Alright, manufacturing peeps, we’ve got a pickle. The world thinks manufacturing is, dare I say, a touch… dull. Yep, I said it. But we know better, right? It’s the backbone of, well, everything we touch, wear, and sometimes even what we eat! So, let’s give manufacturing the glitz and glamour it deserves by marketing your business the right way, manufacturing edition. Here’s how to market it in a way that’s less “ho-hum” and more “heck yeah!”
Marketing your business the right way
Doing marketing the right way means choosing the branding that resonates with your target market and creating content that supports your branding efforts. Much of our discussion today on marketing your business translates to the types of content you create to appeal to your chosen market. In B2B markets, that content might look a little different (or a lot different) from consumer marketing because your target market is interested in more technical aspects of your brand that show off the quality and suitability of your products to address their needs, as well as your flexibility in delivering the right product at the right time.
Content marketing not only distinguishes your brand from the competition and addresses consumers’ queries, which for B2B customers is often more technical, but it also means you attract increased attention from prospective customers using search engines to find suitable products. That’s because content is the single biggest factor impacting search rank, which translates into more visitors to your website. As you can see below, there’s a strong link between search rank and clicks to your website content.
Regularly publish relevant articles, e-books, and guides in your area of manufacturing as a form of marketing. Ensure you publish content on a consistent basis and focus on providing value. This content strategy results in more backlinks, longer dwell time, more repeat visits, and more pages per visit, which act to improve your SEO (search engine optimization) so you rank better in search.
E-books and guides are also important parts of a lead generation program as they encourage subscribers and entice visitors to create accounts on your website. Armed with these tools, you now have a means to nurture leads over time and, since B2B consumers commonly take six months or more to transform into a sale, you need this type of consistent content to work visitors down the conversion funnel.
Below are some options when it comes to creating great content for your website or social media platforms.
Show ’em your guts (transparently!)
You know that shiny new piece of equipment you just splurged on? The CNC plasma cutting table you just bought? Or that uber-efficient process you’ve mastered over the years? Flaunt it! The trend now leans heavily towards transparency. Customers and partners love to see behind the scenes. It builds trust, showcases your expertise, and – let’s be honest – it’s a wee bit of showing off. And that’s okay!
Tell a story, be the hero
Everyone loves a good yarn. Weave the tale of how your manufacturing business came to be. Was it a granddad’s old garage operation? Or maybe you had a eureka moment in the shower? Those stories give your business character and make it relatable.
Video tours: the virtual open house
People are curious creatures. Giving them a virtual video tour of your facilities can be both informative and entertaining. It’s like MTV Cribs but for manufacturing! Showcase the machinery, introduce the staff, and highlight the journey of a product from start to finish.
Create educational content
Sure, you might know what “thermoforming” or “die-cutting” is, but John Doe probably doesn’t. Your buyers want specific content that addresses their concerns and demonstrates how your products are better than the competition at solving their problems. Use your content marketing as an opportunity to educate prospective buyers and customers interested in new product offerings. Host webinars, craft infographics, or pen down blog posts that demystify manufacturing jargon. It positions you as an expert and makes your content shareable.
Customer testimonials: your golden ticket to success
Let your satisfied customers do the talking. It might be scary, but as a business, you should always try to actively seek feedback from customers and understand why prospects chose a different option. Doing so can lead to some pretty big insights. Basically, you get to know what’s working, what’s not, and where there’s room for improvement. It also shows that you value customer opinions.
Authentic testimonials and case studies showing how customers used your products to solve problems serve as solid social proof. It tells prospects, “Hey, these guys are legit.” Plus, customer testimonials are believable and build trust in your target buyers. Because industrial sales are commonly large, the purchase represents a substantial risk and testimonials go a long way toward reducing perceived risk.
Sustainability is sexy
Customers care about sustainability and eco-friendliness. Even though you don’t sell to end consumers, the companies you sell to want to ensure their customers see them implementing sustainable business practices. Thus, you need to demonstrate to your B2B buyers that you’re using sustainable practices in the products you manufacture. Whether it’s recycling waste, using solar energy, sourcing sustainable materials, or other green initiatives you want to ensure not only your customers understand your commitment to eco-friendly practices but that you make it easy for them to market to end users as sustainable.
If you haven’t adopted sustainability as a hallmark of your manufacturing business, now is the time to consider the switch. Being sustainable adds a shade of green to your brand image (pun absolutely intended).
Collaborate and conquer
Team up with businesses that complement yours. If you make the best car tires in the West, why not collaborate with a popular car manufacturer for a joint campaign? This is called co-branding and it’s a win-win, increasing visibility for both parties. For instance, PC manufacturers toute their collaboration with Intel by displaying the “Intel Inside” sticker on their devices as a way to demonstrate the quality of their brands.
Harness the power of social media
You might think, “But we’re manufacturers, not a consumer product company!” Well, think again! Platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and even TikTok can be goldmines for manufacturers. First, your industrial buyers are people with profiles on these platforms. When they see your content shared on their personal platforms, you increase awareness and reduce resistance to other marketing efforts. Share snippets of your daily operations, celebrate milestones, or even post about the employee of the month. It humanizes your business and builds a community. IBM used social media very effectively by touting the accomplishments of targeted buyers to attract attention to their brands.
Second, let’s talk about the concept of pull marketing. While most people are familiar with push marketing, which involves marketing to customers to buy your product, pull marketing involves getting customers to request your product to pull it through distribution channels. For instance, by marketing a new manufactured product to consumers, you encourage them to visit a local store looking for the brand. When the retailer doesn’t carry the brand, consumer requests cause them to explore adding it to their existing stores thus pulling products through the channel. Since manufacturers often use channel partners to deliver products to consumers rather than selling directly to consumers, pull marketing is a great tool and social media is a powerful tactic for driving pull messages.
Loyalty programs for repeat business
Rewarding loyal clients can go a long way. Whether it’s discounts, early access to new products, or a simple thank-you note, small gestures have a big impact. It not only retains customers but also turns them into advocates.
Attend and host industry events
Trade shows, seminars, webinars, and other types of events work particularly well for industrial marketing! Companies spend money because these events help with networking, helping spread knowledge to prospective buyers, and most importantly, showcasing your brand in an environment buzzing with potential clients and partners.
Offer promotions or limited-time offers
Why do this? Quite simply, it creates urgency and can be a neat tool to clear out old inventory too.
Customer service is king
Last, but not least, never underestimate the power of excellent customer service, even in a B2B company. In the world of manufacturing, where things can get technical and complex, a helpful and patient customer service team can make all the difference.
Manufacturing isn’t just cogs and gears; it’s the heart of innovation, and you need to show your potential clients just that. So, put on that marketing hat, and let’s make manufacturing the coolest kid on the block!
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