With so many advertising avenues available these days, it’s easy to stick with tactics you know. If that strategy’s working for you -- great! That success gives you the opportunity to test-drive a new channel. And if you’re wondering “How can I promote my manufacturing business” or you’re not satisfied with the results your current campaigns are getting, use these ideas to execute on a new level.
Here are 7 analog and digital marketing ideas for manufacturing companies:
“Targeting through social media is effective because B2B marketing is all about engaging key decision-makers within companies,” explains Tatsuya Nakagawa, co-founder and COO of Castagra, a sustainable roof coating manufacturing company in Reno. The key to success is understanding which platforms your prospects commonly use. “Advertising on Instagram is useless if your prospects are on LinkedIn.” Learn 5 Steps to Create and Maintain a Facebook Presence For Your Machine Shop.
Ads in affinity media (trade, industry and special interest publications and sites) still carry weight with decision-makers, and new options go beyond print ads and web banners. Traditionally, manufacturers have focused more on trade groups -- which are still useful. But with the rise of corporate social responsibility, smart marketers are looking for advocacy groups to partner with, too. Targeted and sponsored emails put your message in every member’s inbox. Sponsored articles and blog posts connect your brand with topics relevant to their audience. Identify the major trade groups serving your target prospects and investigate options for promotion.
This one’s a little niche-y, but very interesting. “One of the most successful ways we have advertised online has been through Google Gmail Display Advertising, a strategy that most B2B manufacturers don't even know exists,” says Plainfield, Ill.-based digital marketing consultant Jeff Moriarty. The program allows you to target Gmail users who receive emails from competitors or have emails containing text or subject lines relating to the client’s business. “The cost is cheap -- pay per click. It’s fairly simple to set up and the management resembles any other sort of campaign in Google Adwords.”
YouTube isn’t just a video platform, it’s a search engine and an advertising tool. Short videos enable you to show and tell about your enterprise. Steven Nghe, head of marketing and communications at Kloeckner Metals in Roswell, Ga., uses video to “highlight our people and our processes, all with a sense of humor, and take a video-first approach that trickled down to other formats. Our monthly market video reports with John Ganem are titled Monthly Market Report: Ganem Style and we have an annual April Fool’s campaigns centered around a video that in one way or another ask our community to rethink how they see steel.” Consider demos of new equipment or your manufacturing processes; introducing key team members from the corner office to the shop floor; and case studies and customer testimonials. Search terms and data are important here, so don’t overlook opportunities to include a strong narrative description and meta/alt tags with your video.
While what’s on your website fuels search results, paid ads on search fuel your pipeline. Serving up an ad pegged to specific keywords puts your company in front of the right people right when they’re seeking information. The key, according to Nick Swekosky, CEO of Market Metrics in St. Louis: “Identify keyword terms that focus on behavior, interest, intent or audience demographic. For advertisements on search, this will likely rank higher than other advertisements. The best way to augment your keyword research is to compare with the results of speaking or surveying existing and prospective clients. That will provide the best insight into the best titles and content for your advertisements.”
This is a new-school term for what old-school sales folk called lumpy mailers. While traditional swag like branded pens and keychains are nice, modern manufacturers can level up, using your own 3D printing capabilities to deliver one-of-a-kind items that stand out and are relevant to your business. Include a call to action inviting recipients to visit your site or redeem a coupon, and make sure the sales team follows up with a call or email to ensure delivery and connect with prospects directly.
Your prospects trust people they know more than a nice but unfamiliar sales pro. Referral marketing is an intentional program that encourages and rewards your customers to “sell” to their colleagues. To be successful, the initiative should be easy for customers and rewarding. Talk to potential referrers about what kinds of incentives would be most meaningful.
Trying one or more of these tactics can give your marketing program -- and your bottom line -- a boost.
“With longer sales cycles in the B2B space, I recommend that marketers -- even those at small manufacturers and machining companies -- take on the task of not only telling stories, but taking an omni-channel approach to sharing those stories,” Nghe adds. “Advertising isn’t just a product ad in a trade magazine or banner ads on AdWords. It is every touchpoint where you share your brand’s story. Ask yourself, what makes your company unique? There’s always something. Define it and leverage it into stories across different media, content types, and touchpoints. The more consistent you are, the more you'll find that you stand out among your competitors.”