Every industry comes with its own unique marketing challenges that the inbound marketing philosophy can address. One of the most complex and wide-ranging industries is manufacturing.
Manufacturing companies often earn a lot of their business from word of mouth and referrals as well as developing new partnerships. But these aren't the only ways to generate new business.
And while traditional marketing opportunities, like big industry trade shows, are great for attracting and engaging with new people, there is plenty more you can achieve through inbound marketing.
With inbound, you can accomplish a lot more than just promoting your manufacturing products and services:
- You can educate your audience with helpful content.
- You can humanize your organization by sharing who your team is.
- You can showcase how your services/products have delighted your customers.
The Challenges of Manufacturing Marketing (And How the Inbound Philosophy Fits In)
Manufacturing marketers face several unique obstacles. These can put a standstill to any progress the marketing team is trying to make.
Here are the top challenges and how to address them:
Getting Buy-In From the Whole Organization
The 2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends report from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs found that only 4% of manufacturing marketers say their content marketing is sophisticated, which is defined as “providing accurate measurement to the business, scaling across the organization.”
Content marketing plays a big role in inbound marketing. Without proper measurement, which you can achieve using analytics tools, it’s hard to attribute and track what marketing assets are delivering how much ROI.
Takeaway: With the right analytics technologies, you’re well equipped to prove results and share these wins with all levels of the company.
When you can show your successes to your team, you get your company excited about your marketing efforts. Other departments like sales and service become integral resources for your marketing team.
They can provide input on campaigns and other initiatives to ensure your marketing messages align with how your entire business operates.
Building a Relevant Audience
It’s hard for marketers to earn audiences and attention, especially in the crowded, loud digital world. This is exemplified by the top marketing challenge, according to HubSpot’s research.
They found that a whopping 63% of companies say their top marketing challenge is generating traffic and leads.
How do you connect with relevant people in a big industry like manufacturing?
Takeaway: Investing in buyer persona research is a crucial first step.
The 2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends report found that 77% of manufacturing marketers say their organization is focused on building audiences (subscriber bases). With a built in audience, you're well prepared to learn more about them, which enables you to deliver targeted, helpful content.
Buyer personas play a big role in helping you fully understand who your ideal audience is and how they want to interact with manufacturing companies.
As you build your subscriber base and generate more traffic to your website, you can capture more leads and develop strategies that speak to nurture them with content relevant to their unique needs and interests.
Inbound Success Stories In Manufacturing
Manufacturing companies often face lengthy sales cycles. Whether you're selling textiles, electrical equipment, machinery, or plastics, buyers can take a long time evaluating their options and making decisions.
Inbound marketing puts you front and center as a credible educator who can guide buyers to making the best decision for their unique needs.
HubSpot sheds some light on how inbound marketing efforts drove business results in the manufacturing industry.
Check out these success stories from manufacturing organizations:
Boosting Blog Traffic
A heating and cooling system manufacturer wanted to generate more leads and expand their target demographic to end users, not just installers.
This is a big undertaking, but a great growth opportunity. End users are often conducting online research, so this company knew they could attract them.
But they didn't have any ranking authority for their queries, and when they visited the website, they weren't finding content relevant to end users.
The strategies involved, like developing SEO strategies and building content marketing campaigns, require a great deal of time and effort to start producing results.
So the company creating new buyer personas and delivered targeted content to them that helped boost their rankings. They also used smart forms, smart calls to action (CTAs), and landing pages to progressively get information from their visitors.
The result: an impressive 900% increase in blog traffic and 200% increase in leads!
Driving Relevant Leads
When the digital marketing manager at a consumer electronics manufacturing company decided to focus on efficiency, he knew he needed to make some changes to their tech stack. The customer relationship management (CRM) system they were using was not scalable to fit their needs.
They needed a holistic software that included a CRM to manage contacts easily, which led them to HubSpot.
After building out detailed buyer personas, they were able to create more relevant CTAs to generate higher quality leads and a huge boost in the amount of leads – over the course of a few years, they've seen a 496% increase in leads.
The integrated suite helped their B2B division prevent leads from being dropped between marketing and sales. Previously, they lost leads due to mismanaging the lead handoff.
Fortunately, with the HubSpot CRM, their sales and marketing teams could see exactly what every prospect experienced and where they were in the sales cycle.
An automative company faced some struggles with their South Africa division expanding brand awareness and staying on top of mind with their customers. They needed to increase traffic and focus on their lead management process to drive overall sales.
Using HubSpot, they created a lot of content, including articles, infographics, and videos, to educate their customers on relevant topics, like saving fuel or driving in extreme weather.
With their content marketing strategy, they boosted their website traffic from 2,000 visitors per month to 25,000, with their bounce rate dropping from nearly 71% to almost 50%. This indicated that visitors were staying longer and enjoying even more content.
But traffic is only truly impactful if it's generating leads and nurturing them effectively. And this company made an unfortunate discovery.
They did some research and found that only 50% of their leads were being contacted. In other words, once someone converted on their site, the process stopped. This visibility helped them understand that they needed to develop a better lead management process, and with HubSpot, their teams got on board and made big improvements to their strategy.