Extend the Reach of Your Media Hits with Social Media

The Additive Manufacturing Media team at a video shoot with Fabrisonic in Columbus, Ohio

Congratulations! Your company has received multiple media hits with the industrial trade media you have been targeting. These stories will live forever on the web, impacting your search engine optimization and manufacturing company’s reputation. Third-party endorsements such as articles, videos, and blogs really move the needle. Check out our client Fabrisonic’s press room here. Below, learn 3 ways to promote your media recognition and drive leads to your brand.

fabrisonic

  1. Share your Media Recognition on Your Company’s Social Channels

Want to extend the reach of your press articles? Post media hits to your social media. If you have the big three social channels for manufacturers (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), you can reach many more of your followers, fans and prospects by sharing your new-found recognition. Important: When posting, make sure to thank the publication to their social.  By tagging them, you reach their audience as well. Use industry-specific hashtags to reach a larger audience who may be searching for a similar topic.
New call-to-actionmedia-factory

  1. Share in LinkedIn Industry Groups

Post the story to industry groups on LinkedIn. We view these groups as if they are a seminar audience. They’re interested in the field and captive. Time after time manufacturers can track lead generation all the way back to a LinkedIn post.

Also, remember to thank the media when they visit your factory.

  1. Create a Press Room on Your Website

Add a press room to your website where visitors can marvel at just how many editors and reporters were impressed with your operation. As I’ve stated before, industry media writing about your company adds third-party credibility to your company. Prospects and customers alike want to work with a successful company with a track record for success. Showcase your media recognition prominently on your website so people can see what makes your company great!

There you have it. Extending reach and the impact of your media stories is just a few clicks away.

What is a qualified lead? Just ask your prospect.

qualified-lead

Prospects have the answers to all of your questions. Have you asked them? Every manufacturer we work with wants more leads. To that end, they prefer leads that are more qualified and prospects that are inclined to do business with your company. So, why is it so hard to find “qualified” leads?

While every company has a definition of what qualifies as a good lead, there are some common traits amongst prospects. Do they hail from a particular industry vertical? Do they hold a certain title or professional certification? Or, perhaps they share common challenges with your existing customers (challenges of course that you have proven your company can meet). Another indicator of qualification is where is this prospect on the buyer’s journey. What signals are they showing, such as having a CAD drawing already designed or perhaps, they have bought similar products previously?

The answer may already be on your website – forms. When we onboard new manufacturing clients, we ask what are the top 5 questions (and the answers) you ask every prospect when you first engage them? The qualifying questions can easily be placed in a descriptive form that, when filled out by your prospect, provides your sales team with a more detailed image of the prospect’s potential to turn into a customer. Two examples of great forms used by our clients can be found at these links:

So, how do you attract them to your website and to the actual form itself? You must have an engaging offer on your website. Perhaps you can offer an industry report, trend analysis or insightful eBook. Or, demonstrate your expertise with case studies or published industry articles. Having a valuable offer with certainly, drive prospects to your forms. Then, let them qualify themselves. Read about how content plays a critical role in lead generation.

Why Manufacturers Need a Content Map for Inbound Marketing Success

Need help with driving prospects to your new and improved form? Engage with us and we’ll show you how we can help.

Download Here Industrial Manufacturer's Guide to Inbound Marketing

FACTUR and Felber PR & Marketing to Host Summer Manufacturing Networking Mixer!


Enjoy appetizers, cornhole, and great manufacturing industry networking!

FACTUR is hosting a “Manufacturing Networking Mixer” in Cleveland at the Felber PR & Marketing Office

When: Aug 6th from 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Where: Felber PR & Marketing: 8963 Darrow Rd. Twinsburg, OH 44087

Who Should Attend: Job Shops, Distributors, Engineering & Consulting, and Service Providers

New call-to-action

How to Increase Manufacturing Sales with Social Selling

social-selling-manufacturing

They like me, they really like me!

