Like it or not, you’re now an online company. Everyone is. It’s where business gets done. And the events of this year have certainly contributed to this new online business market. You might be surprised to know that a digital marketing strategy can actually be more cost effective, and provide more measurable results, than traditional marketing.
Reaching new customers, or reconnecting with past customers, is especially challenging in today’s economy and in a world where face-to-face contact is more difficult. But for industry executives, the online world also presents some great opportunities. This is where you can position yourself as an expert, a thought leader, and spotlight the important trends and issues relevant to your manufacturing businesses. You control the conversation and the talking points. You tell your own story.
So let’s unpack some of these digital marketing strategies and talk about how these tactics can actually work better for you.
1. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Hopefully you’ve learned the value of having an up-to-date, dynamic and interactive website. This is the face of your business for prospective customers, so it’s worth investing in a high-quality website that shows your industry expertise. But it’s critical to take your site one step further and ensure that the content is optimized based on industry keywords your customers may be shopping for in their search engine when they’re looking for a provider or partner. Whether you’re selling innovation, technology, or industrial solutions multiple keywords should be spread throughout the website to attract your audience. It’s part math, part science, part tech, but it’s a critical element of your digital marketing strategy.
2. PPC, or Pay-Per-cCick Ads. We’ve all seen those ads in the sidebar or banners on news sites trying to sell us a product or service. You might be surprised to know that these can actually be extremely effective (and cost-effective), especially in the B2B space. At its core, your business is about solving a customer’s problem—whether it’s through technology, production, the supply chain, or any other business operation. So don’t advertise a product or company. Advertise your solution. What do you bring to the table that solves their unique problem? Is it increased production? Cost-management? Redundancy? Pinpoint what your customers are looking for and equally important, where they’re looking for it (online), and offer them a solution via PPC.
3. E-Newsletters. One great tool for keeping your business top-of-mind with your customers, both past, present, and potential, is through an email newsletter. This platform gives you the time and space to really tell the story of your business and share some of the unique projects and solutions you’ve been involved in. Use case studies, testimonials, video, and infographics to share your expertise. Talk about industry trends, share your thought leadership on topics important to the industry, offer tips and advice to your customers, and introduce new machines and technology.
4. Social Media. Even in a B2B world, social media can be very effective for connecting with other businesses. More business-forward platforms like LinkedIn are a great place to position yourself as an industry thought leader. Share articles and posts on industry issues and trends and how your business is embracing or adapting.
Digital marketing is not one-size-fits-all. You can mix and match platforms and tactics. The key is to have a strategy. Unlike old-school marketing, these online strategies can actually give you some very valuable metrics that tell you what messages and what platforms are most effective. It’s a much more efficient way to manage your advertising budget.
Mike Hicks is executive vice president of Beson4, one of the Southeast’s leading creative services agencies focused on the manufacturing and construction industries.