2020 Digital Marketing Guide for Manufacturers

September 30, 2020 @ 8:50 PM By Natalie Henley

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As a digital marketing agency, we have the opportunity to speak with and work with a large number of companies in the manufacturing space. Each has a unique set of goals, competitors, and marketing resources. As such, there is quite a multitude of digital marketing tactics and strategies they leverage.

Instead of giving you a manual of every tactic you *might* need, however, I opted to put together a minimal viable product guide to help you get your digital marketing in shape for the rest of 2020. As always, if this is something your organization is working through, please feel to reach out to Volume Nine. We’re always happy to bounce ideas or support you in getting your Digital Marketing strategy in place.

Did you know Volume Nine offers more than just full-service digital marketing programs? We can conduct audits, develop strategies, train your team, and/or provide consulting in any area of Digital Marketing.

TL;DR: Your Digital Marketing Summary

  • Have a good, mobile-friendly website
    • Include a form-fill option for leads to reach out
    • Make sure it’s fast
    • Have a CMS that allows you to expand the content
  • Have a simple content strategy
    • Write out your different target audiences
    • What content do they need to feel ready to reach out? i.e. sales content
    • What content will pull them into the site for the first time? I.e. resource content
  • Pick one social media platform
    • Generally, great choices for manufacturers are Linkedin or Facebook
  • Paid ads are your friend
    • Google search
    • Social ads
    • Retargeting
  • Measurement and attribution
    • Track goals in Google Analytics
    • Attribute marketing in your CRM
  • Create a “Good Enough” digital strategy
    • What do you need marketing to accomplish in the next 90-120 days?
    • Write out a simple plan to achieve that

Tips for You Manufacturer’s Website

Having a great website that speaks to all of your audiences is probably the most critical element of digital marketing for manufacturers.

Here are some quick tips and things we look at to help manufacturers determine if their website is up to par or not:

  • Is it fast on mobile? A great free tool to test this is Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Many of your users will most likely consume your content on mobile devices and speed and functionality tend to be a lot more important than fancy imagery.
  • Do you have a form fill option for leads? Many manufacturers just provide direct email contact information on their websites. Although this approach isn’t bad per se, it does come with one major drawback: you lose critical marketing attribution information regarding which channels are driving leads vs. traffic.
  • Can you easily edit and expand your content? Continuing to edit and create new content is vital for digital marketing. If you are still rocking a home-grown content management system (CMS) that you have to use a developer to update basic content, it might be time to migrate to a system like WordPress.

Creating Content is Key

Content is the fuel for most digital marketing. You’ll want to make sure you have the right content on your website for your buying audience. Here’s how to do that:

  • Step #1: Write out who your different audiences are (e.g. purchasing manager, CEO, etc.).
  • Step #2: Identify the content they need on the site to feel ready to reach out. This will generally be your sales content (hint: your sales team is a great resource to help you figure out what is needed here). In many cases, this might be things like technical specifications or answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Step #3: Identify the content that might pull them into the website for the first time. This is more of your marketing content and might show up like resources or blog posts.

Bringing Social Media in the Manufacturing Mix

Yes, social media can have a big impact for manufacturers. The trick is not to get overwhelmed or spread out your resources across too many platforms too fast. Some good platforms to consider starting with are:

  • Facebook – The combination of high user adoption (Facebook has more than one billion users) and great ad targeting make this a great place to start.
  • LinkedIn – The predominant platform for B2B networking, you also can’t go wrong focusing on LinkedIn. LinkedIn might also make the best place to start if you are focused on hiring as a core objective.

Leveraging Measurement and Attribution 

What makes digital marketing so powerful and attractive to businesses? The metrics behind it. You can actually prove something is working. However, many manufacturers neglect to set up the basic metrics and right tracking attributions needed to leverage this strategic advantage.

Here are some quick ways to make sure you’ve got a good attribution system setup:

  • Is Google Analytics set up for your website and tracking properly? Google Chrome has a free extension called “Tag Assistant” that will allow you to track this quickly. Also, here’s a quick rundown of the most common Analytics Setup mistakes we see every day.
  • Are you tracking basic goals in Google Analytics? The top ones you should be measuring for your industry are form fills and email newsletter sign-ups, both of which are very straightforward to set up in Analytics.
  • Do you have a CRM and are you attributing marketing to your leads? If you are doing this manually with a spreadsheet, or your CRM isn’t quite up to snuff to handle this, it might be time to consider switching before it becomes unwieldy. Some of the most common CRMs in this industry include Salesforce (enterprise-level) and Zoho (small business level).

Creating a “Good Enough” Digital Strategy 

Once you have the basics in place, then it’s time to develop a strategy for what’s next. We recommend keeping this simple, focused, and short-term.

Here are some quick tips on how to do this:

  • Step 1: What do you need marketing to accomplish in the next 90 to 120 days? Try to pick as few metrics as possible so that you can keep your plan simple. Examples might include things like:
    • More leads
    • The same number of leads, but more qualified
    • More employee applications
    • Support trade show success
    • Build brand awareness
  • Step 2: Sketch out a simple plan for how to achieve that. If you want to see how to sketch this out, here’s an example of a “good enough” digital marketing plan.

Especially if you’re just trying to get your bearings and find a direction, a “good enough” digital strategy is what you need. Once you have a bit more momentum, you can dig deeper into areas for growth and improvement.

Manufacturers: Need Help Building Awareness and Driving Results?

At V9, we know that every industry has its own unique challenges and opportunities. Within manufacturing, we know that things are changing for you at a rapid pace. You need to retain customers, increase awareness, and create a digital strategy that drives your biggest goals. You also need a strategy that can adapt when needed.

The tips we shared can help you get your digital marketing strategy off the ground with relatively few resources, but it’s not the end of the road. If you want to maximize your manufacturing company’s reach and drive more sales, V9 can help craft a digital strategy to help.

We have experience helping other brands within the manufacturing world drive results with digital. Contact us to get started driving yours.


About the author:

Natalie, as the CEO of Volume Nine, is responsible for ensuring we continually deliver a high quality, innovative service that drives results for our clients. She also ensures that the company continues to be an awesome place to work for our employees. Before coming to V9, Natalie cut her teeth in marketing on the market research/communications side of the house at Edelman PR, where she worked on campaigns for Fortune 50 companies. Then, in 2009, Natalie joined a small boutique agency doing this crazy thing called “digital marketing.” A few weeks in, clients started asking for social media marketing, so Natalie started a department to offer just that… and she’s never looked back.  

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