Manufacturers have learned that LinkedIn is a great resource for connecting to professionals, promoting your brand and message. Many manufacturers attend trade shows, host webinars and engage in philanthropic activities, which they promote on social media. While these posts are great, manufacturers are missing one critical piece–reviewing their likes and comments.
linkedin-for-manufacturers-ebook
You might be asking yourself, are likes and comments really worth anything? The answer: You bet! As prospects and customers become more and more insulated, hiding behind voicemail and email, sales teams are having a rough time reaching prospects, let alone establishing a relationship. Enter social selling. After all, isn’t that why you are building your LinkedIn network in the first place?

Social selling will help you initiate and even build on relationships. You need a systematic, repeatable way to build your prospect pipeline. What better way to build relationships and create sales opportunities than engaging with people that are already liking and commenting on the variety of your content? Whether you are posting company news, white papers, photos of new products or blogs, people are engaging with you on social media should not be forgotten.

You already target a specific prospect persona (see our article Why Developing Buyer Personas is Invaluable for Manufacturers to learn more about personas). And, you already know that they buy on their timeline. Your sales cycle might often be 6, 12 or even 36 months long. This fact alone screams nurturing these prospects with content until they are ready to purchase your products. Here in lies the reasoning behind social selling and inputting those “like and comment” folks into your database.

If you are not connected to the person you’d like to thank for the like or comment, send them a request with a personal note thanking them for their engagement on your post. Along with thanking them for liking your post, you will want to enter them quickly into your prospect database.  It is common, with people changing jobs routinely, that the email address listed for your newly-connected prospect is a Gmail, Hotmail or even AOL. Since you want the business email for your content nurturing program (reference: Why Manufacturers Need a Content Map for Inbound Marketing Success ), here are a few ways to secure the correct email.

Start with their company website. If they’re listed great. You’re done. But, if the website does not list personnel, what can you do? Try the free Chrome add-on www.hunter.io This cool site helps you search for and even anticipate the email structure (e.g. first_last@abcmanucturing.com) that the company uses.

Another free Chrome add-on for use while on the LinkedIn contact’s screen is www.contactout.com. Now that you have the correct business email, you can continue to build, nurture and engage your prospect with your brilliant content. Happy social selling.

 

Public Relations For Manufacturers – Our Best eBook Yet!

Hot off the virtual presses

Learn what we have practiced with industrial publications since 1993

Let’s face it, manufacturers are living, breathing and selling in a digital world. However, manufacturers shouldn’t discredit the power of traditional publicity tactics. A strong PR strategy can aid in attracting better prospects to your brand and building credibility in your industry.

Download the free eBook on Public Relations for Manufacturers

For more than 25 years, our firm has represented business-to-business manufacturers and given them the recognition they deserve through public relations. We created our eBook, Manufacturer’s Guide to Public Relations, to give manufacturers a framework to develop a strong public relations strategy.

See how 3D metal printer attracted over 15 media appointments

Want to see this in action?

Media Appointments That Are Out of This World – Case Study, Fabrisonic LLC.

 

 

Seven Strategies for Increased Employee Engagement

Guest blog post

Employee engagement has been a hot topic amongst corporations, large and small, for almost two decades now. Most organizations recognize the importance of an engaged team; it helps you lower your risk of turnover, boost customer satisfaction, realize higher productivity, improve the bottom line and increase your company’s overall chance of success.   Yet less than 33% of employees are engaged in their jobs in any given year.

Companies have been focused on this metric for years, but the engagement numbers haven’t changed much since 2000. In one of Gallop’s recent reports, The State of the American Manager, they determined that managers account for as much as 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. Thus, bringing truth to the phrase “people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” So, is there anything you can do to make your employees feel involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace? Happily, YES!

Leaders should view every interaction with an employee as one with the potential to influence engagement and inspire effort. How leaders interact with and manage their employees can substantially affect engagement levels in the workplace, which in turn influences the company’s bottom line. Here are few strategies organizations can use to help build engagement with their employees:

 

  1. Have and Communicate a Clear Vision

Engagement starts with the leadership communicating a clear vision for the organization. People naturally want to belong to something greater than themselves. Your vision should inspire passion and commitment from your employees (and other stakeholders) and should serve as the rally cry for your organization. If you team knows, understands and believes in the direction you are moving they are much more likely to engage.

 

  1. Explain the Why

People need to understand why they are being asked to do things. The best managers and leaders are transparent with their teams (to the extent they can be). Let your team know why they are doing things (or not doing them) and how their work fits into the bigger picture. The more they understand, the more likely they will be to want to help.

