Robotic automation. 3D printers. Driverless cars. Modern technologies are spurring manufacturers to transform and adapt at an alarming rate. Yet despite how these changes are advancing operations, many companies still find it difficult to transition their marketing approach from traditional methods such as print ads, in-person meetings and other forms of offline marketing.
Most manufacturing companies have, at the very least, a website – but does that website leverage lead-generating strategies that have proven so effective in the manufacturing marketplace? If not, you may be leaving the door open for your competitors. And beyond your website, are those traditional marketing methods producing your desired ROI? It may be time to evaluate your marketing dollars’ effectiveness. In this blog, we’ll offer five crash-course ways manufacturers can give their marketing strategy a digital refresh.
1. Use stories to make your case.
In an industry where quantifiable output turns profits, few forms of content marketing for manufacturers are as compelling as case studies. Did tool automation cut cycle time by 80 percent for a company struggling with production? Did a piece of equipment save a financially-strapped organization $50K in production costs? Share those stories in a case study and make them visible on your website.
Also be sure to entice readers to your site by promoting your case studies through social channels. Keep in mind, studies show that 92% of your customers prefer media messages that are stories. That makes case studies the perfect tool for educating a prospect who’s been sitting on the fence between you and your competitors.
2. Appeal to the techie.
Here’s our official stance on blogs: they are highly effective tools for offering solution-oriented advice that drives people to your site and conjures up positive associations with your brand. Now for the fine print: a distinct portion of your audience is not, and never will be, blog consumers. In manufacturing, the best “solution-oriented content” – the stuff that truly speaks to your customers – may come in the form of manuals, specs and/or technical documentation. So why not make this documentation accessible through your website? Your existing customers will appreciate having a place where they can go to find, for example, steps to run a tool or an occasional troubleshooting tip.
For your prospects, the 24/7 accessibility of technical documents (i.e., through a searchable online database) can be a powerful sales tool. Beyond that, online documents can save you money over printed docs, and they're easier to update if needed. Again, the idea is to drive people to your website so they can further engage with your brand.
3. More videos, more often.
Videos are one of the fastest (and easiest) ways that manufacturer marketers can get digital with their marketing strategy. Plain and simple, they work – even when they’re not professionally produced. Videos not only give you VIP status with search engines; they are particularly effective in helping visitors process information quickly – which is especially good for highly technical products in a niche industry.
Need more proof? Of the 89% of manufacturing marketers who include video as part of their digital marketing strategy, 70% consider it to be effective, second only to in-person events. (Source: The B2B manufacturing Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends.)
4. SEO is a must – no excuses!
In a sea of competing manufacturing websites, only those with a savvy SEO strategy will rise to the top in searches. The importance of using search keywords to drive traffic to your website cannot be understated. The blunt reality is this: your online prospects simply will not find you via search if you don’t have a website that ranks high on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
According to HubSpot, 75% of internet users don’t even scroll past the first page. It’s critical to implement a sound SEO strategy that ups your ranking. Here are some insights into how you can get started: How to Create and Implement a Keyword Strategy that Works and 4 Valuable Tools for Improving Local SEO.
5. Don’t go it alone.
In an industry that’s continuously changing and adapting, why are so many manufacturing companies sluggish to implement modern marketing methods that are known to work? Most will cite the reason as limited budget and limited resources. In reality, a limited budget is all the more reason to consider an inbound marketing strategy (that is, creating quality content that attracts potential customers) over traditional forms or marketing that are costlier. Consider the following statistics from HubSpot’s 2015 State of Inbound report:
- Across a range of marketing budgets, companies experienced an average of 48% more ROI with inbound as compared to more traditional (outbound) marketing investments.
- Companies with a budget of less than $100K are four times more likely to implement an inbound vs. outbound strategy (due to the compelling ROI benefits).
- Companies are three times more likely to see a return on inbound than outbound.
With many competitors still straddling the principles of traditional and modern marketing, there is endless potential for those who recognize the value in a refreshed strategy. While the methods listed here will get you started in the right direction, you’ll see a much greater ROI with a measured, sustainable inbound approach that’s custom-fit to your budget. Would you like to discuss what an inbound strategy might look like for your manufacturing company? Let’s talk!