Who moved my (CHEESE) Trade Show Booth?

The National Tooling & Machining Association featured our article in their printed newsletter The Record. With trade shows canceled due to the pandemic, manufacturers are struggling with a huge gap in their lead generation.  See the entire article here.

 

What Did You Expect to Happen? Get the result you expect in your marketing campaigns

 

Simple question, with a not-so-simple answer. We ask this question to our customers and prospects alike, and the answer will surprise you. As manufacturing companies build their marketing plans, they use email marketing drip campaigns, industrial public relations, inbound content marketing, and advertising tactics. Now, you might be thinking the answer is sales, and you would be right if you connect the dots. The problem is the dots or “steps” in your plan are disconnected.

Do you know what to expect when, and how it will be measured? Knowing what success looks like and what you expect will be critical 9 months from now when you are asked in a meeting, “is your program working?”

Major tactics and the most common gaps in each

Email campaigns are still one of the most used and effective in modern marketing. You control the content, who by persona you are targeting, and the result you want to happen. With most contract manufacturers, your sales cycle is long, 12,24 even 48 months in some industries. Email marketing lets you maintain a relationship with your prospect, impart expertise to make your case, and at the end of the day, measure engagement. Engagement is your window into who is interested and who is not inside your CRM. With reporting, you can measure who is active, who is reading your emails, visiting your website, downloading your technical papers, and even reading the quotes you sent. Engagement is the measurement on the path to sales and answers what we want to happen by this activity.

Industrial public relations are often one of the most misunderstood tactics. We hear “We just want to make a splash. We want prospects to know our name,” OR “we want to send a press release. OK, why? I ask again, what do you expect to happen when you send a press release? Most manufacturers think a press release is an article, it is not. Or, the simple tactic of sending a release drives the sale, again, no.

Getting coverage in a coveted trade magazine, with a high circulation that matches your target audience is the first step.

That said, the purpose of a press release is to get the attention of the editor so that they consider writing about your company news. A more direct approach is pitching proprietary case studies to a publication. A case study, prominently featured, drives interest and website traffic. This is the dot you are looking to connect. The measurement hence is a lead capture structure inside your website that gathers the lead information. Then (see email marketing above), you can begin the process of engagement leading to the ultimate measurement, that elusive sale. One note of caution, public relations is a long-game tactic. With editorial cycles and magazine issues planned months in advance, you need to be ready for the success that is measured in years, not weeks.

Inbound content marketing is the process of drawing prospects to your company through content they want to read. Content that solves their problem. Here, drafting content about your products and services, highlighting the problems you solve is key. One of my favorite responses to “our prospects are not on the internet or our business is just so niche” is Engineers worth their salt and under 40 Google everything. And, these engineers are not at their desk; they are on the manufacturing floor, solving problems and searching the internet from a device. Wouldn’t you want to be the solution they see first? Like public relations, this content strategy needs to have a system to capture these leads and begin the measurement process. One of your dots can be more leads and measurement here is easy. Read: Why Manufacturers Need a Content Map for Inbound Marketing Success Now, you can answer the question of why you are researching, writing, and publishing content on your blog. Justification of your spending on content generation is easy when you can show the leads and sales generated.

Advertising (print, pay-per-click, paid social) comes in as many facets as there are ways to spend your budget. With leads and engagement in mind, now that you have seen the rationale above, advertising can yield immediate results. All ads can impact name recognition, elicit a response and uncover hidden needs with your prospects. LinkedIn paid social ads for example generate leads in real-time (very measurable). Imagine calling an interested prospect within minutes of their response. This is what is supposed to happen in advertising campaigns – lead generation.

See this article on why digital advertising is very relevant in the no-trade-show-pandemic world we’re living in currently. Why Manufacturers Should Invest in Digital Advertising Right Now

The dots in this process include voice of customer assessments, copywriting, graphic design, photography, and video – all the tools an advertising campaign needs. This should help you support your budget request, as you can show the results.

Let’s discuss today what expectations you have for your marketing plans for the remainder of 2021. Call Rob Felber (330) 963-3664 or email RobFelber@FelberPR.com to arrange a time to speak.

How to Write a Great Manufacturing Case Study

Case studies provide your manufacturing company an incredible opportunity to showcase your expertise, product value, and customer service. While testimonials are great, case studies go a step above by highlighting a customer story from start to finish. Continue reading to learn some key tips to make your case studies stand out and resonate with your prospects.

  1. Write About Your Most Relatable Customer Story

Do you have a clear understanding of who your ideal prospects are? Check out our blog Why Developing Buyer Personas is Invaluable for Manufacturers to get a crystal clear vision of the ideal prospects you’d like to close as customers. When your prospects read your case studies, the goal is to have them resonate with the story.

To do this, we suggest highlighting an industry-specific need the customer had and explain how your product or service was the solution. Ultimately, you want your ideal prospects to read the case study and say ‘I have that same problem’ or ‘If they helped XYZ Company, they must be a trusted industry supplier.’

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

  1. Don’t Cut Out the Details

Unlike a testimonial, a case study is meant to be in a long format. An excellent case study really allows your audience to get to know your customer, understand your company’s relationship with them, and fully explains in detail your work together.

Make sure in your case study that you explain the challenge your customer had and how you helped them with their unique goals and challenges. If you and the customer went back and forth with a few design iterations before landing on the final part design, don’t cut that out. Allow your readers to see the full picture and understand all that went into the project. Need help writing content? Our experienced writers are available to help.

  1. Legitimize the Story with Metrics and Visuals

To have an effective case study that your prospects will read and engage with your company, it is essential to include metrics to legitimize your story. Did you create a product in record time? Include in the story how much quicker you got your solution to your customer. Did switching their product manufacturing from another process to your process save them money? Include a quote from your customer talking about cost-savings.

Felber PR rebrands PMI

Include tangible results so your readers have a clear understanding of what you could do for them. When you are done writing your story (and it’s been approved by your customer to go live), don’t forget to add customer-approved high-resolution visuals or videos. Photos, infographics, and videos are a phenomenal way to enhance your story and get your message across to prospects.

Are you saying to yourself, this is great but I’ll never be able to get my customers to participate in case studies, don’t fret.  Check out our blog, How to Convince Your Stubborn Manufacturing Customers to Participate in Case Studies for our tried and true tips to get them to say yes!

Concerned your staff of engineers can’t write? Not to worry. Our experienced writers will help you unlock the content vault. Since 1993, we’ve developed blogs, case studies, white papers, press releases, literature, and eBooks for business-to-business manufacturers. Give me a call: Rob Felber (330) 963-3664 or RobFelber@FelberPR.com

 

How to write content engineers will read, and then take action

 

Whether you are targeting business owners, financial executives, salespeople, or engineers, your writing must always focus on your audience. One particularly difficult audience to target is engineers. Whether they are mechanical, electrical, civil, or chemical, all engineers like facts, not fluff. Engineers, especially those under 40, have taken to the web to research, find partners, and solve problems.

Your task, which is increasingly difficult in a fast-paced, internet dominant world, is to capture their attention. Engineers can influence the use of technology, position your products ahead of the competition, and often are the main gatekeeper to adopting your products. 

Three key factors to include in your content for manufacturing engineers is:

  • Data-focused information that clearly features specifications and facts
  • Content that conveys trust and authenticity 
  • Tools and assessments

Just the facts…Whenever possible, use charts, infographics, and video demonstrations. You are appealing to their engineering brain. Analytics, third-party lab results, industry standards are all a must to include when writing for the engineer. If they are putting their name and reputation on the line to recommend your product, they will want to have evidence to back it up. Make the evidence easy to access, download and understand. Need content help?

Trust is critical. Make sure to convey your company history, past success, and standing in the industry. Do you have associates holding positions in key industry trade groups? Has your CEO or lead engineer been featured in a magazine? Are you involved in peer-reviewed research? Use your involvement to portray a company that will not let them down. In all sales, they will not work with you until they trust you. 

