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Digital Marketing Strategies for Manufacturers

14 min read2023-08-31
Laura Norup-Boyer

If you’re looking for new marketing solutions for your manufacturing company, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s digital age, industrial marketing strategies have become more complex than ever, and it can be confusing. But don’t worry; we will help you figure it out.

I have been asked many times: what does “digital industrial marketing” mean? It is a term that refers to using digital channels to promote the goods and services of companies in the industrial sector, such as manufacturing, heavy equipment, chemical or ag-tech. Marketing for these types of companies includes various activities such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media advertising, email marketing (think newsletters and email blasts), trade shows and content marketing. These strategies target businesses in the B2B market, generate demand and drive sales for manufacturing companies.

One of the key advantages of this type of marketing is that it allows organizations to reach a wider audience than ever before. By leveraging online channels, manufacturing businesses and companies in the industrial sector can connect with potential customers across the globe and expand their business beyond traditional geographic boundaries. This can benefit small and medium-sized businesses looking to scale up their operations. How do we do this? Let’s get into it.

How to market a manufacturing company

Digital industrial marketing requires a unique set of skills and expertise. Unlike traditional B2C marketing, which focuses on creating brand awareness and driving consumer sales, industrial marketing strategies aim to establish long-term partnerships with other businesses. Creating a strong value proposition that speaks to potential customers’ specific needs and pain points is essential.

Play the long-term game.

Industrial and manufacturing typically have long and complex buying processes. Digital industrial marketing allows companies to build stronger customer relationships over time. Manufacturers can establish themselves as trusted partners in their industry by staying engaged with customers through regular email newsletters, social media updates, and other forms of content. This can increase loyalty, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Track your marketing dollars.

Digital industrial marketing also allows manufacturers to measure the success of their campaigns with greater accuracy. By tracking metrics such as website traffic, click-through rates, and conversion rates, companies can gain valuable insights into which strategies are working and which ones need improvement. This data-driven approach can help manufacturers make more informed decisions about where to allocate their resources for maximum impact.

Understand the difference between inbound and outbound industrial marketing.

Inbound marketing involves creating valuable content that attracts potential customers to your website or social media platforms. This can include blog posts, e-books, webinars and other resources that provide useful information to your target audience.

On the other hand, outbound marketing involves reaching out to potential customers directly through channels such as email, social media advertising and telemarketing. While outbound marketing can effectively generate leads, it is often more expensive. It can be seen as intrusive if not executed properly (like those awful cold emails in your inbox).

Both inbound and outbound marketing strategies can be effective for manufacturing people, depending on their specific goals and target audience.

Outbound vs Inbound marketing activities

Inbound Marketing Tactics

Inbound industrial marketing is a highly effective strategy that helps manufacturers to attract, engage, and convert potential customers. Unlike traditional outbound marketing tactics, which involve interrupting potential customers with ads and cold calls, inbound marketing takes a more customer-centric approach by creating valuable content that addresses their needs and interests.

Content marketing and thought leadership for manufacturers.

One effective manufacturing marketing strategy is to create relevant and valuable content that educates and informs potential customers about your products or services – or what you might call “thought leadership.” With the rise of AI-generated content (hello, ChatGPT!) and Google’s upcoming SGE search, producing quality content is more important than ever to differentiate from competitors.

By providing great information on your website, in videos or on LinkedIn, you establish yourself as an industry leader and build trust with potential customers. This approach is particularly useful for industries that require technical knowledge, such as engineering or electronics. You can demonstrate your authority and credibility in the field by sharing your expertise and insights often and consistently (don’t post 3x a month and then nothing for four months). This can be done through blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, and webinars that showcase your knowledge and experience. Make sure to capture contact information through gated content and nurture leads through targeted email campaigns!

Don’t stop creating the content; actively promoting it through social media channels and email marketing campaigns is important. This allows you to reach a wider audience and attract more potential customers to your website. By using targeted keywords and optimizing your content for search engines, you can also improve your visibility and rankings in search results.

