It is no secret that the manufacturing industry is a tightly held niche. With many companies specializing in very specific areas, it can be difficult for business owners and top-level management to decide on whether they should hire an internal marketing team or partner with an external agency.
Believe it or not, inbound marketing and traditional marketing have varying qualities that deliver different results. While we won’t be comparing inbound to traditional marketing this time, we do want to take a closer look at the benefits industries, specifically manufacturing, can experience when choosing to partner with an inbound agency.
Deciding to Hire an Internal Marketing Team
When opting to hire in-house, many smaller manufacturing companies are looking to hire 2-3 employees maximum to complete the marketing action items required. There are several puzzle pieces that make up the roles within a marketing department. They are:
- Team Leader: This individual is responsible for creating plans and assigning tasks based on role. The leader meets with top level management to discuss priorities, needs, and results. The leader also embodies characteristics and has experience in all or most of the areas listed below, maintaining an understanding of the processes needed to complete action items.
- Copywriter: The copywriter is responsible for all copy being published on behalf of the company. This individual writes website content, blogs, emails, social media posts, content offers, and much more. Copywriters themselves have niches that they are experienced in industry-wise. While a copywriter might have success in writing for a medical provider, they may not have success in establishing the voice of your manufacturing business.
- Search Engine Specialist: Search Engine Specialists are well versed in all things SEO. They know the ends and outs of how to improve search engine visibility through calculated tactics and best practices. While web developers, analysts, and copywriters have experience and knowledge in SEO, many marketing teams opt to hire an expert in this area.
- Web Developer: Web Developers are responsible for all things web design related. This individual is responsible for building website templates, placing new landing pages, creating blog templates for copywriters to use, and fixing any errors that might present themselves along the way. Web Developers can be considered the website linguists, as they are able to read and produce code to ensure your website is functioning the way you intended it to.
- Analysts: If you want to know which marketing efforts are working and which ones are not, an analyst will be crucial to your team. Analysts have the skill sets to read and interpret data, then make recommendations based on the data provided.
- Creative/Graphic Designer: Last but not least is the Creative or Graphic Designer. This individual is responsible for all graphics, logos, colors, imagery, and any other creative services needed for your initiatives. These individuals work hand in hand with writers and developers to create stunning visuals that produce additional engagement for your audience while solidifying your brand.
It is not uncommon for companies to hire 2 or 3 individuals in hopes that they will complete all tactics in a timely manner. However, many companies quickly realize that in order to scale their efforts, they simply need more manpower. The pitfall of this is that marketing professionals can be costly to hire and retain internally. With the average marketing salary coming out to $60,000, more for additional experience and higher levels of knowledge, many small manufacturing companies do not have the capital to retain internal marketing teams. This is not the case for all companies and each independent business should decide if keeping marketing efforts internal is the best choice for your team.
Opting to Hire an External Inbound Agency
Inbound agencies are true experts in lead generation, especially when working with a company in an industry that they have robust experience in. The good news is that manufacturers can find several agencies that specialize in their market and operate at their price point. The key point to remember here is that not all agencies are created equal. Inbound agencies are focused on generating qualified leads that will turn into revenue-generating customers through content marketing and growth-driving design on websites.
Through partnering with an agency, you have a full marketing team ready to conquer your goals. Creative Directors, Account Managers, Content Writers, Graphic Designers, and Web Developers are dedicated to seeing your company scale revenue. While agencies are not a short walk away from your desk, many agencies do offer reasonable compensation rates compared to hiring an internal team. This is one of the most attractive benefits to smaller companies looking to expand their marketing efforts.
Additionally, inbound agencies can provide insights about your industry that your company may not be aware of. Through previous experience, research, and trial, you are getting the inside knowledge. For example, you might be debating on whether you should join LinkedIn or Facebook. Through development of buyer personas and pain points, your agency can offer advice to join LinkedIn, as that is where many decision-making executives are looking for a manufacturer to partner with and interact with other businesses and companies.
