Will Inbound Marketing Work For Manufacturers?
by Jo Shaer, on January 29, 2016
Reading this great blog post about whether Inbound Marketing will work for Traditional Markets in the US, I was reminded of some of the manufacturers and engineers that we have spoken to recently here in the UK.
Many of these old-school businesses have been around for decades but have only just upgraded their websites to more modern, mobile friendly versions.
However, the majority are still just using them as an online static brochure. A place on the internet where they can send ANYONE who might be interested.
Why Engineers need to embrace the Internet
When we talk to them about Inbound Marketing, many engineers look at us blankly. They don't understand why it's not so effective to send someone to the Home Page of their website where they talk about ALL the things they do as a Company, rather than a dedicated page that directly addresses the SPECIFIC problem the person has and provides a product that will resolve it. Specific is key as people search for answers Google shows webpages with those answers.
Some MDs, business development and sales directors don't seem to understand that the advent of the internet has forced old school marketing techniques to adapt.
"We're a more traditional market, I don't think Inbound Marketing will work for us"
So what is working for you?
How does your manufacturing business normally generate sales leads?
- Do you give your business card to interested parties at trade shows?
- Do you put an ad in a trade journal or on local radio?
- Do people see your products listed in an industry-specific catalogue?
If the answer is yes, the next question is, what do those prospective customers do then?
If the answer is that people give you a call, have you considered that this may be because there is no other way to get more information. They only have a phone number from your business card, advertisement or catalogue entry so they have to get in touch - even if they are not ready to buy.
"But we've always done it that way!"
In the 21st century, most people prefer to research their purchases first.
The salesman no longer holds all the educational cards.
And, more to the point, the general public has a long memory of unsavoury tactics that found them pinned to their own sofa by a salesman who wouldn't leave unless he had a signature. They don't want to call unless they are ready to buy, so having a phone number as the only way to ask a question can be a real turn off.
Don't you think it would help your sales team if prospects picked up the phone and made the call because they had read all the pros and cons and chosen to buy from you?
So how can a modern engineering company attract new customers?
The way people buy has changed, it's a fact. The days of the hard sell are on their way out and the internet is responsible for that. People want to research for themselves and make their own decisions without being bludgeoned into making one.
Even those responsible for procurement/purchasing?
They may have an approved list but that list may not always suffice. Supposing their existing suppliers cannot fulfil for some reason? It may be that they don't have the capacity, the skills or the equipment. A new supplier has to be found and so the procurement/purchasing department turns to the computer to search for one.
If you want your company to get found, the sales team for the modern engineering company has two choices:
1. Keep on doing the same old same old and wait for the phone to ring, whilst their sales figures plummet.
2. Innovate. It's the buzz word in the industry, whether you're talking about advancements in robots, production line software or marketing! Even traditional print ads are moving towards digital.
And so it's only a matter of time before your competitors start to take advantage of digital marketing. Wouldn't it be better if you took the opportunity to get in first?
So, will inbound marketing work for manufacturers?
If you have a product that has a fairly large price tag along and a considered buying process (it's not something you just buy on a whim), then inbound marketing is definitely the way forward.
Attract the right people to your website and educate them about why your product will resolve their problem without trying to hard sell them. They willingly make the decision to purchase and, when they are delighted, they refer you on to their colleagues in the industry. It's as simple as that.
You've always had the courage to be a leader in the technology that you use to make your business the best, now it's time to apply the latest advances to attracting the right customers who want the best.
Click on the image below to find out more about how Inbound Marketing can help your business to thrive in the 21st century.