Manufacturing businesses use inbound marketing strategies to attract customers and create brand awareness by utilizing digital tools such as content marketing, blogs, social media, events, and search engine optimization. The inbound strategy differs from traditional marketing techniques like newspaper advertisements, TV, radio, direct mail, and billboards.
Basically, instead of trying to reach customers directly with outbound methods, you position your company so the customer can easily find you.
Why Should Manufacturers Utilize Inbound Marketing Tactics?
The manufacturing industry is a highly competitive space. Your company competes with local, national, and global brands. Prospective buyers have information readily available from anywhere, via their computers, tablets, and smartphones. They can access services, pricing, specifications, and reviews in seconds, with just a few clicks.
If your company is not effortlessly accessible during the consumer search process, they will find a competitor for their inquiry and purchase with them.
Top 5 Inbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers
1. Google Base
Businesses with product catalogs have the ability to upload their data to Google Base for free. If customers search for a generic product that appears in your company catalog, the results appear on Google’s Product Search. In fact, some of the results will appear from a standard Google Search as well. Customers may not have ever heard of you or your company, but utilizing Google Base can send them directly to your website for purchasing.
So maybe you think Google Base sounds like it is for companies that sell direct to consumer and won’t apply to your company. You may manufacture products and wholesale to other businesses. That means Google Base is even more relevant for you. Don’t think so? Here’s a simple example.
Let’s say your company manufactures snow blowers, and 95% of your of your inventory gets sold wholesale to various businesses. Unlike a direct consumer, your business customers cannot afford to make purchases without doing due diligence and research.
If a direct consumer spends an extra $20 on a machine, it will not make or break their wallet. But if wholesale customers spend an extra $20 per machine on a 1,000-unit order, it could put them out of business.
Other businesses use search engines to research products before placing a large order. If you do not have your catalog on Google Base, then you are losing sales opportunities.
Many manufacturing products are complex. Rather than typing long descriptions on your website in efforts to explain information to people who do not understand technical language, we recommend creating video explanations and demonstrations. YouTube is a great free platform to share your video content.
Videos can draw customers to your website to complete the purchase process. Informative videos also help people comprehend difficult terminology and instructions with unfamiliar parts, products, or machinery. You can edit videos with text, show different angles, and utilize lens zooming for emphasis. These kinds of customer-friendly videos will keep customers loyal to your brand and spend more money for all their future needs.
Create a YouTube profile with your company so customers can see all your videos in one place. Another benefit of videos is that easily transfer to other platforms. You can embed YouTube videos into your website pages or social media profiles as well.
Manufacturing companies can use WordPress as a free content management system. The simple navigation and structure allow you to easily add or modify your website. WordPress is a great tool for small business manufacturers who are not experienced running complex websites and digital platforms.
According to the Venture Accelerator Partners, WordPress powers 44% of websites worldwide. You can set up your site so it links to your social media profiles, features custom videos, and utilizes search engine optimization. We will go into further detail on these tools throughout the rest of the article.
4. Social Media
The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Your manufacturing company should have an active presence on all four of these. Utilizing social media gives you direct contact with your customers on websites that they use multiple times on a daily basis.
Run social media promotions to get customers talking about your product. Use hashtags and other brand recognition methods to get your business trending. Find ways to creatively promote your products around events. For example, if your company manufactures grills, run social media promotions advertising a product rollout for the first day of summer.
If you manufacture automotive vehicles, post pictures of concept cars to get feedback on the aesthetics from your customers. You can promote a new SUV right before winter targeting areas that get heavy snow. The possibilities are endless. If you execute the plan properly, customers will come to you and find your website.
You can also use social media to gain exposure with current and potential business customers. Show them some images and video clips from inside your warehouse or production facility. A clean production area is appealing to businesses. It shows them you care about your process and the products you create.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Manufacturers need to create their websites with search engine optimization in mind. In fact, all of your digital profiles (including all of the above) need to be optimized for search engines.
Let’s use a company that manufactures hydraulic lifts as an example. They create a video with their production manager, John, demonstrating how to lift and install a heater to a gas line using the hydraulic lift. The title of the video is “John Installs a Gas Heater.”
That title is not search engine friendly. Nobody who is in the market for a hydraulic lift will find a video under that title. Instead, “Hydraulic Lift Demonstration,” or “Best Hydraulic Lift,” are likely more common search terms for prospective buyers.
The marketing experts at We Create offer a search engine optimization guide specifically geared for manufacturing businesses.
At Revel, we use strategy and industry expertise to develop inbound marketing tactics for our clients. If you need more information or want to jumpstart your inbound marketing, get in touch with us today.
By Andy Maciejewski, Partner + Meat Connoissuer