Acquiring Customers Through Inbound: A Manufacturer’s Guide

Acquiring Customers Through Inbound: A Manufacturer’s Guide

Revenue is on a big scale in this industry, and with retentions and invoice processes playing havoc with cashflow, the size of your customer base is relevant.

According to the 360 Engineering report on industrial marketing trends in 2015, 43% of businesses cited customer acquisition as their primary marketing goal whilst only 15% regarded customer retention as the number one focus. This demand for lead generation is led by the success of inbound marketing strategies and the cost effective solutions they present.

With the likes of social media and SEO paving the way (pun definitely intended) for acquiring new business, the pounds you save in your marketing can be spent elsewhere on material costs, for example. With the manufacturing industry being built on a foundation of innovation and technology, there’s no reason why your industrial marketing strategy should lag behind in the days of Yore, so we’ve put together 4 solid tactics to employ in order to see those manufacturing jobs roll in.

1. Social Media Catalyst_Icons_M_inbound-01.png

Still relatively new in the marketing mix but definitely causing a buzz for the right reasons, social media is one of the most cost effective channels to utilise for customer acquisition. Yes, time is money and money is time, but with the right tools and strategy in place this channel provides some easy wins.

Location, Location, Location

Like Phil and Kirsty, we believe in the right location, but unlike them we’re talking about online. Researching where your customers essentially hang out on social media is the first step to take before creating any content as you may be seriously off target. 94% of B2B companies distribute content to LinkedIn, and with this channel accounting for 80% of social media leads it’s an ideal channel for your industrial marketing strategy.

Stay on Track

Posting on social media is all well and good, and using social media automation tools to distribute your content is even better. But apart from Likes and Mentions, how else are you monitoring the performance and behavioural notions of your target audience? Using data from social networks enables you to decipher what topics your prospects actually want to digest, what time they’re reading it, how often, on what device and which formats.

Unique, personalised URLs are another way to ensure you are tracking your social media messages effectively. Using a link management tool like Bitly means you can track the performance of specific campaign messages where you’d need to create detailed reports on traffic and engagement.

This gives you the necessary primary research to help form your future social media engagement strategies and acquire new customers in a systematic and targeted way. 

Experimental Content

Creating social content specific to each channel broadens your horizons and opportunities when it comes to engaging an audience. Twitter polls can be used to attract prospects that have a genuine vested interest in a particular manufacturing news item. Your industry is full of changes, debates and technology advancements that you could call upon for user generated content. This immersive approach to your social media marketing empowers them, positioning you as a trusted source of information.

Other ways to capture the attention of your prospects on social media using innovative content include the use of visuals. Being an industry that relies on modern design, video or an image series would give inside knowledge into the working ways of your company. New product features, technology and machinery are all something to shout about.

2. SEO Catalyst_Icons_M_inbound-02.png

Did someone say ‘free traffic’? Yes we did, because we said SEO. Every other industrial marketing tactic you deploy relies on SEO. When you create content, you’ll as standard receive referral traffic from any external pages you have linked to, however what you want is traffic to pour in month after month.  

And more importantly the right traffic. This calls for an in-depth SEO strategy that focuses on website optimisation and external link building. It is time consuming, but when faced with the knowledge that SEO will continue to capture the largest share of online spend at 47%, it’s not really an option is it?

On-Page: Manufacturing Your Website For Ongoing Performance

On-page optimisation basically means getting your website fully prepared to increase its chances of being found through search engines. The most credible techniques to use are:

  • Devising a long-tail strategy: Ensure content focuses around long-tail keywords as a means to directly reach your intended audience.
  • Include keywords in all areas of the site: This includes Alt Text for imagery, meta descriptions and Title Tags.
  • Clean your URL: Remove all unnecessary words, phrases and parametres (a string of numbers). This ensures your site is more memorable to share and easier for search engines to crawl.
  • 3 click rule: This benefits not only the search engines but also visitors to your site. As a general guideline, aim to keep your most important and valuable pages only 3 clicks away from the homepage. This flat structure should keep bounce rate to a minimum.

Off-Page: Why Relationships Count

We won’t patronise you with an explanation as to what link building is, but the methods have definitely evolved, largely down to Google and its ever expanding list of rules. In 2016 it’s all about moving your efforts towards securing links with quality people, sites and blogs. Google favours fewer links back to your website if they are from a credible source, which lends itself to the saying, less is more.

Unfortunately there’s no magic formula. You can’t buy links anymore – unless you want to incur penalties from Google – so your SEO tactics have to be closely aligned with earned media activities. This can include:

  • Sourcing sites that your target prospects read or are subscribed to and producing content to be placed there
  • Linking out to influential people in the manufacturing industry within your blog content and mention them on social media to gain as much traction as possible
  • Engage within wider business forums where you can share links back to your content or website.


3. Email Marketing

Buying data is a standard way of building a contact database, but we’ve found that purchased lists aren’t clean or up-to-date. Cue the sound of money going down a pothole. Rather, contacts you acquire organically through marketing activities are going to be more effective to your email marketing campaigns. On this note, here’s what you can do with this lead generating channel to get more customers on board.

Build your list the smart way

Cold emailing can be effective, but only if it’s personalised and relevant to the recipient’s job role, interests and industry field. Having a clean segmented database means you can filter who you want to send emails to, rather than blasting your entire database with a ‘one size fits all’ approach, which we know doesn’t work.

Capturing data like there’s no tomorrow

We all know that downloadable content is the ultimate way to get a prospect’s information to nurture them through your marketing funnel, but surely there’s other tactics to add to your database? Having strong call-to-actions to subscribe to the blog is a quick way of getting an email address. Through analytics, you’ll then be able to see what content these subscribers are interested in and use this data to tailor email marketing going forward.

4. Competitor Analysis Catalyst_Icons_M_inbound-04.png

Sounds a bit…obvious? Well it’s something that is often overlooked. By tapping into your competitors’ networks you can almost steal customers from right under their nose.

Stalk their social media

Many online tools allow you to monitor a brand name, certain hashtags or product, but there’s more to do with this information than first meets the eye. Keeping a close watch on all of your competitor’s mentions across the web gives you the opportunity to home in those people and develop your own relationship. This means building a relationship with target prospects as well as the media too.

With a strong online presence and the right strategies and tools in place, acquiring customers using online marketing tactics can see a vast improvement to your bottom line and brand reputation. And with the manufacturing industry set to rebound in 2016, there’s ample opportunity to stay ahead of the game and capture market share.

For an honest look at the current state of your industry, advice on how to tackle the most pertinent challenges and beat your competitors, download our free guide now. It only takes two tics.