SEO marketing and manufacturing

We wrote a whole article about SEO for industrial manufacturing, so read that if you would like to understand better what search engine optimization is. If you already have a solid understanding of it, you’ll know that manufacturing companies can benefit greatly from a strong SEO strategy that improves their online visibility and helps them attract more traffic to their website.

One key aspect of SEO for manufacturing companies is conducting thorough keyword research to understand the search terms potential customers use to find products or services in their industry. This helps manufacturers to optimize their website content accordingly and improve their chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). In addition, building high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites can further boost a manufacturer’s online visibility and credibility. Industrial marketers should also ensure that their website is mobile-friendly and has a fast loading speed, as these factors can impact their search engine rankings and overall user experience.

In addition to these technical aspects, manufacturers can also leverage local SEO to target customers in specific geographic locations. This is particularly important for companies that sell products or services that are location-dependent, such as ag-tech, construction materials or heavy equipment.

Social media marketing for manufacturing businesses.

In addition to content marketing, social media is another essential tool for digital industrial marketing. LinkedIn is a particularly valuable platform for B2B marketing, as it allows you to connect with potential customers and industry influencers. By sharing relevant and valuable content on LinkedIn regularly (2-3 times a week) and engaging with your audience, you can establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Other social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can also be effective for manufacturers in building their online presence and engaging with potential customers.

However, it’s important to tailor your approach to each platform and understand which types of content resonate best with your target audience. For example, Twitter is a great platform for sharing quick updates and industry news, while Instagram can be used to showcase product photos and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your manufacturing process. Personally, I like Instagram as a talent/HR marketing tool; showcasing company culture, team events, etc., can go a long way to make sure you attract the right fit candidates to your manufacturing company!

Hosting useful webinars for your addressable market.

Webinars have become an increasingly popular manufacturing marketing strategy for industrial companies, offering a highly effective way to generate demand and attract potential customers. By hosting webinars, manufacturers can showcase their expertise, share valuable insights, and provide solutions to common industry challenges. This not only positions the company as a thought leader in the market but also creates a sense of trust and credibility among the target audience. Plus, webinars allow businesses to reach a global audience, expanding their reach beyond traditional geographical boundaries and tapping into new markets with minimal investment.

In addition to being a cost-effective method of reaching potential customers, webinars offer real-time interaction and engagement. Attendees can ask questions, share feedback, and participate in live discussions, creating a dynamic learning environment that fosters strong relationships between the company and its audience. Furthermore, webinars can be recorded and repurposed as evergreen content, providing a long-lasting lead generation and nurturing resource.

Lead magnets for manufacturing marketing.

A lead magnet is a powerful marketing tool designed to attract and engage potential customers by offering valuable content or incentives in exchange for their contact information. The primary goal of a lead magnet is to convert website visitors into leads, allowing manufacturing people to nurture these prospects through targeted marketing campaigns and ultimately convert them into sales-qualified leads.

For manufacturing organizations, incorporating lead magnets into their inbound marketing strategies is essential for several reasons. First, it allows them to build a database of potential customers who have shown interest in their products or services. This helps segment the audience and deliver personalized content tailored to their needs, increasing the likelihood of conversions. Second, lead magnets help establish the manufacturer as an authority in their industry by providing valuable, informative content that addresses common pain points and challenges their target audience faces. This builds trust and credibility, which are crucial factors in influencing purchasing long, complex and consultative decisions typical to the industrial sector. Furthermore, lead magnets enable manufacturing businesses to stay top-of-mind with their prospects, fostering long-term relationships that can result in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. By leveraging the power of lead magnets, industrial organizations can significantly enhance their inbound marketing efforts, driving sustainable growth and success in today’s competitive market.

Building referrals programs for your industrial customers

Your company can build strong referral programs for their clients by offering incentives and rewards to both the referrer and the referred party. This can be in the form of discounts, exclusive access to new products, or even cash rewards. By providing tangible benefits, companies can encourage existing customers to share their positive experiences with their network, ultimately driving new leads and potential clients. It’s essential to make the referral process simple and seamless, allowing customers to easily share referral links through various channels such as email, social media, or even direct messaging.

