While most manufacturing companies still rely heavily on traditional marketing channels, word-of-mouth referrals and trade shows to be discovered by new prospects, more and more B2B buyers are spending time doing their research online.
In today’s digital-first age, having a sound digital marketing strategy for manufacturers is not just an option anymore. It’s more of a necessity! If you have a limited presence online, then you're missing out on a massive opportunity to connect potential customers in a meaningful way.
To put it simply, manufacturing companies that have adopted digital marketing have an advantage over their competition.
If you’re new to the digital marketing realm, knowing which industrial marketing strategies to use for your manufacturing company can be a bit tricky. That’s why we have compiled a list of five best digital marketing practices for manufacturing companies.
- 1. Account Based Marketing (ABM)
Account Based Marketing involves focusing on a set of target accounts within the market and aligning your marketing and sales efforts to turn those accounts into customers. The unique approach behind this required personalising your digital marketing efforts - communication and all - to the specific needs and attributes of that account.How Account Based Marketing WorksIdentifyIdentify the company accounts you want to targetAcquireCreate custom audience accounts through third party database and lead hunting toolsExpandAcquiring new customers through cross-platform marketing and matching customer criteriaAware EngageMake audience aware about the product and keep them engaged through personalized campaignsNurtureNurture the audience through automated mailers and SMS and build a long term relationship leading to new opportunities
- Cater to each member of your wide audience
It’s likely that your products are used by a variety of businesses, across verticals. It’s important to segment customers by vertical, and then also by size to be able to align your messaging with each of their unique needs.
- Develop a reserve of success stories and testimonials
One of the biggest influencers for any customer is understanding how other businesses similar to theirs (or aspirational to them) have used your products to succeed in the past. Keeping this data ready will allow you to close accounts faster and easier.
- Differentiate between the customer and the buyer
The buyer making the purchase is most likely simply the procurer and may or may not be involved in the buying research. Identify the decision makers behind your target accounts and create messaging, media plans and collateral to target them online.
- Cater to each member of your wide audience
- 2. Hold Virtual Dealer Meets
With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s going to be a while before we can host large-scale events again. Virtual dealer meets are a great way to keep dealers engaged as the economy slowly opens back up. One of the challenges would be ensuring 100% engagement during the virtual meets, so remember to carefully plan the agenda and keep it interesting with virtual workshops, branded educational content available for download, announcements and awards.
Try to keep as much of the agenda from your earlier meets as possible, translated into virtual format, while adding some more fun elements unique to the online platform to keep curiosity high.
- 3. Conduct Webinars with Thought Leaders from Your Company
Purchases are a serious deal in the manufacturing world, and a significant amount of time, effort and resources are spent in ensuring that the procurement is a lucrative one. As a result, decision makers on the customer side are very much interested in what your brand has to say and the knowledge and thought leadership you have to offer in taking their business to the next level.
Conducting a webinar with the involvement of leaders in your company is a great way to create content that these thought leaders will be interested in consuming. As a bonus, this is also content that will be unique to your brand, and with the format of a webinar that’s open to the public, is a great vehicle for both lead generation and branding.5 tips to conducting a successful webinarHave a story or flow in placeWhat is the purpose of this webinar? What is the knowledge you want to impart? How can that best be communicated in an interesting way?
Make sure you have a story and that it adds value to your intended audience.Practice until perfectHave a script in place for the speaker(s) and ensure everyone has practiced until they sound perfect! However, keep in mind that the tone of a webinar should be casual and conversational, speaking directly to the audience as at a live event.Use examples from your existing customers/company practicesTalk about success stories, company practices, company stories and the like - proprietary information is what makes your webinar useful and unique, and will help draw in users as that information would not be available elsewhere.Design it wellUse a professional designer to design slides and any content that you’d want to display on the screen - it will look professional and inviting.Use paid media to promoteOnce you’ve done all the hard work for an interesting, engaging webinar, you don’t want to leave attendance up to chance! Create a landing page and run digital ads to reach a wide audience that will sign up and turn into leads for your business.
- 4. Create Whatsapp Groups
Whatsapp Groups are an easy way to not only dispel information but also engage the dealer network. Whatsapp is a great way to create a forum with the brand present to answer questions, make announcements, distribute branded content and stay top of the mind.
What you will need is someone on the marketing team to act as a moderator and weed out unwanted messages, write up instant responses to queries and constantly update/curate the participant list.
- 5. Simple & Most Importantly: Keep Your Website Updated With Relevant Content
According to a report published by Demand Gen Report, a whole 97% of B2B buyers said it was important to them that vendor websites have content relevant to their company, with web searches and vendor websites being the top 2 sources of content referred to when researching purchase decisions and conducting ROI analysis. 79% of the respondents of the study said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision.
It’s important to note that while publishing this vast amount of content, the more visual and engaging the format the better your content will perform - video is your friend in the 21st century.