Digital Marketing for Manufacturers [Model & Guide]

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What is digital marketing for manufacturers?

The fundamental purpose and goal of your digital marketing is to reach your ideal customer profile, with a message that shows the challenges the manufactures products and services help solve, and reach their desired results, and contribute to the continued innovation and growth of the manufacturing company.

The conventional digital marketing tactics for manufactures

With a background in management consulting, manufacturing marketing, and digital marketing and product owner, I can relate to the slow change in marketing strategy over the past 10-12 years, where the creation of a website became a must have, but most companies were not really sure how to use it for lead generation.

The Digital Marketing Challenge For Manufactures

When you start building your digital marketing and lead generation engine for growth, it helps to begin with a niche of customers in order to better understand the challenges your solve and the specific value your product and service delivers.

Focusing on one niche also makes it easier to create your marketing strategy, content creation, marketing campaigns, and makes it simpler to identify your target audience (ideal customer profile) and their decision makers (personas). Once your marketing tactics starts to generate leads, you can move on to the next target segment.

Who is your ideal customer profile?Which of your current customers receives the most value, most satisfied, stay the longest, and represent the highest lifetime value?
What does the buyer’s journey look like?What are the decision steps in your buyers journey that takes them from experiencing a challenge to becoming a customer?
Who are the decision makers (persona)?Who are the decision makers (personas) within your target audience (ideal customer profile) and what part of the decision do they own?
What is the value you provide?What are the main challenges you solve, the value that your product and service deliver, and the cost, profit, and capabilities that the customer achieves?
How do you reach your ideal customer?Where do the decision makers spend time online?
What message will they react to?What are the challenges and desired outcome that your target audience wants, and what is the magnetic content that will help achieve this?

Guiding Framework for Your Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing for Manufactures - Framework

Perfect Your Positioning

Your market niche (focus)

Niche down until it “hurts”.

If you are not niching down enough to feel the “sting” of FOMO (fear-of-missing-out), then niche down some more. You want to be so specific that you know everyone in you niche shares the same challenges and you are infinitely confident that you know the value that you can help them achieve. This will make your content marketing, advertising, and emails so much easier to write and your lead generation so much more effective.

Making your digital marketing work for one niche makes testing easier and you will have a template for your next niche of prospects.

Case: Machinery Manufacturer – High precision waterjet machinery vs. high precision and complex cutting of micro parts that help medical equipment manufactures become more efficient cost effective.

Who is Your Target Audience (ideal customer profile)?

Who experience the most benefits and value from your product and service, who has the least amount of complaints, and stay with your company the longest (highest lifetime value)?

Clearly define who you are targeting, who is your ideal customer profile, what niche are they in? You can’t target everyone, as you don’t have an unlimited budget, so who do your target first, and what is the perfect positioning / message for that ideal customer profile?

How To Create Your Ideal Customer Profile

How to reach your target audience?

Each group of decision markers are different and will also vary, based on industry and education. This sounds mundane, but a CXO in e.g. manufacturing may spend time on LinkedIn, manufacturing industry news sites, and less on Facebook, YouTube, and TicToc. A production manager and machine operator is much more likely to spend time on social media channels, and respond to emails and ppc ads.

The key here is not to include all channels to reach your audience, but to select one and get really go at reaching your audience, crafting the message, and generate leads before moving on to the next channel. The ONE thing: ONE product, ONE audience, ONE channel, ONE lead magnet, until it generates leads.

The Only 3 Ways To Increase Revenue

  1. Increase the number of customers.
  2. Increase the average order size.
  3. Increase the number of repeat purchases (order frequency).

Plan your promotion

What is the value that you provide for this target audience, what is the problems that you solve and what is the value that you provide?

Where do we start and how do we scaling growth?

You most likely have a limited budget for your marketing efforts, so the challenge is then what you decide to do and not to do. While the end result is that you have a lead generation system that covers multiple channels, the strategy should be to take one channel at a time, make it work, double-down, and then start the same process for the next channel.

The imminent risk of including multiple channel in the beginning, is that you do not what works, or doesn’t work because testing becomes increasingly complex (channel, target audience, message, product).

Inbound Marketing Channels

Inbound marketing is the process of creating content that draws visitors to your website. It is important to understand that inbound marketing, where people who see you content in search engines, your ads, or social media posts, is different from outbound marketing where you decide who receives your content.

Manufactures of machinery, a high ticket product, is often more successful in both the short and long run, when they target specific customers who they know are a perfect-fit for their product and service.

SEO and content marketing

Keyword Analysis

Research what search terms are relevant for your type of product and service. Go deep, to understand what “what is…”, “how to …”, “X vs Y comparison” searches may be available for a buyer at the early stages of their buyer’s journey.

SEO Optimization

Optimizing your website for SEO, or search engine optimization, is not a “nice to have” but a “must”. Your prospects will be searching for how to solve specific problems in the niche that you serve, and creating educational content that helps them understand their challenge better, how to solve it, what solutions are available in the market, pros and cons, cases … is imparative to get on the shortlist of vendors, when the buyer is ready to reach out. If you are not there with the best rearch result or an advertisement (Adwords), then someone else will.

Search engine marketing (SEM)(Adwords / BING)

Ads in search engines, like SEO, is an example of pull marketing, where your ads or search result, will appears when the users is looking for it. This is a major reason for why SEO and SEM converts significantly better than social media ads, and other types of “push” marketing, as the user sees it at the time when they are actively searching.

Social Media Ads

All social media platforms are typically a great channel for pushing ads to users that have already visited your website or social media business page, clicked on a post etc. Using social media ads as a channel for targeting new prospects will vary dependent on your niche and target audience, so that needs to be tested and verified.

