A Comprehensive Guide to Digital Marketing for Manufacturers

If you own a successful manufacturing company, then you know that you have high-quality and valuable products that businesses need. Then again, just because you get sales and know that you have value to provide, doesn’t mean your ideal customers know that too. This is where the world of sophisticated digital marketing comes into play.

Although you may have successfully used different sales and advertising tactics in the past, there’s a definite need to leverage the power of digital marketing to uncover new heights of marketing success. If you fail to do so, you will be missing out on valuable leads, new opportunities, and valuable, additional knowledge about your ideal customers. Today, the use of digital channels is essential not only for sales, but for the awareness of your brand.

There are 11 ideal elements in creating a successful digital marketing strategy. Digital marketing shapes high-performing online campaigns that are promoted on search engines, websites, social media, email, eCommerce sites, and apps, and continually updated for maximal efficiency.

If you feel overwhelmed by the ins and outs of the marketing world, be sure to keep reading. This article will give you all the information and tools needed to create an effective digital marketing strategy for your manufacturing business. 

To build an ideal digital marketing strategy, you need to:

  • Establish the Industrial Buyer Journey
  • Build out Audience & Buyer Personas
  • Pinpoint Goals & Establish a Strategy
  • Set a Clear Plan of Action
  • Apply Elements of Machine Learning
  • Focus on the Customer Experiences
  • Apply an Omnichannel Experience
  • Push Out Content
  • Tailor Your Campaigns to your Audience Segment
  • Remain Relevant by Updating
  • Data Tracking is Key

The Basics of Marketing for Manufacturers

For your marketing efforts to be successful, your strategy will require more than sporadic posts on social media. Instead, you will need a proven effective strategy that is executed consistently, taking into account both individual channels and cohesive messages across each of your channels. More than that, there’s a need to focus on forming connections with audiences for whom you can solve problems and provide solutions, with content that is tailored to offering value propositions specifically for that audience; i.e., Inbound marketing.

As a whole, inbound marketing is an effective marketing strategy centered around producing educational content for your ideal audience. Adopting this strategy will first allow your business to gain credibility with potential customers as a knowledgeable customer. Then, you can attract those potential customers to your website, where they can learn more about the products and/or services you offer. 

When implementing an inbound marketing strategy, it is important to keep up with trends within the digital sphere. Truth is, print and television ads are quickly losing popularity, and the most popular advertising and marketing formats are now found online.

There are several ways for you to create and promote educational content that provides solutions for your ideal audience, for instance:

  • E-books  and Whitepapers
  • Blog Posts and Informational Articles 
  • Sophisticated Email Marketing 
  • Social Media Posts 
  • Visual Content (Videos)

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of inbound marketing content, as well as some additional online marketing strategies that have proven effective in the digital marketing world.

Content Marketing 

Content marketing includes several of the items listed in the previous section, i.e., blog posts, e-books, and other informative content for your potential customers to consume. To successfully apply content marketing, there are two practices you need to master:

  • The first practice is producing high-quality, informative, and useful content for your audience. This means giving your readers what they came for rather than using clickbait to gain website traffic. Making a blog post or email that seems useful based on its headline, just to disappoint your customers with an off-topic or low-quality article, will quickly ruin your credibility and reputation.
  • Secondly, produce content consistently. If you post on social media, send out emails, and publish blog posts regularly, people will seek your content, which will increase audience engagement. You should aim to post at least 1-2 blog posts per month, send out 1-2 emails per week, and post on social media 1-2 times per day. 

Social Media

You may think that having a social media presence is only for B2C marketing, but if you allow that belief to deter you from the world of social media for your business, you will be missing out. Not only that, your competition will defeat you.

Unlike traditional advertising tactics, social media allows you to interact with and listen to your customers' feedback. It is also an important resource that your customers will look for to learn more about your brand, ask questions, leave reviews, and share experiences with others. It is important to show up where your customers are, and your B2B clients can inarguably be found on social media.

A major benefit of publishing content and promoting it on social media is that it has a significantly greater reach beyond other efforts. This is because your followers and others interested in the article can share it with their friends and followers with a simple screen touch. With frequent posting, you can remain top-of-mind for your audience members.

However, social media content can also be very time-limited in terms of remaining relevant, so unless it achieves a lot of engagement within the first 24 hours, it will stop showing up on the timelines of your followers. This is why having a blog optimized for search engine ranking is also important in addition to your social media presence because your blog content will be discoverable for months and even years after publishing. Check mate.