Online assessments. If your product allows, this is a great place to include online calculators, surveys. and quote builders. Provide the information they need quickly and efficiently and you will be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition. Use email to send them their results. They will save the email for reference and have your contact information too. You’re painting a picture of a company that has been there and is experienced in the problems they face. Demonstrate this whenever possible. 

Now, just because your content is filled with facts, figures and charts do not mean the quality of the writing is secondary. We hear it all the time, “I am an engineer, not a writer.” No worries. We have a team of technical and journalistic writers that are very skilled in sorting facts from fluff and crafting content engineers will want to read. Have a project or case study you need to be wordsmithed? Give me a call or send me an email. RobFelber@felberpr.com  or (330) 963-3664.

The Best Google Chrome Extensions for B2B Manufacturing Salespeople

 

Top B2B manufacturing salespeople understand the power of optimizing their daily work routines to sell smarter, not harder. Below, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 Google Chrome extensions for B2B manufacturing salespeople that boost productivity, optimize the sales process, and allow you to build deeper relationships with prospects that ultimately, lead to sales.

1.  HubSpot Sales Chrome Extension

Manufacturing salespeople are looking for new ways to take their prospects into the customer end zone. Are you utilizing a CRM, email tracking and quotes-sent opens to get a better insight into your prospects and customers so you can sell more seamlessly? HubSpot CRM is free to get started (though there are paid available depending on your needs.) Seamlessly sync Gmail or Outlook, HubSpot, Salesforce (if you have it but not necessary since HubSpot offers a free CRM), to engage with prospects and customers more efficiently. With HubSpot Sales, schedule & track your email opens and replies access contact information, and share sales documents, presentations, and proposals/contracts with ease. Get HubSpot Sales Chrome Extension here.

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Vidyard Chrome Extension

 

 

 

Looking for new ways to crush the sales game and deepen relationships with prospects and customers from the comfort of your office or home? We use a free video platform called Vidyard (and so do our manufacturing clients). Vidyard allows you to take videos through your computer webcam or your phone on the Vidyard app. When using Vidyard on your computer, you have the option to record just yourself, yourself with your screen, or just your screen. Record and share unlimited videos for customer presentations, employee onboarding, team updates, and more—in just a few clicks. Get Vidyard here.

3.  Grammarly Chrome Extension

 

Let’s face it, it’s been years since we learned about pronouns, nouns, and verbs from Schoolhouse Rock videos. Not a writer or a perfect speller? Not to worry. Grammarly gives manufacturing salespeople a handy around-the-clock editor to review and refine emails, blog posts, social posts, and sales documents. Best part? It’s free and checks your grammar, spelling, and word choices so you can feel confident that you’re using the best messaging every time you engage with prospects, customers, influencers, and co-workers. Get Grammarly here.

 

4.  Giphy Chrome Extension

GIFs are a great way to ‘break the ice’ with prospects and customers in your sales emails, blogs, and social posts. Your prospects and customers are sick of seeing the same boring emails. Adding a GIF is a great way to insert personality into your emails and cut through the clutter. Just make sure you double-check to ensure there’s no cursing or inappropriate words on the GIF before sending it! Giphy Chrome Extension allows you to search for GIFs, and drag and drop ones you like into your email or content. Get Giphy here.

 

5.  LastPass Chrome Extension

 

There is nothing worse than trying to remember countless passwords with varying characters and complexity. Not to worry, you don’t have to memorize or even write down your passwords. By utilizing the LastPass Chrome Extension, you can sync this information across all connected devices. Additionally, utilizing LastPass as your password manager creates another level of security with your login information. Get LastPass here.

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you give these helpful Google Chrome Extensions a try. Have a helpful can’t-live-without Google Chrome extension that all manufacturing salespeople need to implement ASAP? Leave it in the comments section below!

