While digital marketing isn’t a new concept, many manufacturing companies still rely on traditional methods to promote their brand and products. Sure, tradeshows, word-of-mouth referrals, and networking still work, but as industrial consumers evolve their buying patterns, implementing the top digital marketing tips for manufacturers is essential for long-term growth.
In this post, you’ll discover the ways manufacturing companies build a solid digital presence to attract new buyers and increase conversion rates with loyal customers. With 46% of total marketing spend allocated towards digital tactics, it’s more important than ever for manufacturers to leverage digital tactics to remain competitive in industrial industries.
Ready to learn how to leverage digital marketing for your brand? Let’s dive in.
- To avoid random acts of marketing, an overall strategy should always come before tactics
- Manufacturers can implement a customer-centric marketing strategy with inbound digital tactics
- Digital marketing helps businesses improve brand reputation and attract high-quality leads
- Channels like website, PPC ads, and content development help promote your digital presence to new buyers and follow their customer journey to close a deal
Inbound vs. Outbound Digital Marketing for Manufacturers
You can break marketing into two different types: outbound and inbound. Outbound tactics focus on casting a wide net to a larger audience through one-way communication methods like broadcast, print ads, direct mail, events, and billboards. The main goal is to reach as many people as possible, regardless of their demographics or buying patterns. For these methods to be effective, you need to personalize your outreach and adopt a frequent cadence.
However, inbound marketing implements a customer-centric approach that builds a relationship with the audience through relevant content and touchpoints. Focusing on digital channels, inbound marketing includes the following methods:
- Content marketing
- Social media
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
Why Should Manufacturers Invest in Digital Marketing?
If you’re still relying on outbound marketing to reach industrial buyers, remember that the customer journey has changed. The power now resides with your buyers, not your brand. With 68% of purchases starting with a search engine, buyers can find the information they need with a click of a button. If you’re not providing relevant answers, you’ll quickly lose customers to competitors.
Overall, digital marketing helps solve pain points for your brand and customers. Here are a few benefits of adopting a digital strategy:
- Educates buyers on your products and services
- Improves brand reputation within your industry
- Generates quality leads that are looking for similar companies
- Increases your sales pipeline
- Humanizes your brand and brings it to life through storytelling
6 Digital Marketing Tips for Manufacturers Getting Started
Adopting a manufacturing digital marketing strategy will help you attract high-quality industrial buyers and increase your bottom line. Let’s look at some of the top digital marketing tips for manufacturers in 2022:
1. Strategy Should Always Come Before Tactics
No matter what your situation, it’s rarely recommended to start with marketing tactics before developing and documenting a clear strategy or marketing roadmap. Your strategy is the overarching action plan that takes you where you want to go, while tactics are the individual steps and actions that will get you there. In a business context, this means the specific actions teams take to implement the initiatives outlined in the strategy.
We frequently see manufacturing companies operating without any sort of strategy and simply implementing an ad hoc assortment of marketing tactics. This “spray and pray” or “random acts of marketing” approach rarely produces any positive results while wasting time and valuable resources.
- Marketing Audit – This takes a deep dive and evaluates your current situation and competition to determine where you should invest to make the best short and long-term gains. When done by a team backed by years of experience working with leading brands in a broad range of different industries, your odds of getting a comprehensive strategy paired with a detailed roadmap of tactics are greatly improved.
- Marketing Roadmap – Start with analyzing your business and building a detailed Marketing Roadmap to help you get and stay on track to achieve your marketing goals and drive sales growth. This isn’t just theory, but a detailed look at you and your key competitors. When done by an experienced team, they can help assess how you stack up and then build a detailed strategy (Roadmap) to help you close the gaps and gain market share.
Once you have a thorough assessment paired with a strategy you can determine how to best execute the strategy based on your budget and expertise. In many cases, companies without the in-house expertise find it’s more effective (i.e., cost, speed, focus, expertise, etc.) to leverage an external marketing agency with the execution.
2. Create Accurate Buyer Personas
Before jumping into channel tactics, you need to understand your customers and their needs. To get started, consider developing buyer personas to represent your ideal customers based on internal research and data. Buyer personas help your organization target qualified prospects, develop campaigns that meet your customer’s needs and guide product development.
You need to develop buyer personas through research, interviews, and surveys with contacts in your database that closely align with your target audience. From there, you’ll identify commonalities between the different accounts to develop at least one primary persona. Your next steps include:
- Write the persona’s basic demographic data like job title, location, interests, and mannerisms.
- Share the information you learned during the research stage like the contact’s motivations, goals, and challenges.
- Create sales enablement training and materials to prepare them for future interactions.
- Develop key messaging for your entire organization to use in any communications with prospects.
Once you develop buyer personas, you’ll be able to create more targeted campaigns that better suit your ideal customer’s needs and present your company as the solution.