 

 

  1. Set Processes, Procedure and Expectations

From the first day of employment, make sure you have clearly laid out processes, procedures and expectations for each employee. People crave certainty and they find it stressful when they are unsure of what is expected of them from day to day. If you are clear from the beginning, neither you nor the employee should encounter surprises.

 

  1. Get to Know Each Individual Employee

The strongest leaders take the time to personally connect with their teams. They get to know them at a personal level, outside of just their work, and remember that they are human with real thoughts, feelings, responsibilities, families and challenges. These leaders are interested in their team’s hobbies and families and allow each employee to bring their “whole self” to work. Showing you care creates trust and loyalty. Knowing that they are respected as individuals at work can have a significant impact on how employees view not only their jobs, but their overall lives.

 

  1. Understand Individual Motivators

We each have different motivators that drive our desires and our decisions. As a leader, it is your duty to identify the motivators for your team. Each person is likely driven by a different factor, so by understanding them you will be better equipped to tap into the right ways to engage your team.

 

  1. Create an Incentive Structure

Now that you know what motivates the individuals on your team, you can create incentives that speak to those motivators. Great organizations have at least six different incentives available for their teams. Here are a few examples of motivators and incentives to support them:

  • Security – benefits, job stability
  • Financial – fair salary, bonus opportunities, one-time incentives
  • Learning – on-going training and development opportunities
  • Leadership – opportunity for advancement into management roles
  • Expert Status/Recognition – new hire mentor, trainer
  • Altruistic – community service projects
  • Relationships/Connections – committees (i.e. safety, employee engagement), team building events

 

  1. Encourage Regular Feedback

People want to feel valued and know their input matters. Give your team a safe forum to let you know what is happening within your organization. Be open to ideas and suggestions from your team. Often the best ideas and solutions come from the people living through the pain points or those who are closest to the customer. Remember, you don’t need to act on everything. However, you should address and acknowledge each suggestion and explain why you are tabling it for now.

 

The best leaders ensure that all their employee engagement efforts are aligned. They find ways to communicate the impact of the engagement efforts to the entire team throughout the year and they share best practices across the organization. Strong leaders use every opportunity, every touchpoint and every communication vehicle to reinforce the organization’s commitment to employee satisfaction and engagement.  Employee engagement becomes a piece of the organization’s strategy.  Your team is your organization’s most important asset, make caring for them a priority.  If done right, these seven strategies will help you inspire trust with your team.

Stacie Riffert is a certified FocalPoint business coach and is the owner of Empowered Leadership, LLC. Stacie’s 20 years of business experience, as a General Manager and Sales Director with PepsiCo, and the proven FocalPoint tools combine to powerfully empower business owners to maximize their productivity and profitability. For more information visit https://stacieriffert.focalpointcoaching.com or contact her directly at sriffert@focalpointcoaching.com

 

 

The Person All Manufacturing Salespeople Should Know

October is an exciting time for manufacturers. Last Friday, October 5, 2018, was Manufacturing Day, a national holiday where manufacturers around the country use MFG Day as an opportunity to inspire and recruit the next generation of manufacturers. What I love about Manufacturing Day, which people celebrate throughout the month of October, is that American manufacturers are showcasing what modern manufacturing looks like to students, professionals, media, and the general public.

In honor of Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month, throughout the month of October, I will be highlighting influential people in the manufacturing industry on the Felber PR & Marketing blog. The first feature is on Caleb Townsend, Co-founder of Factur. Townsend is an individual and resource that every manufacturer should know. If you sell a product or service to manufacturers, keep reading.

Caleb’s Manufacturing Background 

Townsend’s exposure to manufacturing started in childhood. His father was an engineer for Navistar, a manufacturer of commercial trucks and buses.

“Manufacturing shop talk was frequently part of the dinner table discussion. I loved hearing my dad’s stories about the projects he was working on and I thought it was so cool that he helped build these huge vehicles”, says Townsend.

