If you think inbound marketing is just for tech-savvy millennial-ish markets and industries, well you my friend, are heavily mistaken. The shifting trend in marketing doesn't apply to millennial market B2Bs alone. Even the behemoth, old-school, well-established, and specialized manufacturing companies are experiencing a shakeup when it comes to acquiring leads and converting them into customers.
The specialty manufacturing market (as the name implies), is special -- "niche," if you will. Like a perfect irony taken from the book of hipsters, one of the many challenges one might come across when it comes to marketing a specialty manufacturing company, happens to also be its advantage; the buyer personas for these types of companies are already narrowed down, and because it is, finding new prospects can be difficult. And here is where inbound marketing helps.
The premise of inbound marketing (attracting, nurturing, and converting leads) is a match made in heaven for specialty manufacturing companies because it transforms this process into a two-way street. Marketers are not only casting a bigger fishing net on the right school of fish, but prospects who were in the dark about other options for specialized manufactured products or services can now pick from a bigger pool of providers. Here's where your mission is to outrank and outshine your competitors.
How do you do this, exactly? Here's the three starting points.
1. Analyze your buyer personas and set your goals.
Who are the people purchasing your products or services? What are their similarities and differences? What challenges do they encounter needing your services as solutions?
Before you can set your goals and create effective inbound marketing strategies to reach them, you should conduct a thorough buyer persona research. Buyer personas are the "archetypes" of the real buyers or would-be buyers of your products or services. If you think you already know this without conducting detailed research, you're wrong. Analyzing your brand's buyer personas will give you the Five Ring of Buyer's Insight:
- Priority Initiatives
- Success Factors
- Perceived Barriers
- Buyer's Journey
- Decision Criteria
These buyer insights should enable you to determine what your goals should be and enable you to create marketing plans to effectively capture the right prospects and turn them into customers.
2. Get on the web with a killer site.
Your website is not just your digital name tag. It's your inbound marketing weapon. With the right SEO strategy in place and an emphasis on UX, you can rank higher on search results, consequently getting in front of more prospects ahead of your competitors. Remember, functionality is at the center of a phenomenal web design. A poorly designed site might cause you to forever miss out on a prospect by frustrating them.
Think of this qualifier as one part aesthetics, and another part functionality. You don't need a complicated site or a pretty site that does nothing for your brand identity. What you need is a site that caters to User Experience (UX), is duly optimized for search engines, and contains valuable and organized information for your audience. One more thing, don't forget to make sure your site is responsive!
3. Allocate the right inbound marketing budget for your goals.
In the past, most specialty manufacturers relied heavily on industry connections and pursued minimal marketing activities that were mostly limited to trade shows and cold calling. Not anymore. In an era where your prospects are doing their own research and your competitors are but a click away, marketing can mean all the difference.
Without the right budget however, you may be preventing your brand from achieving its goals. So how much should you spend then? While this figure depend highly on where you are and where you want to be, the most successful manufacturing companies allocate somewhere between 10%-20% of their revenue towards marketing activities.
The good news about inbound marketing, is that unlike traditional marketing practices used by manufacturing companies in the past, there are better and more accurate systems in place to track and measure the effectiveness of a campaign. This not only enables you to cut waste in budget allocation, but also allows you to adjust your strategies freely within short periods of time depending on their performance.
Now that's what I call smart marketing!
With these three initial steps your specialty manufacturing company can specialize in another thing -- awesome lead generation! Don't wait for the entire industry to catch on. Take your marketing to the next level and watch your company leave the competition behind.