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Simply put, digital marketing for manufacturers determines the ability to connect with modern buyers. Buyers of all types use the Internet to answer questions, compare possibilities, and evaluate vendor options.
But unfortunately, many manufacturers continue to promote their businesses using antiquated tactics. Most industrial marketing campaigns include trade exhibitions, word-of-mouth referrals, and networking events for a reason: they work!
But today's industrial buyers are more informed and determined than ever to avoid your salespeople. Most of the industrial buyer's journey (almost 70%) is completed before speaking with sales, and most leads are looking at your website as part of their research.
To attract prospective buyers (and ideal job prospects!) and boost their chances of being shortlisted, manufacturers must have a strong internet presence. Not sure if you should invest in digital marketing? You simply cannot afford to ignore it. I'll tell you why.
Why Can't Manufacturers Avoid Digital Marketing?
Manufacturers are usually among the first to adopt new technology that can help them improve their processes. However, supplier-customer interactions have altered considerably, and manufacturers have been sluggish in reacting.
1. Today's buyers are accustomed to internet interactions.
Gen X and millennials account for most B2B buyers for the first time. Millennials have matured to where over 60% of them now make or influence purchasing choices and have direct reports. They expect to find firms on new channels and in new ways when they seek them.
2. It's safe to say that self-service and omnichannel are here to stay.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way B2B clients made purchases forever. Given that most customers are millennials, it's no surprise that 75% of B2B buyers now prefer online shopping to in-person sales. B2B buyers using in-person channels, according to the same survey, anticipate access to digital channels and platforms that enhance their experience.
3. Buyers also use digital platforms to purchase large-ticket things.
Despite the popular notion that in-person contact is required for large-ticket purchases, 20% of B2B buyers stated they would spend more than $500,000 digitally. Hybrid and multichannel sales strategies are needed by manufacturers to attract customers and close deals. Manufacturing will continue to demand online marketing strategies.
Let's look at how digital transforms traditional marketing now that you know how important it is to the customer experience.
Traditional Manufacturing Marketing Change
Cold calls, direct mail, and trade fair invites were all part of B2B marketing in the past. They all suffered a knock after COVID-19, as shown in the graphic above.
Most of us are well aware of this. Telephones and fax machines have been out of favour for a long time. The 2020 lockdowns have briefly snuffed the trade show industry's sails out, but in-person trade shows will return in 2021. They also have a new look.
Combining Digital and Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing, such as printed periodicals and catalogues, is still crucial, but manufacturers must now supplement them with digital. As trade events resurface, they, too, have a digital flair.
Self-service and digital content consumption has been widespread among audiences across industries, so marketers must adapt to satisfy B2B buyers' increasing expectations for involvement.
Customers will have a better experience before and during an in-person visit to the office or trade show booth if marketers can combine digital and traditional techniques.
You can augment the physical catalogue with QR codes so users can download specification sheets and order things on the spot now that everyone uses digital devices. Add digital events, mobile-augmented in-store experiences, and other technology to trade exhibitions and face-to-face meetings.
If you haven't yet examined digital marketing choices, now is the time to consider how digital tools for manufacturers might complement traditional marketing efforts to help you grow your company.
How to develop strategies in digital marketing for manufacturers?
Because each manufacturer is unique, knowing what works and what doesn't in your business or sector is vital.
Knowing your industry will help you set realistic goals and guarantee that your manufacturing company's digital marketing campaign is on track.
1. Set a marketing budget for yourself.
The manufacturing industry and digital marketing budgets differ significantly. Manufacturing companies spend 6.4 percent of their budget on marketing, accounting for 2.7 percent of their sales on average.
If you're still undecided about how much to spend, consider the following options:
- A lean marketing strategy is one in which 1-2 percent of your income is allocated. Simple tools and methods were possible with this budget. It's great for organisations that want to preserve their market position rather than grow aggressively.
- Set a goal of allocating 3-4 percent of your revenue to marketing. This strategy is excellent for businesses that want to engage with existing consumers while attracting new ones. Manufacturers may maintain a 15% yearly growth rate and increase their market share this way.
