- Marketing and Sales -

Top B2B Marketing Channels on a Manufacturer’s Budget

Tim Kelsey | Content Marketing, digital marketing channels, email marketing, paid media, PPC, Social Media | December 15, 2017

Are you on a tight marketing budget or looking for ways to streamline your B2B marketing? Or perhaps your marketing strategy has always followed certain steps and you’re thinking it’s time to drive things in a different direction.

One thing’s for certain. Companies working in the manufacturing industry rely on solid B2B marketing strategies to compete in today’s global marketplace. This guide will help you discover which B2B marketing channels will work for these types of budgets as well as the pros and cons of each.

  1. Email Marketing ($)

  2. Email marketing is especially worthwhile for manufacturers. A recent survey showed that email marketing is the most effective B2B channel for manufacturers and the most affordable.

    Email marketing can mean different things. It can refer to cold-emailing for lead generation, monthly campaigns that nudge your contact further down the sales funnel or follow-up pitch emails.

    Pros:

    • Relatively cheap - if you’re sending cold emails, the main cost is the time taken to write, send and reply. For monthly campaigns, you have to pay for the email campaign software to provide the service. Either way, it can be a very cheap way to generate leads and sales.
    • Easy to setup and maintain - you can write the emails yourself or hire a copywriter to improve open rates and click-through rates
    • Effective way to warm up cold leads - you can send them engaging and valuable content to ‘humanize’ your business and build a trusting relationship with them. For example, a company manufacturing vehicle parts could send a sequence of emails that would be useful to car manufacturers and mechanics, e.g., ‘a guide on maintaining tools’ or ‘how to increase the lifecycle of mechanical parts.’

    Cons:

    • You don’t always deal with the same person - there could potentially be many people who influence the buying decision in a company. For instance, an office-based business buying new computer equipment will possibly consult procurement, the IT department, and executives before making a decision.
    • You might miss out on direct sales - the nature of email means that it may not be read straightaway. People often check their emails periodically during the day, not as messages arrive; so you could miss out on sales to other companies that are cold-calling or using direct sales techniques. Also, if you’re using autoresponders to warm up a lead, another company may steal the sales by pitching face-to-face.
  3. Content Marketing ($$)

  4. Most companies have some form of content marketing strategy. It’s a type of inbound marketing, where people discover your blog, social media, video or audio content online through searches that may be unrelated to sales.

    Quality content helps them engage with your brand, which builds trust and loyalty. A good example of excellent content marketing is Neenah’s blog on paper manufacturing. It provides engaging, useful and completely relevant information for their target prospects in an otherwise dry industry.

    Pros:

    • Mass reach - you can interact with thousands of prospects simultaneously, especially if your posts get shared on social media.
    • You can build authority - become the go-to people of your industry. As an example, if you manufacture stationery products you can build a blog that helps office managers make their jobs easier, advising how to stop the photocopier from jamming or innovative storage solutions, etc.
    • Low-to-medium cost - good content marketing is a fairly cheap way to acquire customers

    Cons:

    • Creating stand-out content can be difficult - there is a shortage of good writers that can come up with original content, so unless you have the time and skill to do it yourself, you may have to shop around for a while
    • It’s difficult to keep coming up with ideas - if your industry is quite ‘niche,’ you may struggle to have a constant flow of ideas. But keep in mind, it’s all about what your customer wants to hear, not what you’re interested in. If your shop makes pipework for domestic plumbing, write blog posts about things plumbers would be interested in, not the manufacturing process or your successes - e.g. tips on how to deal with a backflow or how to keep homeowners happy.
  5. Online Advertising ($$$)

  6. Online advertising is mostly centered around pay per click (PPC) ads (the ones that you see at the top of Google searches), as well as social media and banner ads. The first two are most likely to be effective for manufacturers.

    Pros:

    • Highly targeted - PPC ads are triggered by related searches on search engines like Google and Bing. And social media ads on sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn allow you to display ads based on your target demographics and criteria.
    • Qualified leads - you can be confident that this method will generate more sales as the only people who see your ads either showed intent with a search or qualified as a lead based on parameters you targeted on social media.

    Cons:

    • Relatively high cost - compared with email and content marketing, paid ads will often have a higher overall cost, but you’re likely to generate more customers, resulting in a lower cost per acquired customer.
    • Ads need to be well produced – you’ll probably need the services of a copywriter and designer to create eye-catching, attention-grabbing ads, again adding to the overall cost.
  7. Traditional Marketing ($$$$)

  8. Old-school marketing methods still have their place, especially in manufacturing, where there are normally plenty of print media B2B publications for each industry. Traditional marketing also covers cold-calling, face-to-face marketing, and trade shows or industry events.

    Pros:

    • Targeted advertising - trade publications are going to be read by exactly the people you want to buy your products.
    • Gravitas - physical print media carries more weight with some buyers, especially in older, more established industries.
    • Cons:

    • High costs - compared with digital marketing, traditional methods are expensive and often come with a high customer-acquisition cost.
    • You may fall behind the competition - if you focus most of your efforts on traditional marketing, you may not get the digital coverage to compete.

Conclusion

All forms of B2B digital marketing are effective for manufacturers, so it depends on how much you want to spend. If you can afford it, online advertising probably yields the best result overall, with content marketing coming in a close second. Email marketing is great if you’re on a budget, though it has the potential to create lots of leads and prospects with a low outlay.

Of course, now that you understand a little more about digital marketing, it’s probably not hard to see through our ploy. We’ve created monthly subscription services to plan and implement each of these marketing strategies for our clients. We provide:

If you want to kick your marketing into high gear for just a couple hundred bucks a month -- give us a call today!

Tim Kelsey

As a marketing specialist, Tim works closely with our clients to help them build and strengthen their online presence through a wide range of digital marketing channels. He and his team are Google Certified experts who excel at helping small businesses get the most out of their digital marketing investments.