Manufacturing companies need to become more visible to reach customers and grow sales. Relying on salespeople touring customers’ facilities or cold-calling prospects isn’t as effective as it used to be – it’s inefficient and too broad on its own.
Manufacturers should look for ways to grow their online presence through a focused and targeted digital marketing plan. Investing in your digital presence, especially through content marketing, will get you in front of the right customers at the right time.
I’m confident that embracing this type of outreach program will pay off for years to come. Want to see the evidence? Check out some key stats about the value of content marketing for manufacturers.
Why Content Marketing for Manufacturers?
I recently attended a webinar titled “Content Marketing Master Class: Manufacturing Edition.” The webinar was put on by the Content Marketing Institute with support from TREW. Their research validated what we already know through our experience about the buying habits of manufacturing customers.
Your customers are spending a lot of time online researching you, your products, and your services throughout their buying journey. That means you need to have a strong online presence and deliver a variety of great content to connect with your customers.
Check out these five stats highlighting why your company needs to get into the digital marketing game through content marketing.
1. Your Website is the #1 Research Tool
One of the key stats presented during the webinar is that 69% of manufacturing customers research a product or service through the supplier/vendor website.
Your website is the #1 place where customers routinely seek information when researching whether to make a business purchase.
This statistic far outpaced the #2 source of research, which is trade publications (46%).
You need a strong website presence. It’s your front door to reach customers, provide them with information, and direct them through the customer journey. If it looks like your “front door” hasn’t been updated in a decade, then your customers are going to have the wrong impression about your company.
2. The Majority of Prospects Do Research Online
The webinar presented another great stat: the majority of prospects (51%) do most of their research online and appreciate having a salesperson available to answer questions.
The key to this stat is that online research is heavily favored over early sales interaction. Your customers want to be able to perform their own research online (review your website and poke around), then have the opportunity to speak with a representative when they’re ready.
This statistic points to the need for a strong connection between marketing and sales. You want to ensure that your online presence matches your sales approach. Building a strong online presence will enable you to make strong handoffs to the sales team to advance your customer through the buying journey. You can achieve this objective through effective content marketing.
3. Your Customers Want to See Evidence
The webinar confirmed what we know that your customers need, want, and desire evidence to support their purchasing decision. The more information and data the better.
Here’s the stat that backs this up. The #1 source of content that customers are looking for when making a significant manufacturing purchase is a datasheet (77%). Other types of evidence-based pieces of content are also valuable:
- Product demo video (42%).
- White paper (39%).
- Product / service overview video (37%).
- Product review / testimonial (35%).
- Case study with proof points (31%).
Your customers need to be able to justify the purchase decision to themselves and to higher-ups who are involved in the purchasing decision. Having facts, evidence, data, proof, technical specs, and other pieces of content on your website is critical.
Providing customers with this content throughout each stage of their buying journey will help you close more sales. Content is your asset during the sales cycle.
4. Video is Increasingly Important
We cannot stress the importance of video content enough. Here’s the evidence: 96% of technical buyers watch videos for work. They want to see your products for themselves, watch an interview with your CEO, and watch your manufacturing shop in action.
Seeing is definitely believing for your customers. And customers are not just watching a video once in a while. The webinar presented additional stats on the frequency of video viewing:
- 45% of technical buyers spend between 1 and 5 hours per week watching videos for work-related purposes.
- 43% spend less than 1 hour per week watching videos for work.
You want to invest in high-quality video content as part of your content marketing plan. Video can reveal much about your company, including your capabilities, processes, quality of your work, people in your company, and the finished products. Housing this video content on YouTube and your website will help you get as many eyeballs on your content and fuel long customer journeys.
5. Launch a Podcast!
Okay, here’s a final stat I will share from the webinar. 73% of your buyers listen to podcasts for work. That statistic shows that podcasts as a form of information are incredibly popular.
We’ve been ahead of the curve in this area helping clients get their voices heard in the market. (Check out this case study!) So, if your company does not already have a podcast, you need to consider getting into the podcast game. Launching a podcast to talk about key subjects in your industry has many advantages:
- Shows thought leadership and expertise.
- Places your company in the conversation in front of your customers.
- Provides you with an avenue to talk about timely industry topics.
- Brings out the personality of key leaders in your company.
- Enables you to illuminate recent projects and highlight the results.
Put it All Together for Content Marketing in Manufacturing
In summary, I have three key takeaways from the webinar to share with you.
1. Your customers want access to specific technical data from trusted sources. An effective content marketing strategy will enable you to produce the content your customers are looking for during their decision-making process.
2. You need a variety of content to keep customers engaged. Data sheets, podcasts, videos, case studies, testimonials, and other content such as blogs are all good pieces of content to have on your website.
3. Content marketing can support the entire sales process. Content can help generate leads, keep prospects engaged, and increase buyer confidence to support the sales cycle. Collaboration between marketing and sales is paramount to closing more leads and growing your business.
How Marketing Refresh Can Help
Marketing Refresh specializes in B2B content marketing for manufacturers. We understand how to support manufacturing companies by developing the right content to engage your prospects.
We currently work with companies in the manufacturing space to implement content strategies and develop targeted content that will generate new leads and grow revenue.
Your audience is looking for well-structured, informative content. We can help grow your online presence through an effective content marketing approach.
Reach out to us today to discuss content marketing for your company. Let’s grow your business!