5 Digital Manufacturing Tactics that Drive B2B Manufacturing Results

When manufacturers mentioned relationship-building years ago, the first thought that would come to mind is holding multiple face-to-face-meetings with key stakeholders. Fast-forward 2021 and, well, you know that storyline!  However, over the last decade, many manufacturers have shifted their sales strategy digitally to attract more leads, build relationships with prospects through content and email nurturing, and closing them quickly and more efficiently.

While face-to-face interactions still have value, manufacturers who are utilizing inbound marketing are optimizing their sales process by identifying who the leads are on their websites, what solutions they are looking for, and ultimately, when they are ready to talk to sales in their decision process.

Below, learn 5 effective strategies to strengthen your manufacturing company’s digital presence and increase lead generation and sales.

1. Tie all marketing back to the buyer personas

In order to have a successful B2B manufacturing inbound marketing strategy, you must first have a clear understanding of who your target audience is and also, who the various decision-makers are at the companies you are targeting. At Felber PR & Marketing, we stress to our manufacturing clients that in order to see success from your digital marketing campaigns, you must personalize your buyer’s experience with your brand.

To highlight this principle, let’s use a fictional fastener manufacturer ‘Fallon Fasteners’ as an example:

Fallon Fasteners may have a few different buyer personas or “ideal buyers” they target. We choose fun and easy to remember names to identify the different personas our clients are targeting. One is ‘Mechanical Engineer Eddie’, a late 30’s engineer with 5 direct reports at an automotive company. Another is ‘Buyer Betty’, an early 40’s purchasing manager at a marine company. Eddie and Betty should be served different content because their goals in choosing a fastener company are different. Eddie will be compelled to work with the Fallon Fasteners by being sent industry research, technical blogs, white papers, and customer testimonials because he is driven by bringing the most effective solution to his company. In contrast, Betty will be compelled to work with Fallon Fasteners if she is sent content that showcases cost-savings or just-in-time manufacturing because Betty’s performance at her job is evaluated by saving capital and choosing vendors that deliver products or parts in record time.

Our blog, ‘Why Buyer Personas are Invaluable for B2B Manufacturers’, walks you through the process of creating buyer personas at your company!

2. Focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy

Manufacturers often put considerable effort into developing a beautiful new website and great content but if it is not easily discoverable on the web, you will not see optimal lead generation. By utilizing strong on-page SEO tactics, such as image alt-text and strong meta-descriptions on all pages and content, you can improve your website’s ability to be found by your ideal buyers.

What is alt-text?

Also called “alt tags” and “alt descriptions,” alt text is the written copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on a user’s screen. This text helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers and allows search engines to better crawl and rank your website. This HubSpot blog showcases what good and bad alt-text look like.

What is a meta description?

A meta description is the brief snippet of text that appears below the blue link in a search engine result. This description summarizes the content of the webpage linked above it, and although it is not an official ranking factor in Google search results, it can be edited to encourage people to click through to the webpage. This HubSpot explains how to write a meta description that drives SEO.

Looking to create an SEO strategy but don’t know where to start? Check out this resource HubSpot created with a helpful template included!

3. Boost Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns with great content offers

While you can generate strong leads through organic search traffic alone, we recommend integrating paid advertising via Google Ads and social media advertising (LinkedIn Ads), to ramp up the lead generation for our clients. In the manufacturing space, our customers do very well with paid content offers on LinkedIn.

PPC campaigns allow you to target your ideal audience and distribute your content to the right people, companies, and professions. With a strong PPC strategy, manufacturers can reach new prospects, old customers that ‘went dark’, or current customers that you would like to sell additional products or services based

A great way to increase conversion on your paid ads is by offering a great piece of content. Read: 7 Lead Generating Content Styles All B2B Manufacturers Should Implement. Your prospects are much more likely to fill out your forms if they are getting something valuable in return.

