As an industrial company, manufacturer or distributor, your marketing strategies are different from those of a B2C organization. Your end game is to reach other businesses, and to convince them to carry your products. You're not successfully doing that? Then your marketing has failed.
You know that traditional marketing is not getting you where you need to be. You need modern, reliable, and cost-effective strategies to reach more companies and grow your business. You need the internet’s help.
We want to help, so we’ve compiled a list of manufacturer marketing strategies to help you reach more potential partners online. And if you’re new or unfamiliar with digital marketing, don’t worry: we’ve tried to put everything in plain English so it’s easy to understand.
Let’s start off by explaining why digital marketing is so effective for manufacturers and other B2B organizations.
Do manufacturers and distributors really need digital marketing?
Let’s travel in the wayback machine… Back in the day your customers probably relied on a few tried and true methods to find products to purchase for resale in their stores. You probably even got that call to purchase an ad in the Yellow Pages or other local advertisements. Maybe you invested in brochures, print mailers, or even cold calls to businesses. But as time went on, you probably noticed that these sales methods didn’t work quite as well as they used to and the phone calls dwindled.
Now let’s fast forward time a bit… we’re back in today’s world. Now almost everyone found that it was way more convenient to just hop online to research potential distributors and their products. Now we can find a larger selection of companies and products at our fingertips. And not only that, but we can also research products and companies by reading reviews, customer feedback, and seeing detailed photos or specifications in a matter of seconds.
The world has adjusted, and this requires your marketing to adjust as well. If you aren’t using the power of the Internet to reach potential customers, you’re likely missing most of them. But let’s not lose heart, this is actually good news for your bottom line: online marketing is better for your bottom line, it’s way more cost-effective than traditional methods. And when it comes to tracking your ROI, digital advertising is so much easier to track.
5 ways to reach the most potential customers with online marketing
Ok, now it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty. These are some of the most successful manufacturer marketing strategies we’ve used for our clients. Let’s help you reach more potential customers at the lowest cost possible.
1. GET YOUR WEBSITE OPTIMIZED FOR THE SEARCH ENGINES
First step and most important step in you distributor or manufacturer marketing strategies… ensure that your website can be easily found in searches by those who are looking for you—and make sure that it ranks higher than any competitors that you may have. You do this with the process of search engine optimization (SEO).
Does SEO sound like a UFO, only scarier? Here’s a short explanation: SEO consists of several methods to improve your website to help make your it more likely to rank highly on Google (or your favorite search engine) when someone types a keyword related to your business into that search engine. These methods can range from editing the titles of individual web pages to getting more high-quality links to your website. The variety of methods can be very simple or very complex.
If you are new to SEO, the easiest way to get started is to think like your potential customer. What words or phrases would you associate with your business or products? Stay away from single words and choose longer phrases. (For example, if you manufacture bricks, you might think of everything from “best bricks” to “buy red bricks made from pumice.”) Then take a look at your website to see if these words or phrases—called keywords—appear anywhere in your content.
If the keywords that you came up with don’t appear on your site, there’s a high chance that you’re not ranking for them. Search engines look through your site as well and if it can’t find those keywords, then they can’t associate them with your website.
This is a good starting point for SEO, but in today’s Google-makes-changes-every-month world, there is a lot more to the process than keyword optimization.
And while you’re reviewing your website make sure that it is responsive. This means that customers can access your website from a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets. This is a must for Google today, and it can increase your number of leads, which leads to ultimately closing more deals.
2. TIME TO START MAKING GOOD USE OF PAY-PER-CLICK ADVERTISING
Another large chunk of a manufacturer’s marketing comes in the form of advertising… ok, this is kinda obvious, but it’s not the kind of advertising that you might be thinking of. Pay-per-click, or PPC, is the placement of those small ads along the top or side of organic search engine results. If you’ve ever done even a single search on Google, you’ve seen these.
PPC ads are relatively inexpensive, and can have very high return on investment for manufacturers or distributors. These ads are just a sentence or two of text with a link to your website or landing page. The kicker is that you only pay for them when they are clicked—not when they are viewed.
