Manufacturers have traditionally relied on longstanding partnerships with retailers to sell their products, but online marketing has unlocked a whole new playing field that manufacturers should not ignore. Consumer expectations are higher than ever before, and lead generation continues to go through rapid changes online, highlighting the importance of having a focused digital marketing strategy in place. Manufacturers who decide to incorporate online marketing are making a strategic decision to invest in a digital marketing strategy to provide customers and prospects with helpful information and solutions – all of which will contribute to sales in the long run.
Benefits of digital marketing for manufacturers
- Online marketing will help your ideal customers find you online when searching for topics or products related to your manufacturing company.
- Having a digital marketing strategy will help your keywords and main topics rank high or higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
- Your content will be considered as helpful and a credible resource for prospective customers.
- You will be able to engage with potential partners, prospects, customers, and influencers through social media.
Digital marketing strategies employ various tactics to achieve the above results, and it is possible to have an influential presence on the internet if the right methods are followed. If you are a manufacturer and wondering how to translate your product marketing to digital, the following tactics will help you achieve legitimate results.
1. Google Ads and paid search advertising options
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a potent tool when you have defined digital marketing strategy objectives. By bidding on specific keywords related to the product/s that you manufacture, you will only be billed once someone has clicked on your keyword. PPC provides an opportunity to capture customers in an arena where the buyer’s intent is already solidified. The potential customer will be typing in keywords that relate to your product, and all you need to be sure of is that your PPC campaign is up and running to grab their attention.
A Google Economic Impact Report estimates that businesses who use Google Ads typically make $2 in revenue for every $1 spent. To run a successful Google Ads campaign, ensure that your keywords, the ad itself, and the landing page, you will be sending customers to are synchronised to achieve conversions. Start by first running separate ad groups for every product or product range you want to advertise. Run only a couple of groups to monitor the results, then use the data collected to optimise your advertisements to follow.
Fundamental tips for Google Ads:
- Optimise negative keywords to disqualify any keywords that do not correspond with your product or the customers you are seeking.
- Use the correct keyword match-types (broad/broad match modified/phrase match/exact match). This decision will typically be dependent on whether your goal is to have more impressions or whether you want to stretch your marketing budget with a lower cost-per-click (CPC).
- As you gather data, use it to change your keyword match-type in future ads to improve conversions.
- Fill out all available information fields in Expanded Text Ads (ETAs)
- If you want to prioritise or target specific locations, adjust your bids for geotargeting where conversions will occur.
PPC for social media
With more than 2.6 billion active monthly users, Facebook is the social media market leader. This makes Facebook the perfect social media platform to market to individuals or companies that might need support from the manufacturing industry. Ads can target a specific audience based on location, interests, language, age, gender, and job title – and Facebook will indicate the size of your audience after this information has been entered. Facebook also gives you the option to choose the results you wish to achieve with your ad, such as attracting traffic to your website to encourage conversions. Further, you will be able to select a daily budget, duration of your campaign, and your daily budget. Once your campaign has launched, results will start to trickle in, and you will immediately begin to see which ads are performing well. This provides a valuable opportunity to stop ads that are not delivering on the objectives you have set – giving you the power to stop ad spend.
2. Remarketing ads
If someone has interacted with your website or mobile app, remarketing allows you to strategically connect with them again by positioning your ads in front of them to either convince or remind those consumers to purchase your product. Remarketing can promote brand awareness, encourage sign-ups to email lists for marketing, or drive sales activity. A few beneficial strategies of remarketing include:
- Timed targeting allows you to reach people who have just interacted with your website to encourage them to make a purchase.
- Remarketing lists enable you to target people under specific conditions, such as advertising to any people who may have added your product to their cart but have yet to finalise their purchase.
- Automated bidding will calculate the optimal bid and will allow you to win ad auctions, resulting in a high-performance remarketing campaign.
