What does it take to grow a B2B manufacturing business in this day and age?
Two things: A great product — and a solid marketing strategy to promote it.
You already have the product… So today, let’s talk about the marketing!
In this article, we’ll examine 5 key elements that will take your marketing strategy from “okay” to “awesome” and help you grow your manufacturing business.
Let’s begin! You will need…
1. A silky-smooth inbound marketing funnel
Even now, most manufacturing brands use outbound marketing to sell their products. They identify potential leads, reach out, pitch, and follow up — rinse and repeat. Eventually, a small percentage of those leads become paying customers.
Here’s the problem with this approach…
It doesn’t let potential customers engage you on their own terms. Instead of meeting them where they are, it forces you to barge in and make your pitch — all in the hopes that they just happen to need what you’re selling.
When was the last time a salesperson called you up at the perfect moment you needed their product?
That’s why your manufacturing business needs an inbound funnel. It doesn’t have to replace your outbound marketing process. But when done right, it can provide a steady stream of “extra” leads and revenue to stabilize your cash flow and boost your growth.
How exactly you generate, qualify, and convert your inbound leads is up to you. But here’s one possible way you could do it:
Step 1. Drive traffic to your main landing page with a combination of SEO, paid advertising, and video marketing.
Step 2. On the landing page, ask visitors to fill out a form to get a free quote, or request a callback.
Step 2(a). The majority of visitors will leave without converting. Bring them back with a retargeting campaign.
Step 3. After conversion, call back with a short free consultation. Streamline the process to make the callback as instantaneous as possible — it will help with closing the sale.
Step 3(a). If the call goes nowhere, send a short follow-up email campaign to the prospect offering to pick the conversation back up where you left off.
Step 4. After the sale, guide your newest customer through an onboarding process and make it easy for them to contact support or solve potential problems on their own.
This is a highly simplified example — but we hope it gives you an idea about where to start with your inbound funnel!
2. A clear unique selling proposition (USP)
Competing against other manufacturing businesses used to be all about making superior products. Today, you still can – and should – stand out with high-quality products and state-of-the-art manufacturing technology…
…and feel happy with yourself for about 5 seconds — until someone else one-ups your success with a version that’s better or cheaper. Or both!
And then they will be undercut by another competitor… and on and on it goes.
You can’t compete on innovation or price alone. It’s a rat race that never ends. The only way to win is to stop running, crash out of the track, and make your own path.
Which is why you need a unique selling proposition. Find something that your brand or your product can do that your competition can’t — or won’t –- deliver. And then make it the core message of your marketing!
To be effective, a USP needs to check two boxes:
- It needs to be somewhat unique — so, just saying that you have a high-quality product won’t cut it. Remember, everyone else is saying that, too!
- It needs to matter to your target market. If it doesn’t, they will have no reason to buy… which sort of defeats the whole point of having a USP in the first place.
You can base your unique selling proposition around different aspects of your manufacturing brand. For example:
- Focusing on a specific target market. There are tons of manufacturing businesses that specialize in working with ecommerce brands, for example, or US-based manufacturers who partner with companies that don’t want to make their product overseas.
- Emphasizing a unique process. Developing a unique technology is hard, and it doesn’t last long. But creating a unique manufacturing process is simpler. Maybe you do a lot more quality control than your competition, or you source your materials differently.
- Providing a value-added service. Maybe you go the extra mile, unlike many other manufacturers who only do the bare minimum. You take your customers’ challenges seriously, and dedicate your capabilities to helping them solve those faster and better than anybody else.
You get the idea. Remember, your USP isn’t powerful because of big numbers and bold claims. It’s powerful specifically because it resonates with what your target customers already want. If you know what it is, you can craft a unique selling proposition that’s meaningful to them…
…and then you won’t have to worry about lowering your prices or being out-innovated!
3. Strategies for boosting revenue with existing customers
There are only three ways to grow a manufacturing business — or any business, really.
- Convert more buyers
- Make more money per transaction
- Increase each customer’s lifetime value
The first way is the hardest and least effective. It’s harder to sell to a new customer than an existing one. It costs money to acquire them. And if they don’t stick around, you’ll lose them and have to start over.
And yet, that’s what most brands focus on!
If you want to grow a sustainable and profitable business, strategies #2 and #3 are the ones you need to prioritize. How? By finding ways to increase your average sale value — and making it easy for new customers to become repeat buyers.