3. Develop and Optimize Your Website
Your website acts as your first digital impression and gateway to your brand. With 50% of consumers believing that a website is essential to a brand’s overall success, your website has the potential to provide valuable information, capture leads, and drive purchase decisions. However, just having a website isn’t enough anymore — it needs to be aesthetically pleasing, include easy functionality, and contain valuable content.
Here are a few essential items to include in your manufacturing website:
- Lead forms that capture prospect’s contact information for your sales teams
- Call-to-actions (CTAs) that drive users to take action throughout the website
- Strong messaging and relevant product pages to provide users with information
- Appealing images and videos that tell your brand story and help you stand out
- An easy user experience that allows users to find the information they quickly need
Lastly, it’s essential to include on-page search engine optimized (SEO) content and on-page technical elements like metadata. By adhering to SEO best practices, you can rank higher in search engine result pages and build your overall domain authority — resulting in more website visits and conversions the higher you rank.
4. Invest in Digital Advertising
Once you develop a website, you can leverage digital marketing advertising options to target your customers based on their demographics, geographic location, interests, and buying behaviors. With the correct targeting in place, advertising allows you to follow the prospect along their buying journey to provide the right messaging at the right time.
While the digital marketing industry is vast, you’ll want to test out a few channels, so you understand what your audience prefers to digest and where they spend the most time. Get started with:
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads: Through popular search engines like Google and YouTube, you can develop PPC ads that target users who are already looking for similar services. These can also include display ads or campaigns with industry magazines and associations to target a niche audience.
- Social Media: With both organic and paid campaigns available, you can promote your brand to a segmented audience and share valuable brand updates. Many manufacturers find success on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Email Marketing: Still a massive channel for manufacturers, you can follow prospects through the customer journey with email campaigns that target their activity. You can also leverage transactional and onboarding emails depending on your audience.
5. Create Valuable Video Content and Thought Leadership
One of the most important ways to leverage digital marketing is by developing content that attracts buyers and keeps them engaged on your other channels. With 122 million people watching YouTube each day producing video content is a great way to show off your facility, behind-the-scenes, or complex how-to videos that are difficult to explain on paper.
Here are a few best practices to create actionable video content:
- Hook your audience within the first ten seconds of the video and set expectations
- Tell a clear story arc, with a beginning and an end, which allows you to connect with your viewers
- Provide educational content that helps viewers learn more about your products or services without coming off too salesy
- Ensure that your videos still work without sound, which is especially important if you plan to share the video content on social media
- Use customer behavior and data to create content that your audience wants and cares about
If you’re looking to stand out from competitors, creating thought-leadership differentiates your brand and brings you to the forefront of the industry. For example, consider writing long-form articles or interviews for industry publications, LinkedIn Pulse, Forbes, or Medium to grow readership. Over time, this content will build a positive brand reputation and help you improve search engine rankings, backlinks, and website traffic.
6. Take Advantage of Automation and Technology
It’s easy for marketers to get caught up in the day-to-day tactics and activities that it takes to maintain a successful digital strategy. Instead, manufacturers can leverage marketing technology and automation to become more efficient, execute campaigns, and measure performance results to optimize future efforts.
Bottom line: technology helps you automate processes to make your job easier and allows you to focus on the bigger picture. Here are a few examples of technology you should consider investing in:
- Website and Social Media Analytics: Track website behavior, engagement, and SEO growth over time.
- Content Management System (CMS): Edit, schedule, and manage all website content.
- Customer Relationship Manager (CRM): Manage and track interactions with all prospects and customers.
- Marketing Automation: Deliver communications at the right time, to the right people, across multiple marketing channels like email marketing and social media.
- Live Chat/Chatbots: With live chat, you give customers a way to reach you at the exact moment that they have questions or problems they can’t solve.
- Data Visualization: Tools like Google Data Studio features widgets, graphs, charts, and maps to quickly and automatically visualize and share your data across your organization for better and more accurate decision making.
You can also leverage technology to build positive relationships with your customers with conversational marketing. For example, utilizing a chatbot on your website is an effective way to answer questions 24/7 and give you a direct contact line to customers. By providing instant answers, you can collect valuable information to guide content development like FAQ documents, sales collateral, training, and more.
Your Business Growth Starts with a Digital Marketing Strategy
While getting started with digital marketing may seem complicated, it’s an excellent way for manufacturers to gain exposure to new audiences and increase conversions by providing deeper customer relationships. You’ll want to create buyer personas to understand your buyers’ needs, challenges, and preferred digital channels to get started. From there, you’ll develop tailored pillar messaging based on your customers to create better engagement and campaigns that attract high-quality leads.
Ready to grow your digital marketing strategy? Get started with Shanahan Strategy Inc.