Upon graduating from Purdue University, Townsend worked in account management and sales in a variety of industries including finance, business consulting, and a VoIP provider. In February of 2011, Townsend joined Wentico and Co., a general construction company that serves the greater Indianapolis area, focusing on commercial/residential construction and flooring, as Vice President of Sales. After working at Wentico and Co. for over a year, Townsend was ready for a new challenge. He joined Qualtronics, a specialist in Electrical Wire Harness Assembly & Wire Harness Design, in June of 2012.

“Working at Qualtronics was exciting because they create niche products that other companies will not touch. Any company requiring mobile products that are diesel powered and produced in volumes less than 500 a year, Qualtronics can help. If you see a unique piece of equipment and say to yourself, ‘I don’t see that that often’, Qualtronics probably produced the wire harness on it”, says Townsend.

Qualtronics gave Townsend exposure to a variety of different industries including waste management, construction, agriculture, marine equipment, emergency response, and more. Every customer and project was an opportunity for Townsend to learn a new industry or process. It was there that he realized manufacturing was more than a career to him– it was a passion.

NEO Event: Manufacturers, Recruit & Retain Better Talent with Company Culture as Your Secret Weapon Click here to learn more & to register!

Creating a BNI Model for Manufacturers

Townsend was introduced to Gabe Draper, his now business partner, through Rob Dally, president of Qualtronics. Draper had a vision for a BNI-style business referrals group, exclusively for manufacturers.  Since Townsend ran a BNI group when he worked in the construction industry, partnering together was a ‘no-brainer’.

“At first, we wanted to start this group for our own sales efforts.  In November of 2012, we had our kick-off meeting with 17 attendees present. After 2 months of meetings, we realized how valuable our group was and decided we wanted to launch in on a larger scale”, says Townsend.

Factur, formerly known as Manufacturing Referral Network, became an entity in January of 2013 and the business has grown substantially throughout the 6 years.

Factur’s Mission and Services

Factur’s mission is simple–they help manufacturers find new customers through two models:

1) Manufacturing Networking groups – Currently, Factur has referral-based networking groups in 8 major cities. What makes Factur’s networking groups unique is that each group is exclusive, meaning that they align you with other non-competing manufacturing suppliers. The groups give members a process to work together to get in the door at manufacturing companies you want as customers.

2) Prospecting Service – Factur handles the part of the sales process that is often neglected when sales managers get bogged down with managing accounts: prospecting.  Factur helps companies identifying leads, finding decision makers, and set appointments. Factur looks and feels like an in-house salesperson at your company but step out of the process once the appointment is set, leaving your salespeople to close the account and manage it.

“I think what has led to Factur’s success is that we cater to a demographic which was previously neglected. We are a resource for manufacturing suppliers and help them grow their businesses. We added prospecting to our business model because we realized that the salespeople in our groups were missing opportunities. They were so busy account managing that they were neglecting prospecting and bringing in new accounts. We are continually looking for opportunities to support our members and fill in the gaps in their sales processes”, says Townsend.

Unlike traditional sales managers who typically can only make 12 prospecting sales calls a day, Factur can make 30 prospecting calls for your manufacturing firm a day. The Factur team’s extensive background in manufacturing allows them to quickly get up to speed on your products and processes. They do the work to prospect and qualify leads for your business, so your salespeople are not wasting time talking to companies that are not ready to buy.

Don’t believe you need a person or partner at your manufacturing firm solely responsible for prospecting? Check out this excerpt from a prospect email the Factur team got in regards to their work with client Qualtronics.

And lastly, as busy as most companies are, particularly in this area, and with the difficulty in the labor market, how is it your company has additional capacity to pursue additional business?  I have not had an inquiry by a company in your market in quite some time, so it raises the question, what is different with Qualtronics?’

Connect with Caleb Towsend and Factur

Factur is working to expand its reach and there will be 4 new city groups launching by 2019. Connect with Caleb on LinkedIn or visit https://bethefactur.com/ to learn more about joining the Factur Networking Group in your city.

caleb-townsend-factur

A Mfg Day Reflection: Why Case Studies Need to be Part of Your Sales Strategy

mfg-day-2018-case-studies

Tomorrow, October 5, 2018, is  Manufacturing Day. This month, across the country, people will join in celebrating modern manufacturing. Students, educators, media, and business people into their facilities to educate them on manufacturing careers and change the public’s perception of the manufacturing sector.