- A stretch plan is when 5% or more of sales is spent on marketing. Companies have more excellent resources and freedom to generate leads, conversions, and sales in this environment. Marketers now have the financial resources to run more campaigns and test different techniques. This option is appropriate for manufacturers who want to increase their market share and grow at a rate of 20% or more each year.
It's crucial to remember that these figures are merely estimates and will vary depending on the size of your company, your experience, and how clients find you. If your customers are online, they are also conducting research.
In this situation, digital marketing could account for anything between 1/3 and 3/4 of your whole marketing expenditure.
2. Assign your marketing efforts to a team.
Foremost, you must hire a leader to handle your digital initiatives. Any manufacturing and online marketing strategy requires a digitally savvy crew. Most professionals will have SEO, PPC, digital content, and social media skills.
It may tempt you to hire one specialist and call it a day if you're just starting. While some individuals provide manufacturers with full-stack services, they can only do so much. They won't devote their complete focus to any one area.
So, whatever path you take, you'll need a marketing staff to manage all the pieces you've prioritized. After that, you'll need to decide which activities to keep in-house and outsource to marketing companies.
3. Go over your brand's mission and values again.
Your brand shapes customers’ perceptions of your company, so think about it thoroughly and explicitly. According to a 2020 Renegade poll of B2B CMOs, just about half of them could sum up their brands in eight words or fewer.
How can you express your unique selling proposition to potential customers if you don't know what makes your brand special?
4. Conduct customer research and segmentation.
Design engineers, procurement managers, department managers, and other buying team members may be involved in B2B sales. The purchase intentions and inputs of team members may be substantially diverse. Create personas for each and then concentrate on the factors that affect their behaviour.
Regardless of sector or region, every buyer is a human who makes judgments based on emotions. Personal aspects will play a role in buyers' decisions to achieve organizational goals with over one supplier.
The graphic below depicts the many elements that influence company purchasers.
5. Examine your competitors.
Your brand isn't likely to exist in a vacuum. While you won't influence the competition, you can learn about them and recognize their strengths and flaws. By comparing your brand to your competitors, you're objectively seeing the market through the client’s eyes.
- Analyse the market: Your research may reveal market gaps in unmet customer expectations. You can alter your strategy to reach out to them and convert them into customers if you know who these folks are.
- Analyse the product: By comparing your products to those of your competitors, you can see how they stack up. This method could lead to new product development projects to help your organisation compete better.
- Analyse the marketing: You may find areas for improvement and update your plan to address them by looking at how competitors target their clients and what methods they employ.
Competitor research at any level is essential for understanding your digital environment and learning from your rivals' successes and failures.
At AI bees, we enhance your account and use it to target prospects who are similar to your clientele using top lookalike companies in competitive analysis. Our AI solution would identify lookalike companies and find opportunities to promote your solution or services.
Digital Marketing Strategies for manufacturers
Now that you’ve built the groundwork, it’s time to choose your strategies. Depending on your business needs, audience, and market position, you can use one or all.
1. Mobile App and Website
Your website and mobile presence are the first things your customers see, and that initial impression shapes their opinion of your company. Focus on your website's congested or difficult-to-navigate areas first. Your website should include:
- Your mission, history, and vision.
- Your team and their responsibilities.
- Contact information is easily accessible.
- Blog and part of updates.
- Titles and descriptions for SEO.
- A simple product catalogue or a B2B eCommerce shop are viable options.
After doing your audit, you may determine that constructing a new website is the most practical line of action from the ground up. In that scenario, looking into B2B eCommerce for manufacturers will assist you in establishing a solid online presence.
2. Optimization for Search Engines
SEO is unquestionably one of the most effective but underappreciated online marketing tactics for manufacturers. Consider this: on average, direct searches account for more than half of all internet traffic for manufacturers (typing the brand URL directly into the browser). It is mainly due to increased brand awareness rather than SEO.