Online Ads

There are many options to choose from when it comes to online ads. Every search engine and social media platform, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest, offers options for purchasing ads on their platforms and sites, none of which are complicated to apply to your digital marketing strategy.

The best part of online ads is that they can be optimized based on location, age, and interests to effectively target your ideal customer. Based on the platform, the demographics or firmographics you can target are highly beneficial in making sure you only serve ads to prospective customers, keeping down click payments and maximizing conversions. With that, it is important to take advantage of these features when creating opting for online ads.

Remarketing Ads 

Remarketing ads are a type of online ad that will appear in front of individuals who have visited your website or researched your products. These types of ads will remind customers who have previously engaged with your brand or products, to revisit the site and make a purchase. Remarketing is an ideal part of keeping up brand awareness in your market.

However, you have to be careful not to use these types of ads too often, as some customers will find them exhausting, resulting in a negative view of your business.

The Need for an Online Presence (AKA Digital Marketing)

It is critical for businesses today to have an online presence. If you aren’t taking advantage of the many different online marketing opportunities for your business, you are inarguably losing clients to other manufacturing companies that are effectively taking advantage of the online world of sales and marketing. Even manufacturing buyers are online today, and more and more are using companies’ online presence as a vital aspect in purchasing decisions.

In today’s world of technology, online platforms are the first place that your customers will look to learn more about your business, whether they find your website, your blog, or your social media accounts. You can effectively build trust by making information about your business and its products easily accessible in various places online. More to that, the reality of today is that millennials are becoming more and more influential in corporational decision making, if not already becoming the authority. This generation relies on the digital world.

So you should too.

Current Pushbacks on Marketing for Manufacturers

Traditionally, manufacturing businesses have housed a sales department dedicated to connecting with potential clients, generating leads, which turn into sales, and then into repeat sales. Many marketing companies still believe that digital marketing is only for B2C (business-to-customer) companies, and that it is not a strategy that should be used for businesses trying to reach and sell their products to business clients. 

However, it doesn’t look like the progression of the digital age is slowing down anytime soon. Now, everyone is online, which means any business can find its ideal audience through digital marketing, whether that audience includes businesses, customers, or both. With that, manufacturers must transition to online marketing or implement a digital marketing strategy in addition to the efforts of the sales department. 

Another factor that deters manufacturing businesses from pursuing digital marketing strategy is their budget. Some digital marketing software does come with a steep price tag, but many online tools are available for free or at a very low cost. In a monetary aspect, the truth is that the digital marketing world is versatile and flexible and there are ways for any business, regardless of budget, to build some kind of digital marketing campaign.

If you’re new to digital marketing, it is certainly best to begin with cheaper tools and then venture into more expensive options once you begin seeing leads and sales generated from your digital marketing strategy. You’ll find many free and affordable tools mentioned below. 

Digital Marketing for Manufacturers: Step by Step

Digital marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. Yet, with dedication and structure, you’ll be able to build a hyper-performing, well-formulated strategy making use of this simple and effective step-by-step guide to digital marketing success for manufacturing companies.

Pinpoint The Industrial Buyer Audience And Journey

1. Establish the Industrial Buyer Journey

To understand the need for a digital marketing strategy and how to meet your customer online in a way that is most relevant to them, you first need to understand the industrial buyer journey that your customers will most likely be navigating through.

1 NEED The customer realizes their need for a certain solution.
2 RESEARCH The customer researches potential solutions that will satisfy their needs.
3 COMPARE The customer reviews and compares potential manufacturers and suppliers and then narrows it down to the best options.
4 PURCHASE The customer purchases the product or service that they determined to be the best option.

At any step, you must put your best foot forward to prove that you outrank your competitors. This includes gaining credibility, providing customers with the information they need through your content marketing, having an easy-to-navigate and updated website, and providing easy access to all your product’s most important details and specifications. The most important task is to make sure that there are no buyer journey disruptions.

Build out B2B Buyer Persona Portfolio

2. Build Out Audience and Buyer Personas

Any digital marketing strategy will be ineffective if not targeted at the right audience. So, the next step in creating a marketing plan is to pinpoint the exact ideal customer you’d like to reach based on high-value demographic and firmographic segmentation.