At Felber PR & Marketing, we love the excitement that comes with Manufacturing Day and work with our clients to develop great content that portrays manufacturing progress. Content is an excellent tool to highlight your company’s expertise, educate your prospects and customers, and add value. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers need to have a strong digital marketing and content strategy. Case studies provide your company an opportunity to showcases specific projects or work with your customers. Case studies also add third-party credibility and could be the difference between your prospects choosing you over your competition during the decision process of the buyer’s journey.

NEO Ohio Event: Manufacturers, Recruit & Retain Better Talent with Company Culture as Your Secret Weapon Click here to learn more & to register!Why Case Studies Are Effective

Since the invention of the white picket fence, neighbors have stood on both sides and asked each other for advice. Who’s the best landscaper, which store has the best produce, or even which doctor do you prefer? Humans trust opinions before sales pitches and case studies provide your prospects with the assurance that other credible companies have purchased your products. What’s the biggest white picket fence (e.g. platform) in the world? Social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram  – all social for that matter, are the platforms for the world’s conversations. Ever seen ISO______. In search of (insert your product here).

 

Third-Person Credibility

How often are we asked for referrals? Almost every prospect we meet asks if they can talk to our customers. Case studies are written proof that other companies, real people, have trusted (and not been burned) by your work. We’re often amazed by the great stories our clients tell us about the solutions they provide. Unfortunately, these great salespeople, owners, and technicians have never committed these stories to writing. I mean NEVER have they posted a blog, NEVER told their story an industry reporter or printed a one-page document about their achievements. Stumped on how to ask your manufacturing customers for case studies? Read our blog: How to Convince Your Stubborn Manufacturing Clients to Participate in Case Studies

 

Case studies can be featured on your website (like our success stories), sent in follow up emails to engaged prospects, or used in a coordinated media relations program. We speak to a lot of editors on behalf of our clients. Editors and reporters love case studies. It is the single biggest request we get from these media professions. Why? Media inherently want to stay neutral in the content they present to readers. Readers trust the content in magazines to be journalistically vetted. Remember the neighbor giving his opinion? This is just as powerful. Could your company improve their position in the marketplace by posting, emailing and tweeting an article in one of these trusted publications?

 

So how do our writers learn about and actually help these stories come to life? We love factory tours. We renamed them ‘content tours’ as they provide the material needed for case studies. I can already hear you. “But we’re engineers, not writers!” No worries, we are! Learn about this service here.

I'm ready to align my sales & marketing strategy!

Why Video Should Be Part of Your Sales Strategy

video-sales-strategy

Video is an incredible tool to use in the sales process for manufacturers. Many manufacturers have not incorporated video because they feel fancy equipment, editing software, and production are required. However, more and more video platforms are available that allow people to produce short, simple videos. Recently, we have been using a free video platform internally and for our manufacturing clients throughout the sales process. Below, learn how to start producing sales videos and the top tips for video effectiveness.

 

The Free Video Platforms I Recommend

 

There are many free or inexpensive video production platforms on the market. Vidyard is our preferred video platform. It integrates HubSpot to engage, qualify, and nurture leads through your HubSpot marketing campaigns. I love that you can track which videos your contacts are watching right within HubSpot’s Contacts Timeline to better inform your marketing and sales efforts. Vidyard is also extremely user-friendly and easy to implement into your sales efforts. 

 

If your organization doesn’t utilize Hubspot, Loom Video is a great platform to create short, sweet videos for your sales process. The reason I like Loom is that it is free and extremely user-friendly. Simply create an account and download the Google Chrome extension to start creating videos with your webcam. You can choose to show just yourself, yourself and your computer screen, or just your computer screen when filming. The platform allows salespeople to create videos for a multitude of purposes. Keep reading to learn the top 3 ways our agency and also, our clients are using video.

 

The Top 3 Ways to Use Video in the Sales Process

  • LinkedIn Videos

 

One of the top ways I’ve been using Loom is to create LinkedIn videos. Video is a great way to show your LinkedIn connections your expertise and create trust with them. When creating LinkedIn videos, the best thing to keep in mind is to keep the video relatively short (no more than 2-3 minutes) and make it informative. I’ve found that posting a native video instead of uploading a YouTube video is better to get more clicks. LinkedIn pushes native content more than external links. Check out a  Video I created for LinkedIn here. 

