inbound-marketing-gearsYou’ve heard about inbound marketing, but you may wonder just how it can help your manufacturing business. For some embarking on this new territory means putting away old familiar marketing methods, and considering new tactics that look completely different and may feel a little intimidating.

Catch words like “inbound” and “outbound” are the tools of the trade. Outbound business-to-business (B2B) marketing includes traditional marketing methods, like trade shows, print ads, direct mail campaigns, and the least favorite, cold calling. But even marketers at manufacturing companies are realizing better results for less financial investment through inbound marketing methods.

We’ve blogged before about what is inbound marketing for manufacturing companies. But how can a manufacturing business that is struggling to prove the return on investment of their old marketing efforts, really benefit from inbound marketing initiatives?

Talk About What You Love

Who doesn’t like talking about the heartbeat of their business? If only you can find someone to listen. The truth is there are plenty of people who crave the insight and insider information you have and go looking for it on search engines and social networks. You can write articles that help answer their questions and solve their problems. The inbound marketing term is blogging.

  • Companies that blog have 55% more visitors than those that don’t.
  • Your customers will find you through search engines as they locate and identify the product information they need at your website.
  • Business blogs are not sales focused, but informative, and provide valuable industry education, which in some way meets the needs of your potential customer.

Every visitor to your website is a customer in the making. Tell them the stories you’ve been telling co-workers, peers, and just about anyone who’d listen for years. If it’s practical information then it’s something others want and need to know.

Generate Leads

While it’s great when a high search engine ranking drives visitors to your website. But these anonymous visitors are only strangers until you convert them into leads. Leads are solidified when visitors leave contact information for follow-up. As part of an inbound marketing campaign, visitors will provide their contact information in exchange for access to some valuable content. This might be an instructional eBook, sample CAD file download, or quote request. It’s best to offer a variety of diverse content. Not only discuss what you have to offer, but think about related industries that are helpful and interesting. Try speaking directly to decision makers.

No matter the size of your company or the volume of product you manufacture, inbound marketing can complement and enhance your marketing efforts. Marketing in the manufacturing industry requires that you know your product and your customers. Continue to delight existing clients by reaching out to them for reasons other than asking if they need to make another order. Provide free advice via e-books, instruction manuals, and white papers to help foster lasting connections.

Get Social Media to Work for You

Take advantage of social networking websites.

  • Your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Company Page gives your business a searchable on-line presence. When potential customers type in your company’s name, you want them to see it in several places.
  • Your social media page has great information, but it’s not just a placeholder. Commit to updating your pages with relevant information. This is a measurable customer acquisition tool.

Make sure that you are interacting with your social media visitors. If they leave questions on your page, respond promptly.

Business owners, officers, and other key staff should have professional profiles on select social media sites. This is a personal business profile; but it’s not a social one. The purpose is to position you and your company as experts in your industry.  When your webpage is located in an organic search, your company’s website and your profile will help present a comprehensive picture.

And don’t forget about YouTube. It’s a great venue for instructional videos, marketing messages, mission statements, and introducing new products.

Managing Customers

The science of great customer service is appreciation, attention, and retention. Even in the B2B environment clients respond favorably to the right treatment. Inbound marking tools such as automated email follow-up, special offers, and introducing new efficiencies help keep your company’s product just where you want it, in front of those ready to make a buying decision.

Inbound marketing is a strategic and measureable tool to attract visitors, convert them into leads, close them as customers and delight them after the sale.