Effective inbound marketing strategy for manufacturers

In this short guide, we discuss the strategies and tactics that B2B manufacturers should be considering in 2023.

Let me start by asking you a question…

How did you find this page? Was it the result of a Google search? Or perhaps you clicked on a paid LinkedIn post? Maybe, your contact details were already in our CRM and the brilliantly written email you received piqued your interest?

Whatever route you took to get here, it’s now my job to convince you that by working with our agency we can help your company stand out from the competition, and generate high-quality leads for your sales team.

My cunning plan (it really isn’t all that cunning)is to explain the approach we believe manufacturers should be taking to inbound marketing; and convince you that getting in touch with me makes lot of sense.

The challenge for manufacturers

Manufacturing companies that rely on a Business-to-Business (B2B) sales model, are facing some tough challenges. The traditional approach of sending a sales team to build direct relationships with wholesalers, retailers or user-groups can be costly, ineffective and very difficult to measure. 

Let’s talk ‘The 95:5 Rule’

Within B2B, it’s generally accepted that only 5% of your potential market is truly ‘in-market’ at any given time. The other 95% either don’t know you, haven’t connected your brand with their challenge, or simply don’t feel the timing is right to engage.

Demand Generation campaigns should build the long term brand equity, so that each time your sales activation (in other words, Lead Generation) is switched on, the combined effort incrementally increases your sales potential.

What does all this activity look like in practice?

Key activities for Demand Generation include blogging, SEO, content marketing, advertising (digital, print, OOH, broadcast), social media, and attending events (whether in-person or online).

To nurture leads into high-value Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and eventually, become paying customers, Lead Generation should utilise gated content, offers, paid search/social, and email nurturing.

Post-sales activities nurture customers and build relationships through email nurturing, case studies, testimonials, and surveys.

Marketing Technical Stack

A proven marketing-technology platform like HubSpot or Pardot, with a robust CRM, is vital. Integration with existing sales systems (like Salesforce, for instance) streamlines data flow. As well as providing a CRM, systems like HubSpot allow you to manage key activities and workflows. You can create landing pages, email nurture journeys, and even manage your paid advertising like PPC and social media posts.

So how will you get there?

Know your audiences

A deeper customer understanding should always be your starting point. Alongside scrutinising the profiles and behaviours of existing customer data, you should look to build up careful audience profiles (personas) that define goals, challenges, frustrations and personal characteristics. Not surprisingly perhaps, Artificial Intelligence is proving to be very useful in this area – enabling the creation of deeper, more sophisticated personas than traditional methods offer.

Planning – strategic, content and media

Of course, we believe that working with an exceptional creative agency, who specialise in B2B, will get you better results, and quicker!

Early in the process, you should be collaborating with your agency on strategic planning, content creation, media selection, and innovating new creative ideas that will get your campaigns noticed. You’re going to achieve the best results if your whole team is involved, so internally, you should be prepared to bring on board your senior management, as well the product and sales teams.

Technically, you’ll need your agency to set up templates for emails and landing pages and there’ll be asset templates to consider for digital advertising and social media posts.

You’ll also need to establish workflows – automated journeys that process data (like form completions) and drops prospects into email nurturing journeys and services them the right content.

And you’re off!

So now you’re ready to light the touch-paper and get your campaigns underway. A good agency can help you carefully manage your media budget, and ensure the frequency and relevance of content is exactly right for your audiences. Creativity and high-quality content are crucial – strategy alone won’t engage buyers.

Keep A/B testing

One of the great things about a properly organised marketing system is the ability to A/B test ideas and content. 

To illustrate this point, this page is in fact, one of two versions that we’ve produced. The other is shorter (a good thing you might think!) and written in the third person, rather than by me, personally. To generate the second version, we used Chat GPT AI to edit this version down to around 500 words and remove the personal writing style. Our Paid Media team have set up our ads to send 50% of user clicks to each version, so that after a period of time we can see which is performing best.

It’s important to emphasise that strategy and tactics alone will not convince potential buyers to engage with you. It still takes creative ideas and thinking to make you stand out from the competition, and at the heart of your customer journey you must be producing high quality content. In both these areas, a knowledgeable, creative agency partner will prove invaluable.

A bit about us

As you’ve probably gathered by now, my agency, Cite, specialises in working with businesses like yours. In fact, we’ve been helping manufacturers with their marketing for over twenty years.

We work with manufacturers of all shapes and sizes. So although some may be familiar names, like Continental Tyres, Saint-Gobain and Knauf for example), there’s an awful lot more that will be less well known outside of their industry, but are nonetheless, very successful in their own right.

Because we understand the challenges that manufacturers face, you can be sure that when you’re ready to push ahead, we’re going to be able to mover quickly.

Our offer is to harmonise our clients’ brand, user experience and performance marketing. In practice, this means we can help at every stage in the marketing journey. From strategic services around the brand, to practical design and content requirements like web design, and day-to-day performance marketing. 

Let’s talk marketing for manufacturers

To learn more about how Cite can help you develop an effective marketing strategy, complete this form, or call us directly on 0116 254 9888.

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