Too many stories in the media today point to changing conditions in China as the key reasons for the resurgence of manufacturing in America. A recent report from Thomas Industrial Network finds that many industrial businesses in the U.S. are actually taking active steps and investing in strategies to help them grow and expand. The report states that 58% of product and custom manufacturers are more aggressively pursuing business in new industries, while 66% are investing in new and/or innovative products or services.
Industrial businesses looking to reach out to new target markets or promote new product/service offerings will need an effective marketing and sales strategy to help them achieve their business goals. What follows is a three-pronged marketing strategy that nearly any industrial company can execute.
1. Targeted Branding
This part of the strategy is about broadcasting the value of your company and its offerings. The key here is visibility and a consistent message. The messaging can be broad (i.e. "We offer a better value than China") or specific (i.e. a new product or exclusive technology/service). They are also effective early in the buying cycle—even before a potential customer is actively seeking a supplier or solution. They include:
News releases. Using a news syndication site helps spread the word about your company across the Internet. Buyers that subscribe to e-newsletters and websites that curate from these sites, or that search the web using relevant keywords, will potentially come across these releases. Nearly any type of news release is effective for branding—awards, new hires, major sales announcements, business partnerships, product/service launches, etc.
Online display advertising. A targeted ad campaign increases exposure and strengthens your branding message. The ads should use the same branding message as the news releases, even if they advertise different things.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Buyers that enter relevant keywords into general search engines will see these text ads alongside organic search results. Your branding message must be succinct, as the amount of text allowed is not much (typically 25 characters for the title, 70 characters for the ad text, and 35 characters for a display URL).
2. Social Experience
One additional approach you can take is to build your social media presence in the market you hope to reach. Join forums, comment on blogs and participate in LinkedIn groups within this space. Listening is a key value of social media, so spend some time observing others in the market you are trying to reach. Note common concerns and questions, then try to address them in public outlets (such as a LinkedIn Answer).
3. Search Visibility
One of the most important parts of marketing new products/services to new markets is the ability to be found by potential customers in the markets you are trying to reach. That requires two key tactics:
B2B search verticals. Because of their frequent usage by industrial buyers, it is critical that you have a presence on sites like ThomasNet.com. Ensure that your listing is found under the various market and product categories that you are trying to reach. Then update your listing with technical information related to the new offering(s). Be sure to include as much detail as possible, just as you would for your core products/services. If the site allows you to upload or post files, such as videos or technical documents, then take advantage of that opportunity. The more content your listing has, the more influential it will be.
Website and SEO. Of course your website should also be updated to include explicit details about your new offering(s). Update your product catalogs, capabilities pages, etc. If you don't have these on your website now, include them. This information does more than simply educate potential buyers and increase the likelihood they will buy from you—it also enhances your search engine optimization (SEO) for relevant keywords. The more information you have about these new products/services you offer, the more likely it will come up in general search engine search results.
The Right Strategy for You
Building the right marketing strategy to help you achieve your business goals is more complex than can be summed up in one article. While industrial companies can "go it alone," it's good to have a partner with experience devising and creating unique online marketing strategies. Thomas has helped thousands of companies just like yours create online marketing strategies that help them achieve their business goals.
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