Sounds vague, doesn’t it? Good point! Well, here are just some of the ways you can achieve this:
- If a customer orders one type of product, and you also make another, complementary kind of product, use this opportunity for upselling or cross-selling. Your customers might need it but have no idea that you sell it! So let them know and offer to add it to their order.
- Offer additional high-value services that will generate more revenue for you. For example, if your customers need to source and prepare the material before they send it to you for manufacturing, you can offer to take care of it for them — for an extra fee.
- Give customers an opportunity to make larger orders. They will save money and you can still profit from a bigger transaction. If they need your product on a regular basis, make it easy to set up recurring orders.
- Make sure to provide top-notch customer support every step of the way. Communicate often and stay responsive to your customers’ needs. It doesn’t sound like marketing, but it is — just like any interaction a customer has with your brand, before or after the sale.
- Use discounts and rebates strategically. Those are usually a bad idea when you’re trying to acquire new customers — but they can do wonders when you want to reward loyal long-time buyers. Just make sure not to overdo it, or they might stop buying at full price!
- Your customers might need help with using your product. Help them out by offering installation services, training their team on how to use it, or consulting them about compliance.
These are some of the most common strategies you can use to boost your average deal value and customer lifetime value. You can use one, several, or all of them to great effect — just go with what works best for your manufacturing business!
4. Proof that your manufacturing business is awesome
All manufacturing brands like to sing their own praises. They throw around claims like “innovative” and “unique” and “cutting edge” and “industry leader”…
…and nobody believes a single word of it.
Sorry, that came out unnecessarily harsh. We meant to say, nobody’s buying it for a single solitary second!
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t brag about your manufacturing business kicking butt and being amazing. We’re saying that when you do, you must provide concrete proof.
There are many, many ways to do that. Here are just a few:
- Let your customers speak for you through glowing testimonials.
- If you’ve made a huge impact on a customer’s business, brag about it with a case study.
- Show how great your product is — make a comparison video or a demo.
- Quote supporting numbers: how many customers you have, how much you produce, etc.
- To show confidence in your product, offer an outrageously good guarantee.
You can use any one of these strategies, or several of them in combination, or even all of them. Choose what suits your manufacturing business best. For example:
- If you have a mind-blowing use case for your product that would make a great case study, get on that and produce one!
- If your central claim is that your product is super-durable, film a video where you try to destroy it and fail.
- If none of your competitors offer a solid guarantee, beat them to the punch and create one for your brand.
You get the idea!
5. A tight grasp of your key marketing metrics
You know that old saying, “Half of my marketing budget is wasted — the problem is, I don’t know which half?”
It’s true: 76% of businesses measure their marketing ineffectively, according to this survey by McKinsey. So if you want to gain a competitive edge in your industry, it can be as easy as taking your metrics seriously!
The first step is identifying your most important marketing KPIs. You probably already have a good idea of what these are. But just in case — here are 3 key metrics you should be aware of:
- Your monthly traffic. You can break it down by sources of traffic and your mission-critical pages (think your homepage, your landing pages, and your About page).
- Your lead conversion rate. That’s the percentage of your website visitors converting into leads — by signing up to your newsletter, filling out a callback form, etc.
- Your customer conversion rate. So, the percentage of leads who eventually become paying customers vs. your total number of leads generated.
Those aren’t the only metrics that matter, of course — not by a long shot. But they are the easiest ones to measure and track. And what’s more, they give you a pretty good indication of what you can do to improve your marketing efforts.
Getting oodles of traffic but very few leads? Time to take a long, hard look at your website and figure out how to boost your conversion rate! Another good idea would be to tweak your targeting — what kind of traffic you attract is much more important than the number of visitors.
Or maybe you have a steady stream of leads, but hardly any of them become paying customers. That could mean that your sales process needs work — or you should get a lot more picky about qualifying those leads!
No traffic? That’s easy — look at your main traffic channels and figure out what you can do to attract more visitors. Things like creating more content, giving a more compelling call to action at the end, tweaking your paid advertisements, and so on.
Remember: not many brands make the time and effort to do this. So even focusing on just these basic metrics will put you a step ahead of other manufacturing businesses!
Get a free audit of your video marketing strategy
Video marketing is one of the best ways to generate leads for your manufacturing business — right up there with content marketing and SEO.
If you’re already using video in your marketing, or even just thinking about it, we want to help you make the most of it!
Interested? Then we invite you to book a free video marketing strategy audit with our experts here at The Draw Shop: