Manufacturing marketing teams often feel at odds with sales. When both teams are accountable for generating leads, justifying the ROI of marketing can be an uphill climb. Additionally, it can be difficult to decide which marketing strategies for manufacturers are the best to focus on first.
To understand how marketing can support sales in their efforts to generate leads, consider the long sales cycle of just about every manufacturing contract.
The process is long, methodical and brings in multiple stakeholders from the organization. Each customer comes in the door with a unique set of engineering issues, goals and requirements.
Because of that long sales cycle, expect buyers — and the stakeholders weighing in on the contract — to frontload the process with online research. In 2021, B2B buyers were using as many as 10 channels to interact with prospects, a marked increase from five channels in 2016.
In reality, sales has less control over how each buyer wants to enter the sales process. Now that our daily lives are conducted online, people have an increasing expectation and comfort level with doing business online as well.
That’s where your digital marketing strategy can support sales by creating content that speaks to their concerns and needs early in the buyer’s journey. With strategic content creation, your team can:
- Build awareness by building recognition for your brand and its core services.
- Establish trust and generate interest by showcasing your value and expertise, signaling to the prospect that your business is a strong contender for providing the solution they seek.
- Generate leads by getting prospects to connect and start the discovery process by sharing their contact information.
Once the lead decides to move forward based on your marketing strategy, the sales team can carry the ball over the finish line.
Whether you offer manufacturing services, or you make made-to-order components for OEMs, deploy these digital marketing strategies. By providing useful and engaging information that highlights your full range of capabilities and your value, your team can play a role in taking the long sales cycle to the next step.
The top four marketing strategies for manufacturers
For those who are looking for guidance on how to get started, here are four of the most effective themes and tactics we’ve found successful while building b2b manufacturing marketing strategies.
1. Build credibility with website development
Everything in digital marketing for manufacturing begins with your website. In addition to a well-organized and easy-to-navigate website, you’ll want to publish a variety of content that informs and engages your ideal customer.
Publish blogs, infographics, case studies, whitepapers, eBooks, while also building out landing pages that capture the value of your capabilities. You will raise the value of your brand’s visibility and credibility, and drive the sales cycle one step closer to the finish line.
Focus on a solid SEO strategy
To make your company more visible to the people you want to do business with, the first step is optimizing your website with search engine optimization (SEO) to capture more organic search traffic. Do your research to identify the keywords and phrases prospects are using to find manufacturers like you. You’ll then complete the first step in making your company easier to find online.
[Read more: How to discuss SEO with beginners]
Raising your visibility is always an advantage.
Think of the supply chain headaches we’ve endured these past three years. Nearly 72% of companies faced supply chain disruptions in 2022. Delayed shipments, material shortages and the labor crisis have sent OEMs scrambling for new contractors. As more firms look to reshoring to ease the disruption, your company should be in the best possible position to win new business.
Focusing on capturing your full range of capabilities and the industries you serve are essential to raising your online profile while building marketing strategies for manufaturers. A good manufacturing example might be highlighting your abilities to meet the quality standards your customers live by.
Let’s say your facility or the material you manufacture meets an industry standard — automotive, aerospace or medical — and has the certification. At minimum, you’ll want a landing page that captures high-level information about this capability and how you help customers meet requirements. But you can expand your keyword footprint and provide useful content to share on LinkedIn by developing blog topics that answer core questions and showcase your expertise and experience.
Establish trust to take the next step
While your content should be helpful and informative, the overarching goal is to show prospects that you get it. When you speak their language, you’re giving prospects a peek at what it’s like to work with you:
- You understand what keeps them up at night
- And you have the product or process to make their lives easier — in fact, working with you will be frictionless.
Even in a highly professional, technical realm like manufacturing, winning business requires communication that makes people feel understood. And they want to know that your company has the processes that reduce hassle and headaches on their end. The sales team is already cultivating trust to bring home qualified leads from the conference. To inspire that confidence to take the next step, your digital content strategy should take that very same aim.
Tell your company story in the moment
Stakeholder management is another area where a robust website provides core sales support. Your sales team can’t be everywhere at once. When a qualified lead takes your proposal to their team, they’ll have questions about your company, your capabilities, your expertise. There will be engineers, CFOs and others browsing your site to weigh your offerings. Making a favorable online impression is crucial.
For more inspiration, check out 9 website marketing ideas for manufacturing companies.
2. Reach your target audience with Google Ads and PPC
Appearing first on a search engine results page (SERP) — that’s a win worth celebrating. Sadly, the victories with organic search have a frustrating tendency to trickle in slowly. Making strides in organic search takes skill and agility, along with commitment, patience and a little luck.
The good news is, you can still get your manufacturing services in front of your targeted audience by using paid search. Some options for paid marketing strategies for manufacturers to try out:
- Paid search — Google Ads — stacks your company at the top of the results page, based on keywords you identified and selected.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) means your company is charged based on the number of times someone clicks the link to your chosen landing page.
The upside of paid search is you can control your spend by setting a monthly cap. Another great feature is you can narrow your target audience to specific states and locales.
To earn clicks and page views to meet your marketing goals, you need compelling ad copy that your prospects cannot resist opening. By running several campaigns, you’ll uncover some of the language and ideas that resonate with your target audience.
The backbone of every successful paid campaign in B2B marketing — and manufacturing is no exception — is having a deep bank of well-researched keywords and key phrases. Consider the personas of your core audience — which is an engineer most likely to use? How about a buyer? A CFO? Relevance is an important thing to master in your paid search strategy.
Need some inspiration on how to get excited about Google Ads strategy? Here’s our list of the top seven Google Ads influencers to follow.
3. Gain influence on LinkedIn
A social media strategy — we’re talking about LinkedIn, since this is manufacturing — is indispensable to any manufacturer’s marketing strategy. Chances are, the stakeholders you want to engage with are already on LinkedIn. And so is your sales team.
Developing your brand’s LinkedIn presence improves brand recognition. That’s critical whether a prospect is searching for a new manufacturing partner or hoping to make a strong impression before the start of a trade show.
Naturally, you’ll want to deploy all the best practices — post to a cadence, build a campaign to generate buzz (particularly before important conferences and trade shows), and use paid ads.
But you know what they say: People engage with people — not brands. That’s where sales and marketing should join forces to rack up impressions and engagement on LinkedIn. Like we established in the intro, relationships are key to winning contracts in manufacturing. This is an area where content can be your best salesperson.
For starters, include the members of your sales team in your next LinkedIn campaign. If they’re not doing so already, encourage them to share posts from the brand page to their followers when it goes live. You can include a writing prompt to help them personalize the post and perhaps even generate a lively discussion.
Better yet, capture the perspective of your in-house experts through ghostwritten LinkedIn articles. Not only can these pieces be informative, if written in a way that captures their voice, these articles can create connection and inspire trust in your brand.
If your stakeholders question how social media can fit into marketing strategies for manufacturers, be sure to remind them that social isn’t just TikTok dances and pictures of cats, but an effective way to grow your brand awareness and earn leads.
4. Maintain connection with email marketing
Email marketing campaigns are a crucial tactic in marketing manufacturing simply because the sales cycle is so long. Newsletters, follow-up emails, product emails, drip campaigns and a thoughtful check-in on LinkedIn are certainly things sales and marketing should be doing.
When a prospect’s seemingly rock-solid plans pivot or get pushed into next year, email communication keeps the communication going — and keeps your brand in their inbox.
One best practice that’s especially relevant to manufacturing is posting content that links directly to your website. Whether you’re promoting a new product or a hot-off-the-presses guide, each click will reveal something important about your prospects. You’ll gain more data points on the things that matter most to them, so you can be even more effective in your efforts.
Another best practice is segmenting your email list. By sending content that’s customized to specific audiences, you can target their core concerns with greater precision — and gain even more engagement.
[Read More: A Quick Snapshot of Marketing Automation]
Reach more customers and grow your manufacturing marketing strategy with Brandpoint
Want to learn more about how you can grow your manufacturing business with marketing to earn more leads, get more traffic and scale your efforts to affect your sales? Reach out today! We’d love to work with you and build some amazing manufacturing marketing strategies together.