And the problem with merely gaining brand traffic is that you'll need to attract new traffic at some point to expand your customer base. It means you must capture users who are unfamiliar with you.
So including an SEO strategy into your digital marketing efforts is so important. It's a complicated aspect of digital marketing because it's constantly changing. It encompasses a variety of functions, strategies, and tactics that develop and alter daily.
Determining standard terms and phrases people use in search engines is keyword research. It gives your SEO campaign some direction by identifying high demand.
User intent is the science of determining what a person wants to find when typing a query into a search engine. It's an essential part of search engine optimization and webpage and conversion optimization.
- SEO content- written in a way that is both search engine friendly and appealing to your target audience. You aim to keep your readers interested and help them.
- Backlink building- it is getting links to your website from other websites. The correct backlinks increase your domain's authority and improve your organic search engine rankings.
- Technical SEO entails tinkering with code to increase search engine performance. The purpose is to improve the speed of the site, as well as the schema markup and canonization. Search engines are considering these criteria.
- Mobile SEO causes attention as well. Mobile usage is on the rise, and Google's ranking algorithm favours sites that cater to mobile users.
- Reporting provides visibility and aids in the tracking of your activities.
To ensure that manufacturers remain relevant in the digital era in 2021 and beyond, digital marketing for the manufacturing industry must include these SEO methods and a strategic plan for acquiring non-brand-aware traffic.
3. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Every time a viewer clicks on your digital advertisement with PPC or pay-per-click advertising, you pay a specific amount. You can place PPC advertising on search engines such as Google or Bing and social media platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram.
PPC is both simple and sophisticated. It's easy to blow through your budget without showing ROI if you target unrelated categories. Combining your traffic statistics and client personal data is the best approach to get the most bang for your buck when building campaigns. It also aids in navigating users to a specific product category or section of your website.
4. Marketing with content
Content marketing creates and promotes content that is likely to interest your customers. Infographics, social media posts, blog articles, documents, and videos are all examples of web content. Below are some samples of material, sorted from top to bottom of the funnel:
- News and roundups from the industry.
- How-to instructions, blog articles.
- Comparison guides for products.
- Buyer's guides and case studies.
- Videos of a product or an instruction.
- Brochures and specification sheets.
- Calculators for determining prices.
Blog content is effective for interacting with potential customers.
Blog articles in 2021 will focus on being the go-to resource for information on a specific topic.
Suppose you're a factory equipment maker, for example. In that case, you may create material on everything from which sort of robotic arm to use with different machines to incorporate industrial machinery sensors. This strategy attracts relevant users and establishes your brand as the go-to source for information in your field.
5. Email marketing
According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing offers the highest return on investment of any marketing activity. Most people check their email regularly, and sending email is an excellent method to stay in touch with current clients and generate leads. However, writing an attention-getting email might take a lot of time and effort.
Most manufacturers communicate with consumers using email lists. These are the email addresses of people aware of you and would like to hear from you. Keep lists up to date by tracking bounce backs, click rates, and eliminating outdated contacts. Don't forget about the content of the message.
The email is only the beginning of your email marketing efforts. You'll persuade them to share their information to expand your list. Build landing pages where visitors can download a white paper or industry study for their name and email address or subscribe to your blog.
6. Use of social media
According to Oberlo, social media marketing is the top digital talent that B2B survey respondents will require the most in the coming months.
While it may not appear relevant, social media can be an efficient digital marketing tool for a manufacturing company. Consider that B2B organisations get most of their leads from social media networks like LinkedIn. Twitter allows businesses to address their customers.
Thus, manufacturers must use social media platforms like Instagram to publish quality graphics and present their products positively.
It's difficult to keep up with the digital world because it changes frequently. As a result, it's a smart idea for manufacturing companies to invest in industry-specific education to keep their employees up to date.
Getting the fundamentals down will provide you with the solid foundation you need to modernise your company and stay competitive.
Remember, a successful marketing strategy does not come in a one-size-fits-all package, but the greatest and most up-to-date information offers you the tools you need to create your own.