Our manufacturing clients have seen great success by offering the following pieces of content in their pay-per-click ads:

  • eBooks
  • Technical/White Papers
  • Capabilities Documents

 

Check out ‘Why Your Pay-Per-Click Ads Aren’t Working’ for more helpful PPC strategy tips!

4. Leveraging LinkedIn to Drive Lead Generation

Selling is a social process – we are often quoted saying “people do business with other people.” And LinkedIn is one of the most valuable social tools in a B2B manufacturing sales professional’s toolkit.

Top manufacturing salespeople may spend hours a week on LinkedIn because of the promise of significant ROI. You probably spend a lot of time cultivating valuable connections by prospecting on LinkedIn but how do you take it a step further? How do you take those contacts from LinkedIn connection to engaged prospects and ultimately, close them as a customer? Our latest eBook, Leveraging Linkedin for Manufacturers 2.0 answers those questions and many more including:

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile
  • How to increase recommendations and endorsements
  • Ways to Grow your network
  • Content marketing on LinkedIn 101
  • How to sell better with LinkedIn

Download our Leveraging LinkedIn for Manufacturers 2.0 eBook here for helpful tactics and valuable templates!

5. Measure ROI & Monitor Campaigns Effectively

In order to have a successful inbound marketing strategy, you must be able to easily have access to data and be able to analyze what tactics are working well and which are underperforming, so that you can adjust your marketing and sales efforts for ultimate ROI. How are you currently tracking the effectiveness of your blogs, landing pages, web pages, forms, emails, social media posts, and advertising?

Can you easily track individual tactics and tie it all back to a campaign in order to measure return-on-investment? Your marketing, sales, and customer service team needs accurate information, and they need it now. Our clients utilize HubSpot, which is a helpful tool that ties all teams together and provides everyone access to the same, central database. No need to wade through multiple platforms on different servers.

Check out our blog, ‘Why B2B Manufacturers Should Utilize HubSpot’, to learn how your clients are tracking ROI from sales and marketing strategies on the platform.

At Felber PR & Marketing, we work exclusively with business-to-business manufacturers. We help our clients drive quality leads, determine the best tactics for their unique goals, and integrate HubSpot with our manufacturing clients in order to track net new leads and customers acquired from your marketing and sales tactics. Interested in ramping up your inbound marketing strategy? Contact robfelber@felberpr.com or (330) 963-3664 to get started!

 

 

 

Why didn’t my new internet lead buy immediately? The biggest misconception in lead generation

Are leads from pay-per-click, social, or LinkedIn really worth it?

Your business needs sales. Attracting more prospects seems simple enough. In the past, you invested in tactics such as trade shows. You scanned badges and made appointments right on the spot. You were able to show your machinery and products. Maybe you even held live demonstrations in your 10 x 20 rented space. Alas, those days are gone…at least for the foreseeable future.

So, you are considering new ways to build name recognition and generate leads. You’ve heard of search engine optimization and maybe have even dipped a toe into pay-per-click. You see the reports (but let’s be honest, you do not read them). Then, a few months later someone asks about the investment and you sheepishly answer that you didn’t see any leads that turned into business.

Generating leads is a critical first step…but you will need to dig deeper

I have the lead, now what?

We have written about lead generation, a lot. From live events to email marketing and content development to pay-per-click, you certainly have a lot of choices for your marketing budget.

You can brush up on lead generation tactics with these articles:

3 Business-to-Business Manufacturing Lead Generation Strategies That Work

How to develop strong downloadable content offers that generate leads

Why CRM for Manufacturing Lead Generation Doesn’t Work

The biggest misconception in lead generation

So, why would a new lead, whether generated by word of mouth or via the internet, be expected to buy any differently?

Way too often we find the single biggest flaw is expecting immediate sales. Yes, you have a new lead, but are they ready to invest in your six-figure machinery or solution?

