effective enough to be used alone.

So, what else can you do?

Implementing a digital marketing strategy can help you become more successful when acquiring and retaining customers for your manufacturing company. 

Implementing a digital marketing strategy can help you become more successful in acquiring and retaining customers for your manufacturing company. Click To Tweet

Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Facebook and other search and social platforms on the internet are equivalent to the biggest trade shows in the world. A countless number of prospects are searching the internet at all times looking for you or your competition.

Just as you’ve deployed software and hardware automation to your factories, there is a range of tech tools to intelligently handle your sales and marketing processes based on data insights that are not readily available to offline methods of prospecting and selling. 

For over a decade, we as a marketing agency have worked with manufacturing companies to help them consistently acquire and retain customers. In this guide, we’ll show you how we’ve used online marketing that brings tangible sales results for manufacturing companies like yours.

The Customer’s Journey & Marketing Funnels

To acquire and retain customers for your manufacturing company, you need to build brand awareness, grow website traffic and optimize your sales and marketing processes. Gaining traffic through content creation and distribution isn’t the end goal. You have to nurture these visitors and convert them to customers. You also can’t immediately advertise your product to customers if they are not ready to purchase yet.

This is where the customer journey comes into play. The customer journey is the path the customer takes from the moment they are aware they have an issue to the moment they purchase the product. The customer goes through a variety of stages, including the: 

  • Awareness stage
  • Consideration stage 
  • Decision stage 

In order to best serve leads and nurture them into customers on each stage of their journey, many businesses use a marketing funnel. The marketing funnel divides this journey into three stages of buyer behavior. They include:

  • Top of the funnel (TOFU)
  • Middle of the funnel (MOFU)
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

For each stage in the funnel, different strategies are better than others for nurturing leads.

How To Consistently Acquire and Retain Customers For Your Manufacturing Company: Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

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As the widest part of the marketing funnel, it gets the highest number of prospects compared to the two below it. Prospects are in the awareness stage at this point and are just beginning to realize that they have a problem. During this time, they are usually searching for information on how to solve the problem at hand. 

Although this is the widest part of the funnel, the goal is not to bring in just any website traffic. The best-suited strategy for the top of the funnel is a strategy that helps attract relevant B2B leads. This stage in the buyer’s journey is usually educational and entertaining and not self-promotional. These marketing strategies should build trust between you and your prospects as your prospects begin to see your brand as a knowledgeable authority in your industry. Effective examples of TOFU marketing include: 

  • Weekly blog posts that answer top customer queries, give valuable information about your industry, or help customers solve a relevant problem.
  • PR outreaches that feature relevant articles written by someone on your team.
  • Using SEO strategies to optimize content around keywords that your target audience is searching.
  • Creating gated content behind a lead capture form such as ebooks or guides. 
  • Posting entertaining and educational content on social media, and using relevant hashtags to expand reach. 
  • Using paid advertising in the form of display or search ads and targeting them at potential leads

How To Consistently Acquire and Retain Customers For Your Manufacturing Company: Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) 

At this point, we have a well-informed prospect in the consideration stage. If you’ve built trust, authority and likeability with your audience in the TOFU stage, the MOFU process will be much easier for your manufacturing company to execute.

Like the previous stage, creating gated content like ebooks and white papers as well as posting educational blogs can help further engage potential leads. However, now is the time to also implement retargeting strategies as well. Some retargeting strategies include:

  • Site Retargeting: Presenting ads to people after they leave your website. 
  • Email Retargeting: Sending emails to people based on their behavior and interests. Behavior can include a number of website visits or previous emails opened, while interests can pertain to the industry they are in. 
  • Dynamic Retargeting: Presenting ads to specific people for certain products or services based on their browsing behavior. 

How To Consistently Acquire and Retain Customers For Your Manufacturing Company: Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

The bottom of the marketing funnel is where you convert well-informed leads to customers in the decision stage. The funnel is tightening up at this point. You’d have a small number of qualified leads who understand their problems and are aware of the products and services in the marketplace that will solve them. At this point of the process, it’s important to engage one on one with these leads in order for them to get a better insight into who your company is. Additionally, offering a free assessment, evaluation or trial at this point can help fully solidify the lead’s decision to work with your company. 

Service Funnels (Flywheel)

Once you acquire customers at the bottom of the marketing funnel, you’ll have to retain them if your goal is to have a sustainable manufacturing business. This is the point where you have to see your marketing and sales process as a flywheel. The idea is that your relationship with your prospects, leads and customers is a never-ending cycle of giving valuable experiences through content, products and services.

Your customers started this relationship with your manufacturing company because they wanted to achieve a goal. Once you’ve sold them your products and services, continue to guide them by reengaging and providing continuous value and customer service. You can improve KPI with effective customer service and use automation to re-engage customers and up-sell and cross-sell adjacent products and services. 

 

In the manufacturing industry, consistently acquiring and retaining clients will help your business grow successfully. With the detailed guide on using inbound marketing to acquire and retain customers, you’ll be able to build the foundations for your inbound marketing and sales machine and can start getting the results you want.

Written By Samuel Thimothy

As the Chief Growth Officer, I provide leadership, direction and resource stewardship to the organization’s sales and marketing function. I also collaborate with our digital marketing strategy team in developing and executing growth marketing campaigns for our loyal clients.

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