Today, marketing has become synonymous with a business plan because of its competitive strategy and financial success. It uses techniques that work best for each business, its customers, and its leads to get people interested in products or services. Many different marketing types are depending on the platforms you use and the campaigns you invest in. They are generally categorized under B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing or B2B (business-to-business) marketing.
What Does Industrial Marketing Mean?
In its simplest format, industrial marketing is B2B (business-to-business marketing) and promotes goods and services from one business to another. Today, industrial marketing is generally done with online tactics and involves many complex components.
Data shows that industrial buyers are typically 70% of the way through their purchase decision process before reaching out to a supplier. That's because today's B2B buyers are mostly millennials who are digital natives and do all their online research anonymously online first. Industrial marketing begins with research into these target audiences and prospects to understand how to meet their needs, what types of content, and where.
Manufacturing customers want to see detailed product information, your company history, where you do business, and reviews/testimonials that endorse your company. They expect the content they're researching to be available on-demand, optimized for any device, interactive, and highly visual. Does your website provide everything a prospect is looking for? If you answered yes, that's great! You're ahead of the game. But if you're not sure, that's okay — you can only go up from here. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the power of digital marketing and the opportunities it provides.
Here are a few ways manufacturers can use industrial marketing to grow your business — you may be surprised you're making some of these efforts already, but there are still ways you can improve.
What Are Industrial Marketing Ideas To Grow Your Business?
Content Marketing And Videos
The purpose of a manufacturer's website is to engage industrial buyers by providing the content and functionality buyers demand, resulting in quality, pre-qualified leads. Ideally, it should be working as a sales tool for you and generating leads.
You may already be including a lot of informative content on your website in the form of your product information, specifications, certifications, applications, capabilities and equipment. You should also include your company history, reviews/testimonials to help prospects validate your company, as well as detailed content that potentially gives buyers a positive perception of your company. Rather than just create a standard About Us page with all this information in text, consider diversifying your content with videos.
Content marketing is a critical component of industrial marketing because it helps get your business found online and (when done right) encourages prospects to contact you or make a purchase. Some popular content marketing ideas manufacturers see great engagement on are beginner-topic blog posts and how-to guides. Incorporate videos and other multimedia options to diversify your content and keep visitors engaged.
Tex Tech Industries provides innovative, high-performance materials across a vast number of industries. "Diversified content on our site has really helped us stand out as a leader in the industry," said Eoin Lynch, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Tex Tech Industries. "Some industries like aerospace technology can be complex, but our graphics, data sheets, and videos from Thomas Marketing Services break it down for buyers to understand what they need and how we help them."
In the blog example below, Tex Tech answers common questions any buyers have about the type of fabrics for their special projects. Graphics and a video further detail the quality and advantages of the materials.
Instead of just writing paragraphs of content or posting pictures of your shop floor, videos can effectively promote your brand too — marketing doesn't have to be all about writing. Different people consume content differently so it makes sense that video content grows revenue 49% faster than those who don’t, but it's important to keep your online content fresh.
If you last updated your site a year ago, think about doing it again. The Google algorithm searches for many factors, so an updated site but is important if you want new buyers and customers to find you online. Keeping your website design fresh and your content new will help boost your brand and visibility.
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SEO To Increase Website Traffic
SEO stands for search engine optimization and how the search engines — Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., — use a formula to determine the results for a user’s search. It is key to your industrial marketing strategy and goes hand-in-hand with new content on your website. By providing detailed product information in a search-engine-friendly way, prospects are more likely to find your website for specific search terms. And when they get to your website, they still search very specifically — sometimes even including part numbers in their searches. Here's what else you should include in your advanced search features on your website:
- Performance characteristics
- SPEC documents
- Local search SEO
If you’re specifically targeting customers in your area, be sure to include local keywords in your content. Terms like “cnc machining in Southern Illinois” will let B2B customers and search engines know where your service area is.