Most of our manufacturing clients are contract manufacturers. In other words, without a purchase agreement, they are not making your 100,000 custom widgets. Think about your current customer. Did they buy the first time they spoke to your company? Or, did you need to provide estimates, drawings, prototypes, or samples? Manufacturers, especially those with large, complicated sales, do not sell on the first call; probably not on the 6th call either. Many of our customers experience 12, 24 even 36-month sales cycles – nothing has changed except how you received the lead. Want to see how you compare? Access our free inbound assessment here.

You still need to create a relationship, regardless of how you generated the leads

You need to nurture this lead, just as before. You need to understand how they buy and who is on the buying team. So, instead of expecting immediate results, prepare for the long haul. Plans should include expected return on investment, just as before, however, calculate in months to years, not days.

Selling is a relationship business and you need to keep that relationship current. How are you communicating now? Are you regularly educating your prospect? The articles below will help you learn how to qualify, communicate, and research your new prospect.

5 Stellar Manufacturing Sales Qualifying Questions You Need to Use ASAP

 The Power of an Automated Marketing, Sales and Service Platform

How to Increase Manufacturing Sales with Social Selling

Digital marketing is a great addition to your budget. Remember, you’re not selling to statistics. Traffic never moves the needle, leads do.  Do not lose sight of the fact that you are selling to real people. Actual humans. Need a reminder? Read: How to Humanize Your Business-to-Business Manufacturing Brand

7 Lead Generating Content Styles All B2B Manufacturers Should Implement

 

A strong, lead generating inbound marketing plan must include content that helps prospects in all stages of their buying process. Below, learn 7 types of content you should implement now for ultimate success.

After the year we just came through, we now know that we can accomplish much more than we thought just 12 months ago. Pick just one of these content tactics and start your 2021 with a fresh approach.

 

1.  Blogging

Blogging consistently (we shoot for 2-4 new posts for ourselves and clients per month) is a great way to boost organic SEO and make your brand pop up when your prospect searches for a product or service you sell. By sharing helpful and educational content, your company will be able to build a relationship with your prospects that turns them into engaged leads and eventually customers. Felber PR & Marketing Blog (since 2008).

 

Not sure what content to write for your blog? Are you looking to establish yourself as an industry leader, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and close customers? Blogging is an excellent way to showcase your company’s expertise and create relationships by sharing your knowledge.

 

Struggling to develop content ideas? Check out our blog 10 Ways to Reignite Your Manufacturing Blog with Great Content for a list of great ideas!

2.  Comprehensive 101-Style eBooks

Would you like to cover a more in-depth topic through written content that makes sense in a blog and capture qualified leads at the same time? Then, you should consider developing an eBook.

 

We’ve utilized ‘101 style’ eBooks with many of our clients which essentially take multiple blog posts and compile them together to create an eBook.  Check out our client Grand River Rubber & Plastics who developed a Custom Gasket Design Guide that was developed using this concept.

Developing an eBook using a blogging strategy is powerful for a  few reasons:

  1. We’re developing blog content with the end goal in mind (developing an eBook)
  2. We map out the chapters of the eBook and write them as stand-alone blog posts that we utilize to drive SEO to our client’s websites
  3. Once we’ve finished all the blogs (aka chapter content), we can easily put the content together, expand on certain chapters if necessary, and put a professional graphic layout.

 

We preach to our clients all the time that content can be used more than once! Just because you’ve used a piece of content one way, doesn’t mean it can’t be utilized again in another facet. Do you have 5-10 in-depth blogs on a topic? That could be a great eBook in the making! Need more examples? Check out our free ebooks.

 

3.  Product or Process Comparison Documents and InfoGraphics

Above: Client Process Comparison Example, Fabrisonic

When your prospects are searching for a solution to their manufacturing challenges, they will compare processes or products. For example, let’s say oftentimes, prospects are between utilizing injection molding or 3D printing. Why not develop a document or webpage that breaks down the pros and cons of each process? This will not only be extremely valuable to your prospects but also will help you establish your brand as an industry expert.

4.  Sales Literature

Your prospects will want to have a clear understanding of your capabilities and expertise. Having spec sheets and brochures available to download on your website is critically important. Also, sales literature provides an excellent way to capture leads on your website.