Many businesses identify their ideal customer by creating buyer personas. This is a semi-fictional character that a business creates to provide a more tangible representation of the person that the business is trying to target. Here are some factors to think about when creating your buyer persona: 

  • The buyer’s job title and decision making authority within the business
  • The buyer’s goals, and measure of success
  • Buyer demographics: Age, Gender, Educational level, Political stance, Geographical location

You may have more than one type of customer you’d like to reach, and you can create multiple customer personas—and specialized marketing strategies—for each one.

As a B2B company, there is also an opportunity in creating ICPs (ideal customer profiles) and pinpoint valuable firmographics relating to the type of account you wish to work with. Focusing on the company characteristics is aligned with an account-based marketing strategy, a strategy that has a 70% B2B popularity in 2021.

Follow the link in the paragraph above to discover the unleashed potential of targeting high-value accounts and boosting your account-based revenue.

Digital Marketing Strategy Plan for Manufacturers

3. Pinpoint Goals & Establish a Strategy

Understanding your customers and their buyer journey is just the beginning of creating an effective marketing plan. Marketing is often experimental, and you may need to test a few different strategies to find the one that works for your business. Most importantly, the strategy you create and follow through should be aligned with your marketing goals and overall business objectives.

Any experiment requires quantifiable results, so you must set specific goals for your marketing strategy that are both attainable and measurable within a given period. Here are some details that you should figure out before implementing a marketing strategy: 

  • What is the specific outcome that you want your marketing strategy to achieve? 
  • What metrics and measurements will you use to quantify its success?
  • What is the deadline by which your ideal outcome should be achieved? 

Set a Clear Plan of Action for Manufacturers Marketing

4. Set a Clear Plan of Action

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer and established clear, quantifiable goals, the next step is to decide which strategies to implement and plan them accordingly. Identifying your ideal customer will allow you to choose the campaigns that will reach them most effectively based on their roles and demographics. 

These are some popular types of campaigns that manufacturers can use to reach their customers successfully on digital channels: 

Type of Campaign Advantages
Email Campaigns • No need to beat complicated social media algorithms; your email will simply show up at the top of their inbox based on recency.
• Organic growth: customers that are genuinely interested in your products will subscribe to your email list.
• Effective for building a relationship with your customers
• Easily update your customers on new products and development from your business.
• Great AI features that help you segment your audience and automate your campaigns.
• This is the most popular campaign method in B2B settings.
Video Campaigns • An increasingly popular form of visual media, often preferred by consumers over reading articles.
• Can be included in emails, blog posts, social media posts, and your website to supplement your content
• The increase in popularity has made this option extremely sophisticated, with many tools and setups.
• Great for creating personal connections with your audience.
• The superior tactic for building intrigue and awareness.
Content Marketing • Consistent content creation can be optimized to rank on several SERPs on search engines (SEO).
• Gain credibility with your customers.
• Provide your customer with a positive experience by providing them with the information they need.
• Provide product details in an interesting yet simple format.
• Stay relevant and on your customer’s minds with consistent content creation.
• An ultimate tactic for building authority on the web.

Machine Learning in Marketing for Manufacturers

5. Apply Elements of Machine Learning

When considering the amount of work to be done to maintain a robust and consistent marketing strategy, it may seem like a full-time job that will not be worth that amount of effort. You do have other important responsibilities within your manufacturing business, after all. 

Luckily, technology has allowed the creation of many useful systems to automate your marketing strategy. This will allow you to plan campaigns and content and schedule them in advance. The system will then post your content on social media, send messages and emails, and publish blog posts automatically; this will save you time and make it much easier to execute a consistent marketing strategy. 

Planning Content and Ads 

These are some of the most popular digital tools for planning and scheduling content and advertising campaigns:

  • Trello - This online tool allows you to create a to-do list and schedule for executing your online marketing campaigns. You can easily keep track of your progress as well as tasks that still need to be completed.
  • Email Marketing Management - There is various software available that can be integrated with your website to compile a list of email subscribers and track analytics on those subscribers when emails are sent. Some of the analytics tracked include delivery rate, open rate, and click rate. Some of this software also includes email creation features so that your email campaigns can be held in one place from start to finish.
  • Social Media Planning - Facebook’s business page tools allow you to schedule posts in advance. Other apps and tools, such as Plann, provide the same service and offer analytics, such as the best times to post. Some of these tools will even help you understand what type of content will perform best throughout the week.

Analytics and Data 

Another way that technology can work for you is by analyzing the success of your website and social media. Like the analytics mentioned previously offered by email marketing software, social media business accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, will offer basic analytics on your social media posts, including the number of views and the rate of engagement with your post. This data is gold for understanding what works and what doesn’t, inevitably providing you with insights on the direction to move forward.