Additional Benefits to Working With an Inbound Agency
While experience and knowledge are vital assets that agencies can provide, we know you are looking for the true action items an inbound agency can provide you with. To start things off, inbound is based on attracting potential clients through Search Engine Optimization, lead-capturing websites, and excellent content marketing. However, the mix of strategy is dependent on what your specific company can grow in.
The inbound methodology is centered around meeting your customer at the right time in their buying journey. When partnering with an inbound agency, the focus is kept on what your company needs to grow revenue. Custom solutions are built to meet your specific needs as a manufacturer, while staying on budget. If your website is already a lead-generating machine, efforts can be shifted to providing additional content, or if you have content nailed down the epicenter of your plan can be solidifying your branding. There are an endless number of ways to create the plan that is tailored to your needs and will provide the results you want to see.
While some of these tactics might sound too good to be true, fear not. Inbound agencies are motivated by results. Through robust tracking tools and insights, efforts will always be backed by the results they are producing. Maybe your agency crafted a content offer that brought in five new leads that closed this quarter. If that was your first content offer, you can guess where additional time will be spent. Our bet is on creating another stellar guide, eBook, or checklist.
What do Inbound Agencies Specialize In?
There is no short answer to this question. The truth is inbound agencies are well oiled machines full of varying experts working to deliver goals. Most teams are made up of passionate individuals that have focused on perfecting their craft. Here is a list of some specialties and how they work to increase your revenue:
- Lead Generation- Inbound agencies are built on the foundation of delivering more leads. Through this training, they are equipped with strategies and resources to take your manufacturing business to the next level by bringing increased digital leads interested in partnering with your company.
- Email Marketing- The last thing inbound agencies want to do is deliver a lead to sales that does not meet the sales team’s criteria. Through crafting email marketing nurtures to move leads through the flywheel and into new customers.
- Marketing Automation- Through marketing automation, inbound agencies are working to create additional revenue through decreased manual work. For example, by implementing workflows, your leads are being nurtured with content downloads, blogs, and other resources without your sales team stepping in until the lead is ready for them.
- Social Media Marketing and Monitoring- Promoting your manufacturing services goes beyond having great blogs and resources housed on your website. It is a known fact that social media platforms have become increasingly popular for B2B companies to market to other companies. Through carefully planned calendars, posting schedules, and the content surrounding your company promotion. Inbound agencies are also always looking for ways to grow your social media presence through account engagement.
- Content Marketing- We know what you’re thinking. Content is not going to bring in your manufacturing prospects. But let us prove you wrong! Your customers are looking for information about your company that goes deeper than an about page. Your leads are looking for information on the products you use, the processes you choose, and the strategies they can implement to receive a better experience with your company. That is where content shines. Insightful downloads, eBooks, and webinars are a sure way to increase awareness about your brand and provide your leads with concrete reasons why they should partner with you.
- Graphic Design- Content would not be what it is without beautiful graphics to complement it. Humor us: if inbound agencies were chefs, content would be the main course, and graphics would be the side dishes. No one wants a main course without any sides! That is what graphic design provides for your audience.
- SEO and Keyword Research- We already spoke to this point above, but we feel it is too important to leave off of this list. Inbound firms work to make your website the number one choice on a search engine results page when your ideal lead types in “manufacturing services/information/companies”. The plans inbounders create for SEO and the research done on keywords that are relevant to your company work harmoniously with the other actions in your marketing strategy.
- Web Design and Development- Digital marketing would be lost without a place to host all of your efforts. The number one thing inbound firms strive for is to create a lead-generating machine for your manufacturing company through your website. One of the foundations of inbound marketing is that your website should be your best salesperson. Any information that your audience might need about your company should be found on your website in a beautiful and digestible manner. With call-to-actions to capture lead information and a layout for showcasing your best content, your leads will want to stay on your site and refer to you as one of the top manufacturing experts and providers.
We have covered quite a bit about how inbound marketing agencies can grow manufacturing businesses. LAIRE is passionate about providing revenue growth to manufacturers and truly believes that inbound is the way to go. If you’re choosing to handle your efforts internally, check out our Manufacturing Marketing Checklist. You might find a few things that can help boost your company’s marketing plans.