The manufacturing industry is changing fast – faster than any time in modern history since the first Model T rolled off the assembly line. Technology is advancing, breaking down barriers to market entry that once looked unassailable.
Manufacturers are used to markets with a few major players and established lines of business. Whoops – now everyone is invited to the party. Among the manufacturing truisms that aren’t working as they should:
- Foreign markets are now sources of competition, not just cost-effective labor.
- Customers are downplaying trade shows in their buying plans or skipping them; not to say they are irrelevant but surely they are not providing the same return they used to.
- A good website is no longer a “nice to have” ... some brands run entirely online.
Net-savvy businesses are nothing new: eBay was around in 1995. But manufacturers have been slow to adapt to the digital shift in their industry. Only the Web can make your brand flexible enough to be there for customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In short, it’s time to find new ways to create value online...
You'll get there with inbound marketing.
Get Personal With Inbound Marketing
Traditional marketing is, well, traditional. Mail, print advertising, even TV and radio have one goal: Interrupt your prospect and make them pay attention. This happens on the Internet, too (it’s no coincidence the most annoying ads on the Web are called “eye-blasters”) but it’s falling out of style in favor of something much better.
Inbound marketing is different:
- It’s about educating your client and helping them where they are in their buyers journey.
- It establishes your thought leadership – showing, not just telling.
- It provides a targeted, even customized, experience for each user.
To make inbound marketing work for you, you need to know about your prospects – who they are, what their problems are, and where they fit within their organization. But once you do, you can automate your marketing process and turn your Web presence into a client magnet.
Inbound Drives Growth by Turning Marketing on Its Head
Have you ever been at a networking event and gotten trapped in the corner with “that guy” – who spends all his time talking about what he does and shows no interest in you? All too often, traditional marketing is that guy – its interest is what others can do for the brand. Namely, buy a "one-size-fits-all" product or service.
Inbound marketing drives growth by building relationships starting with trust. By sharing your industry knowledge – for free, at first, and then for something as small as a prospect’s email address – you inspire their trust in a customer-focused, roundabout way.
Customers read your blog and learn. Then they voluntarily provide contact info for other resources on your website.
“But wait,” you ask. “How can I make sure prospects find my business first?”
Inbound marketing comes with a toolkit of proven methods:
It’s easy to write off blogging as self-indulgent, but it’s no fad. In many ways, your blog is the core of your online presence. It’s where you show your knowledge and answer big questions that keep your prospects up at night. Sharing timely, helpful, relevant content not only builds a following in your industry making you an industry leader, but motivates people to take the next step and connect with your brand. That brings us to...
Sharing is important, but you’re not writing free content for your health. A key goal of any inbound marketing program is to generate leads. Typically, a premium content offer – such as a whitepaper or informative video – entices prospects onto your mailing list. From there, “bottom of the funnel content” like case studies and testimonials attest to your value. Each piece of content helps overcome objections and motivate contact with your sales team.
In the inbound world, sales and marketing both have something to contribute. Marketing helps quantify and qualify leads while discovering what communication strategies work best. Meanwhile, sales takes that data and acts on it, anticipating and answering any last-minute objections. When a sales engagement is over, it contributes new information that helps marketing refine its processes. With teamwork, inbound marketing is a self-correcting machine.
Inbound marketing is about continuous improvement, but you can’t do it without data. There are plenty of analytics suites that allow you to understand, at a glance, where your Web visitors are coming from and how they’re interacting with your site. This helps you recognize when content is getting a great reaction and plug holes in your sales funnel. It can improve advertising ROI by showing you which sites and platforms drive motivated prospects to you.
In manufacturing, the leap from traditional to inbound marketing is a big one. But it provides outstanding opportunities: to capture growth and building enduring client relationships that will serve you well under any marketing conditions. Brands that adapt fast will be positioned to reap the benefits.
- Manufacturers: A Fresh Content Marketing Strategy to Grow Your Profits in 2016
- B2B Brands Blast Off With YouTube: Tips for Manufacturing Marketing Using Video