Why Aren’t You Investing Already?
Firstly, let’s see if you’re experiencing any of these scenarios, then we’ll teach you how to make Content Marketing an investment with a manufacturer marketing plan.
Our Posts Aren’t Going Viral
You create content, you share it, it goes viral. That’s how it works right? This may work for well-known brands. But remember, large businesses have been investing in content for years and it's why they thrive in the digital age.
Content Marketing isn't an overnight remedy. If you're not allowing enough time to build up momentum, it’s a reason why you’re failing.
You need to invest your time in Content Marketing, it takes a tailored strategy and a lot of input to build traction.
We Aren’t Achieving Our Goals
Many companies report their Content Marketing is ineffective. The Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Trends study (2014) found Only 9% of businesses reported finding it very effective, whilst 14% found it ineffective. As a business, you strive for perfection so it’s easy to understand why some aren’t sold on the idea.
If you aren’t convinced, ask yourself these questions. Did we have clear goals and objectives? Were we sharing our content? How were we measuring its success?
If you don’t have a written plan and haven’t documented your results, then it’s time to re-think.
Define your goals, do you want to improve website traffic or brand awareness? How will you judge success?
There are several exercises you can practice to build a content strategy and you’ll discover the most productive ideas as you progress. We’ll go into more detail later, but here are a few starting points:
- Creating buyer personas - Insightful, semi-fictional accounts of who your target customers are.
- Brainstorming ideas - Get the creative juices flowing by playing some icebreaker games and throwing some ideas around.
- Running content audits - Review your existing content and see where you can re-publish it in a different format.
Our buyer persona template will help you determine who your buyer personas are.
We Didn’t Want to Blow Our Budget
Don’t ignore the obvious, Content Marketing is expensive. Video editors, writers, and designers are expensive to hire whether they’re in-house or external.
You can understand why manufacturing companies choose to invest a little at a time and check the impact on their results.
On average, B2B companies spend 31% of their budget on content. The theory is, by investing minimally you can judge your ROI on that amount. The trouble is, you get what you pay for.
How many times do you go to a B2B Manufacturer’s website and see their last blog post was 6 months ago? It’s a drop in the ocean when you realise that there are millions of blogs posted to the web every day.
It’s impossible to achieve any sort of ROI if you aren’t consistent.
Why B2B Content Marketing is Important
In the digital age, content creation is a key tactic in B2B manufacturing marketing. Remember content can take many forms, white papers, infographics, photographs and webinars.
Here’s what the Content Marketing Institute had to say about Content Marketing;
It is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience.
In 2014 tech giants Philips partnered with The Telegraph, publishing an article every day for 100 days. Celebrities, journalists and explorers prepared the content, which documents how Philips products changed their lives.
This project required articulate planning and 100% commitment. As a result, the brand awareness and trust they built from influencer accounts was phenomenal.
Quick Brainstorm: How would you make a boring topic sound exciting and investable?
Why is Content Marketing Important?
Okay, great. Content Marketing is amazing. But why is it relevant to manufacturer marketing? And why bother with a marketing plan?
Content = Community
Content keeps your business relevant and gives your customers a reason to connect. Released a cool video on how to fit a tyre? Created a list of tools that you need to fix a car?
If your customers like your content then they’re more likely to interact with you. What do you do when you’re mind blown by a captivating piece of content? You like it, share it and link it over to friends.
Accomplishing this on a regular basis will improve the credibility of your brand.
Building Authority in the Market
Giving people information they love builds trust. As trust builds you gain more recognition.
That could be gaining followers, likes, shares or reviews. As your business grows you become a thought leader and authority in your chosen field. A prime example of a thought leader is US home improvement supplies retailer The Home Depot. They have over 150,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel where they offer home cleaning tips and DIY solutions.
Here are two video title examples;
- How to replace a showerhead - 13k views
- How to make a wooden doormat - 5k views
The videos build their reputation as a thought leader because they instruct people to perform common tasks they’re unable to do.
Improving Your SEO
We’ll discuss some more marketing terms shortly, but for now, let’s focus on SEO. Alongside creating gripping content, SEO is the best way to get recognised online.
SEO determines whether your content appears in the top results page on search engines, making you more visible to browsers.
If your content is appearing on the top page you’ll get more traffic to your website, this will generate leads who you’ll convert to customers.
Improve your SEO by;
- Optimising your content for mobile.
- Linking to relevant articles, from other websites and your own.
- Writing longer, quality text.
- Including relevant keywords, but don’t stuff your text with them.
- Speeding up your website.
- Researching your competition.
- Writing like a human!
It’s Not ‘Salesy’
How do you sell a product without pitching how good it is? By being patient, giving people information and not expecting an immediate return.
Build up a solid portfolio and your business could become a go-to source for information. Traditional marketing methods have a sell-by-date, campaigns end, you analyse their performance and start the next one.
Content is different, it works overtime. Get a piece of content ranking in a search engine and it’ll work for you for years to come.
See how to adapt to B2B customer behaviours by reading this article on new buying processes.
Focus on the core problem that your business solves and put out lots of content, and enthusiasm and ideas about how to solve that problem.- Laura Fitton, Inbound Marketing Evangelist at HubSpot
What Do I Need to Include in My Marketing Plan?
Here are a few goals to consider when building your manufacturer marketing plan.
Raising Brand Awareness
B2B manufacturing marketing requires excellent brand awareness. Whilst your company may have a big brand presence offline, building a digital-footprint is challenging for some business owners.
The good thing about brand awareness campaigns is their flexibility, feel free to be creative with content and only give subtle hints about what you do.
