For manufacturers, modern marketing is often trickier than it seems on the surface. Many brands are expanding market share and targeting broader audiences with help from an industrial marketing agency, populating the internet with even more choices for potential customers. Now more than ever, the marketing plan for your manufacturing company should focus on inbound strategies that increase RFQ’s, inquiries from qualified leads, attract attention from potential distributors, research and development teams, and support sales teams. And that’s the shortlist!
Traditionally, most manufacturers are (too heavily) reliant on distributors and sales teams for growth. This year, 85% of B2B marketers state that lead generation is their most important content marketing goal. An inbound marketing plan is not just a checklist; it’s an ongoing process that attracts new website visitors and leads, measures campaign success, and builds upon the wins to drive future marketing efforts. If the process seems overwhelming, begin with these first steps:
Online Marketing Plan For Your Manufacturing Company
Every successful inbound marketing plan for manufacturers and industrial companies begins with these seven steps:
1. Develop Personas
Many B2B companies ignore the process of building buyer personas. Inbound marketing focuses on the concept that your website is set up as a magnet to attract your ideal customers. The best public relations, sales efforts, and digital marketing campaigns will fall flat if they’re falling on the wrong ears. Creating content for a specific group of personas ensures you’re engaging potential customers with the type of content that’s important to them during each phase of the buying cycle. When it comes to messaging, many manufacturers fall into the same trap, presenting a message of “Sell, sell, sell.” An inbound strategy shifts away from the sales stage and captures attention from prospects in the very beginning. Use our buyer persona guide to get started.
2. Educational Content
Shifting your website messaging from sales to helping and educating your top personas is next on the list. While increasing sales is the clear goal of any company, a message of “sell” will not resonate with your current customers—and won’t garner you any new ones. Instead, focus on a list of the top questions from new customers, repeat customers, and partners/distributors. Your industry is at the forefront of innovation, so this messaging will attract your target audience.
Educational, helpful content isn’t delivered in words alone. Educational content attracts top-of-funnel leads, so it’s important to outline where the content will live, how visitors will find it, and where the calls to action (CTA’s) make the most sense. All of this content must live within a favorable user experience design (UX ).
3. Lead Nurturing Content
Nurturing content connects your brand with prospects through every stage of the sales funnel. Nurturing exists in a variety of formats outside of email:
- Video Tutorials
- Blog Posts
- Resource Library
- Online Product Catalog
To build a relationship with website visitors and encourage repeat visits, content should be available for every stage of the buying cycle. Providing content for prospects at every stage will position your brand as a thought leader, build trust, and encourage engagement.
Which types of content will resonate with the highest number of ideal prospects? It’s unique to each industry and company - the most accurate way to determine the type of content that will yield the best results is to create it and measure it.
We’ve seen many brands increase their reach and repeat website visitors by publishing an online catalog that gives visitors access to data that’s usually only available through sales. HubDB is a manufacturing company’s dream when it comes to providing an interactive web experience for visitors around a product database.
While webinars and videos are trending right now, it’s OK to stick with blogging. Blogging allows your brand the opportunity to build authority as an industry leader without expensive PR campaigns and shows authenticity to website visitors.
Use these tips to get your blog up and running or give it a refresh: Websites with Blogs Generate More Leads.
Focus on content that builds up trust and confidence in your brand. Have your blogging efforts fallen flat in the past? Implement the 4 Ps of Content Marketing and give it another try.
5. Integrate with a CRM
Ideally, calls-to-action on your website will integrate with a Customer Relationship Management platform. If you’re not there yet, connecting your website forms with a CRM doesn’t have to wait. HubSpot offers a free version, and you can begin capturing leads TODAY. When you’re ready, a list of prospects will be available for you to start managing opportunity and customer interactions.
6. Trust Factors
For a prospect to fill out a form or pick up the phone and call you, they must trust your brand. Every time a visitor returns to your website, trust factors should be easy for them to find and view. How many of these trust factors are visible and easy to find on your website today?
- Reviews and testimonials
- Image gallery/portfolio
- Awards and certifications
- Links to social media channels
- Address and phone number
- Leadership bios with click-throughs to LinkedIn
- Case Studies
Our Case Studies page is one of the most popular pages on our website.
Implementing an inbound marketing strategy on your website is just the beginning, especially if your industry has a long sales cycle. Offering timely responses or answers to inquiries will go a long way toward developing your status as a resource for new leads and repeat customers. If your sales team isn’t up to the challenge, consider hiring a virtual assistant team to manage questions, and ensure that all leads and inquiries receive a same-day response. You can also build conversational marketing features into your website with an emphasis on automation.
Even in economically challenging times, pivoting your marketing strategy can help you move ahead of competitors who are engaging in the status quo. Marketing is never optional; it’s an operational necessity for growth. Begin with a strategic and proven marketing plan for your manufacturing company. Download our free eBook: Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers:
Share this blog post with your in-house marketing team, or reach out to us with questions. We’re always here to help.
Learn more from our next post: Digital Marketing for Manufacturers
Chris Steele is an SEO and Marketing Strategist at Knowmad. Chris has years of hard earned and proven industry knowledge of search engine optimization, organic search best practices and analytical analysis. He's approaches every project as a problem solver and a creative SEO expert.