Digital Marketing for Manufacturers: Your Top 10 Questions Answered
Many manufacturers still rely on old school methods like trade shows and word-of-mouth referrals to market their services. There’s nothing wrong with this, as these strategies do work. But you don’t want to ignore the digital channels that are available to you.
Today’s industrial buyers use websites and social media as part of their research process. They prefer researching manufacturing companies online rather than speaking with salespeople. If your manufacturing business is lacking an online presence, you’re missing out on opportunities to attract leads and customers.
Before getting started with digital marketing, you probably have a lot of questions! As an online marketing agency that serves the manufacturing industry, here are some of the most frequent questions we hear from customers along with our responses.
Q1: What are the different types of marketing?
Marketing can be broken down into two main types: inbound and outbound. Inbound marketing is permission-based, meaning that prospects give you permission to interact with them. Examples include email, content marketing and websites.
Outbound marketing is one-way communication, with the goal being to spread your message as far as possible. Some examples of outbound advertising are print ads, direct mail, telemarketing and radio broadcasts.
It’s best to have a variety of inbound and outbound tactics because these strategies work together to amplify your message.
Q2: Why should my manufacturing business use digital marketing?
Your prospects aren’t reliant on your salespeople. Instead, the power is in their hands. By educating prospects, understanding their pain points and providing relevant information to support the buyer journey, you can be there for customers. Building a digital library of content is also a great way to build trust and authority.
Q3: Who should be in charge of my marketing?
There are many ways you can get your digital marketing taken care of. Here are your options:
- Hire an internal team of marketing specialists
- Hire a digital marketing agency
- Hire an internal point person and marketing firm
There are pros and cons to each. When you outsource your needs to a marketing firm, you can get an entire team of specialists who understand the latest trends in manufacturing marketing. Results are often faster as well. Of course, the downside is that these services can be expensive.
Handling your marketing internally is less expensive but more work. You may also have a limited skill set and fewer people to get the work done. That said, some manufacturing companies enjoy having control over their marketing.
The best approach may be to outsource some of your needs and handle others on your own.
Q4: What are the best strategies for manufacturing companies?
Baby boomers and Generation Xers are being replaced by millennials. It’s important to understand this audience, as they are becoming influencers and decision makers for the companies they work for. This is why it’s important to build trust and authority rather than just looking to push sales.
Some of your best marketing strategies are:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Video marketing
- Social media marketing
- Responsive website
- Online educational events
Q5: Should I set up a Google Analytics account?
Absolutely! Google Analytics is one of the best tools you have to measure your success and ensure your advertising dollars are being put to good use. Google Analytics is free and offers your business a wealth of information that can help when expanding your marketing services. Some of the things you can do with Google Analytics are:
- Find out what campaigns bring you the most success
- Discover what people are searching for on your site
- Uncover your most popular content
- Identify your best and worst performing pages
- Determine where your customers are located
Q6: How much should I spend on digital marketing?
Setting a marketing budget is critical as this outlines how much you’re willing to spend on each strategy. Here are the three plans you’ll choose from:
- Lean plan. This is the modest plan of all and involves investing 1-2 percent of your top-line revenue in marketing. A lean plan is best for manufacturing businesses that are looking to maintain their market position.
- Target plan. A target plan utilizes 3-4 percent of your top-line revenue. It’s best for attracting new leads and retaining current customers.
- Stretch plan. The most competitive plan is the stretch plan, using more than 5 percent of your top-line revenue. This plan gives you money to target specific leads, increase conversions and drive sales.
Q7: How do I choose a digital advertising firm?
If you choose to outsource some or all of your marketing needs to an outside agency, you’ll want to do your homework. Make sure you choose someone who has experience with your industry. They may have case studies to back up their work or testimonials from previous clients.
Some questions to ask your marketing firm are:
- What makes you different from your competitors?
- How do you define success?
- Do you have case studies to share?
- What is your employee retention rate?
- How quickly do you see results?
Q8: What marketing mistakes should I watch out for?
It’s common to make mistakes in digital advertising, but you can also learn from those who have already made them! Here are some of the most common mistakes that we see our manufacturing clients make:
- Expecting results too soon
- Trying to be perfect
- Not following a well-thought-out strategy
- Not measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns
Q9: What social media channels should I be on?
Social media will be a part of your strategy, so it’s good to start thinking about which channels you want to be on. Engaging people on social media may be a challenge for your industry, but it’s still a valuable tool for lead generation and content promotion. Social media can also help with brand recognition and reputation management.
The channels we typically recommend for manufacturing clients are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. You don’t need to be on all of these channels, as you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Instead, focus on the channels where your customers are likely to be and share content, job openings, industry-related news and more.
Q10: How do I get started with digital marketing?
WSI Net Advantage specializes in digital marketing for manufacturing companies. Getting started with us is easy. Give us a call or fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch! We’ll learn about your business, your audience and the type of marketing channels that will help you reach your goal. Then we can put together a tentative strategy that meets your needs and budget.
As a manufacturing business, it’s important that you are visible for people who are looking for your services. Let WSI Net Advantage help your brand develop a strong online presence that attracts leads and moves them through the funnel.
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