5 Strategies for Traditional Manufacturers to Improve B2B Marketing
Traditional manufacturers often face challenges when it comes to marketing, especially in attracting international clients. The situation becomes more complex when relying on large marketing agencies that deploy generic, one-size-fits-all strategies. This makes differentiation a significant hurdle. Partnering with a specialized digital marketing company can help. Below are five key strategies, bolstered by data-backed evidence, to improve your B2B marketing efforts and set your business apart.
1. Research Your Competitors
Understanding your market and competitors is vital for your business’ success. You may think that you know who your competitors are, but for most businesses you should regularly check this on Google to see who is actually showing up in search results as you may well be surprised. You could use a SWOT analysis to better understand your competitors and how you are doing related to them. For a more detailed understanding of the competitive landscape, could also look at Porter’s work on competitive strategies.
Competitor Research Action Items:
- Identify top competitors in your market segment: You can use a website such as “isearchfrom.com” to check the real international search results for your keywords for free. Remember that Google searches are local and personal so what you usually see when you search is not what your customer in another country will see.
- Analyze their websites and social media platforms: Having a look at the quality of your competitors websites and content will help you to see what you need to do to be more attractive to your international customers.
- Assess competitor product offerings and features: Keeping up to date on what products and services your competitors are offering and how they are communicating with customers will help you to improve your own sales efforts.
For a more detailed look at how to research your competitors please have a look at our guide to competitor research for digital marketing.
2. Regularly Update Your Website
Your website serves as the digital front door to your business. Studies have shown that people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive, so make sure that your content and design are both excellent and written in flawless natural language.
Website Update Action Items:
- Audit your website for outdated content: Read through the content of your website as a customer would and see if there is any content or any products that are no longer relevant which should be removed or updated.
- Update product information and images: Check technical product information and images to see if it is correct and whether the images are useful and help customers to better understand your products.
- Ensure mobile responsiveness: Having a Responsive Web Design (RWD) that looks good is critical as Google now ranks websites on whether this has been correctly implemented or not. If you would like to find out more about Responsive Design (RWD), please have a look at this article.
- Include SEO-friendly keywords: Writing SEO friendly content is not easy, but making sure that you are using your keywords in the title and a few times during the article will really help Google to understand what it is about and show it to people searching for that topic.
- Implement regular updates: Updates should be at least monthly: Having a regular schedule for creating new high quality content is vital if you want Google to rank you for your keywords. Try to produce articles at least monthly and preferably weely to give yourself the best possible chance of ranking for your keywords.
3. Generate New Content
Quality content boosts your SEO, customer engagement and visibility. Posting regular content can have a huge impact on the amount of traffic your website receives, so it is worth really investing in this.
New Content Action Items:
- Create a content calendar: This is a schedule that details the content to be produced, the people responsible for creating it and also the schedule and channels on which the content will be posted. Here are some simple instructions on how to create a content calendar.
- Identify key industry topics: Look at international competitors to see what they are writing about. Another great source of ideas is your own customer emails; what questions do they keep asking that are not covered already on your website?
- Use Chat GPT to help plan articles: Chat GPT is still not very good at actually writing the article content from scratch, but it can be very useful for giving you some ideas about a particular subject by planning an article for you. Once planned you can then fill in the content that is relevant to your business and delete the parts that are irrelevant.
- Do not just write product promotions: Rewording the content of your sales brochures is not interesting and will not attract attention. Try to find interesting industry topics and then mention your products and services towards the end of the article.
- Outsource Content Creation: Most manufacturers do not have professional writers on their staff so writing good quality articles will be challenging. If this is the case you could consider outsourcing your writing to a professional.
4. Use LinkedIn for Networking and Exposure
dIn is a critical platform for B2B marketing. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing efforts. It is an especially effective channel for B2B marketing as you will avoid having B2C customers wasting your time and ad budget with inquiries that are not relevant to your business.
Linkedin Action Items:
- Create or update your company’s LinkedIn profile: This really needs to be done well with a good quality image and description of your company as well as your products and services. Spend some time thinking about this as most potential customers will look at this before deciding whether to contact you.
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups: Linkedin groups are similar to Facebook groups and you should look for industry related groups for your target customers that you could join and where your content may get more exposure.
- Publish posts on Linkedin: Reposting the content that you have created for the website on your Linkedin page will give you more opportunities to be found by people who are looking for your products and services.
- Connect with potential clients: Linkedin is all about networking so it is vital that you make efforts to build your network so that your company and your content can get more exposure.
- Try advertising your content: Linkedin advertising is powerful because in addition to geographical targeting you can also target potential customers by their industries so it can be a great way to connect with a whole new group of people in a very effective way. If you are not familiar with PPC marketing you can always outsource this service to a marketing company.
5. Consider Outsourcing Marketing Efforts
If your in-house team lacks the expertise, or if you don’t really have an in-house marketing team, hiring a specialized digital marketing company can be a game-changer. According to Gartner, marketing leaders allocate 23.7% of their budget to agencies for outsourced services.
Outsourcing Action Items
Use Google or Linkedin to find local companies: Take the time to find a list of local companies that seem to have the skills you need and then call them to see which ones are helpful and listen to your needs rather than just selling you products you don’t need.
If you are selling internationally, use an international marketing company: If you are selling into international markets, hiring a local company with no native english speaking marketing experts that you can talk to is not a good idea. You need the right expertise for your company to succeed.
Don’t use the same marketing agency as your industry competitors: This is not good for your business. If you stop working with them, your data could easily be used against you to make your competitors stronger so never share your data with the same marketing company as your competitors.
Get references from each company before you decide on which company to use: Many marketing companies have a great website and a large sales team. However this means that they may also have so many customers that they are not that worried about customer service. Make sure to asl for references and call those companies to see how the marketing company worked for them.
To effectively market your traditional manufacturing business in a competitive B2B environment, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve. Whether you decide to handle it internally or partner with a specialized digital marketing company, following these data-backed strategies will offer a solid foundation for differentiating your brand and achieving your business objectives. If you would like a free consultation to discuss your marketing needs then please contact us.