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If you are in the manufacturing industry, you know that competition can be fierce. Some manufacturers are capitalizing on social media while others are utilizing paid ad campaigns, but what should you invest your time and resources in? Is one form of marketing more powerful than another?

Whether you are new to the marketing realm or you have been running various marketing campaigns for your manufacturing business for a while now, this marketing guide is the guide for you. 

In this guide, learn more about digital marketing for manufacturing, goal setting best practices, marketing initiatives you should start implementing today, and the KPI’s your manufacturing company should never forget to track. So, if you are ready to improve your revenue and increase your lead pool, keep reading! 

The Era of Digital Marketing

Over the past decade, businesses have had to pivot their marketing strategies to meet their customers where they’re at: online. Because of this, many companies are moving towards using social media, paid ads, content marketing, email, and other forms of digital marketing to attract new potential customers and bring in more revenue. One form of digital marketing that manufacturers are using specifically is inbound marketing

What exactly is inbound marketing? And, how is it different from other types of marketing? Here is what you need to know.

What is Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers?

Inbound marketing in short is the process behind creating value-driven content, attracting potential customers online, and nurturing customer relationships through the buyer’s journey. 

Example of Manufacturing Inbound Marketing

Here is an example of inbound marketing at work in the manufacturing industry. Let’s say a potential customer needs help understanding the differences between cotton and polyester fabric because they are trying to start a clothing line. They may have several questions about the two fabrics including:

  • “Is cotton or polyester more comfortable to wear?” 
  • “What happens to these types of fabrics when they are put in the dryer?”
  • “Are these fabrics flammable?” 

Once you’ve thought through those questions, your job would be to create a valuable piece of content centered around that topic. For the sake of this example, we will call this piece of content “Which is Better? Cotton vs. Polyester,” and you would expand on the difference between the fabrics while answering questions your audience may have about the fabrics. After reading the article, there may be a place at the bottom for your audience to download a helpful guide in exchange for their name and email address so you can continue to provide them with relevant, helpful content. This will draw them further into the buyer’s journey to become steps closer towards becoming a customer. Get the picture?

That was a high level overview of inbound marketing and how it works, but why should your manufacturing business choose to invest in it? Is it relevant to your business structure?

Why Manufacturers Are Investing in Inbound Marketing

As mentioned before, customers are engaging more often than not with the brands they love online. From exploring the company website to liking a company’s page on Linkedin, customers are interacting with companies online in more than one way. The more valuable online touch-points your brand has, the better.

3 Reasons Why Manufacturers are Choosing Inbound Marketing Over Traditional Marketing

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1. Better Reach
Sharing your content online and setting up digital marketing campaigns gives your business more reach than traditional marketing. Like mentioned before, there are 4.57 billion people who are on the internet, and you are selling your company short if you don’t fully utilize the power of your online presence.

2. Lower Cost
Digital marketing is more cost-effective than traditional because you can target your exact audience with the medium they are already using. Say goodbye to wondering if your traditional marketing campaign was shown to the right audience or not.

3. Accurate Tracking
Another main benefit of digital marketing is the fact that you can accurately track the success of your digital campaigns in real-time. You can easily calculate the ROI and other necessary KPI’s of your marketing initiatives.

Now that you know about what inbound marketing is and the reasons why manufacturers are investing in it, it’s time to talk about goals.

What Are Your Marketing Goals?

If you don’t know what your marketing goals are, don’t fret. That’s why we are here! When setting a marketing goal, you want to make sure that it’s a SMART goal. What is a SMART goal? A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Here is an example of both a non-SMART goal and SMART goal:

Not a SMART goal: “We want more marketing leads.”

What’s wrong with this goal? This is not a SMART goal because it doesn’t have a time frame, it’s not measurable, and it’s not specific. 

SMART goal: “We want to have 102 more leads by the end of 2020 from Organic Search.”

This goal is a SMART goal because it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Unlike the first example, this goal statement had the number of leads they wanted to attain, a timeline of when the goal needed to be met, and the specifics of what source they wanted these leads to come in from. 

What’s next? Sit down with your team to start setting your SMART marketing goals. Do you want to increase conversions, leads, or sessions? It’s time to set goals around those metrics.

(Pro Tip: Be sure to ask sales team members for their input too. Marketing goals don’t only affect the marketing department but the company as a whole!)

How to Market Your Manufacturing Company

After creating your marketing goals, it’s time to get to work! We touched on what an inbound marketing campaign looks like already, but let’s dive a little deeper. Here are some actionable ways that your team can market your manufacturing company and keep the needle moving forward.

Produce Educational Content

Have you heard of the saying “content is king?” As an agency, we 110% agree with this statement. Content marketing increases site traffic and allows for your website audience to be nurtured in the buyer’s journey. Here are content ideas you can use to market your business:

  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics 
  • Website pages
  • Videos

Build Manufacturing Specific Lead Generation Campaigns

Once you have created a library of content, it’s time to set-up a lead generation campaign. Here are some pieces to your lead generation you need to create in order to capture leads: 

  • Content Offer
  • Call-to-Action (CTA)
  • Landing Page
  • Thank You Page
  • Follow-up Email
  • Email Drip Campaign

There is a lot of prep work involved in creating an effective lead generation campaign. To find out more about lead generation, you can read more here

Create a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy

So you have content and a lead generation campaign, how do you make sure these initiatives are getting seen in search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo? The secret lies in a thing we call Search Engine Optimization (SEO). By optimizing your content and digital marketing campaigns, your website will be set up to rank higher in search results. (Which means that there will be more eyes on your brand and traffic to your site!) Here are some actionable ways you can optimize your site’s content:

Do keyword research
Ubersuggest, Moz, and SEMrush are great tools to use to research keywords!

Increase backlinks
Backlinks are when another website links to your website inside their site. This helps build your site’s domain authority and drive traffic to your site from their site. 

Evangelize Your Manufacturing Business

Last but not least, you should evangelize your manufacturing business. There are many ways in which you can do this. Here are some ideas to evangelize your company:

  • Social Media
  • Paid Advertising
  • Asking Customers for Reviews
  • Asking Employees to Share on Social Media

Don’t Forget to Track Your Marketing!

After deploying all of these marketing initiatives, you need to revisit your goals to see what you should be tracking. 

How many sessions did you want to see this quarter? What conversion rate does your site need to convert at? Look at the metrics that are important to your goals. (Pro tip: Give your marketing initiatives about 6 weeks before analyzing the success of it. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to pick up steam in search results.)

Marketing Tracking Tools Your Company Should Be Using

To track your marketing data, you need to utilize tracking tools to find out the health of your marketing campaigns. Below are some tools that we like to use to track our client’s metrics.

  • HubSpot Analytics
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) You Need to Track

Once you set-up your tracking tools, it’s time to look at the different KPI’s you have based on your marketing goals. Here are some KPI’s that are essential for your team to analyze.

  • Sessions
  • Leads
  • Sales Opportunities
  • Conversion Rate

Digital Marketing & Your Manufacturing Company

If you have gathered anything from this guide let it be this, digital marketing is here and it is here to stay. Digital marketing is on the up and if your company doesn’t effectively utilize it, your competition will.  If you are stuck still trying to figure out how to optimize your marketing efforts or start a marketing campaign that works, not to worry! We created the Manufacturing Marketing Checklist just for you. Download the checklist here to generate more leads for your business!

Todd Laire

Todd Laire

Founder & Managing Partner, LAIRE