Industrial marketers are faced with a unique, often counter intuitive audience to which they must promote and communicate their service offerings. In an industry that relies heavily on in-person meetings, tradeshows, and long sales cycles, it’s difficult to stand out for a long period of time.
For this reason, whether using tactics learned in another industry, or simply trying to apply best practices from other B2B fields to industrial companies, mistakes are made. Some of these are common mistakes in all forms of marketing, amplified by the small target audience for manufacturers and others are unique to industrial. Here are some of those and how to ensure they don’t plague your own marketing efforts moving forward.
Not Setting Goals and Measuring Them
This one isn’t unique to manufacturers – all companies have trouble establishing clear marketing goals and the metrics against which to measure their progress. But, for manufacturers in particular, these are especially important because of the nature of their protracted sales cycle and limited number of quality leads they can work at any given time.
Avoid vanity metrics related to traffic, clicks, or likes on social media. In fact, ignore most social media metrics entirely. For an industrial marketing campaign, the most important metrics will revolve around the new leads generated, the quality of those leads, and the number of them that turn into actionable opportunities.
Not Distributing Content Proactively
For many manufacturers, inbound marketing is now a viable path to establishing thought leadership and generating leads online. But many companies focus too much on the content production and not nearly enough on the steps needed to distribute that content effectively.
Content distribution should make up at least half of your efforts and should go well beyond your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Content should be shared in groups where you are a member, in engineering forums, on Quora when answering complex questions, on Reddit’s engineering and manufacturing subreddits, and through paid channels where it makes sense. Set a budget and make sure your content – which likely took a lot of time to produce – is seen by as many people as possible.
Ignoring Social Media Entirely
Social media doesn’t work for industrial
This is a common refrain among industrial sales and marketing leaders, but it’s not necessarily true. While traditional social media tactics (and many channels) won’t work for a manufacturer, there are a lot of things that do work. While you’re unlikely to reach a large audience of procurement managers on Facebook, you can reach a business-audience in other places and with the right content.
LinkedIn, for example, is a fantastic channel to post high quality technical-oriented content. Twitter is more ubiquitous than ever and while not necessarily a work channel, it is an active one. YouTube is highly trafficked and can generate organic search traffic as well as social engagement with the right content. The key is targeting, not the channel itself.
Not Sharing Your Work
A lot of manufacturing websites are focused heavily on what they do. Their services, their value-add, their equipment. And this is all very good information to make sure your prospects have, but it’s incomplete.
The most important thing you can do for prospective buyers and engineers is to show them what you do and the results of your efforts. Help them understand how you can solve their specific problem by focusing on the benefits of your services (on-time rates, quality, and current customers), and at the same time show them your work. Case studies, videos, testimonials, and other social proof is immensely important if you want someone to actually look at all that feature-oriented content on your website.
Not Targeting Your Key Prospects
Most manufacturing companies have two audiences – engineers who will design and spec new projects that might need new parts sources, and procurement managers who will do the sourcing.
Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturing websites and marketing content fail to accurately target these two audiences. Spend time determining what questions and problems these individuals have and building your website and all associated marketing materials to address those inquiries in advance.
By educating your audience and providing resources with which they can evaluate your service offering, you better position your company to be considered when the time comes to request quotes.
Building a Smarter Manufacturing Marketing Plan
Not only does inbound content-based marketing work for manufacturing companies, it’s one of the most effective ways to generate new leads, nurturing existing contacts, and reconnect with past customers. With the right approach to your target audience, well-defined goals and metrics by which to measure them, and a clear plan for which channels you will use to distribute content, you can see better results and stronger ROI from all of your marketing efforts.