 

Some examples of LinkedIn videos could include:

  • The Top 3 Considerations Manufacturers Should Have When Becoming ISO 9001-2015 Certified
  • Why Engineers Should Consider Using Lathe Cut Gaskets in Their Next Application
  • The Unique Advantages Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing Gives Aerospace Engineers

 

Things to keep in mind when creating LinkedIn videos:

  • Target a particular buyer persona that you typically sell to (i.e. Sales Engineer, VP of Operations, CEO, etc.)
  • Speak to a common problem the buyer persona faces and give them some suggestions/solutions to solve the problem
  • Don’t be too salesy or talk at length about your company!  If you are providing value, your prospects will consider you for their needs over your competitors.

 

  • Sales Videos

If a prospect has gone dark or you’ve sent a couple emails without a response, why not send a personalized video in your email? Video emails are a new tactic that allows you to stand out from the crowd. One thing to note, make sure your subject line and the copy in the email is intriguing. 

 

Some subject line suggestions include: Thinking of You, Per My Voicemail, Follow Up Regarding The Proposal, and Thought You Might Find This Interesting. Keep the copy in the email short and sweet. One sentence I often use in the body of the email is, “Rather than send you a lengthy email, I recorded a video message linked below.” This shows someone that the link they are going to click on is not spam.

 

Remember to keep the video short and valuable (Limit at 1-2 minutes). Keep the video focused on the prospect rather than yourself, mention the baseball game photo you saw on their twitter or congratulate the prospect on their recent industry award. Those extra steps make all the difference!

 

  • Training for Customers or Keeping Customers Engaged

 

Video is a great way to keep customers engaged with your company. Since you have the ability to show yourself, your screen, or both your screen and yourself, you can do multiple different videos to keep current customers engaged. The options are endless. Walk your customer through a CAD drawing design. Show customers how to access project status updates in your customer portal. Trying to sell a client who isn’t local another product line? Sending a video email is more personal and could be a better method than a phone call or email.

 

Video is an excellent way to strengthen relationships with both prospects and customers. Platforms like Vidyard and Loom allow manufacturing salespeople to easily create video content. The global business world has created separation between salespeople and their customers. Using video helps lessen the divide and adds the human element back into the sales process.

Yes, I'm ready to talk marketing strategy

Device Interruption and Its Impact on Creating Meaningful Business Connections

device-interruption

There I was, having a nice conversation with a colleague I had not seen in a while. Then it happened… a classic case of device interruption. I got a notification through my smartwatch. Reflexively I turned my wrist for just a brief glance. It could have been an appointment reminder, a weather channel alert or even the notification that I made my steps for the day). It didn’t matter. That slight twist of the wrist and glance down killed the conversation.

 

Almost immediately she said, “I’m interrupting you.” Conversation over. I quickly said “no it’s just a text,” but I knew we were done. I felt like I had done something wrong. Afterward, I could not shake the feeling that I had been rude.

 

We’ve fully transitioned to the point where nearly everyone has a smartphone. Every other article we read (on and about devices) warns of overuse. We’re connected like never before. We know where our teenagers are 24/7, can bank from the pool, respond to customers in just about every channel they prefer, text, email, snapchat, etc. So, why are we often disconnected?

 

Look around the line at the post office or a doctor’s waiting room. WiFi has been the glue that keeps us connected…and the solvent that keeps us separated. We’re losing the art of conversation. The opportunity to engage with the person next to you, to learn from them and make a human connection. Don’t read this as yet another rant on the dangers of self-isolation. I’m bucking those AARP applications and I have always loved my technology. I miss my StarTac flip and I was on the bleeding edge of the Palm Pilot. There just needs to be some balance.

 

Have a conversation with those around you. Ask if they are reading anything cool. You can text them later how much you enjoyed the conversation. I was always the guy at the grocery store that would start a conversation with the person that forgot to take off the hello my name is name tag. (my kids quickly blended into the frozen foods or worse ran the other direction. Trailing voices echoed, Dad, really?!

 

Do you have a similar story? Have a good rant? Share with us hear or better yet, arrange a time to meet in person.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter