With the cancellation of trade shows and travel, the typical marketing strategies for manufacturing companies are rapidly adjusting to more digital platforms. Heading into 2020, digital marketing was already a sound strategy that produced impressive results for manufacturers, but is even more critical now as more consumers are researching and making buying decisions online more than ever.
By diversifying your sales and marketing approach, you're able to reach more of your ideal customers.
With so many digital marketing and sales opportunities available, you’ll want to identify and narrow your focus to the right tools to help you achieve your business goals. Some digital marketing tools are must-haves for any manufacturer, while others can advance your strategy nicely but aren’t quite as critical to implement immediately. Below you'll find a list of both.
Want more manufacturing marketing guidance and success stories? Start here.
Must-Have Digital Marketing Tools For Manufacturers
These tools help to establish the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. We recommend that you have these in place to maximize your marketing efforts.
Having the ability to easily access your website to make updates is an extremely important piece to your digital marketing success. Whether you need to publish new pages of content like blogs and case studies or make minor updates to existing pages, a website platform with an integrated content management system (CMS) will make these updates seamless and easy.
The hands-down, go-to for a solid CMS-based website platform is WordPress. However, if you are in search of a platform with comprehensive eCommerce functionality, you can consider platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento.
Marketing automation software allows you to automate many of your marketing activities, such as email and social media, as well as automating many routine sales activities. This saves you time and provides a better experience for those you're marketing to since automation can take place 24/7 and is not reliant upon people having the time to follow up in a timely manner.
Creating a marketing campaign that feels personalized but is running in the background while you focus on other priority initiatives can greatly improve your marketing ROI.
Some quality marketing automation platforms include HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, and SharpSpring.
Call tracking allows you to identify the source of phone calls to your business, particularly ones that originated from your website or advertising. We find that many qualified leads will contact manufacturers via phone calls, so it's helpful to track their source as they come in so that you have greater insight into which marketing tactics are producing results for your business.
Call tracking tools can also record phone calls so you can listen to them afterward. Listening to call recordings can prove to be very impactful in assessing the effectiveness of your phone answering process and identifying opportunities for improvement.
There are various call tracking platforms you can use, such as CallRail, Invoca, and Call Cap.
Lead form tracking
There are many ways that manufacturers can collect more leads from their website traffic. Collecting email addresses via a form on your website is one of the primary methods of lead generation, whether that form is a contact form, quote request form, or perhaps offering a free download or training that will be delivered after completing a form.
To make the most of your lead generation efforts, you should house the data from these form submissions in one place. This creates an audit trail of prospects you can follow up with.
Ultimately the goal is to nurture these leads and track how many of them turn into revenue for your business, which will ideally be centralized in a CRM (more on this below).
Customer relationship management system
When you are managing hundreds or thousands of contacts on a consistent basis, being able to track the interactions that you have with those prospects is essential for staying organized and ensuring that you are communicating in the most effective way. A customer relationship management system (CRM) is a platform designed specifically for that purpose.
By keeping detailed logs on prospects such as the last meeting that you had with them, the last piece of marketing material that they interacted with, and other interactions that they have had with your business, you are much better prepared to cater to their individual needs and guide them down the pipeline.
Potential CRM platforms that you could adopt can range from free, basic solutions to more expensive, comprehensive platforms, often integrated with marketing automation. Some examples of CRMs that we recommend you looking into are HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho, or Freshsales.
Website results tracking
One of the most critical components to fueling the success of your marketing and advertising campaigns is being able to effectively measure and analyze data. By collecting information regarding user behavior on your website such as page views, bounce rate, click-through rate, and other important metrics, you can properly adjust your campaigns for optimal performance.
While there are several tools that you can use the track results on your website, we highly recommend that you use Google Analytics to measure and analyze results and Google Tag Manager to simplify the process of adding code on your website to track specific actions.
Utilizing a lead-tracking sheet is a great way for you to keep track of the source of all of the leads that come to your business from your website. For this tool to be effective, simply create a spreadsheet with fields containing data such as name, email address, associated company, or anything else that you capture through your lead-generation techniques or call-tracking platform.
What this tool then allows you to do is leverage website tracking tools to identify the direct source of these leads. With this information, you will have a much clearer picture of which marketing tactics are generating the most leads for your business and can optimize your campaigns accordingly.
Nice-To-Have Digital Marketing Tools For Manufacturers
The items listed below are helpful for your digital marketing and sales strategy, but they aren't required to achieve success. We would recommend that you first adopt the tools mentioned above, then progress your way into some of these more supplemental marketing tools.
If you find that you're ready to take the next steps in advancing your digital marketing and sales strategy, you should consider adding these “nice-to-have” tools to your digital toolbelt.
Accelerated sales-focused email
If you are sending out a mass amount of sales emails, an accelerated sales-focused email platform can improve your efficiency and help you successfully get in touch with more prospects. These platforms are designed specifically to help you achieve higher delivery rates and more success out of your sales emails.
Typically, they are cloud-based programs that will integrate directly with your CRM so that you can leverage the various lists of contacts that you have created. Some of these platforms also offer comprehensive sequencing solutions that act similarly to marketing automation and serve prospects pre-drafted emails over a certain amount of time.
Some examples of well known sales-focused email solutions that you could look into are HubSpot Sales Pro and Growbots.
Accelerated cold calling platform
An accelerated cold calling platform lets you increase the volume of your outbound prospect calls to approximately 125 per hour.
These are usually cloud-based software programs that load your prospect lists and auto-dials them, allowing you to speak to prospects when a connection is made.
Platforms you can use for accelerated cold calling include Connect + Sell and Monster Connect.
Video creation software
Video is an impactful way to connect with your audience and create leads. You can use a simple video creation software that makes video creation easy for anyone to do and allows you to personalize a video message to specific prospects. Sharing videos often leads to a higher open rate, response rate, and conversion rate.
Platforms you can use include Vidyard, Loom, or a Chrome plug-in cloud-based software.
Visitor identification platform (Reverse IP lookup)
Visitor identification platforms let you identify companies that visit your website who could be new prospects or who you need to follow up with. To do so, you can install a code on your website and these programs will identify the company from which someone visited your site, and which pages they viewed.
Platforms you can use for this include Lead Forensics and HubSpot.
A chatbot is an artificial intelligence software that simulates having a conversation. You can set up a chatbot to help website visitors find information faster and get answers to their website questions.
There are many platforms available that make having a chatbot simple, even without coding experience. Just install the code on your website and write scripts to address common questions your audience has, qualify leads on your site, or direct visitors to explore information on your site and move them down the funnel.
Chatbots such as Drift, LivePerson, and HubSpot often allow you to seamlessly switch between an automated chatbot and live chat. So if a lead appeared to be qualified, live chat could be activated to interact with that lead personally. But the bot could run 24/7 on your site when no one is available live, or to screen out visitors who might not need personal contact. Chatbots can also send contact information for qualified leads directly to salespeople to follow up with.
Finding The Right Manufacturing Marketing Tools
As you make adjustments to your marketing efforts, you want to put your digital marketing into high gear.
Start with your need to have marketing tools, then when you’re ready, you can add on the nice to have digital marketing tools listed above. With a strategic plan in place, you can continue gaining momentum and making deals in your business.
Investing in robust marketing tools that cover several of these functions, such as HubSpot, which we’ve mentioned several times here, can ultimately save you money and time, putting powerful sales and marketing capabilities in one place for your business.