The marketplace changes constantly. Not only for the products you produce but the way you reach new and existing clients. Traditional marketing tactics, like attendance at trade shows, inclusion in trade directories and direct mail are on the decline. In their place, 61% of industrial manufacturers are using inbound marketing tactics. And, in 2014, manufacturing companies allocated almost half their marketing budget to online channels. Why the change? Because inbound marketing for manufacturing creates lasting relationships that form the foundation for qualified, high-converting leads and more sales.
What is inbound marketing and how does it work?
Most people looking for a product start their search online, including 90% of B2B customers. This means those companies with a strong online presence are best placed to capture new business. By creating and promoting interesting and authoritative online content, prospects follow a trail of breadcrumbs to the door of your website. Or, they search for and find your website with lots of useful content on it. Now you’ve attracted and engaged them, they’re already warmed up for the sales discussion. And the benefits don’t stop there.
Meet Bob. He’s a Senior Technical Product Engineer with a problem. The eco-friendly plastic closures his business uses aren’t up to par. Changing suppliers is a big decision because the closures are an integral part of their product. Bob needs to feel confident that a new product can meet their requirements and their budget. Finances are tight, so Bob doesn’t get to meet new providers at conferences anymore. He also doesn’t have time to read direct mail – in fact, it can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance.
Eco-Plastics are a manufacturer of eco-friendly plastic closures. They have invested in an inbound marketing strategy which brings them and Bob together.
Bob Looks for a New Provider
Bob remembers reading some useful, expert articles about eco-friendly plastic closures on LinkedIn. Bob goes back to the platform and finds the articles. He sees the company name, ‘Eco-Plastics’, and remembers that they seemed to know their stuff.
To get to this point, Eco-Plastics have done their homework. They understand the information their customers need and where they go to find it online. They also provide website links in their articles so customers can find more information with a single click.
Bob clicks a link in the article and is taken directly to the relevant webpage.
Bob Researches Eco-Plastics
Now that Bob is a visitor to Eco-Plastic’s website, he searches for more information. The website is clearly laid out and he can easily find what he wants.
Eco-Plastics knows that industrial marketing doesn’t need to be dull. They have included interesting photos of the manufacturing process, 360-degree product videos and full product descriptions. There are even short films of satisfied customers explaining how the product has helped their company.
Bob has most of what he needs to feels assured about Eco-Plastics. Now he’s ready to speak to someone at the company.
Bob Contacts Eco-Plastics
Because buying and integrating new products can be a tricky part of the manufacturing process, Bob needs to speak to a sales rep to ask some more questions. The Eco-Plastics sales rep is happy because not only does he have better quality lead data, he gets calls from pre-qualified, informed buyers like Bob. Which means he’s got a good chance of closing the sale.
The CEO is also happy because he spends less on inbound marketing than traditional marketing methods. And, because there are plenty of metrics that establish ROI, the Marketing Director’s life is much easier too. He finds inbound marketing and manufacturing to be a good cultural fit because they are both data focussed. And anything that makes it easier to get senior buy-in is good for everyone.
Bob Brings his Purchasing Chain up to Speed
Eco-Plastics understands Bob will need to secure multiple approvals for the sale to go ahead. They have joined up processes in place and plenty of shareable information to make sure that whatever needs to happen, happens.
Bob shares the blog posts he has read with his manager and colleagues. They visit Eco-Plastic’s website and the Eco-Plastics sales rep shares other useful content so everyone can see the product for themselves. Now everyone in the buying process is bought in and they are happy to proceed with a test batch.
Bob Gets his Eco-Friendly Plastic Closures
While Bob waits for his consignment, he continues to receive confirmation emails letting him know where the process is up to. The blog he signed up to continues to provide useful content. In fact, Bob has just received an article on eco-friendly aluminium piping and he’s enquiring into this too. Because everyone at his firm is bought into Eco-Plastics, it has been much easier to get approval for this purchase. And, if he buys both items from Eco-Plastics, Bob’s company will benefit from the multi-product discount offer that he saw on the last blog post.
Bob is Delighted
Eco-Plastics deals with hands-on, complex manufacturing challenges on a daily basis. This gives them plenty of useful content focussed on their products, solutions and customer needs. From the data, Eco-Plastics collected on Bob and his colleagues, they know the business and the challenges they face. Everyone receives personalised emails highlighting content that makes their work lives easier.
Bob is so delighted he rates Eco-Plastics 5 stars on Google. He’s even been asked to star in a 30-second video to let other people know about his experience. Now Bob’s blushing - he’s not used to the limelight.
Think Inbound Marketing Could Help Your Manufacturing Business?
Inbound marketing for manufacturing is helping more businesses than ever. If you’re not using this method to attract customers, develop lasting relationships and close more sales leads, now is the time to start.