Google also offers several free tools to analyze your website’s performance and traffic: 

  • Google Analytics will provide stats on your website’s performance, including the amount of website traffic, as well as the quality of that traffic. This means that it can tell you the most frequently visited pages on your site, as well as how long people stayed on those pages. The longer a user spends browsing your website, the more successful your site most likely is. 
  • Google Search Console will provide information regarding how well your site is ranking in search engine results, a crucial step to gaining quality website traffic from customers actually interested in purchasing your product. If you aren’t ranking highly, you can implement SEO strategies to improve your site’s ranking, including using keywords, fixing broken links, and frequently updating your site. 

Artificial Intelligence for Digital Marketing

Another important tool that can be used in your email marketing campaigns, in addition to centralized email creation and list management software mentioned above, is artificial intelligence. Here are some uses of artificial intelligence for improving your email marketing effectiveness:

  • Automatically generate engaging and eye-catching subject lines. 
  • Offer promotions personalized for each customer based on their online behavior and purchase history. 
  • Determine the ideal time to send out your email for the best open rate. 
  • Frequency optimization - determining the ideal number of emails to send within a given time—too many will be viewed as spam, and too few will cause email subscribers to forget about your company.

There are several ways that machine learning and AI can be applied to your digital marketing, it can even be used as a strategy on its own. In the end, there are some impactful advantages in using artificial intelligence technologies to make automated decisions based on data collection, testing, and additional observations of audience trends that may impact your overall digital marketing efforts.

Focus on Customer Centric Marketing That Highlight Customer Experiences

6. Focus on the Customer Experiences

As mentioned above, inbound marketing strategies, such as creating educational content, are a great way to meet your customers where they are. In the end, your customers will be conducting research, so a great way to provide them with an excellent customer experience is to meet them halfway and provide them with the valuable information they need.

However, it can be very tempting for companies and businesses with blogs to use this platform as a selling tool all of the time. If the sole purpose of your blog posts is to convince your customer to buy your product, your content will no longer be valuable to your customer, especially a potential customer that is brand new to your company. 

Targeting superior customer experience is a must. In creating the best path for you, head over to our article on customer experience tactics, to get a head start on becoming a CX mogul, and building loyal customer relationships.

The key to a great customer experience when implementing a digital marketing strategy is to actually care about your customers’ needs. Providing them with the information they need, rather than simply pushing your own product, will show them that you have their best interests in mind, rather than only caring about selling. Becoming the solution provider for niche specific customers, is the most powerful way to beat competition and win business.

Because your goal is to generate sales and leads, there is still a place within your content to promote and provide information on your own products and services. This type of content should be directed towards customers with whom you’ve already gained credibility and built a relational foundation. Here are some examples of content to provide after you’ve built up customer relations: 

  • Guides - comparison, best products, etc. 
  • Informational videos about your products 
  • Product specifications

The Omnichannel Experience is Ideal in Digital Marketing for Manufacturers

7. Apply an Omnichannel Experience

Omnichannel marketing simply means integrating all of your different marketing strategies to maintain a unified voice and brand image that will be recognizable by your customers every time. This provides your customer with a more positive experience by giving them a consistent portrayal of your business across all of your platforms. 

The ideal digital marketing strategy moves customers forward in the buyer journey. It offers the option of smooth transitions and consistent conversations across channels, making customers’ buying decisions easier and feel better. There is a need for businesses to make certain that their marketing strategy is following a customer-centric approach where connections with customers are focused on them and their individual needs. 

The ease and convenience of omnichannel marketing is a surefire way to improve the customers’ experience as well as your brand reputation.

B2B Content Marketing Best Practices

8. Push Out Content

Once you’ve completed all of the above steps, you will have figured out all of the important details to include in your strategy as well as the goals needed to achieve in your ideal marketing performance. So, now is the time to start implementing that strategy you’ve planned by creating content and getting it in front of your customers. 

When you start publishing content, it is important to remember that your content will be different from other businesses' content. This is because you are implementing B2B marketing rather than B2C. Your content must be more specialized and appeal to specific businesses rather than consumers in the general public. 

Don’t freight though, because this is an opportunity to stand out. Make sure to focus on your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, and let Google’s algorithm pick up on how your unique content is superior to existing material on the SERP. With all of your content, make sure your goal is to provide the ultimate resource and solution to customers’ queries.

