Digital Marketing For Industrial Suppliers & Manufacturers: 3 Must-Haves

Potential customers do a great deal of research into every purchasing channel available to them. The latest Industrial Buyer's Search Habits Survey Results show that 40% of B2B buyers rate the quality of a manufacturer's website as an important factor when deciding whether to partner with a supplier. With B2C expectations driving change in B2B, industrial distributors can implement some digital marketing ideas to foster customer loyalty and increase revenue growth.

We've rounded up the digital marketing must-haves you need to successfully promote your industrial products and services and reach more buyers.

industrial digital marketing for manufacturersMust-Haves To Market Your Industrial Supply Or Manufacturing Company Successfully

1. A Thorough Understanding Of Your Target Audience

Typically, you’ll be looking to target design engineers and procurement managers. Regardless of who they work for, their functions will always stay the same. Understanding your ideal customer profile will tell you which industries, company size, job titles, etc. to target and lead to deals that close faster and for a higher average sale.

For example, procurement managers are interested in the cost, quality, and reliability of a supplier. Their job is not only to save money, it’s to ensure they’re getting the most value from vendors. So while they’re also data-oriented in that they need to check technical specifications, you’ll want to convey your trustworthiness through certifications and relevant standards. They control a company’s Approved Vendor’s List, so if you want to work with a heavy hitter, you’ll want to get on a procurement manager’s good side.

To get the attention of design engineers, you’ll need to understand where they’re coming from and how they think. Today’s engineers design intricate products with important and unique specifications. Their main priorities are the form, fit, and function of products. They are problem solvers who are less concerned about how information is packaged as long as they have all the data they’re looking for. 

They need as much information as possible — performance characteristics, specifications, 3D CAD models, and fully populated catalogs — to ensure they’re sourcing components that will meet their design and manufacturing criteria. More importantly, they expect this information to be available when they want it. Therefore, offering technical specifications and CAD files should get you some attention.

💡 Thomas Fact: Forrester Research polled manufacturing companies and 44% of respondents have difficulty making their product data available to prospective customers. Learn How to Unlock New Opportunities Across Your Digital Sales Channels With This Free Webinar Recording: Product Data 101 for Manufacturers

If you can’t immediately provide potential customers with the information they need on their own schedule, they will find somebody else who can — with a simple search and click. By understanding how to meet your buyers' needs, you can better position yourself as a trusted partner to earn their business. 

TranPak is a manufacturer & distributor of standard & custom plastic pallets, bins, liquid containers & cases. Christian Ueland, TrankPak President, wanted to become more visible to the right people: relevant purchasing agents and other industrial buyers ready to place an order.

A conversation with advertising executives and qualified engineers at Thomas revealed the companies searching for custom plastic pallets and how TranPak could reach those audiences.

➡️ Discover which buyers you could be doing business with — request your free in-market buyer activity report here.

“The leads that we get from are qualified. They're purchasing agents that are serious about our products and we grew our business by 24%,” said Christian. 

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2. Consistent, Up To Date Company Information Across The Web

Now that you know what your main target personas are looking for, you can update your website detailing how your company can provide it, right? Not completely. Rather than focus on your company solving a problem, think about the problem itself. Provide your customers with resources like blogs, eBooks, and guides to help them make an informed decision on the best products and solutions for their needs.

Learn More: The Ultimate List Of Blog Topic Ideas For Manufacturers

For example, if you supply fasteners, write up some content that explains which types of fasteners are useful for various applications. While it might be tempting to focus on your role and capabilities in the sector, instead focus on potential problems these products can solve. Include as much technical information as you can to really hold your audience’s attention. Once you get to the end of the piece, then you can briefly discuss your company and the services you provide that are relevant.

To really get readers’ attention, also be sure to include appropriate imagery as much as possible. If you can include a diagram or picture that accurately describes the concepts being covered, definitely incorporate that in your content.

Many manufacturing websites have a “Contact Us” section to list the company’s phone number and email address. It’s a basic lead generation function of the website. But you should also include other ways for prospects to contact you throughout the other pages of the website, like RFQ buttons and forms.

Consider listing your business on relevant online business directories, like Google My Business, Yelp, and to increase your reach and drive qualified prospects to your website. 

When creating these business profiles, make sure you have a consistent business name, address, phone number, a link to your website and company description. Add a multimedia option, like a video or photo that showcases your business well, like the location of your facility or your shop floor. 

See More: 4 Places To Advertise Your Manufacturing Business

Suppliers who advertise with videos on their Company Profile get increased engagement & RFQs by 32% — with some seeing increases as high as 70%. 

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“Qualified leads are coming to us now, and since prospects can easily search our capabilities and qualifications, those who contact us are more inclined to do business with us.”

Bill Boyer, CEO, Boyer Machine & Tool Co., Inc.

3. Promote Your Brand As A Resource With Helpful Content

Your prospective buyers are looking for content that helps them get their jobs done. And when you present them with information in a more visual, reader-friendly way, the content is more likely to be shared with someone else in their network — this expands your reach and brand visibility.

Similarly, regular email campaigns and outreach about new products and product updates can help you close sales sooner. Emails are one of the best ways to advertise your manufacturing business. It's a critical component of a lead generation campaign, and remains one of the most effective ways businesses stay connected with customers and top-of-mind with prospects.

"We wanted to make more buyers and decision-makers aware of what we have to offer. The team at Thomas explained the benefits of advertising in the Thomas Industry Update email and it ended up being a great way to help us generate that awareness and we earned new contacts for our sales team to call on. We would recommend TIU advertising to other manufacturers and industrial companies who are interested in growing their business," said Mark T., of Toagosei America.

Provide helpful content by product line and send 'reorder reminder emails' when a customer recently bought a consumable product, like a lubricant you know they may need to reorder soon (this is where your digitized product data comes into play too).

Why do these matter? Here are some fast facts:

    • 20% of millennial buyers start with vendor websites and 17% look to peer reviews 
    • Email marketing continues to generate the highest ROI for small businesses
    • 97% of B2B buyers said that it was important vendor websites offered easy access to content

See More: Top 11 Content Marketing Ideas For Manufacturers 

Promote Your Industrial Products & Services With Digital Marketing

As you begin to reevaluate your current marketing strategy, you may find that there are numerous variables and opportunities for success. The tips we reviewed above should serve as your foundation — the best marketing strategies for manufacturers evolve as buyer trends change. Our marketing solutions will give you every tool you need to reach potential customers and provide them with the type of positive digital experience that turns into meaningful leads. 

"We tried other people with our website and marketing but found their focus wasn't on manufacturing, and Thomas is. We get a lot of activity now and steady results weekly — a lot of inquiries thanks to Thomas and our online marketing efforts," Ron Delfini, President at Engineering Specialties, Inc.

Contact us to request a free digital health check. We'll assess your website and let you know exactly what you need to turn website visitors into leads.

Read What's Next: The Ultimate 2021 Guide To Marketing For Manufacturers

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