As a manufacturing organization, filling your sales pipeline with the right customers who will pay well and create repeat, long-term business is important for your bottom line. Marketing - especially digital marketing - can play a huge role in filling your manufacturing, packaging, and shipping schedules so your plant is running as efficiently as possible.
For example, let’s say you are a chemical manufacturer whose customers utilize your proven chemical compounds for your specialized needs. You impact many areas of your customers’ businesses by helping them save both money and time. However, you don’t get many leads from your website; instead, most of your leads come by word of mouth or from activities like trade shows and conferences. That’s fantastic! But wouldn’t it be even better if your website, a 24/7 “salesperson,” provided the information an unknown prospect was looking for at the exact moment they were researching chemical manufacturers for their new cleaning product?
Here’s how to create a clear marketing strategy for your chemical manufacturing marketing team to follow so you can execute a proven, ROI-driven plan and reach those prospects using your website:
- Identify a goal that everyone in the company gets behind to see through to success.
- Evaluate your website and your marketing automation tools based on your goal. We provide a checklist below.
- Create a strategic plan with buy-in from key stakeholders.
- Execute the strategic plan.
- Report, review and move forward based on an ROI-driven decision!
Identify a goal for your manufacturing teams to work toward
To set up a clear marketing strategy, you will need to begin with the end in mind. What are you hoping to accomplish? Marketing your business can accomplish great things, but not if you don’t start out with a clear and specific directive. Without a goal to aim for, you’ll have no way to measure success or return on your investments.
Typically, your main goal will fall into one of four categories: build brand recognition, generate qualified leads, answer your buyers’ questions or a combination of these three. The goal should be specific and measurable; “more leads” is an ill-defined goal for your team to work with, but “7% more leads coming in within 9 months” is measurable.
Evaluate your manufacturing website with your goal in mind
Once you’ve determined your goal, it’s time to evaluate where you’re starting. Many manufacturers need to build brand recognition, but find the highest ROI from generating leads and answering buyers’ (or future buyers’) questions. With that in mind, here is an evaluation checklist that will get you started. These statements will help identify areas of opportunity in your current website. Check off all of these that you agree with.
- Our website makes our exact purchasing audience feel welcome.
- Our website clearly speaks to our audience about what they care about and are interested in.
- We have internally identified the primary pain points our audience is looking to solve, and our website communicates solutions to those pain points in an educational way.
- We have additional ways to gain a potential lead’s information on our site, other than the Contact Us form.
- Our website has several different ways to consume information such as videos, articles, ebooks, checklists, and infographics.
- Our website is interesting and relatable to our key audience.
- We are creating website pages and materials (content) as part of a plan laid out at least three months in advance.
- We are tracking all marketing efforts (including trade shows, networking events, and conferences) to determine the ROI of each tactic
- The ROI of our marketing efforts fuels how we allocate our marketing budget each quarter/year.
If any of the above statements doesn’t have a checkmark next to it, the best advice I can give you is to make a plan. Get everyone on your teams to buy in to a centralized goal, develop the steps to make it happen and hold your team accountable… sounds easy right? But we all know it’s not!
Create a strategic plan and get buy-in from all key team members
This should be a 3-month roadmap with specific steps that clearly lead to accomplishing your goal. It should fill in the gaps from your evaluation by identifying your audience, what they’re looking for from you, and how you can best help them.
When a Chemical Engineer from a cleaning products company is looking for new chemicals and solutions to improve their products, you want to make sure they’re able to find your website, immediately know your company is a good fit, and give them answers to common questions they want answered. That’s where this plan comes in to help.
Start slow in choosing your strategy plan. Change is often difficult for people, and you’ll want to “nudge” them into the change in direction. Getting them to buy in to this process will help it go much smoother when it comes to reporting, evaluating, and reviewing the results. Then, you’re able to repeat the process that you’ve proven.
These are the steps we typically follow once we’ve identified that a strategic plan is necessary or in need of updates:
- Identify your ideal buyers using personas - getting buy-in from all key team members
- Identify this persona’s top pain points
- Write out their buyer journey - what information they need at each stage as they research, ask questions, compare options, price solutions, and make a decision.
- Identify the content or marketing materials you already have that could appeal to your persona at each of the stages in the buying journey.
- Develop a clear 3-month road map and get buy in from all key team members so everyone is working toward the same goals.
Execute the strategic plan
In many ways, this is the hardest part of the plan, because it all comes down to this: does your team have the knowledge, bandwidth, and drive to execute the plan in the timeline that’s been set? This is a question only you can answer. Execution comes down to delivering quality content that speaks to your audience and publishing it in a timely manner. Maybe your team is really good with the automation, but needs help with writing and designing; teams (yes, like ours!) can help fill in the gaps, do it all or only help with strategy. I recommend you check out this video to decide whether you could use some help executing your manufacturing company’s strategy plan.
You’ll be checking some metrics, such as search source, every week and every month. Each quarter, you’ll review your strategy plan from a high level to help identify if there are any major directional shifts from your audience. We highly recommend you review your metrics to spot trends on a rolling 3-month time period.
Once you have an entire year under your belt, it will be easier to see trends and shifts from your prospects or leads over time. This is why reporting, evaluating, and reviewing is so necessary for success - if you don’t report, it’s difficult to see the returns improving or diminishing from channel to channel (organic search, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, paid search, direct, etc).