Digital marketing for the manufacturing sector.

Elements of the manufacturing sector have been particularly slow to fully embrace the concept of digital marketing, and slower still to realise the advantages that it brings.  The industry as a whole seems to cling on to traditional methods of marketing, such as driving long distances to visit potential customers, picking up the phone to call them and knocking on doors.

And all of these things are perfectly reasonable of course.  They’re tried and tested, so there’s still a case for using all of these methods.

But digital marketing lets you identify exactly the right potential customers.  Using digital marketing you can generate interest in your brand, and in your products, so when you actually make contact, you’re greeted warmly, rather than being given the cold shoulder. And in the majority of cases, you’ll find that it really does work, and you’ll be invited in to showcase your products.

How do I know this? Well, I used to be an Area Sales Manager for a company in the manufacturing sector – let’s call it Company A to protect their shame. The marketing strategy there was to knock on doors, make phone calls and drive around endlessly, pushing and pushing to get new customers. It was an endless round of dropping in on customers and battling to gain a few minutes of a prospects time in order to introduce yourself. I got pretty good at getting permission to visit a new prospect, but normally there was a large amount of reluctance to spend more than a couple of minutes with me on the day of the meeting, instead they just wanted to get back to their machining. It was no use to them or me, a total waste of time but still company A forced us to pursue this route.

But I’ve also worked with another company – Company B – who did all the same things as Company A, but supported those efforts with a carefully-planned digital marketing strategy.  And Company B saw far superior results. They saved time and money, with much lower spending on fuel, thanks to a massive reduction in travel. There was even a much lower level of staff turnover.

Company sales personnel at Company B were heading out to visit companies who had already made initial contact, or had looked at some of the company’s digital marketing.  And because these companies already knew they wanted to do business with Company B, or at least see the products or services in the flesh, their sales people got a warm reception when they knocked on the door.

So what was it that made the difference?

It all started with the company website.  Company A relied on its old and outdated site, that had been built five or six years’ previously. It wasn’t an attractively put-together website, and it was text heavy, making it dull and unpleasant to read. No value had been placed on it and as a result it certainly didn’t provide a good user experience.

Company B, on the other hand, invested heavily in its business website, they saw its value. The site was constantly kept up to date incorporating all the latest technology and using optimum navigation techniques to provide users with an intuitive and helpful experience.

Next, Company B carefully posted on social media, targeting their perfect prospects, ensuring that the brand was visible on Facebook Ads and LinkedIn, for example. A campaign of banner ads and remarketing was then devised, aimed at targeting potential customers in specific geographical regions. That way, there was no wasting the advertising budget on regions that wouldn’t yield sufficient numbers of customers, or regions the company were unable to service.

But there’s one further experience that really hit home the effectiveness of a well-planned digital marketing strategy.  We were working with a client in the manufacturing sector, who’d been trying for years to get a foot in the door with a major company. They’d tried phoning, emailing and writing, all to no avail.  But then they tried putting up banner ads, advertising the company’s services and products that they were so desperate for the potential new customer to see. The ads were placed over the prospects factory.  And within just two months, the prospect was on the phone to our client, saying they’d been on the lookout for exactly these services for ages!

It just goes to show the power of a well-place advert. The art is to encourage someone to become of a fan of your brand by ‘discovering’ you for themselves, rather than by you approaching them. And in order to do that, you need to identify exactly who your customers are, where they’re located and what they want. Then you make yourself highly visible to them, so that they can’t resist contacting you.

For your digital marketing campaign to be successful, it needs to be thorough. You need to generate brand awareness and product awareness, so that members of your sales team can go in as a warm lead, not a cold one. This leads to a massive increase in conversion rates, enabling you to close sales with new customers quickly and efficiently.

If you’d like any more advice or information about digital marketing for the manufacturing sector, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.