If You Market It, They Will Come: Best Practices in Manufacturing Marketing

#USAMfgHour Twitter Chat Recap – January 23, 2020

This week’s #USAMfgHour Twitter chat was guest hosted by Ruby Rusine (@SocialSMkg) and covered a topic near and dear to every manufacturer’s heart – marketing.  After all, one has to market in order to sell, right?

The chat started off asking participants about the typical goals of a manufacturing company.  We had a lot of great responses, including brand awareness, building new business relationships (a.k.a. generating qualified leads), and customer service.  Bill Garland (@BillGarlandSpkr) elaborated, stating, “Build an online presence and a community. Showcase existing and future goods/services. Educate potential customers while giving existing customers more reasons to place the next order. Handle / resolve complaints or at least get them on the phone.”  However, it was First Source Cabinet Doors (@FSCabinetDoors) who summed up manufacturing marketing goals well, “Manufacturing companies want to present the best versions of themselves to potential customers, while earning sales from new and returning customers.”

After concurring and adding that website traffic is a typical goal of marketing for manufacturers, Ruby asked how participants market their manufacturing goods and services.  Videos, photos, testimonials, articles, and other written content made up the lion’s share of responses. However, Axis NJ (@AxisNJ) summarized the topic nicely with, “We find that digital marketing (e-mail campaigns, website promotion, social media, etc.) as well as events are the best ways to reach the most people. Our sales team and channel partners are also valuable in spreading the word about our products and services.”  

Question three asked, “How do you get your customer’s attention online?”  The overwhelming answer was, “By providing valuable content.” Participants chimed in, stating that video, articles, and user-generated content do well.  Indy Home Pros Team’s (@IndyHomePros) addition of, “By being consistent, having fun, and posting quality content. Social media is a fun and highly effective way to market. Use gifs and memes, post articles and videos, run polls. Just have fun with it!” hit the right note with participants, many of whom love to share GIF’s.  However, Ruby and others cautioned that it is important to ensure the GIFs used are within the context of the message a manufacturer wants to convey and are culturally appropropriate. Ruby then reminded everyone to ensure they add CTA’s (calls to action) to their content so their audiences know what to do. Popular CTA’s include:  Like, Share, Follow, Learn More, Sign Up, Subscribe, Comment, Visit, and Buy.

Ultimately, content is everything, especially when you create and publish it yourself versus sharing other people’s.  Why? Because driving traffic to your media is always the end goal. However, relevant and useful curated content is beneficial to the audience and a social strategy, per NJ MEP (@NJMEP).  North American Tool (@SpecialTaps) and Rutland Products (@rutlandproducts) elaborated by stating that self-published content establishes you as experts in your field and creates trust that hopefully leads them to buy down the road while curated content helps keep them engaged.  When asked how they develop content, participants said to make sure to have a strategy regarding the message you want to convey to the world (@FSCabinetDoors); to listen to your customers and pulse what is trending in the news (@GraphicProducts); pay attention to social listening and analytics (@amatrol); rely on internal and external experts on your product or service for ideas (@AxisNJ and @SpecialTaps); and to ensure that your content appeals to customers in different stages of the buyer journey (@EstesGroup).  Service Caster Corporation (@SERVICECASTER) suggested creating a content library with evergreen staples so that you can beat the “I don’t know what to post,” and the “I don’t have time to post,” excuses for being inconsistent in content marketing. Ruby stressed the importance of taking stock of the content you already have, cataloging it, and then repurposing it into multiple formats to get the biggest bang for your buck. (Check out Ruby’s tips for repurposing content here: https://socialsuccessmarketing.com/72-genius-ideas-to-repurpose-content-and-grow-traffic/)

Once content has been developed, however, it has to be “warehoused.”  First Source Cabinet Doors (@FSCabinetDoors) recommended backing up your content in multiple places such as a local computer, portable drive, and cloud drive.  Some great suggestions for warehousing content included Microsoft Office, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Airtable, Asana, pCloud, Plutio, and Trello. Ruby cautioned, however, to ensure team buy-in and ease of use for any method that is chosen.

Ruby closed out the chat by asking how participants measure their marketing success.  Google Analytics and social media platform analytics were the overwhelming responses for measuring ROI, but North American Tool’s (@SpecialTaps) response tapped into the power of the lurker when it comes to brand awareness, stating, “Mostly by the feedback we get at industry shows.  Sometimes it feels like we have no audience, then people tell us they share our content with their staff or their customers. Not scientific, but we don’t do e-commerce, so it is a little tougher to get results.” Ruby’s closing remarks on success were, “If you haven’t identified the metrics yet, get everyone on board and ask them what success looks like. Lay out all expectations. Then identify metrics. This is called KPI but I call it the success metrics.  If awareness is your goal, then for the first year look at mentions, opens, views, site. Then for the second year you can look at shares, subscriptions, downloads, and inquiries.”

Next week, Kirsten Austin of DCSC Inc. (@DCSCInc.) will be leading a discussion on logistics and warehouse automation.  In the meantime, check out all of Ruby’s valuable content at www.socialsuccessmarketing.com and keep in touch in between chats by connecting with us at the links below.

LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/usamfghour-twitter-chat/

LinkedIn Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12334688/

Twitter for Highlights: @USAMfgHourChat

Instagram: @usamfghourchat

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