Whether you manufacture big pieces of machinery or tiny widgets, there are people who are interested in how the things you make get made. Inbound marketing is a powerful tool for manufacturers to use to tell their story.
It may not be everybody. But that’s just like life. If you’re at a party, and try to tell a story, you can’t assume everyone is interested, any more than you can assume no one is interested.
Your audience is out there. Maybe they’re connected to your industry, or maybe they just like knowing how things work.
Manufactures can find people who want to hear their stories – and by extension, do business with them — through the practice of inbound marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
The traditional ways you market your company – ads in industry magazines, trade shows, billboards – are what’s known as “outbound marketing.”
Inbound marketing refers to things you do to bring customers in, rather than going out to get their attention.
Here are five strategies your company can adopt for its inbound marketing campaign.
1. Make Sure Leads Can Find You
Like we said earlier, inbound marketing is meant to pull people in. First, they need to find you. When they’re searching for what your company makes, they’re likely to use very specific search terms.
Let’s say your company is near Philadelphia, and manufactures wooden shutters. People tend to make their searches pretty specific, so your site should include phrases like “Philadelphia wooden shutters” or “wood shutters Philadelphia area.”
When you’re creating content for your website, be sure to research the right SEO-friendly keywords and phrases to get customers to your virtual doorstep.
2. Your Content Should Help Solve Their Problems
While it’s important to have the right keywords to draw people in, it’s also important to create content that will be useful to them when they arrive at your site.
We’ll stick with the shutter company example. They could create a blog post that tells people how to protect wooden shutters from weather damage. It’s helpful, it shows that you know your business, and you’re not coming right and saying, “Buy our product.”
People visiting your website for the first time aren’t at the stage of their journey where they’re ready to buy. Rather, they may have found your site because they’re looking for help with a problem (sun damage to their shutters, for example).
That doesn’t mean you can’t use your blog to talk about your brand. Use it to discuss milestones with your company, or new products you offer. Just don’t use it ONLY for those things.
3. Use Social Media to Engage, Not Just Inform
By the same token, make sure your social media accounts are more than just a stream of updates about what you company can do for people. You need to use services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. to share helpful, interesting content.
Think about what you like about those sites when you log on at home: the chance to engage with others. Do the same with your company’s social media accounts and make them two-way streets. Have conversations, and answer questions.
As you engage with fans of your company, they’ll become advocates for what you make, and share your stories with others.
4. Help Visitors Become Prospects
A visitor has found your site through a search or via social media. How do you get them to become prospects? First off, get their contact information by giving them something valuable.
Offer them something they want, such as an e-book on caring for their window treatments. To download it, they need to give you their name and e-mail address.
5. Keep in Touch
Now that you have contact information from those leads, stay in touch. Let them know what’s happening with your company. If they were interested in that e-book, they’ll be happy to hear from you when you have similar content. They’ll also think of you when it comes time to seek out your product.
With inbound marketing, a company can position itself to become the business its customers are looking for online. By creating content that speaks to their needs and wants, you’re attracting them to your website, rather than telling your story to the world at large.