This is Part One of our four-part series on Manufacturing Company Marketing Techniques.
Our company works with numerous manufacturers to increase qualified leads by significantly improving their marketing efforts. Because each business and specialization has its own unique needs, we create a customized approach for each client.
This four-part blog series details the different marketing methods we use to help our manufacturing clients achieve their goals. Each section offers a high-level introduction to each strategy. And, with 20 years of experience in manufacturing, engineering and senior management, I can personally understand your business and marketing challenges. Feel free to contact me at any time.
How you use these strategies should be dictated by your capacity to take on new business opportunities. If you have a large backlog, you may not need anything beyond a website that continues to generate leads and support your sales team. If you are a new business, are introducing new products or face strong competitors, you may need to incorporate several strategies into your overall marketing plan.
Here’s what the series will cover:
Part 1: The Essentials
Your website is usually the first impression that a prospect has about your business. Some of the businesses we work with have websites that are generally very good. Others, however, were built many years ago and have not been maintained. Where does your fall?
In general, your website should target two audiences:
When it comes to website design, there are a few areas where we see businesses consistently make mistakes.
There are many elements within your website that create a strong impression for prospective clients and your manufacturing services. Make sure that the quality of your website reflects the quality of your facilities, team and results.
Google is extremely powerful because there are prospects looking for the types of services your manufacturing facility offers right now. If someone searches Google for “product manufacturing plants near me,” they are probably in the process of looking for an assembly line to produce their product. The three ways of ranking in Google are Paid Search, Local SEO and Organic SEO.
We will review this in more detail in Parts 3 and 4, but here is some information to get you thinking about using Google Search and how to be found by the people who need your services.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Case Study: EMS Contract Manufacturer. In our case study, we discuss how SEO dramatically increased their website traffic and Google search visibility, with growth of >50% in just the first year. Learn more here.
Paid search receives 10%-20% of the clicks.
To leverage paid search, you or your marketing agency must have a Google AdWords account. Here, you create ads targeting prospective clients by bidding on specific keywords. It is a fast way to get your URL into the search results, but it is also an easy way to burn through your budget. For the best results, focus on keywords that show buying intent (e.g. manufacturing plants near me) rather than informational keywords (e.g. what does a manufacturing plant do).
QUICK TIP: Do not use Google AdWords Express as it allows Google to choose the keywords that you bid on. This method creates more clicks (more money for Google) rather than focusing on keywords that will convert for your website.
Local search receives 40%-50% of the clicks.
Local search is sometimes referred to as Google Local, Google Maps listing, the three pack, Google snack pack, etc. You must sign up for a Google My Business account (GMB) and then verify your physical location with Google. Other than having a website, I can’t think of anything more important than verifying a GMB listing. If you manage more than one manufacturing plant, this must be done for every location. It is the only way to rank in local search and gather Google reviews (more on this in reputation management).
Key elements of the GMB profile include choosing the best categories, adding content and images with the appropriate keywords, utilizing posts and updating your contact information.
Beyond your GMB profile, Google also considers your domain’s authority (see organic search) and the consistency of your NAP listings (name, address, and phone number) across directories, local citations and aggregators. Moz Local is a useful tool for checking your NAP listings.
Organic Search receives 30%-40% of the clicks.
Google looks at over 200 signals to help determine where your website should rank within its search results for any given keyword. The most important thing to focus on is the content of the pages on your website. If you have a page dedicated to products, it should clearly explain the materials and equipment you use, the process you follow and what makes your facility different from others. The content itself should be at least 300 words. It may require more extensive optimization based on how well your local competitors have optimized their websites.
Second only to word-of-mouth, Google is one of the most powerful ways to attract new visitors to your website and convert them into paying customers.
Reputation management is basically asking for reviews online and responding to any negative reviews that exist. Consumers reference online reviews, so they play an important role in the conversion process.
When responding to a negative review, it is important to consider the people who will read the review, not just the person who wrote the review. Your response should be professional, non-argumentative and demonstrate to readers that you would like to work towards a reasonable resolution.
Here is a list of the review sites that we focus on for our manufacturing clients.
Google My Business (GMB) – This one is the most important. The majority of your prospective customers will find out about your manufacturing facility via a Google search. In order to gather reviews, you must have a verified GMB listing. Here are the guidelines for soliciting Google reviews.
Yelp – Yelp is not as important as Google reviews, but it is still a high priority. Yelp provides a lot of free tools. To use this platform, you must verify your listing with Yelp at https://biz.yelp.com/. Add as much information to your business profile as possible. The information you provide plays an important role for how your facility ranks within Yelp’s search results.
We recommend that you consider Yelp advertising. It may not be applicable to all manufacturers, but job shops, commodity services, and other local businesses that need to differentiate and stand out in a crowded field can benefit from Yelp ads. Yelp’s search positions frequently place in as many as four top spots on Google. Ads could help generate leads with improved visibility on their platform. We also suggest you utilize a Yelp Partner instead of going direct – ask us!
Online reputation management is essential, as it plays a key role in the perceived credibility of your manufacturing facility.
If you have a great website design, dominate Google search and have a stellar online reputation, it's time to look at Part 2: Increase Exposure. In this section, we discuss how to leverage LinkedIn to accelerate your growth.