The Thomas Blog

Industrial marketing and manufacturing sales tips to help you grow your business.

The Digital Marketing Skills You Need To Succeed

In the old days, marketing was about brochures and word-of-mouth referrals. Some of the more visionary types found a guy to dress up like a chicken and dance on the side of the road. These days, though, the internet is the medium of choice, which means companies have a much broader reach. But it also means that it's going to take a lot more than dancing chickens to be successful.

In this digital-driven landscape, success requires a particular set of skills, like these:

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Ready For GDPR? If Not, It Could Cost You

Roughly nine out of every ten B2B businesses use inbound marketing to connect with potential customers. If you’re one of these companies, then a new set of privacy guidelines – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — will change the way you collect, store, and use the personal information you obtain.

Unfortunately, only 22 percent of U.S. companies have a GDPR compliance plan in place. With the regulations set to go into effect in just a few months, it’s imperative for you to understand the guidelines and take steps to ensure compliance. If you don’t, it could cost you.

Here’s what you need to know:

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6 Steps To Transforming Your Sales Organization

It’s no secret that the sales landscape has changed in recent years. The general B2C space adapted fairly quickly to new technologies and tools, but for B2B businesses, and particularly industrial companies, the adoption has been slow moving. Keeping our reliance on the old rolodex and trade show lists in mind, it’s time to re-evaluate how we can keep up with the broader trends and modern tactics. 

We’ve had tremendous success using inbound selling principles — essentially, this is the process of aligning your sales process with your customer’s buyer journey. By asking the right questions and showing how you can solve a problem, you’re that much closer to onboarding your next client. 

While we don’t anticipate an overnight adoption, we did pull together some tips to incorporate tactics that fall under the inbound sales umbrella, which will help you get started and become more competitive in the current market.

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Why You Can't Rely On Word Of Mouth To Get More Leads

For small industrial businesses looking to gain new leads, old-school word-of-mouth referrals can still be effective, allowing you to expand brand awareness organically over time. But relying solely on word-of-mouth can seriously hinder your efforts to reach potential buyers. If this is currently your go-to method for lead generation, you may be missing out on some big opportunities — hurting your business and, ultimately, your bottom line.

But why exactly is relying on word-of-mouth marketing so ineffective? Below are a few of the main reasons this method shouldn’t be used on its own.

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Smart Technology And Wearable Trends In Manufacturing

Whether tracking fitness activity or ordering a sandwich, “there’s an app for that,” as the saying goes. Wearable technology is far from new, but it’s very much now: Gadgets that were once considered “geeky” and specialized are now being used by all kinds of people, the tech-savvy and traditionalists alike. Wearable technology, for instance, has skyrocketed in popularity.

The IoT, or Internet of Things, and the wearable technology that drives so much of its functionality, has found itself smack in the middle of the manufacturing sector’s everyday workflow, and demand just keeps rising.

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5 Steps To Manage Risk Before You Begin Exporting

Companies dealing with sluggish economies or saturated domestic markets often look to international expansion to manage risk. Consider this though: by expanding internationally, a company simultaneously mitigates and creates risk. There is inherent risk in expansion, particularly internationally; even mammoth retailers like Target have failed spectacularly.

Before expanding, a company must plan carefully, understand the market, staff carefully, and accept that the venture may still fail.

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The ABC's Of Making The Shortlist

As you know, industrial/B2B buyers looking to establish a long-term relationship with your business may vet you quite thoroughly. This could include visiting your facility, checking your finances, talking to customers and more.

However, before they get to that point, today’s buyers prefer to evaluate suppliers anonymously, then create a shortlist of potential partners before contacting them for further vetting.*

Of course, evaluating you anonymously as they create their shortlists means learning as much as they can about you online. This blog post will help you make sure your online presence doesn’t have any holes that leave you short of making those shortlists.

The following A to Z list goes beyond the obvious “what you do” info, and into the nuts and bolts of what makes your business unique.

Of course, depending on whether you’re an OEM, custom manufacturer, service company or distributor, not everything on the list may apply to you.

Still, this is a great opportunity to make sure you’re making the best first impression on customers that may have the power to change your business — whether you make that impression on your website or on a supplier discovery and evaluation platform such as Thomasnet.com.

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HTTPS Vs HTTP: Why Your Industrial Website Needs To Be Secure

When you visit a web page, you naturally focus on what’s inside the browser window — the words, images, products and other elements on the page itself. However, when it comes to optimizing your own industrial website, you also need to pay attention to what’s happening up above in the address bar. That’s because the difference between having HTTP and HTTPS in your address can have big implications for your business.

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5 Digital Marketing Tips To Reach More Buyers

As technologies continue to advance and industrial buyers increasingly turn to the internet for the information they need to find suppliers and source products, digital marketing has become indispensable in the B2B manufacturing and industrial sphere. Sending out mailers or relying on word of mouth is no longer enough to attract and convert valuable leads; now, a multifaceted approach is necessary to stay relevant in today’s shifting B2B landscape. 

A successful, ongoing digital marketing campaign will encompass a few different digital marketing strategies and elements; a strong, interactive social media presence, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and use of SEO best practices are just a few of the many channels being used today to expand company awareness and gain leads.

But once you have a solid digital foundation in place, what are the best ways to stay ahead of the curve? Below, we’ll delve into five simple — but super-effective — ways to amp up your digital marketing presence.

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