Manufacturing Guest Blogger (Precision Marketing Group, LLC)
While some manufacturing companies are still investing in more traditional forms of advertising, such as ads in trade magazines, only 32 percent are finding these tactics to be effective. This fact highlights the need for a strong digital marketing strategy. Yet the world of digital marketing changes at a rapid pace. And for industries other than.. well, marketing, keeping up with it can feel as if you’re chasing a moving train. This sentiment is common across a range of different B2B industries, and manufacturing is no exception. Of course, it’s not enough to simply have a strong website presence – to truly be effective as a marketing tool, your website should have the ability to attract more prospects, convert them into customers and gain the edge among your competitors. Here are three relatively simple but effective strategies to consider.
1. Use Keywords to Lead People to Your Website
You’ve invested a lot of resources in creating your website. And if you build it, they will, come, right? Not exactly. In reality, your prospective customers may never find you without a sound Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. The importance of search keywords cannot be understated. In today’s digital era, where your prospects look to online searches to solve many of their pain points, it’s essential to have a website that ranks high on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
So how do you determine the best keywords? Take the first step by asking the range of topics your potential customers care about and are looking for. Are they searching for a customized tooling solution? A manufacturing distributor for stocked products or parts? General ideas on how to reduce manufacturing costs or improve manufacturing safety? Once you identify your customers’ needs, you can implement keywords throughout your website pages and meta data that show how your expertise relates to what they are looking for. Doing so will give you the upper hand in search results over your direct competitors.
2. Provide a Streamlined Way to Submit Specs
If your prospects and customers are going to buy directly from your website, be sure you have a simple, intuitive and organized way for them to submit technical specifications to your sales, engineering or production teams. If customers can see that they can upload application details and files with a quick click of a button, they’re much more likely to move forward with the purchase. Some ways to streamline this include:
- Make sure all forms on your website are detailed but clear
- Keep a safe amount of white space in between forms and other text on the same page in order to avoid confusion
- Keep your required steps in the specs submission process to a minimum
- Provide instructional cues wherever necessary (required fields, formatting rules for input fields, etc.)
Additionally, to best understand and measure how much time and effort it takes a person to get from one end of this interaction to the other, you many also want to consider conducting basic user tests.
3. Showcase Your Industry Portfolio
According to a CMI’s 2013 content marketing report, 88% of B2B marketers cited case studies as the most effective form of content marketing. Case studies are a compelling way to sway a prospect that’s been sitting on the fence, between both you and your competitors, not quite ready to commit. By providing concrete and detailed examples of similar problems you’ve helped solve for similar types of customers, you can very likely tip the scales in your favor. Case studies are particularly effective in the manufacturing industry, where results (i.e., time savings, greater efficiency, increased output, etc.) are often quantifiable and directly attributed to a specific product or solution. Some tips for creating case studies include:
- Focus on results and quantify your successes wherever possible
- Complement your story with client testimonials that speak to the results
- Make your case studies highly visible on your website and promote them (more than once) across various social channels
Putting modern practices into action
For manufacturers who often feel at odds with evolving digital marketing best practices, these strategies are relatively simple yet effective ways to get on board the digital bandwagon. Also keep in mind that many conventional marketing principles – like being sure to convey your company’s unique value proposition and highlight what sets you apart from your competitors – also still apply to your website.
Want to see some of these strategies in action? Coming soon, Steiner visitors can enjoy one-stop access to more products for manufacturers, along with more helpful resources (blogs, case studies, videos and more) to help your business thrive. Plus a whole new look and feel! Sign up now (see form at top right) for Steiner updates and we’ll let you know once our newly redesigned website is ready!