Manufacturers inherit a lot of challenges when it comes to digital marketing. Being an art that comes from a time when digital technology didn’t even exist, it is only natural that the manufacturing industry would be slow to adopt.
Certain challenges have simple solutions to overcome, while others require more time and expertise. We’ll cover 4 digital marketing challenges for manufacturers that we see today and some ways to get past these challenges.
Content Development for Manufacturers
Challenge: We come up against this challenge on a regular basis when developing content for a manufacturer: how does your product work and why is that important to your target customer?
Often times, the answers to problems we need to solve or pain points we need to address with content are held within the expertise of one individual within the organization. That person happens to be the company CEO, who is busy running a thriving manufacturing business, or a technical guru within the organization, who is busy making magic happen within the manufacturing business and not able to devote time to content development.
Solution: A great way to quickly extract information for a solid piece of content is interviewing the expert. Asking that individual to sit down and write a 1,200 word blog post or help rewrite a product description is an ineffective use of their time. We’ve found that a simple 5-15 minute interview can grab all the top level highlights needed for a solid piece of effective content that can drive search engine traffic or convert users looking for those details.
Digital Technology Out of Date...or Missing
Challenge: This challenge is quickly identified when asking: “How do you track the growth/success of your marketing today?” The answer is often:
- On paper
- A spreadsheet
- Pete in Sales tells us
- or simply, I don’t know
These answers aren’t good enough because they cannot define how well (or poorly) an advertising campaign is going, how that email blast performed, or if social media landed any deals lately.
We often get into the situation where the website is very out of date, there is no analytics tracking data on the website and most often there is no CRM tracking leads & sales.
Solution: Jumping from no technology to a full suite of digital marketing tools is a daunting task. Learning how to cope with a new CRM, all new reporting and tracking of leads/sales, while a new website is being developed that helps convert more visitors to leads can make you feel like the old way is a better way, or have you thinking “How will I have time to do all of this!?”
Streamlining with a properly tracked business carries an upfront commitment to learning the tools, however, it’ll pay for itself in time with the organization it brings to the lead/sales process. Being able to track your touch points with prospective clients in a CRM will help you keep track of sales activity, while having analytics properly configured will allow you to see what is working in your digital marketing, and what is not. You may discover that all of those hours spent posting to Instagram have been for nothing, which will free you up to do more email development, which is probably actually where those leads had been coming from.
Finding your target
Challenge: Finding your target customer is something that I feel is at the top of the list for priority when it comes to digital marketing. Without knowing WHO you are marketing to and WHY, you’re just generating content that you feel is important and not always catering to the needs of those who need your product.
Whether you’re B2B or B2C Manufacturing, finding out who it is that you’re selling to and their pain points can change the direction of your business’ marketing and turn into revenue at the other end. Often we see that the WHO you’re writing too in the blog posts, emails or social posts are based on what one individual who doesn’t have a firm grasp on the buying parties day to day activities thinks is appropriate. For instance, if you’re trying to reach your target audience on SnapChat because it’s a cool new system when you manufacture equipment for distribution warehouses… most likely you’re not reaching your market.
Solution: Define your companies buyer persona! Simple enough sounding right? Sitting down to truly define who the individuals are that purchase from your manufacturing business and the journey they go through can really help marketing focus on what activities need to happen and when. Does you customer traditionally find you through Google organic search? LinkedIn? Word of mouth? How do your customers move from being aware that they have a pain point to solving that problem? At what point does a sales person jump into the picture and what actions result in the conversion of a lead?
Having a clear understanding of your buyer’s persona and their journey can help you expand your top funnel leads through effective content generation, increase the velocity of leads moving from awareness stage to decision making through lead nurturing and give sales the tools needed to meet the needs of their prospects.
And of course, REACHING that target
- Blog writing
- Google Adwords
- Display Advertising
- Social Advertising
- Organic Social Posting
- Google Plus
- Direct Emails
- Email Automation Campaigns
- Offline Methods
- Word of mouth
- Cold Calling
This list can go on for miles and can consume a considerable amount of time to do all of these efforts. When you consider the previous challenge, finding your target, this list can be quickly reduced to focus your efforts on only the important activities and trim down on the time spent (or wasted!) on channels that do not generate or close leads.
Solution: After going through and finding your target through persona research and defining your buyer journey, take a look at ALL of the ways that you attempt to generate leads, nurture prospects and communicate with customers. Taking an inventory of what is working (only possible when you address challenge 2!) start to discontinue the work that is simply not tracking you towards any of your goals. If you’re on Snapchat but your prospects are on LinkedIn because you’re a B2B manufacturer, stop all activity taking place on Snapchat and begin publishing content to your LinkedIn page.
Simply cutting down on channels that don’t work towards your goals of hitting your persona on their buyers journey will free you up to be narrowly focused on what does work, which will lead to more frequent success in generating leads and closing them.
Get Started… It’s that easy!
It is never too late to get started with these solutions within your business. Now is the perfect time to decide that you are going to start tracking your activity properly through effective analytics data, a CRM and reporting that focuses on your key metrics. Now is the perfect time to determine WHO your buyer is and HOW you’re going to reach them.
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