How do I know if B2B inbound marketing is a good fit for our manufacturing company? I understand where you’re coming from: after all, marketing your B2B manufacturing company is difficult. If it were easy, everyone would be doing the same things with stellar results.
Here’s our gauge for determining whether or not inbound would be a great fit for your manufacturing marketing needs. You’ll know that inbound marketing is a good fit if you’re experiencing the following at your manufacturing company:
Your product offerings are complex.
Manufacturing companies create machinery, build solutions, or provide a service to meet a very specific need. However, with that complexity comes a unique set of problems: the need, or challenge, to succinctly explain your product and its differentiation to prospects.
B2B inbound marketing is a fit in this instance because you’re able to do a number of things efficiently:
- Using content such as blogs, ebooks, white papers, and guides, you can clearly explain the remarkable and complex pieces of your solutions.
- Using an inbound marketing content management system, you’re able to track the steps your prospects have taken on your site and provide tailored answers.
- Using a B2B inbound marketing strategy, you can provide information that your prospects want in exchange for their contact information.
- Following through with specific inbound tactics like email nurtures, personalized website content, and educational content offerings assures prospects that your manufacturing company is the best fit for their needs.
Your buyers are very specific.
When you’re picturing your ideal buyer, who do you see? Typically, manufacturers have a very specific person in mind. They’re building machinery or manufacturing solutions for a specific purpose, meeting a specific need, and solving a specific problem. Your best-fit buyers will be searching for a solution like yours. They’ll be purchasing for their B2B company (which is a certain size, has a certain budget, and wants to accomplish something specific with your solution) and the buyer has a specific title, a certain timeline, and is located in a specific geographical area.
Congratulations! You’ve just identified your first buyer persona. Creating B2B buyer personas is the first step of an inbound marketing strategy for manufacturing companies. It lets you know which leads coming in are good, which ones need additional nurturing, and which ones you can de-prioritize - getting your measurements and your sales team set up for success. In fact, companies that utilize inbound content platforms and offer buyer persona driven content see a 45% increase in the volume of Sales Accepted Leads (SALs). (Kapost)
Your buyers feel an acute pain point before purchasing a solution.
I hate feeling like someone is pushing a solution at me for a problem I don’t have - how about you? Chances are, your prospective clients feel the same way. It’s time to hang up the phone and stop the cold-calling; and while you’re at it, put a pause on those banner ads and radio commercials. These old-school tactics might hit one or two people at the exact right time, but savvy B2B manufacturing marketers are looking to inbound as a better, more evolved marketing solution.
The reason is simple: it’s what the buyer wants. By the time they get to a point of needing your product, they’re ready to purchase. Rarely do manufacturers sell a piece of heavy machinery to someone who was buying it “just because they wanted it” or “on an impulse” (you wish, right?). Instead, B2B buyers experience an acute pain point first. Inbound marketing sets your website up to gather information from these buyers who are visiting your site to learn more; all you need to do is follow up with them.
Your buyers do months of research prior to purchasing.
Related to my last point, a B2B buyer making a huge purchasing decision and spending the kind of money your ideal buyer will spend will not do so lightly. They’ll be doing research online, for weeks or months, before making a decision. If your buyer’s decision-making process is longer than three months, inbound marketing is a good fit. 80% of business decision makers favor getting brand information via an article series more than ads. (Content Marketing Institute) Inbound marketing ensures that your website and follow-up tactics are aligned with what your buyer is looking for.
You’re not seeing (measurable) results from your advertising, trade show, direct mail, or other marketing line item.
The biggest reason B2B inbound marketing is a great fit for your manufacturing company is your buyer. Buyers’ habits have changed dramatically from even five years ago. 77% of online customers prefer permission-based promotions via email. (ExactTarget) 84% of audiences age 25 to 34 have left a favorite website due to intrusive advertising. (Mashable) By 2017, video marketing - perfect for showcasing complex manufacturing products - will dominate nearly 70% of consumer website traffic. (Cisco) And it’s good news for you: the cost of 3 out of 4 inbound marketing channels is less than the cost of any outbound marketing channel. (Mashable)
You really, really care about ROI.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, and based on our own experience with our clients, B2B inbound marketing with a growth-driven focus (like what we do at Jül), resonates well because measurement, achieving/tracking/demonstrating ROI, and marketing automation were the three areas most commonly listed by B2B marketers as areas that they’re looking to improve this year.
Inbound marketing implementation is growing among manufacturers and other B2B industries because of its measureable ROI. Check out our proprietary inbound vs. outbound calculator here. The return on your marketing investment is incredibly important to your business, and inbound marketing allows for a more efficient marketing strategy with more measurable results. As you look at the marketing solutions available for your manufacturing company right now, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this solution measureable?
- Does this meet my buyers’ needs online?
- If I were a buyer, would this solution answer my questions? Or would it be invasive and off-putting?
Trending Up has also created a longer guide, complete with a survey questionnaire, to What to Ask When Considering a Digital Agency. It covers the differences between a traditional digital agency and a growth-driven inbound digital agency, as well as explaining why these differences are important for your decision. You can download it here.