Current world views, including the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid digitalization, have altered traditional business practices - including marketing. Consumer behavior has changed, driving a shift from in-person to digital interactions. New strategies, such as content marketing, are necessary for growing your business through a larger pipeline of qualified leads.Content marketing can yield significant results for your manufacturing business, both in the short- and long-term future of your organization. While content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, it generates about three times as many leads. Despite its known impact, many manufacturers may be unfamiliar with content marketing, including the basics of creating a content marketing strategy. Learn the basics of how a content marketing strategy can boost your manufacturing sales and drive new business.
- The COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on the Manufacturing Industry
- What is Content Marketing?
- How is Inbound Marketing Beneficial for Manufacturing Companies?
- What Are the Basics of Inbound Manufacturing Marketing?
- Ready to Reinvigorate Your Sales Pipeline? Contact the Manufacturing Marketing Experts at CMTC today!
The COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on the Manufacturing Industry
Like nearly every industry, the manufacturing industry was hit hard by the global pandemic. Internal supply chain shortages quickly disrupted manufacturing production, since the origin of the virus, China, supplies much of the raw material used in production. As an added challenge, safety measures to stop the virus included nationwide lockdowns, which further hindered supply chains. In its worst stage, nearly 44% of all manufacturing facilities were operating at only partial capacity.
Thanks to the development of vaccines, heightened protocols are being lessened and businesses are going “back to normal” by opening up and resuming full capacity. Expert projections anticipate manufacturing revenues will increase 6.9% this year - a key indicator that the health of the American economy is rebounding.
However, some things shouldn’t be going “back to normal” - in particular, outdated methods of marketing for your manufacturing business. Consumers’ buying habits evolved throughout the pandemic, so your manufacturing organization’s strategy should too. Inbound marketing and utilizing content to establish yourself as an authority in the industry should be incorporated into your marketing plans of the future.
What is Content Marketing?
As defined by HubSpot, “Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content to reach your target audience. It can boost factors like brand awareness, sales, reach, interactions, and loyalty.”
Content marketing leverages information - which can take almost any form - as a means to draw customers in so they can better engage with your brand. This approach to branding entails:
- Educating your potential customers - leads and prospects - about the products and services you offer
- Nurturing relationships between your customers and business that result in increased loyalty
- Demonstrating how your products and services solve your customers’ challenges
- Creating a sense of community around your brand
There are countless ways to utilize content marketing in your manufacturing organization, ranging from consistently writing about different topics within your specialty to podcasting or social media posts with hashtags. This method is a top priority for companies across the board - 78% of organizations have a team of 1-3 people who are content specialists.
How is Inbound Marketing Beneficial for Manufacturing Companies?
There are two approaches to marketing: outbound and inbound. Outbound marketing includes methods like trade shows, email blasts, internal cold calling, telemarketing, and the like. For example, have you been on the receiving end of relentless calls about extending your car’s warranty? That’s outbound marketing; those companies are hoping you’ll sign up for their product by bombarding your phone with calls about it.
On the other hand, inbound marketing works by drawing your customers in like a magnet and nurturing the relationship your brand has with them. This marketing method empowers manufacturers to attract customers with valuable online content and tailored experiences. Inbound marketing often involves content marketing in the form of blogs, social media posts, and podcasts. Producing content that demonstrates your manufacturing organization’s expertise further affirms your value to the buyer when they are researching solutions. Not to mention inbound marketing generates three times more leads per dollar than traditional methods!
What Are The Basics of Inbound Manufacturing Marketing?
Before launching into your new inbound marketing strategy, be sure to develop SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) goals for your manufacturing organization to evaluate how inbound marketing and content marketing are working for you. This will help focus your efforts as you delve into this type of marketing.
Crafting Buyer Personas
According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. These personas also describe what the target customers’ days are like, the steps they take to make decisions, and the challenges they face in that decision-making process. Essentially, you want to outline who your ideal customer is - and who is not your target audience - in order to better understand where they’re coming from, and thus be able to tailor your content to speak effectively to them.
Using Content to Drive Manufacturing Marketing
Creating content for every stage of the buyer’s journey will help them align with your brand every step of the way. The old saying “content is king” still holds up; the content you publish on your site is the main driving force for a variety of marketing efforts, including:
- Search engine optimization, known as SEO, ensures your manufacturing business shows up when potential clients search online.
- Establishing you as a manufacturer that can be trusted.
- Helping to push customers further down the funnel; a business contact in the awareness state may find something in your content to help convert them to the consideration state, for example.
- Using multiple forms of content, which can increase sales because people engage with different types of content to varying degrees, and one person might want to read about your product while another wishes to view a video (by the way, 80% of video marketers claim that video has directly increased sales).
Developing a Content Strategy
After detailing your manufacturing organization’s marketing SMART goals, conducting buyer persona research to solidify who your audience is, and figuring out which forms of content you want to utilize, you’re ready to put it all together into a content strategy! This will help with the implementation of your inbound marketing methods - for example, putting together an editorial calendar to schedule when content should be posted, how frequently, on which channels, etc. will help your marketing team stay on target and consistent across platforms. Your content strategy should present a cohesive approach and actionable plan to develop your manufacturing company’s marketing future.
Content Creation Readiness Checklist
While developing your manufacturing organization’s content marketing strategy, keep the following points in mind:
- Have you accomplished your content goal? From the original idea to the final product, have you achieved your goal of communicating whatever point you’re trying to make, or does the content tend to meander from one point to another without a clear connection?
- Are you speaking to a specific person? This question relates directly to your buyer personas research. The answer might be that you’re addressing everyone, but your messaging should still touch on pain points and goals of potential customers.
- Is there a compelling call to action? Your future customer has just finished reading your latest blog post - now what? Be sure to give them a logical next step - such as downloading an eBook or registering for a webinar - so they don’t just leave your site before you can capture their contact information. After all, more than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA copy, so make it count!
These foundational points are essential for producing content in an effective and engaging manner.
Ready to Reinvigorate Your Sales Pipeline? Contact the Manufacturing Marketing Experts at CMTC today!
CMTC is a private, nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance, workforce development, and consulting services to small and medium-sized manufacturers throughout the state of California. CMTC's mission is to serve as a trusted advisor, providing solutions that increase the productivity and competitiveness of California's manufacturers.
Need help with your content marketing strategy? Looking for new ways to reinvigorate your sales pipeline? Let our team of expert consultants at CMTC help you get on the right track! Contact us today to help you transform your marketing initiatives for success. Additionally, check out our complimentary content marketing ebook for everything manufacturers need to know to create a tailored and effective content marketing strategy. Download it today!
About the Author
Gregg Profozich is a manufacturing, operations and technology executive who believes that manufacturing is the key creator of wealth in the economy and that a strong manufacturing sector is critical to our nation’s prosperity and security now, and for future generations. Across his 20-year plus career in manufacturing, operations and technology consulting, Mr. Profozich helped manufacturing companies from the Fortune 500 to the small, independents significantly improve their productivity and competitiveness.