3. High-quality content creation
If you want to increase your odds of being found on Google, you will have to invest in creating a content strategy that focuses on providing compelling content that consistently delivers value to your customers. A recent report established that 82% of manufacturer marketers believe that their content marketing efforts have resulted in moderate success.
When it comes to inbound marketing efforts – content is king. It allows you to engage with potential customers and attract them to become leads for your products. An essential part of effective content marketing is to inform customers and to provide them with a satisfactory buyer journey to ensure that you always remain top of mind when they need to decide between purchasing your product or a competitor’s product. There are various content options to consider when curating content or when you are planning your content calendar:
- Aim for at least one or two educational/informative blog posts per month.
- Provide insights, or report on general industry news.
- Create a comparison guide between products or a buyer’s guide to help customers make informed decisions on products without being overburdened with having to do too much research on their own.
- Use video content when possible to drive consumer traffic – it resonates better with customers than text or images.
To ensure that your content marketing strategy is effective, it is important to know where to share your content to – meaning that you should identify where your audience will be most likely to see and interact with your content. Don’t be afraid to check out your competitors’ sites to streamline your own content.
4. Email marketing for manufacturers
Email remains one of the most effective and budget-friendly ways to reach your target market, and manufacturing companies should use it to keep customers or prospects informed on products or company news. Statistics suggest that 99% of email users check their email inbox every day – making it an absolute necessity and integral part of your digital marketing strategy. Not only does it allow you to nurture your relationship with customers, but evolving technology also provides you with opportunities to truly leave an impression on recipients of your emails.
Employing email marketing automation as part of your strategy can deliver results without consuming time out of your daily schedule. By merely sending these personalised and well-timed emails to customers, you will find that emails are more likely to be opened – leading to a boost in web traffic and sales.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to help increase your reach
If you want more organic views on your manufacturing company’s website, you will have to use SEO tactics. Effective SEO will help your website rank higher on Google through the keywords searched, which will make it more likely for potential clients to click on your site if your keywords are optimised. If you have acceptable SEO practices in place, you will find that SEO yields high return on investment (ROI) leads – and it should come as no surprise that 64% of marketers still believe in investing their time in SEO. For manufacturing companies, SEO will benefit your business in the following ways:
- Increase in qualified leads
- More web traffic
- Boost in brand awareness
- Higher revenue
- Better ROI
6. Persona development
When working on your digital marketing strategy, don’t forget what it’s all about – your ideal customer. You should get to know your client persona as intimately as you would know your siblings or best friend – from their personality, characteristics, values to their ideals and goals. This will help you to create content that will “speak” to them. If you’ve established your personas with the help of market research and available data, you will know that your content will resonate with your customers, and you will see the results you have aimed for through your marketing efforts. Take the time to define and develop your personas until you are satisfied that your customers will feel connected to you.
Manufacturers, in particular, have a slightly more interesting approach to persona development and will likely have several personas that they would like to reach, such as Procurement Managers, Design Engineers, or Maintenance, Repairs and Operations managers.
A few points to establish during your persona development should be:
- What is most important to your customer when making a purchase?
- Where and how do your customers search for information on your products?
- Why do your customers want/need to purchase your products?
7. Lead tracking
For manufacturers looking to optimise their sales channels and see an increase in revenue (you can see an increase of at least 10% in six months), lead tracking will prove to be an invaluable resource. Lead tracking allows you to see what happens after a lead has interacted with your content, allowing you to keep track of the buyer journey from start to finish while providing an opportunity to ensure that your resource supply will meet future demands. Importantly, it also gives insight into potential weak areas in your business by indicating which departments are not performing or functioning optimally to secure sales. To set up lead tracking, you can develop a flowchart to visualise the various stages that a potential customer will have to interact with your business. This will help you to understand the buyer journey (for a list of the top lead management software currently available, take a look here). Manufacturers will find that lead tracking will increase business functionality and provide an in-depth understanding of their market while predicting shifts in conversion rates or being able to recognise which content is resonating with their audience.