Your Pipeline is at Risk of Running Dry

Your current situation:

  • Supply chain distributions
  • Labor shortages
  • Production backlogs with more work than you can handle

We talk to manufacturers, a lot. Our day-to-day conversations are starting to sound the same. Sales are great. Yes, you’re disappointing some customers with delays or downright not accepting more work and you’re simply not worried about sales right now. Well, you should be, and here is why:

Your pipeline is at risk. If you stop filling it now with interested prospects, ignore your existing customers, you will watch your competitors pounce like a lioness in the wild! In 6 short months, you may very well run dry of prospects. Starting the process of prospecting and relationship building will be even tougher as your customers are actively building supply chain redundancy right now. Heard enough? Book fifteen minutes today and we will see if we can help.

When times are tough, companies traditionally (and against our advice) tend to pull back on marketing. Remember 2008? Who won? Those companies that expanded their reach, sharpened their saw and maintained open communication won. Here’s what we wrote in 2009: Advertising During A Recession Nets Higher Sales Growth and again in 2019: Diversify Your Manufacturing Business to Rock the Next Recession

Why pay attention to your pipeline when it is full? You never know when the next anchor (e.g. Supply chain or COVID) will rip a huge gash in your pipeline. Supply chains will normalize, and labor will too. Who will you sell to if your pipeline is dry from neglect? Can you withstand another gut punch like this?

How can you avoid a bone-dry pipeline? Here are four Inbound Marketing tactics you can use now.

  • Lead generation. Sharpen your saw and develop new content while you have time. Engage the media to tell your story and have an effective CRM to capture, nurture and manage new leads.

 

  • Customer acquisition. As leads move through the pipeline, use email campaigns, automated tasks, and sales sequences to schedule more discovery calls. Use this time to expand organizational charts and deepen relationships. You have the time now, right?

 

  • Client engagement. Stay relevant during repeated long sales cycles. Make your website the go-to industry source; not just once a year but every week. Show your expertise and become the expert in your market.

 

  • Competitive advantage. Per HubSpot research, the average company has 40 competitors. Show prospects and customers alike why your manufacturing company excels, especially in tough environments. Expert articles, infographics, and case studies will put you on the top of the mountain.

 

Does any of this sound like you? If so, grab 15 minutes with me on the phone and we will see if we can help. Yes, I want to talk about avoiding a dry pipeline. Or contact RobFelber@FelberPR.com  (330) 963-3664

Building the Workforce of Tomorrow – Manufacturing Day Resources

“Manufacturers in the United States need to fill 4 million jobs by 2030, according to a workforce study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte. More than half of those jobs could be left unfilled because of two issues: a skills gap and misperceptions about modern manufacturing.” MFG Day is focused events to promote manufacturing to students, parents, and educators for the first Friday in, and throughout, the month of October.

It is no secret that there is a labor shortage and skills gap in the United States. Manufacturers have felt this pain for years. Manufacturing Day is presented by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute. The website features many resources on how to attract talent and change the perception of manufacturing.

 

Last year we wrote about how to host a virtual event and here we are, Part Deux! What can you plan to impact this critical shortage? Watch MFG Day 2021 (video). What can your manufacturing company do to impact this problem?

 

Are you hosting an event? Tells us about it and we will help you promote it. Email RobFelber@felberpr.com or book time and tells us all about it.

Bonus articles on Manufacturing Day:

Why Manufacturing Day Should Be Part of Your Recruitment Strategy  (2018)

Grow Your Manufacturing Workforce – Manufacturing Day 2017

It’s Time to Start Planning Manufacturing Day 2016 Events

Manufacturing Day Campaign 2015

How to Improve Your Call to Actions

Best Practices for Manufacturers looking to Engage their Audience 

Madilyn Movsesian – Marketing Intern

Call to Actions (CTAs) are how manufacturers engage visitors on their website. You see them all the time. Download our technical paper, click here on our eBook, schedule your consultation today. There’s a saying amongst inbound marketers. “Traffic doesn’t pay the bills, leads do.” Visitors taking action on your website is the lead conversion sought after by manufacturers. 

  CTAs are vital for website conversion, and they need to be clear and enticing. For a CTA to be successful, there are a lot of factors that marketers need to pay attention to when building CTAs. Color scheme, timing, positioning, and wording are just a few of these critical elements.  In order to find out what works best for your manufacturing company, try A/B testing your CTA’s. A/B testing a CTA is when you show variations to viewers and examine the results. Testing colors and wording for example and then comparing which CTAs get the best conversion.  The variations may include different colors, changing the timing of the CTA, changing the wording, or putting the CTA in another location on the landing page. HubSpot is a great marketing tool that allows you to track everything from visits, click-through rate, and many other benefits when examining how a CTA performs. 


When it comes to understanding color schemes, make sure your CTAs are bright and easy to spot on your website. Making your CTA noticeable is what will get visitors to convert. Timing is also a key aspect when it comes to CTAs. More often than not, when a CTA immediately pops up on your screen after opening a webpage, your prospect is more likely going to ignore it. Choosing a specific time to show  a CTA is key. Again, test, test, test. Many platforms, such as our favorite, HubSpot allows for options such as a delayed popup CTA or when the visitor has scrolled more than 50% of a webpage. Positioning is another important part when it comes to CTAs. Choosing an effective place to put the CTA that will make a huge difference in conversions. CTAs can and should also be used on your blogs, emails and social media posts.

