Content marketing is not about doing another marketing campaign for your brand, whether you’re a manufacturing firm, financial services company or a professional in any other industry. It’s about creating a culture of using content to drive results that matter – results like traffic, engagement and qualified leads. Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently completed a study showing that 42% of manufacturing marketers surveyed said their content marketing budgets would increase in 2023 compared to 2022 – evidence that the content marketing train is still moving and building momentum.
Why does content marketing continue to grow in popularity for a large variety of industries? And why do we at Brandpoint place such high value on this strategy? Because good content marketing tactics affect all levels of the sales funnel and drive results.
At Brandpoint, our talented team of writers and strategists have seen firsthand how a steady flow of quality content can seamlessly move leads through the buyer’s journey.
So, which tactics work best for each level of the sales funnel and why?
This portion of the funnel is all about casting a wide net and getting prospects to want to learn more about your manufacturing specialties and services. These types of content pieces are designed to attract your potential target audience through search engines and social media channels. Casting this wide net will fill the top of your sales funnel and start the discovery process for your potential clients.
Types of content:
- SEO-focused website content
- Blog posts, on-site articles and resources
- Social media content
Taking your prospect to the next level and getting them to take action is the goal at this stage of your sales funnel. This content typically contains a strong call-to-action or is gated so that you can capture a potential client’s contact information.
Types of content:
- Landing page copy and assets
- Gated assets, like eBooks, checklists, templates or resources
- Supporting social media content on LinkedIn
Qualified leads are a salesperson’s dream. At this stage of the sales funnel, you are looking to get just that.
Typically, a potential client who is showing interest in your content will need to provide contact information to download the content. Creating relevant topics that speak to the unique needs of your audience will result in a better qualified lead and, ultimately, a happy client.
Types of content:
- eBooks featuring more advanced, mid-funnel content
- White papers
- Email nurture content
- Webinars and online courses
Here is an example of a free eBook we created used as a lead generation tool.
At this stage of the sales funnel your goal is to give the potential client information about your manufacturing firm that will tell them why they should do business with you: Who are you and how will you solve my problem?
One thing to keep in mind is that not all leads are created equal. You may get some people who download an eBook just for the information and have no interest in your services.
However, you might see someone use your Contact Us form asking a very specific, product-focused question. Be ready with a lead scoring system to make sure prospects follow the buyer’s journey at the right pace. This is the bottom-of-the-funnel type of content that can be branded and even promotional. This is also a great opportunity for you to upsell or cross-sell your potential client.
Types of content:
- Blog posts with a strong CTA
- On-page content that speaks to common sales objections
- Email nurture content, either from marketing or an individual person from your company
- Note: This can be a “created” person rather than a specific employee
- Social media content, with focus on community and engagement
Now that you have acquired a new client, you must create content that will satisfy their need for information about your business. Here you can use content to turn your clients into brand advocates.
Maintaining a relationship with your client is a good idea for many reasons, and it’s an effective way to keep the marketing flywheel spinning. Happy, engaged clients will become influencers of sorts, leading to renewals, referrals and shared and earned media placements.
Types of content:
- Blogs that include detailed, step-by-step instructions or answers to common struggles
- Case study landing pages
- FAQs or on-page glossaries
- Newsletters with company or product updates
- Email communication, both from marketing and from individual sales reps
- LinkedIn content
Amazon shows off the effectiveness of its AWS Cloud Adoption Readiness Tool with this case studies page.
How to get started
The first thing to do is to make sure your sales and marketing teams have a direct line of communication with each other. When your company prioritizes alignment from the top down, the customer journey for prospects will become so much smoother.
Encouraging collaboration between teams, whether it’s scheduled meetings or quick emails, will help both sides of the company to get in the habit of keeping the other in mind.
One idea is to meet to discuss common sales objections – sales teams speak with customers directly on a regular basis, so they hear questions and concerns straight from the source. If sales keeps marketing in the loop on these things – like reasons prospects don’t convert – marketing can create content and campaigns that answer these problems.
Another major type of content to fill your sales funnel comes in the form of email cadences. Using automation software, leads can be nurtured at all steps of their journey and personalized to what audience they fit into. Here are a few different situations where you could create email campaigns to nurture your leads to get them closer to making a purchasing decision:
- After someone downloads a gated asset
- A contact form submission with a low lead score
- Leads gained from attending or hosting an event
- Cold outreach for outbound leads
Sales and marketing in manufacturing
While these tips on driving leads through the sales funnel with content marketing apply to all companies, marketers in the manufacturing industry should place an extra focus on aligning their sales and marketing teams. Sales professionals at manufacturing companies have found success for years by attending tradeshows and meeting with vendors and customers face to face, however, with the pandemic and the digital transformation we’ve seen over the last few years, the success of those methods are starting to evolve.
Trade show marketing for manufacturing can no longer be a sole method for generating leads. In additional to more of our world’s work being done online, more and more millennials are taking the place of decision-makers at these companies. Your digital marketing tactics will need to shift to reflect that generation’s behaviors of doing business, which often means more online purchasing and relationship-building.
Strategic marketing = increased sales
The sales funnel is universal for any manufacturing company that is looking to sell products or services. Rather than rely on traditional marketing methods, consider marketing your goods and services with content. The results may surprise you. Contact us today to get started with your next manufacturing marketing strategy, complete with expert content creation.
This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for relevancy.