In today’s highly competitive marketplace, manufacturers must have a continuous pipeline of new sales in order to thrive and grow.
Technology is constantly evolving and has changed how people communicate, research products and parts, and make purchasing decisions. In comparison to the past, your target audience now has more control over the sales process. The internet enables them to easily research information and pricing at the blink of an eye, and the nonstop barrage of advertisements and sales pitches are making it more difficult to stand out.
Developing a robust marketing program is crucial to increasing sales and sustaining growth. Here are four action items your business can take to improve your marketing outreach efforts.
1. Establish A Marketing Strategy
Before you start sending out e-blasts or tweeting, your marketing initiatives must be driven by a structured strategy. An organized marketing strategy provides companies with the necessary foundation required before moving forward. While the specific defined goals and objectives are unique to every manufacturer, businesses are typically looking to achieve the following:
- Enhance brand awareness
- Generate new leads
- Convert leads into sales
- Increase sales from current and former customers
It’s vital for manufacturers to have a strong marketing strategy in place, so take the time to identify your goals and create a calendar of your efforts. Your strategy should also be written down and communicated with key decision makers. It is also vital to include leveraging multiple marketing channels, as targets communicate in different ways.
2. Update Your Website
Your website is essentially a “digital salesperson” for your organization. If your website isn’t consistently generating new leads and sales for your company, it’s time for an upgrade. A successful website does the following for your team:
- Gets found by leads when your products and services are looked for in search engines
- Educates leads so they know you’re the best solution to their problem
- Establishes credibility
- Provides your team with data and analytics to help the sales process
Updating your website’s content is critical to digital success. The quality of content on your website determines how well you rank in searches. Providing helpful information via checklists, white papers, blog entries, and eBooks will also help you engage with your audience. Sharing case studies and testimonials validates your business.
Whether you have an internal marketing specialist or use an outside vendor, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) efforts will help you increase website traffic. In the age of smartphones, it is also imperative to have a mobile responsive design.
3. Embrace Social Media
Social networking is a standard method of communication and conducting business. Social media platforms can help your team connect with new prospects, showcase your products, share content, and increase your website traffic. Here are some ways manufacturers can use the most popular social media sites:
- LinkedIn – Linkedin has a plethora of established networking groups where people can share information, ask questions, and network. By joining LinkedIn groups, you have an ability to connect with targeted leads and gain insight into industry news and trends.
- Twitter – While it allows only 140 characters to share a message, Twitter is an easy way to quickly distribute company news and pictures.
- Facebook and Instagram – This is a great way to constantly engage with customers and prospects to share content, gain feedback, and upload pictures and videos to personalize your company.
- YouTube – From product reviews and product demonstrations for potential consumers, to quick FAQ videos for current customers, YouTube can help you connect with multiple audiences.
It’s not a requirement to be active on every social media platform. Think about your ideal customers. Where are they spending their time? Where are they looking for information? Start with those channels first.
4. Re-work Your Email Marketing Communication
Your e-mails or newsletters require more substance than just shooting out your sales pitch and hoping for the best. People receive a superfluous amount of emails, so yours have to be targeted, personalized, and unique. Here are some quick tips to improve your e-mail outreach:
- Branding – Your e-mail templates should be consistent with your brand. Incorporate your company’s logo, color scheme, and messaging into your e-mail communication.
- Content – Share information that genuinely helps your target audience. Providing how-to tips, industry news, and solutions to their problems will help you establish your credibility.
- Call To Action– All e-mails should have a clear “call-to-action”. What is the purpose of this email? Do you want readers to visit your website, download an article, or call? Tell them what to do next.
- Scheduling – Sending out a single e-mail here and there makes it challenging for your audience to feel an ongoing connection with your company. Whether it’s monthly or quarterly, have a consistent email schedule and stick with it.
- Analyze Results – All e-mail marketing software vendors enable you to evaluate the tracking results of an e-mail campaign including views, un-subscribes, and click activity. This information will help you when you’re developing content for follow-up or future campaigns.
A comprehensive marketing program is essential for developing new business and achieving sustainable growth. ITAC and our network of experts are here to help you succeed with effective marketing strategies. Contact us to learn more and receive a free assessment.
ITAC is the NYC chapter of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) network, affiliated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These non-profit organizations deliver technical, consulting, and workforce development services to small and medium-sized businesses in the manufacturing community.
The insight for this article originated from NIST MEP.