Companies in the manufacturing industry often have regular clients they’ve developed relationships with over a long time. A core clientele like this is essential and part of the backbone of any business.
But if you want to grow and thrive in the upcoming years, you can’t rely only on brand loyalty. Instead, you and your sales team must continuously search for new manufacturing clients to expand your reach and serve more businesses that can benefit from your products and services.
In the past, leads were generated through in-person networking. It wasn’t uncommon to foster new connections over lunch. Leads in the manufacturing industry today come mostly from online efforts — and that’s why digital marketing should be the centerpiece of your outreach initiatives.
Want to skip ahead and get an overview of everything you need to do to get on track with online marketing? Check out Constant Contact’s The Download, a free guide that’s specific to manufacturers.
Now, let’s jump into the five ways you can get more manufacturing clients using digital marketing:
- Refine your website
- Update your listings
- Make content work for you
- Budget for paid advertising
- Nurture your leads
Ready to get new manufacturing deals and repeat business — all in one place?
1. Refine your website
You must have a website for your manufacturing business. Many busy business owners think a social media presence or just word-of-mouth advertising will suffice, but that’s no longer the case. Every small- or medium-sized business should be able to take control of their messaging and online reputation by investing in and creating a website.
Websites are easy to create if you use an online tool like Constant Contact’s website builder. You can get your site up and running in just a few hours, leaving time to refine your content and layout in hopes of garnering more leads.
To do this, make sure your website:
- Conveys your values and what sets you apart from the competition. Answer the question, “What makes you first, better, or different?”
- Is set up to collect leads through email marketing for manufacturers. Have a section that lets people sign up for your monthly newsletter with industry insights.
- Is optimized for search engines, because search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to getting noticed through Google searches.
Remember, your website doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective — but a basic site can only go so far. When leads visit your site to learn about your services and products, use the opportunity wisely. Include a page on everything you offer, an “About Us” page telling your story and sharing your vision, and a contact page with all the ways to connect with you.
2. Update your listings
Of course, your online reputation isn’t limited to your website. It’s more likely that a potential client will find your agency through a listings platform — like Google My Business, Yelp, or Facebook.
To manage your listings, you must first claim your business on these sites and any others that your clients may use. That way, you’ll be able to update and verify the available information — your contact details, the spelling of your business name, and a full list of all your services. It’s also necessary so that you can respond to online reviews.
Some manufacturers are nervous about online reviews, but you should view these as an opportunity to demonstrate your customer service skills. Make it a habit to respond to every review, good or bad.
For positive reviews, thank the customer for their business. For negative reviews, stay professional. Acknowledge the complaint and apologize without making excuses. Invite the reviewer to discuss the situation further by providing a direct phone number. Potential clients understand that problems arise. They want to see that you’re willing to handle it well.
Wondering how to get more positive reviews? Ask your satisfied manufacturing clients. You can leverage your connections within your industry to improve your online reputation. If you need to, you can even create incentives — such as free giveaways, like water bottles or t-shirts with your company logo on it — to encourage people to leave reviews.
3. Make your content work for you
One way to improve SEO on your website and engage followers on your social media pages is to create content, like blog posts.
Why would you want to spend your time on content marketing as a manufacturer? Here are four great reasons:
- You’re able to position yourself as an expert in your industry.
- You can incorporate keywords into your blog that can be picked up by search engines to help you rank organically higher in searches.
- You can share wisdom and expertise that helps to build trust with potential leads.
- You can stay top-of-mind within your niche.
Blogs can feel like a lot of work for people who are already busy with all the other elements of running a manufacturing business. To be successful, take time to brainstorm a handful of topics with your executive team before you even start. You’ll want to follow a consistent publishing schedule, so decide if you want to come out with a new blog every month or every other week.
You can work with a professional ghostwriter or tackle the job yourself. Write at least a page or two, and then have someone proofread for clarity and typos. Add an engaging image before posting on your website, then link to it on social media and in your next email newsletter.
4. Budget for paid advertising
There was a time when manufacturers could take out an ad in an industry publication or even the local newspaper to get noticed, but today’s marketing professionals recognize the power of digital advertising.
This is different from content marketing and search engine optimization, which relies on organic, free growth. When you budget for paid advertising, you are strategically creating a plan to target specific audiences and grow your reach.
Google Ads and Facebook Ads are some of the most popular and effective methods of paid digital advertising. If you’re not used to creating and publishing ads like these, consider using an online marketing platform like Constant Contact, which offers tools that make the process faster and easier to understand.
5. Nurture your leads
Once you get a potential customer’s attention, they’re a qualified lead — but remember that you haven’t landed the deal yet. You must nurture the leads you cultivate online. The best way to do this is through email marketing and social media.
Email marketing involves gathering email addresses and sending attractive and informative newsletters regularly. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to make an email look good to the recipient. There are plenty of templates you can use that organize the information and graphics in a way that gets your leads to engage.
Social media marketing is also a valuable tool for nurturing leads. Your business should have a page on at least one social media platform that you update frequently. You can post your blogs as well as links to industry news, announcements about new product launches, and even fun cartoons that get people laughing.
Final thoughts on manufacturing client leads
Landing new contracts is a process that takes time. By following these best practices, you can expedite your company’s growth. Turning your focus to digital marketing will show your future customers that you can provide modern solutions to whatever issues they’re facing within the industry.
As you continue the conversation with your leads, you can convert them into loyal manufacturing clients who are willing to share their positive experiences with others. Before long, you’ll see the growth you deserve within your manufacturing niche.
For more tips and advice on how to market and grow your manufacturing business, check out our manufacturing blog posts.