Another crucial aspect of building a successful referral program is nurturing relationships with existing clients and fostering a sense of community in the industry. Industrial companies can achieve this by regularly engaging with their customers through personalized communication, celebrating their successes, and soliciting feedback on improving their products or services. By actively listening to their clients’ needs and making them feel valued, companies can create brand advocates who are likelier to promote the business within their network. Furthermore, providing excellent customer service and consistently delivering high-quality products will solidify the company’s reputation, making it easier for clients to refer others confidently.

List of tips for a successful outbound industrial marketing strategy

Outbound industrial marketing tactics

As we just saw, it’s important that manufacturers have strong inbound marketing strategies in place to reach potential customers and increase sales. Especially in the world of B2B marketing, outbound industrial marketing is still an effective way to promote your products or services. In this section, we will explore outbound marketing strategies for manufacturers and how they can be used to reach potential customers who may not be actively searching for (or even aware of) their products or services.

Is cold-calling worthwhile for your sales team?

Cold-calling, while once a popular outbound marketing strategy, may not be the most effective approach for sales teams in manufacturing companies today. In an era where consumer marketing means they are bombarded with information and have become more discerning, cold-calling can be perceived as intrusive and impersonal. This method often results in low conversion rates, as potential customers may not have the time or inclination to engage with unsolicited sales pitches.

Furthermore, cold-calling can consume significant resources and manpower, making it an inefficient use of a sales team’s time and energy. By focusing on more targeted and personalized marketing strategies, such as digital advertising, content marketing, and social media engagement, manufacturing companies can better connect with their audience, build trust, and ultimately drive higher sales conversions.

Direct mail to influence the buying process

Direct mail continues to play a significant role in influencing the buying process for manufacturing B2B clients. Despite the growing prevalence of digital marketing, direct mail offers a tangible and personalized touch that can effectively capture the attention of decision-makers within the target market. By integrating direct mail into a comprehensive marketing strategy, manufacturers can cut through the noise of online advertising and deliver tailored messages that resonate with their audience. This approach enables B2B target audiences to better understand the value proposition of the products or services being offered, fostering trust and credibility. Moreover, direct mail’s ability to incorporate visually appealing elements, such as brochures and product samples, enhances the overall impact on the recipient, ultimately driving engagement and influencing their purchasing decisions.

A strong presence at trade shows and industry events.

Trade shows and industry events are a great way to connect with prospective customers face-to-face and build relationships with other businesses in your industry. But you can’t just go, shake hands and call it a day: you need to plan for the “before” and “after” of your trade show.

A well-thought-out presence at these trade events is important, including an engaging booth design, informative materials, and knowledgeable staff who can answer questions about your products or services. Consider offering demos or product samples to showcase the value of what you’re offering. Most importantly, follow up with leads after the event to continue the conversation and move them further down the sales funnel in your CRM (you have a CRM, right?).

A strong presence at trade shows and industry events is a powerful tool for building brand awareness and driving sales for your B2B manufacturing company, so do it right. Oh, and track your leads!

Print advertisement offers lots of benefits for manufacturers, providing an excellent platform to showcase their products and services. By choosing the right publications, manufacturing people can target their desired audience and enhance brand visibility. Trade publications and industry-specific magazines are valuable resources that cater to niche markets, allowing manufacturers to reach potential customers who are already interested in their field. The tangible nature of print ads also adds a sense of credibility and permanence, as readers can physically engage with the content, leaving a lasting impression.

Moreover, incorporating QR codes in print advertisements enables manufacturers to bridge the gap between traditional and digital marketing. By scanning the QR code, potential customers can be directed to a dedicated campaign page, which not only provides them with more information but also allows manufacturers to track ROI and gather valuable data on consumer behaviour. This seamless integration of print and digital platforms makes it easier than ever to measure the success of advertising campaigns, optimize future strategies, and maximize return on investment.

List of outbound marketing tips for a manufacturing company

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