 

Don’t be afraid to gate the content, or require someone to fill out a form to download it. However, it is important to note that your form shouldn’t be too long. Rule of thumb, your form length (information you are asking for) should always match the value of the content provided.

 

For more technical pieces of content such as white papers, you can ask more in-depth questions about the prospect. However, for a sales literature piece, even just asking for their email address does wonders from a lead generation standpoint. If you are utilizing HubSpot, you can then track that prospect’s behavior on your website from their first time on your site.

 

You can also enroll them in automated email campaigns. Also, don’t worry. Your HubSpot forms are smart and you can gather more information about your prospect when they fill out forms to download pieces of content or contact a sales rep in the future!

 

Check out our client General Die Casters Sell Sheet here

 

5.  Video

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. While professional videos are highly effective, you can also develop videos from your computer for sales purposes.

Nonprofessional Videos We Recommend Manufacturers Try:

 

We (and our clients) have been using a free video platform called Vidyard (which integrates with HubSpot) for our newsletter, sales efforts, and client training. Vidyard allows you to easily take videos from your webcam or phone.

 

We suggest manufacturers utilize Vidyard for the following:

 

  1. Newsletter videos
  2. Personalize videos for sales emails
  3. Quick and personalized customer tutorials
  4. LinkedIn videos (how-tos, customer stories, list-style tips, and tricks)

 

Professional Videos We Recommend Manufacturers Utilize:

  1. Product or equipment demos
  2. Virtual tours
  3. Customer testimonials
  4. Company overview videos

Client Example, General Die Casters Overview

6.  Case Studies

Case studies provide your manufacturing company an incredible opportunity to showcase your expertise, product value, and customer service. Case studies are valuable because they give your company third party credibility.  Unlike a testimonial, a case study is meant to be in a long format. An excellent case study really allows your audience to get to know your customer, understand your company’s relationship with them, and fully explains in detail your work together. Then, your customer can get a better picture of what it would be like to work with you!

 

Are you saying to yourself, this is great but I’ll never be able to get my customers to participate in case studies, don’t fret.  Check out our blog, How to Convince Your Stubborn Manufacturing Customers to Participate in Case Studies for our tried and true tips to get your customers to say yes!

Check out client Grand River Rubber & Plastics Case Study, ‘GRAND RIVER RUBBER & PLASTICS HELPS RESTORE 1913 ELEVATOR AT HISTORIC SAN DIEGO HOTEL’

7.  Technical Papers

Technical papers are excellent to assist your prospects through their buying process. They also provide an excellent opportunity to gather more information about your prospects via forms. We suggest having your technical papers gated, meaning behind the form for ultimate lead generating potential. When you have a valuable content offer like a technical paper, you can ask more in-depth questions on the form.

 

For example, our 3D metal printing client, Fabrisonic asks this question on their recent Space-grade 3D metal printed heat exchangers technical paper:

How are you currently manufacturing your heat exchangers? Select all that apply:

  • CNC Milling
  • Brazing
  • Powder Bed Fusion

 

When developing form questions for your technical paper forms, ask yourself, what are the top 3 questions our salespeople or engineers need to know to best assist a prospect?

We hope you choose to implement one or more of the  7 content ideas in this article. To have a successful inbound marketing strategy, it is important to have a variety of different content that appeals to your buyer personas (or ideal buyers) and answers their questions throughout their decision-making process.

 

Looking to ramp up your content marketing strategy? Do you have a great team of engineers that are not writers? We can help. At Felber PR & Marketing, We Get Manufacturing. Since 1993 we’ve helped manufacturers develop strong content that generates leads, moves them through the sales cycle, and closes those leads as customers.

Call Rob Felber (330) 963-3664, RobFelber@FelberPR.com, or click here for a free assessment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word of Mouth: Pure gold or just legends told at sales meetings?

We talk to manufacturers, a lot. Almost everyone tells us their best source of leads is word of mouth. Great…until we ask a few questions.