Tailor Your Campaigns to Your Audience Segment

9. Tailor Your Campaigns to your Audience Segment

When implementing your marketing strategy, it is important that you don’t lose focus on the buyer persona that you created in Step 2. Ensure that you are reviewing the analytics and statistics of your content mentioned in Step 5 to evaluate whether you are effectively reaching your ideal customer and engaging them with your content. 

If you find that you aren’t meeting your goals and targets, maintaining focus on your target audience will allow you to shift your strategies and consequently improve leads and sales. 

As B2B buyers often search for consistent suppliers to create a business relationship with, the buyers have a high demand for personal connections. Make sure your content makes audience members feel that you speak to them directly, and they will listen.

Update Continuously to Secure Content Relevance

10. Remain Relevant by Updating

All of the traffic from your marketing campaigns is being directed to your website, so it is important to keep your site up-to-date. In addition to consistently creating content and keeping the information about your business accurate, your web design should also keep up with design trends.

Here are some signs that your website might need an update: 

  • Your website design is not optimized for both multiple devices.
  • Your design is over the top and distracting, with many colors and clipart photos: This is reminiscent of the early 2000’s web design trends and looks unprofessional. 
  • Your website is not secure, meaning your URL includes “http” instead of “https.” 
  • You do not have a product catalog on your website. 
  • Your website is not easily navigated, making it difficult for visitors to find what they seek.

Here are some ways to update and improve your website’s design: 

  • Keep your design visually simple with only a few specific brand colors and a lot of white space. Today, minimalism equals professionalism, and less is definitely more.
  • Make sure your website’s URL includes “https.” This means that it is secure and protected from cyber attacks, which will make your customers more comfortable browsing and purchasing from your site. 
  • Ensure that your website is visually appealing and easy-to-navigate on any device, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. Much of your social media and email traffic will take place on mobile devices, so this is a crucial detail. Many website design services, including Weebly and Shopify, will make this easy. 
  • Include a product catalog with valuable product details and specifications, also made easy by many website design services.

Data Tracking Ensures Effective Marketing Decision Making

11. Data Tracking is Key

As mentioned earlier, tracking your analytics is a crucial part of effective marketing. Once you lose sight of your analytics, you will no longer measure the goals set in Step 3, meaning you will aimlessly produce and send out content with no sight of your ideal customers or measurable goals. 

Marketing is not just a box that your business needs to check, but it is essential to your success and growth as a company. You must continue to evaluate, adapt, and update your online presence according to analytics to stay relevant and connect with buyers. 

Related Searches

  • Why is Digital Marketing Important for B2B?

IN a general sense, digital marketing is important to all industries and markets. The world is transitioning more and more into a digital context, and online channels are inevitably part of purchasing decisions. Supplier websites, search engine searches and emails are now primary data sources for business buyers. Without a digital presence, even B2Bs and manufacturers will be affected and lose out on a lot of valuable business opportunities.

  • Do B2B Companies Need Social Media?

Social media is as important as any other digital marketing tactic. Customers in both B2C and B2B markets are on social media platforms, so without it, companies will miss out on several opportunities and business wins. 75% of B2B buyers apply social media in their purchasing decisions today. So if you’re not on social media yet, make that change today. Even more, according to LinkedIn, deals affected by marketing on LinkedIn are up to 161% larger than those established offline; in the boardroom, at the business lunch or at conferences.

B2B Digital Marketing Agency for Manufacturers

Key Takeaways

Implementing the steps above and using the recommended tools and software listed throughout this article will help you get an effective digital marketing strategy up and running in no time. Take your time when creating your strategy to ensure that you don’t miss any important details. 

If your first digital marketing efforts aren’t as successful as you’d hope, don’t get discouraged. The beauty of digital marketing is that it can be customized, re-customized, modified, and adapted until it provides the results you are looking for. Also, no one gets it right the first time, so there’s nothing to feel beaten-down by. You’ll get there, we are sure.

If you are committed to getting your products and services to the businesses that would benefit from them, then working towards effective digital marketing for your manufacturing company will definitely pay off. 

Then again, we understand that everyone needs to put their time and effort into the tasks where they flourish most. For you, it's producing high-quality products or services for other businesses, for us, it's creating high-performing digital campaigns to get your products in the right hands. So why don’t you let us do what we do best?

Reach out to us today, and we’ll show you just how powerful our digital marketing solutions can be for your business growth and ROI. 

Our team loves new challenges and creating impactful marketing campaigns. If that is what you are looking for, don’t hesitate to make an appointment today.