Design these Content Marketing campaigns to let people know you're out there, so don't make them too promotional.
You need to make people aware that there is a solution to the problem and you’ve got the information they need. This is the Awareness stage of Inbound Marketing.
A fitting example would be Samsung. The video shows how they made a moving, emotive TV advert showing how technology can aid premature babies when their mothers aren’t in the hospital.
Driving Website Traffic
This measure has changed in recent years, with marketers now seeking more information.
Using tools like Google Analytics will help determine what content website visitors are looking at, such as how many people have visited your site, per day, per minute or per year.
Content Marketing isn’t free but it’s cheaper than paid methods of advertising, so if you write valuable content for your buyer personas you’ll generate some rewarding visits.
Need to improve your website? Ask these questions before you do!
If you're starting from scratch, getting enough content to start building momentum will be a specific goal.
If you want to create a marketable portfolio, then it’s important to get your strategy right. Try implementing a SMART goals strategy.
When you’ve decided what your Specific goal is, you can use a content strategy template to Measure how much content you create. Reviewing your content template helps determine whether targets are Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Aim for 2-3 articles per week, set time-frames for content creation and develop plans in advance to make the process easier.
B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month.
If your content reads well and you optimise it for search engines then there’s a good chance it will start to gain traffic and people will visit your website.
But it doesn’t stop there. Nurturing your customer is part of the buying process and to qualify them as a lead they need to provide you with some information!
There are many pieces of information that could qualify someone as a lead. For example, a lead is someone that interacts with your business at any stage of the buying process.
For example, they may provide their email in return for an e-book. This qualifies them as a lead in the Awareness stage of the Buyer's Journey, where the customer is troubleshooting a problem and performing initial research.
When your content is generating leads you need to categorise them, this could be demographical like their position in the company.
In manufacturer marketing you may be targeting more than one client, such as director or manager.When creating content, use your segmented lists to determine what your focus is in the content plan.
You may be attracting business directors with certain pieces of content, but failing with content aimed at managers. Use your buyer personas to ensure you are writing the most appropriate content.
As your buyer progresses through the funnel you’ll give them premium content like live sessions and expert guides. This is where your industry knowledge shines through.
Your content takes on a persuasive form and you’ll start to talk more about what you are offering your buyer. This is the Consideration stage where buyers are looking for a solution.
Be creative, be resourceful and remember to document everything in your content plan to track performance.
Be Realistic and Perceptive When Setting Your Goals. Would You Plan a Lead Conversion Campaign if You Haven’t Generated Leads for 6 Months?
What Tools Can I Use To Improve My Content?
Blogs are the central hub for all your content. It’s where website visitors navigate through your work and seek out the pieces that interest them.
Blogs are versatile and host various types of content from podcasts, graphics and videos.
Although content creation can be expensive, blogs are inexpensive to maintain. Content audits allow you to review your existing content, checking logistics, consistency and accuracy every 3-12 months.
They also give you a lot of freedom to be creative, check out this example.
Neenah are a paper manufacturer, which doesn’t get the blood pumping for most people. Nonetheless, take a look at their website. It’s similar to a news site and the articles are visually stunning.
Red-Fern Tip: Could you take photographs of your manufacturing process and insert them into your blog?
If you want to generate leads it’s essential to implement CTA’s into your blog.
A Call-to-Action directs viewers to a piece of content, after submitting their information they can download it. For instance, you may offer a free report template in return for some basic information.
CTA’s are effective as they show interest in your brand, which qualifies them as a lead and moves them further down the marketing and sales funnel.
Content Management Systems
If a blog is a hub for your buyer then the CMS (Content Management System) is your hub. This is where you can access all your content and perform any revisions.
The CMS enables you to create drafts and sort your content with appropriate tags and categories. This helps you manage your content, keeping everything central and accessible.
CMS also have functionality advantages, for example, you can use it to make FAQ content to improve your customer service.
Promoting on Social Media
It’s vital you extend your reach as much as you can when you’ve got a strong content portfolio.
Social media gives you the option to share what you already have, or create new material for your customers.
There are so many social media platforms to select when sharing your content. It’s important you pick the right platform and deliver the right message.
Many businesses and businessmen use LinkedIn to network and promote professional content. Contrastingly, YouTube promotes videos so you would be delivering the message in a different style.
Quick Brainstorm: Generate a few ideas you could use for each platform, remembering how they differ. Consider looking at the user specification for each platform.
44% of online women use Pinterest, compared to 16% of online men.
If you’re manufacturing women’s clothes, Pinterest would be an ideal platform to share your content on. It’s all about building knowledge of where your customers are.
Feeling Brave? Try Dynamic Content Creation
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g. offers, ads, promotions) appears that doesn’t relate to their interests.
Are you offering the right content to people? Use your buyer personas to decide which content offer is appropriate.
This will need coding so consider employing a web designer to install this feature. You’ll need a portfolio for each buyer persona with different content for each one.
Use Online Tools
There are plenty of Content Marketing tools you can use on the web. Read the article 5 Killer Content Marketing Tools that Increase Website Visitors.
Investing in Content Marketing
If you don’t have a Content Marketing strategy, this is why many businesses do. It is your job to educate your buyers, building trust by being honest and understanding.
Ask yourself these questions;
- Think about why you aren’t using Content Marketing now. Can you justify those reasons?
- If you want to build for the future, do you think Content Marketing is a good strategy?
- Do you think goal-setting with a manufacturer marketing plan would enhance your web profile?
- Could you use tools to improve or generate exciting content?
Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for Content Marketing leaders compared to followers (19.7% vs 2.5%).