You have a specific target market that you know well and you keep a close eye on your competitors. But if you only chase offline leads, you’re ultimately limiting your growth potential. We shared some impressive results companies, manufacturing and otherwise, have achieved with inbound marketing in our post, How Manufacturing Companies Are Using Inbound Marketing, but let’s explore how manufacturing companies can get started with inbound marketing.
Key first steps:
- Establish Buyer Personas (if you haven’t already)
- Set SMART Goals
- Create Your Inbound Marketing Plan
Any marketing efforts start with a good understanding of your audience. You likely know your current customer base well, but are there any untapped opportunities? It also never hurts to revisit – it’s often how you get new insights.
Establish Buyer Personas
Much like you would create a product specification sheet for individual products, it’s helpful to identify the important attributes and behaviors of your customer base. Buyer personas are pictures of your ideal customers. They might include geographic and demographic information, observations about behavior or time and budget constraints, etc. You can do this for both your distributors and your end consumers, like tradesmen or DIY enthusiasts.
The goal is to ensure you have a crystal clear understanding of your customers as it will inform your content development and online strategy decisions.
If you know your customers’ concerns/pain points, you can address those in your blog posts. If you know the tradesmen that ultimately use your product usually have questions a, b and c, you can create an FAQ reference page (Why, you ask? End consumers are demand generators.). If you know that all your clients look for qualities x, y and z, you can highlight those front and center on your website. We’ll talk about content more in our next post, but it’s good to note that targeted, helpful content gives value that goes beyond the product or service itself. Anticipating needs or questions and providing solutions and answers gives you a significant competitive advantage over the competition.
Identify Your Goals
What are you hoping to gain from your inbound marketing efforts?
Increased website traffic? More leads? Greater brand awareness? Recognition as a leader in your industry? Increased sales volume? All of the above?
Everyone wants more leads and more sales. We all want to be our “best,” but what does that mean for your company? Go back to basics and set goals that are SMART, that is
Telling myself I want more leads rarely works. Telling myself I want to increase my number of qualified leads by 40% in the next 2 months? Now I have a goal! How will I do it? Maybe I develop targeted calls-to-action (CTAs) and landing pages on my website for each of my buyer personas. Which brings us to our next step…
Create Your Inbound Marketing Plan
Now that you have a clear understanding of your audience and concrete goals, you can create your marketing plan. Targeted, measured efforts work best, so find what works best for you and your audience. Maybe you want to increase your website traffic. You might establish a presence on relevant social media and regularly post content with links to your website to drive people there to learn more. Maybe you want to more frequently interact with customers. Set up email campaigns to alert them of content and information they might find helpful. Also think about how you may integrate your inbound efforts with your outbound marketing efforts (e.g. tradeshows).
A little overwhelmed? You can use appropriate software to automate marketing processes (such as sending lead nurturing emails) and track components (page views, traffic from social media, whitepaper downloads). You can also access tools and templates (for emails or blog articles, etc.) that are huge time-savers.
Revisit and Refine
Marketing is like people, it’s dynamic. Revisit and refine your strategies to get the most from your efforts.
About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.