Internet Marketing Ideas for Manufacturers
Marketing a manufacturing company comes with its own unique set of challenges. Manufacturers often exclusively sell business-to-business, and often sell a service and technical expertise. Moreover, industry buyers often know little or anything about the product that they are purchasing; and are simply trying to source a list of part-numbers.
In situations like this it is important to understand the gaps in the market, play to your company’s strengths, and stand out from the competition, if you are to succeed in increasing sales.
We have put together the following list of general marketing ideas for manufacturing companies, which can be used to inform a digital marketing strategy:
- Know Your Company: Make a comprehensive list of all of the services and capabilities that your company can offer, as well as all of the products that you are able to manufacture. To generate leads and increase sales it is very important to understand precisely which services can be offered, and where your company’s strengths lie.
- Know Your Market: Research the market in which you are selling. Who are the main players in this market, and what are their strengths and weaknesses? Where does your company fit in this market place; what are the services or products that make it unique?
- Market Research: Comprehensive market research is very important. How many people are looking to hire your services, or buy your products? How many people are asking technical questions in your industry, and so have technical problems that need solving? Which countries are your customers in, and what language do they speak? All of this information is now available using internet research tools. You might also want to ask: which companies are our potential customers; and whom exactly in that company are we targeting: the designer, the engineer, the purchasing manager, or the managing director? This can help give a ‘tone of voice’ to your marketing message.
- Go For The Gaps: If your company provides a service or product that people are looking for, and competition is low, then there is a gap in the market. A gap might simply be the difference between someone searching for a product x, and someone searching for ‘x supplier’ or ‘x producer’. Identifying gaps in the market place and aiming for them is fundamental in implementing an effective marketing strategy.
- Prioritise & Focus: There may be several gaps in the market, in which case it is important to prioritise. How much time and money is it going to take to fill one of those gaps; and what is the anticipated return-on-investment? Focus on the easiest gaps to fill and/or the most lucrative opportunities.
- Differentiate: Do all of your competitors look the same? Is there room to standout from the crowd and get the attention of potential customers? What are your customer’s expectations and how can you exceed them?
- Use Your Company Content Assets: Do you have data and specification sheets? Do you have instructions, guides, and brochures? Placing these on your website, either as pages or PDF downloads, can dramatically increase both the size and richness of your site – which can, in turn, lead to exposure and new business.
- Focus On Conversions: For each piece of content that you produce (web page, video, email), ask yourself not just what does this have to do to fill a niche, but why is someone interested to engage with this? How does it answer to a need of a potential customer, and why should they contact or buy as a result? What do we want the customer to do when they read, watch, or listen to this? Is the aim to get them to download a paper, pick up the phone, or send in an inquiry? Don’t just focus on producing content or information, but upon the business goals and corresponding conversions.
- Listen To The Customers: What problems or issues do customers have when they speak to sales and technical in your company? What products are people looking for when they use the search function on your website? All of this information is valuable customer data which can be used to produce new resources, address potential problems or issues, and help develop new products and services.
- Measure, Monitor, Analyse, and Repeat: Make sure that your marketing communications (such as website, downloads, or emails) are setup to report data to a programme such as Google Analytics. Make sure that the most important data is easily accessible in terms of custom reports; and closely monitor traffic and conversions. Use this data to develop new focuses for market research; and to continually improve and focus your marketing efforts.
Marketing Tips for Manufacturers
In addition to the above it can be useful to bear the following tips in mind. Below are general marketing tips for manufacturing companies, which can be used to inform internet marketing strategies.
- Think Internationally: Do not assume that all of your customers are in the same country as you, or speak the same language. Conduct market research into any export opportunities that might exist. Make your website as easy to understand as possible, and add foreign language content where appropriate.
- Goal Orientate Your Website: If you currently sell 75% product x and 25% product y, but your sales focus is product y, then make sure this is reflected in both the placing and percentage of content that exists on your website. If the world know you as a manufacturer of product x, but you want to expand into product y, there is no point in hiding y away in a dark corner of your website. Give y the space on your homepage that it deserves.
- Go For The ‘Long Tail’: Imagine a situation in which 20 companies are all trying to sell a widget, and all of which are resellers or distributors. There is little or no point in attempting to compete with these companies without first exploring more long-tail keyword opportunities such as ‘widget manufacturer’, or ‘widget manufacturing UK’.
- Product Details & Descriptions: In industry people often do not know what they are looking to buy. It is important to give products as detailed a description as possible, and to include any relevant part-numbers. Product specifications, dimensions, and material data sheets can all help potential buyers find what they are looking for.
- Make Quality Central: In many industries (aerospace, defence, marine, automotive, aviation) quality is centrally important. If your company has quality certifications, or membership of specialist industry bodies, make sure that these are front and center. Making your quality certificates downloadable from your website, or placing a link to them in your email footer, can also save a lot of time for those buyers who need copies of your certificates before they can purchase.
- About Us: People buy from people; and from companies with personality. We are often surprised at how often people click on the ‘About Us’ page on a company’s website, in order to find out just who they are dealing with. Make sure your ‘About Us’ page is up-to-date and gives a good overview of your company, the people that work there, company history, and the kinds of projects that you have been involved in.
- Case Studies & Public Relations: Have you helped a customer solve a problem? Why not tell the world what you did, the problems and issues that you faced, and how you went about solving them? Case studies, especially with household name companies, inspire confidence from new potential buyers. Working with big brand companies, or figures in popular culture, an also help gain valuable brand PR exposure, and so boost your company profile.
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