At Catalyst, we’re fortunate to work closely with engineering and manufacturing firms: the large, the small, the new and the established. This means we generally know what makes you tick and what keeps you up at night.
Now we know we might be preaching to the choir here, but we also know that the engineering world has somewhat of a complex relationship with marketing. You know it's necessary, but there’s confusion about what exactly you should expect from it. It feels fluffy at best, a cost-centre at worst.Then there’s the market itself. According to the EEF/Aldermore Executive Survey, 44% of respondents agreed their company faces more risks than opportunities in 2016. And this negative sentiment isn’t built on gut feeling alone; we’re in challenging times. Very challenging times.
In such times, it's understandable that marketing might not be on your list of priorities, but it should be. In a time where investment opportunities are clouded by risk, and economic conditions are seeing a decline, marketing might just be the competitive advantage you need.
So, to help you to get more out of your marketing spend, we’ve pulled together our three top marketing tips for engineering and manufacturing firms. Enjoy:
Plan your email campaigns:
Emails aren’t new, so no prizes for including them in your strategy. However, what you’re doing now might not be setting you up for the best results.
You need to plan your email campaigns.
We can’t stress this enough. Your emails should serve a purpose (such as encouraging clicks through to specific pieces of content) and should ideally form a part of a larger workflow or pre-planned activity. Instead of treating an email like a one-off promotion, see it for what it is: the first stage of an ongoing sales process with various steps.
This sort of strategy works best with CRM systems such as HubSpot and is especially effective when combined with inbound and content marketing.
For those of you embracing inbound, try compiling your most recent blog posts and updates, and emailing an overview to relevant data, complete with direct links.
If you’re an expert in your field, why wouldn’t they want to hear from you?
Take social media seriously:
Social media isn’t for everyone, granted. And many firms think social media isn’t important at all - good for them. We’d like to think you’re different though.
See with social media, the clue is in the name. It’s social - it’s about people. And believe it or not, B2B clients and prospects are people too. This means they network and communicate online, you just have to find them. The good news is that demographics data is generally freely available for the larger social networks so that’s a great start. The bad news is that it will still require an element of trial and error to find the exact channels, content and formats that resonate best with your target audience.
As a starting point though, we suggest you make use of LinkedIn. As a platform dedicated to B2B communications and networking, LinkedIn is the king when it comes to professional networks. In fact, 91% of respondents to Regalix’s ‘State of B2B Social Media Marketing 2015’ claimed to use the platform. What’s more, with over 400 million members as of October 2015, you might want to consider that 45% of LinkedIn’s members hold upper management positions. Not a bad audience for those targeting senior decision makers as part of your marketing efforts.
So, before you throw in the towel with social, you’ll need to conduct some research, develop a well-considered strategy and get to know the metrics to watch.
The more you use social, the more you can get a feel for what works and stop wasting time posting anywhere and everywhere. Happy days.
Create great content:
Admittedly easier said than done (although there is help out there), content marketing can be hugely effective. Think of it this way, if social media is the fuel, content marketing is the fire, the end-game, the prize. So it needs to be awesome.
As an engineering firm, your business is built on your ability to solve the needs of other businesses. Very specific needs. This means you have expertise by default. And expertise drives content, so you’re in luck.
Your job now is to conduct research and discover in detail, exactly what keeps your prospects and target audience up at night. Once you’ve discovered the relevant trends and pain points in your industry, you can create content that points them to the answer and, more importantly, brings them to you. Sounds like great marketing doesn't it?
Another key point to consider is that content marketing doesn’t have to cost the earth. Yes, it works best with dedicated CRM platforms like HubSpot, but this doesn’t have to stop you from monetising your expertise and industry insight. After all, there will always be problems to solve; it’s what keeps your business afloat.
As a result, content marketing might just be what you need to set yourself apart from the competition, especially at a time when margins are being continually squeezed.