Targeted Ads

LinkedIn currently has the most effective social media platform for pushing ads ONLY to contacts within your uploaded list of accounts / companies that you wish to reach. A great way to reach your niche audience if your market is narrow, your price tag is high, and your audience use LinkedIn.

How to Reach Your Target Accounts List With LinkedIn Ads

YouTube Ads

Ads on YouTube is less competitive than ads on search engines and can be targeted to a narrow area of “interest”. E.g. your ads can be shown in competitor YouTube videos, or related “how to …” videos, videos that show case software that are related to products or services area. TicToc is a very large channel already, but not very used by manufacturing companies, but e.g Titans of CNC has a significant following on TicToc and thus proven that this is a viable channel for manufactures to consider.

Social Media Posting

Social media platforms are a great way to display your product, show case the challenges it solves, and value it provides. It is also a great way to share your content whether you write it specifically for social media or blog posts from your website. The challenge with social media is that you need to build a following and use the right #hashtags in order for your content to be seen. So building a following will take a little time and testing with what type of content and format works on each social media platform.

Video should be an important part of your social media posting as videos are great at showing your business online and how you product works, solves challenges, and the type of value it delivers.

Lead generation

You’re not going to be able to sell to anyone without first generating leads. Ultimately, your sales team needs someone to follow up with. A lead is an individual that has voluntarily given you their information, providing candidates for you to nurture into marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs). Besides filling out forms on gated content offers, you can also capture contacts’ information through chatbots, giving you another lead generation channel. 

Lead nurturing

Chatbots are another channel to engage with prospects and customers who are visiting your website. From lead generation, qualification, and customer support, chatbots both automated and live provide website visitors with the ability to answer their questions in real-time with minimal effort.

B2B LEAD NURTURING email series

6 Important B2B Email Nurturing Flows

Marketing automation

You’re not going to get a contact to go from converting into a lead to becoming a customer without educating them further, especially if your company has a complex sales process or a long sales cycle. By sending your contacts emails with valuable content and other resources, you can nurture them through the funnel. At each stage, you can present the next logical step, helping them progress along their journey. 

Outbound Marketing

Our company is defined by the customers we keep.

To acquire and keep perfect-fit and highly profitable customers for years, will boost referrals and profit more than anything else

Therefore a crucial element in your digital marketing strategy is your outbound marketing strategy. A well crafted outbound marketing strategy will help you reach the ideal customer prospects that you know you can provide maximum value, it’s a no-brainer, you product is made for them. You will experience less friction, shorter sales cycle, less need for discounts, and more satisfied customers.

Trade Shows

Trade Shows are still an important lead generation activity for manufacturing companies as a way to meet in person and showcase your products and new products in development.

With the increased adoption of digital marketing, manufactures have can make their trade show stand more digital interactive.

Capture leads on your trade show by:

  • Visitors scanning a QR codes to watch your product videos
  • Submit a form to download digital product brochures
  • Submit a form to have a sample mailed to their business addres

Direct E-mail Marketing

Personalized direct email campaigns is a way to reach your perfect-fit prospective customers with a message that you know will interest them.

We helped both machinery manufactures and commercial cleaning companies with sending direct email campaigns that have landed them their biggest customers. But it requires that you understand your niche very well, the challenges that you help solve and the value they receive. If you are a manufacturer, a personalized product sample send to their address followed by an email showing how it was manufactured, gets results.

Snail mail for extra impact

Mailing personalized product samples, test cuts, of something that really showcase the value your products delivers to the prospects business, in a nice high quality packaging, and a note saying “I will send you an email with a video showing you how, the sample in you hands, was produced, which will illustrate the precision and speed that is crucial for [company name].

Cold Calling

Warm up your prospects with a personalized email campaign and social media messages, and targeted ads before your first call. Prospects are very likely to have checked out your LinkedIn profile and looked at your website which increase the likelihood of getting through on the phone.

Cold calling is a challenge, but certain decision makers, like CXO’s and SVP’s prefer calls to emails, but calling others will, in 80% of the cases, end up on the voice mail. So reach out by to them by email ahead of calling them. We always include email campaigns, and social media outreach to contacts with valuable information, before calling them.

By creating and sharing downloadable magnetic content with your prospects and tracking their engagement via your marketing automation tool, e.g. Hubspot, your will eventually be able to segment your prospects and call on those who are active.

The cost per lead for cold calling is high, as it involves a sales rep calling a prospect 5X, on average, and therefore is best suited for a company with a fairly high ticket product in order to be profitable.

With 52 calls a day, a sales rep can expect to get 1 appointment every 2 days, on average. On average there is a 1% conversion rate on cold calling, so to keep up motivation for a sales rep, a team is much better than a lone-rider. A team helps everyone to stay motived and share success stories and craft a process that results in warming up prospects before the call and increase the conversion rate.

Packaging your product

To market a product with a poor message and not packaged for your ideal customer profile means a lot of wasted digital marketing effort and online marketing budget.

Attracting buyers

The buyers who has the problem that you are really good at solving

Convert the audience with magnetic content

Gated content consists of e-books, guides, white papers, videos or any other content that is worth downloading because it provides high value to your visitors and leads. These materials are vital because they allow you to continue educating contacts through the buying process. Additionally, when visitors fill out forms to access gated content, your company gets access to their information and they become leads. 

Capture insights

Keep you customers close, talk to them frequently.

Existing customers will help you dig in deep to find out how your product and service solves challenges and add value in their every day processes and help make the faster, more efficient, and profitable. This insight is crucial for increasing the lead generation of your digital marketing efforts and make your website, advertising, emails, and content marketing razor sharp.

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