Normally the conversation sounds like this:

Manufacturer: Our main source of leads is word of mouth

international-marketing

 

: Great, how many do you get?

 

 

Manufacturer: A few a month…

 

international-marketing

: Excellent, how many do you want?

 

 

 

Manufacturer: 1,000!

 

international-marketing

: OK, what is your strategy?

 

 

 

Manufacturer: Um, well, hmmm. We really do not have a strategy.

Sound familiar? This is often how this conversation plays out. Interesting, yes; frustrating? Certainly.

The reality is almost no one is tracking these leads. And, as you have read here before, if it is not measured, it doesn’t get done. Word of mouth is great, if it really exists. Sure, we all believe that our customers are sharing their experience. We feel, rightly so, that a high trust built with our customer, that they must be the source of our leads.

Here are a few easy ways to measure word of mouth and translate the data into leads. Is your customer reading and interacting with your blog? Commenting on your LinkedIn articles? Using the chat feature on your website?

If you have evidence of word of mouth, do you know:  Who (persona) is talking? What they are saying? Why are they saying it? Again, measurement is important. Measurement is easy with a CRM, if done right. See these articles:

Why CRM for Manufacturing Lead Generation Doesn’t Work

The Most Common Mistakes Manufacturers Make When Implementing Inbound Marketing

 

We’re happy to discuss how to take your sales leads to the next level. Interested in how this works for manufactures? Contact us today.

How to Humanize Your Business-to-Business Manufacturing Brand

 

Let’s face it; your customers are tired of distant and detached corporate websites. Now, more than ever, they want to be engaged in conversation and find valuable information with ease. We say it all the time; people want to buy from people, not from companies. Keep reading to learn three ways to humanize your business-to-business manufacturing company’s brand.

Write content from your customer’s perspective

It is essential to highlight the value proposition for your prospects and customers. When developing content that resonates with your target audience, we always suggest starting with a review of form submissions and social media comments to find inspiration. Jot down common themes, and if you don’t have content on each of these topics, develop it! Also, keep in mind, if someone has asked a question once, it is safe to assume more people have that same question.

When writing your content, focus on educating your readers, rather than promoting your brand. The perspective of a common challenge your customers face and the solutions you developed really personalize the story for your readers. Read ‘How to make this year ‘the year of content’ for more helpful content ideas!

Showcase your employees

Consider launching a “Meet Our Team of Experts” campaign in which you share blogs and video stories of the people behind your services and products. Buyers are motivated to purchase when they know the story behind your products and recognize the very people they speak to regularly.

Also by showcasing your employees on your website, you are empowering your employees by allowing them to highlight current projects and why they are passionate about their profession. The best and most authentic way to humanize your brand is to show the humans working at your company! This not only looks great to your prospect and customers but also can serve as a great recruitment tool. Check out our client, Grand River Rubber & Plastics’ employee ownership page here. They do a great job of showcasing their incredible tenured staff in videos to recruit new employees at their Ashtabula, Ohio plant!

Highlight customer case studies

Manufacturing case studies are a fantastic way to show your company’s capabilities and expertise. Case studies add third party credibility and could be the difference between your prospects choosing you over your competition.

Yet, many times when we ask our business-to-business manufacturing clients if they are utilizing case studies, a surprising number of them will answer: “We don’t do case studies. Our customers won’t agree to work on them with us.” We cringe when we hear this because they are not only losing a valuable content opportunity for both their website and even the industrial trade media but missing an opportunity to deepen their customer relationship (hence turning customers into promoters!)

Read ‘How to Convince Your Stubborn Manufacturing Customers to Participate in Case Studies’

We hope these three strategies will help you humanize your manufacturing content. Find your style. Some manufacturers find a nice balance between being informative but also conversational. We suggest avoiding jargon and aiming for simple, straight to the point messaging to resonate with your audience.

Are you looking to generate more content? We have 27 years of business-to-business manufacturing communications experience. Our writers will help you unlock the content vault.