Below is an example of Google search results for a buyer searching for CNC machining services in the New York City area. If your Google My Business profile is up to date and has a consistent name, address, and phone number as the rest of your online platforms, you're more likely to get found by local buyers.
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An Online Product Catalog
Industrial buyers want to find the products they are interested in quickly. That's why website functionality is a part of industrial marketing. With a customer-centric approach becoming popular in business, advanced website functionality can make all the difference between your website and your competitors. With more businesses shifting to a direct-to-consumer model, they are upgrading their website to include a robust product catalog.
When a buyer or an engineer goes to a website, they look for exact product information to purchase and/or specify products into their design. With an interactive product catalog, product manufacturers can provide information of all of their products and their variations, as well as make it easy for users to quickly and efficiently filter their way to what they're looking for. A highly powered catalog, configurable options, and downloadable 3D CAD files make your customer's job easier — and yours too. Think how many engineering hours you'd be saving, while simultaneously improving customer service.
An interactive product catalog can also streamline the buying process by integrating eCommerce for direct online purchasing. As long as your data is accurate, you can drive sales around the clock. The functionality of an online product catalog ultimately replicates various aspects of your business from customer service to purchasing. It makes you as the manufacturer more accessible at any given time to meet preliminary prospect demands. Ultimately, your platform should have real-time functionality, support your distribution partners, and reduce customer service and engineering hours.
In the example below, Spirol designed their product catalog for engineers to configure their custom products.
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Just as there are different types of industrial marketing, there are also various advertising formats. There are search ads, display ads (you likely see many of these in your regular day-to-day internet activities), social ads (yes, that video you saw on Facebook was likely an ad), and more. Advertising campaigns are important to marketing because they promote all the above efforts to a broader and targeted audience.
Advertising on Thomasnet.com gets your manufacturing business seen on the platform where more than one million procurement professionals and engineers source industrial products and services every day. Complete your free profile to get seen by those B2B buyers.
“About half of our new custom work comes from Thomasnet.com leads. We could not have competed for — and won — all the new business we have without our strategic Thomasnet.com program."
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Email Marketing Campaigns
Similarly, emails let your subscribed audience stay in the loop about your company, products, offers, and resources you recently published. Research shows that only 25% of leads you receive are immediately sales-ready, while 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. Nurturing those leads with email campaigns and content resources pushes them closer to the buying stage while keeping your business top of mind. Emails continue to be one of the top marketing channels to stay connected with customers. According to Campaign Monitor, emails have the highest ROI for small businesses.
Website Chat Functionality
While talking on the phone might be one of the most traditional communication channels for some consumers, the majority of B2B buyers fall into the tech-savvy millennial age group and are researching vendors and suppliers online anonymously before getting in touch.
Custom plastic injection molding company, The Rodon Group, uses a website chat function on their homepage as part of their lead generation strategy to guide visitors to what they need whether they are just browsing, need to submit a quote, etc. Supplying prospects and customers with easy-to-access information makes their jobs easier and helps them see you as a trusted resource. Read more about how their tactics doubled their sales numbers in their case study here.
Get Started With Industrial Marketing
There are many other additional industrial marketing components, including PPC, social media, A/B testing, and reporting. And since it's not a one-and-done job, some businesses either hire an in-person marketing professional or an industrial marketing agency to help when resources are spread thin. If you're beginning your first industrial marketing plan and unsure how you go about it, contact us for a free digital health check. We have been connecting manufacturers and B2B buyers for more than 122 years. Our industrial marketing team is supported by degreed engineers who can help differentiate your company and grow your business.
"As a marketing department of one, it has been really helpful to have Thomas around to help with our marketing strategy as opposed to making it up as we go," said Renown Electric. "We've generated a lot of leads across various industries. We wanted to help educate our customers. Through eBooks, blogs, a revamped website — they actually drive our own knowledge out and customers appreciate the insight."
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