If your website is not being found on the first page of google, PPC ads can be an enormous benefit to your brand. You also are in control of exactly how much money you spend to get that exposure on the search engines. PPC reports can also show you a lot of really useful information. You’ll know exactly how much you spent for each click, how many people clicked each ad (so you can see which ads are performing the best), which ads attracted the most clicks (again, data will tell you what to turn off and what to leave running), and how many phone calls or emails you received as a result of your ads.
One of the great things about PPC is that results are instantaneous. Good thing as generally we are not a patient society) As soon as your ads go live, they can start driving qualified traffic to your website. These are people you are looking for what you have! This is great if you want to quickly increase leads without exhausting your budget or sales team.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA – IT REALLY IS A THING
B2B companies sometimes don’t think that there is any value for their company in social media. They think social media marketing isn’t for them. But social media is about engagement and creating brand awareness. This is a great way for manufacturers to engage potential customers online.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn allow manufacturers to increase brand awareness and make meaningful connections. Additionally, YouTube is an awesome platform for B2B companies. YouTube allows you to demonstrate your products and provide educational content in video format.
Let me bore you with a few statistics (that are actually quite fascinating)
- Businesses using video marketing, reported a 76% increase in traffic due to video. (Wyzowl)
- Businesses and marketers who used video ended up growing revenue 49% faster than non-video users in 2017. (Vidyard)
- Enjoyment of video advertising increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%. (Kissmetrics)
- When video and text are both available on the same page, 72% of consumers prefer video to learn about a product or service. (Wyzowl)
Another way manufacturers use social media is to gain ideas and feedback during product development. Now this isn’t applicable to every manufacturing or industrial company, but if you are in thinking about a product revision, this would be an excellent place to get valuable feedback. Social media allows you to get a feel of your customers’ sentiments about your company. This data can help you adjust your marketing strategy to better meet their expectations. Lastly, product forums can be created to gain further insight into those customer opinions.
4. CONTENT IS KING – IT’S SORT OF TRUE AS LONG AS IT RANKS WELL
When a potential customer goes online to look for products to carry in their stores or for a product to use in their supply chain, they may be looking for detailed photos, videos, specifications, or in-depth information that goes beyond the basic fluff they might normally get on a typical B2C store. One way that you can take advantage of this—and entice more potential customers to your website—is to create content that doesn’t suck. Engaging content that ranks high on the search engines will bring people who are interested in your content (which should relate to your product) to your website. Now if that content is dry, boring or just plain fluff, readers will click off of your website without a glance back, losing your chance to entice them to carry your product.
And have you noticed that the results you see on the search are more than just links to websites? When someone does a search, they can also receive videos, images, locations, and shopping results.
Thinking outside the website may be a new concept for you, so here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Create a video of your product, showing it in action. When you post it, create a title with your chosen keyword phrase in it and put those keywords in the description as well, and host it on YouTube (with a link to your website in the description).
- Make sure any and all of the product photos on your website have relevant keywords in their filenames, and make sure that they have their alt text aren’t missing. Make sure that it says what is in the image. This can allow your images to show up in on Google Image when someone searches for those keywords. Some folks are just visual and need to see what they are looking for before clicking. But this will lead those viewers to your website.
- Write blog posts or articles, which answer questions that your customers have asked you in the past. If these are popular questions that are commonly searched for, they tend to rank well, and prospective customers will read them, then click over to your website to learn more about what you do.
5. EASIEST FIX POSSIBLE - MAKE IT EASY TO CONTACT YOU
The last strategy we recommend is the easiest one for you to do. Make it super easy for potential customers to get in touch with you! This could be as simple as putting your phone number somewhere obvious at the top of your website, adding a contact form, or being active on social media.
We know this may seem obvious to you. You may be wondering how is this a marketing strategy? However, take a close look at your website, you could be surprised by how many hoops a potential customer has to jump through to send you an email. Is your ‘request a quote form’ simple, or do they have to fill out eight or nine fields? Do you have a contact form at all? Is it easy to find your phone number, or is it buried in your footer?
Give your potential leads the path of least resistance and it will almost guarantee that more of them pick up the phone or send you an email.
Need help with your marketing?
Manufacturing marketing plans can be touchy since your business needs are unique. You have your business to run and trying to find the time to do your marketing as well can be cumbersome. Why not let us help?
We can help you grow your manufacturing business and create an industrial strength marketing plan just for you. Let us create you a completely customized quote to get you where you want to be.
If You Have A Growth Mindset, Let's Talk.