The landscape of the B2B selling space is ever-changing, and evolving buyer expectations present new challenges for manufacturers in particular. This shifting landscape is now solidly in the online world, and in order to remain competitive, manufacturers must adapt to attract the modern buyer by implementing digital marketing.
The idea of implementing digital manufacturing marketing may seem intimidating, jargon-filled, and not worth the effort. However, with the proper strategy, you can turn your digital marketing efforts into a lead generation powerhouse, growing your business and taking it to new heights. Digital marketing is definitely worth the effort, and we are going to explain the top five reasons why. But before we do, we should first define digital marketing.
What Is Digital Marketing?Digital marketing is simply achieving your marketing objectives, such as lead generation and qualification, through digital channels. The tools of digital marketing are your company’s online presence: the website, mobile apps, social media pages, and so on. Your techniques are both paid (Google Adwords, social media ads, display advertising) and organic (search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, social media posts, blogging, and email).
A digital manufacturing marketing strategy will not only help your business rank high in Google searches; it can also help you increase conversions compared to traditional marketing efforts. How? We explain below:
Top 5 Reasons You Need Digital Marketing
1. Your Customers Are Online
Your customers are online, and they are looking for you there, too. Today’s B2B customer researches and weighs their options before making a purchasing decision, and the digital world allows them to do so easily. According to the 2014 Acquity Group State of B2B Procurement study, 94 percent of B2B buyers reported that they conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product. And where were they doing this research? Everywhere. According to that same report, buyers increasingly rely on a variety of online sources to make a purchase decision, including supplier websites, Google searches, product reviews, white papers, blogs, social media, and more.
So, the online sphere is where you can reach them – but before you can do so, you must understand who they are. Identifying and understanding your target audience is the key to a successful digital marketing strategy. This is how you are able to reach your prospects with relevant content they want. If you truly seek to understand your audience, you’ll be able to create and share content that is authentic, which will significantly improve customer engagement, foster higher quality lead, and increase conversion rates.
2. Digital Marketing Is Measurable
In the manufacturing industry, traditional marketing – such as direct mail, trade shows, and radio ads – can pose a difficulty in measuring ROI. On the other hand, digital marketing is driven by data. It is accuracy-based by its very nature, and almost every digital decision you make can be tracked and measured.
If you implement the right digital marketing strategy and set measurable goals, you will be able to collect and analyze metrics on those goals and overall ROI. This will help keep your manufacturing marketing efforts accountable and optimizable.
3. Digital Marketing Showcases Your Capabilities
For any B2B manufacturing business, content creation, also known as content marketing, is an incredibly valuable digital marketing tool. Content is how you can showcase your capabilities, demonstrate that you are an industry leader, and build trust with your audience. Your digital strategy can include interesting webinars where you explore a subject important to your customer base, educational blog posts about relevant data and up-to-date trends within the industry, or a social media post sharing helpful news and resources with your audience. All of these approaches add value to your customers and prospects in the form of helpful and educational content.
4. Digital Marketing Is Approachable and Scalable
With all the available channels, tactics, and tools, establishing a digital manufacturing marketing strategy may feel like an overwhelming task at first. But the good news is, you don’t have to utilize every channel and technique at once. The most important thing is that you start somewhere. If you don’t know where to start, try repurposing content: make a webinar out of a past training session, turn a case study into a blog post, or post a video from a trade show. Other ways you can jumpstart your strategy is to start up a monthly newsletter, write an occasional blog post, or set up a Google Adwords campaign.
Once you get your sealegs, you will begin to learn what works for your company and what doesn’t. You will find out what content your audience wants, which channels convert well, and where your time, energy, and money should go. From there, you can scale your strategy and efforts. You can disregard (or modify) the channels or techniques that don’t perform and continue continuing developing the ones that do. There are many great tools out there that can help you collect and analyze data as well as automate your manufacturing marketing efforts.
5. Digital Marketing Sets you Apart
A good chunk of manufacturing companies does not have a digital marketing strategy. If they do have an online presence, it usually only includes an outdated website, limited social media, and no search presence to speak of. While some of these companies will eventually adapt, their lack of knowledge about digital marketing – or their reluctance to change – provides you with a huge opportunity to set your company apart.
Remember the statistic at the beginning? Ninety-four percent of B2B buyers conduct some form of online research before purchasing. When prospects are looking for options, your chances are dependent upon a variety of factors, including your online presence. Online presence and brand awareness go hand-in-hand. Furthermore, if you are implementing a good content marketing strategy, as mentioned in #3, your blogs, newsletters, social media posts, webinars, and white papers will help you stand out as an industry leader, a trustworthy expert in your field.
Strategy Is Essential for Manufacturing Marketing
As seen above, digital marketing offers many advantages over traditional marketing, which doesn’t mean you should throw traditional marketing out the window. A multi-pronged approach is best practice. For both marketing avenues, it is vital to develop a strategy. f you want to be successful, you must set measurable goals, identify your target audience, and optimize your approach to reach them. Even if you begin utilizing only one or two channels, you have started a digital marketing infrastructure.
If you are interested in getting your manufacturing company started with digital marketing, check out some of our resources, or better yet, download our free ebook “The New Way to Market for Manufacturing.”