For some industries, inbound marketing is a natural fit. Online outreach to consumers makes sense, especially considering the ongoing need to overcome audience cynicism toward more traditional advertising messages.
Manufacturers may not see the same fit as easily. Business clients and buyers, after all, may not respond to Facebook and Twitter messages in the same way that consumers would. However, that doesn't mean inbound marketing cannot work in this industry.
In fact, we'd argue quite the opposite: the unique nature of the concept makes a more inbound-approach an ideal match for advanced, business-focused marketing.
In fact, 78 percent of manufacturing marketers, knowingly or not, already use some form of inbound marketing.
From building thought leadership to increasing your chances of sales conversion, here are five advantages that inbound marketing can provide your business.
1) Pronounced Thought Leadership
The importance of thought leadership and credibility in marketing your manufacturing company cannot be overstated. Potential buyers tend to do a significant amount of research before choosing to enter into a contract with a supplier, looking for potential partners in a long-term business relationship.
Inbound marketing, in many ways, is tailor-made for this type of thought leadership. At its core, the strategy builds on content that is valuable enough to attract the attention of potential audiences.
Effective thought leadership pieces occur both in the form of blog posts, which can be tailored to improve search engine optimization and gated content designed to increase your sales leads.
The content foundation of your inbound marketing strategy can help you build the credibility you need to attract buyers. Blog posts and whitepapers can cover relevant trends, company news, and interviews with industry experts.
It's no surprise that in a 2016 survey, 82 percent of manufacturers stated they increased marketing success due to better content.
2) Better Prospect Targeting
The benefits of inbound, of course, go beyond credibility. Use the right tactics, and you can also enhance your marketing efforts through better prospect targeting.
Chances are that, depending on the exact products you manufacture, your audience is limited and occupies a very specific niche within your industry.
Inbound marketing proposes that by building buyer personas, you can better understand your potential clients and increase the effectiveness of your marketing as a result.
The result is a more targeted marketing strategy. Business buyers may behave differently than consumers, but tactics like SEO, social media, and email remain important tools. In fact, 90 percent of B2B buyers start their research online.
Find the channels your audience uses, and your success in prospecting new clients will increase.
3) More Leads in the Funnel
Let's return to the gated content concept mentioned in the first point above. Manufacturer marketing thrives on sales leads, which are nurtured to enter a long-term relationship in the form of a formal contract. Inbound marketing increases both the quantity and quality of leads in your sales funnel.
The reason: gated content. The idea is not to purchase leads from a third party but generate them organically by offering them value in return. For instance, a whitepaper on current industry trends or industry forecasting could be valuable for any potential buyer.
If you gate it behind a sign-up form that requires nothing but a prospect's first name and email, you drastically increase their chances of becoming a lead.
Quantity, of course, isn't the only thing that matters. Fortunately, inbound leads are also more likely to convert because they took the first step to learn more about your company on their own.
You don't just get a larger sales funnel; that increase will follow through the entire funnel.
4) More Informed Sales Calls
Especially if your sales department seeks to leverage large contracts and long-term manufacturing relationships, few things are more important in the conversion process than the sales call.
This is your chance to remove any doubts about the mutual benefits of working with your clients, and answer any questions they may have.
Through inbound marketing, you can maximize the efficiency of this crucial step. By the time you get a sales-ready lead, you will have gathered significant data about them.
For example, your sales team will likely know the types of web pages they have visited, what content they have viewed and downloaded from your website and more.
That information, in turn, can result in a more informed sales call. The pitch can be personalized to unique needs and questions, making it more relevant in the eyes of potential customers. The yield rate from your sales calls naturally increases.
5) More Efficient Marketing Spend
Finally, don't underestimate the cost element of inbound marketing for manufacturers. Because much of it relies on a more organic way of reaching potential clients, costs tend to go down.
Expensive ads are replaced by increased search rankings and relevant emails. B2B companies who switch to inbound reduce their marketing spend by an average of $20,000 per year.
At the same time, a decrease in cost does not lead to a decrease in performance. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Because your marketing is more targeted and more personalized for potential buyers, your conversion rates tend to increase across the board. The ultimate result is more sales and contracts, for a lower cost.
In short, manufacturer marketing can benefit significantly from switching to or enhancing an inbound marketing approach. Its personalized approach, designed to reach a relevant audience while enhancing thought leadership, actually makes for an ideal fit for the types of business customers companies in this industry tend to attract.
To be successful, of course, you have to be strategic. Inbound marketing for manufacturers has the potential for immense success, but only when executed right. Content needs to be aligned with targeting and driving toward better sales calls.
For help in building this type of comprehensive strategy, contact us. Our experience with businesses like you makes us a perfect fit to partner with you, increase your lead pool, and maximize your client conversion.