 

Lastly, choose your words carefully. Mark Walker-Ford, managing director at Red Website Design, talks about words to use for an effective CTA, “‘learn more,’ ‘get started,’ ‘register today,’ ‘grab my copy,’” and he also writes on words to avoid, “‘download,’ ‘buy now,’ ‘order today,’ ‘submit,’” using the right wording is another necessary facet. 

Michael Brener, writer for the Marketing Insider Group, details few takeaways to consider when creating CTAs: 

  • “Keep your CTAs short when urging “quick” action.
  • Personalization has been shown time and time again to increase conversion. 
  • Buttons convert better than text, links, or images.
  • Make sure your landing pages back up your CTA in terms of content and offers. 
  • Never stop testing your CTAs.”

Interested in learning more about this tactic and how to further engage your prospects and customers? Contact Rob Felber (330) 963-3664, email RobFelber@felberpr.com or grab some time on his calendar and let’s get you on the right path to lead conversion.

Utilizing Google Reviews for Manufacturers

Madilyn Movsesian – Marketing Intern

What are Google reviews and is your company taking advantage of them? Google reviews are a way for companies to impact credibility and increase their reputation amongst website visitors. According to an article by Craig Bloem for Inc.com, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, making Google reviews a great weapon for manufacturers to employ.

Online reviews matter, especially in this technologically advanced era. Companies need to give customers an incentive to review their experience at their company. Not only can reviews attract other potential customers, but they can also give a company great feedback. Rebecca Cole of Mika Metal Fabricating stated how younger professionals who already use Google for personal purchases and guidance will likely use it when looking for business products and services as well. Website pop-up forms, automated emails, and customer surveys are a great place to start for any company looking to collect reviews.

Google reviews can greatly impact a company’s online reputation. Seeing what other customers have to say about a product or service is what can alter a potential customer’s opinion. No matter the size of your company, Google reviews can help rank businesses in local results. An article on Podium, “5 Powerful Advantages of Google Reviews,” offers a list of benefits of utilizing online reviews:

  1. Google business reviews increase brand trust
  2. Google business reviews increase online exposure and local SEO
  3. Feedback loop and customer intelligence through Google business reviews
  4. Improve click-through rates to your website with Google reviews
  5. Google reviews convert more customers

There are many tactics manufacturing companies can use to generate more reviews on Google. The more reviews your company receives and the increase the amount of engagement with website visitors ultimately speaks to your company reputation (and how others see your company)  Kristen McCormick for Word Stream wrote a list of 17 tips on how to get more Google reviews for your company, here are the first five:

  1. Tell customers how to do it
  2. Create a Google review link shortcut
  3. Shorten the review shortcut
  4. Link out to your Google review page from your website
  5. Create a Google reviews page on your website

Interested in learning more about this tactic and how to further engage your prospects and customers? Contact RobFelber@FelberPR.com, (330) 963-3664, or book a free consultation today

Will Manufacturing Lead the Way?

How Manufacturers have traditionally recovered from recessions

Written by: Madilyn Movsesian – Marketing Intern

State Budget Course Finance Recession Economy

Since the Covid-19 outbreak in March of 2020, there has been a worldwide crisis amongst manufacturers. Like many other industries, manufacturers have been working tirelessly to conform to the new normal. Kristen Fowler for Forbes magazine states, “historic data demonstrates that manufacturing has borne the brunt of the financial damage in past U.S. recessions,” meaning that manufacturing has had the worst financial impact. As the world works to get back to normal and better the economy, the manufacturing industry is facing high levels of demand while simultaneously battling decreases in production in certain areas. 

The manufacturing industry can lead the world out of another recession due to the fact that the industry is one of the first to recover from previous downfalls. Kristen Fowler also writes, “between the early 2000s recession and the Great Recession industrial manufacturers experienced 300% higher recoveries in corporate profits.” This large increase was one of the factors that led our country out of the recession. In 2021, the manufacturing industry is hoping for the same results in order to get back on its feet. In order for this to happen, manufacturers need to meet global supply chain needs and have a strong employee base. As we discussed in our recent blog, Endless Job Opportunities with Manufacturers in the U.S., there are many tactics manufacturers can use in order to attract more employees. 

 

The global supply chain issues that have surfaced from Covid-19 are ones that manufacturers will have to overcome in order to recover. Everywhere around the world products are being delayed due to the fact that there are shortages of workers and raw materials. It is crucial to weigh your options and possible alternatives in order to meet the demand of consumers. Fowler writes in response to the initial Covid-19 shockwaves, “by devoting new resources and energy to building supply chains, manufacturers will drive economic growth in communities while mitigating the risk of international disruptions,” as a manufacturing company it is critical to have a defined response to supply chain issues. 

The manufacturing industry faced the lowest employment levels after Covid-19 surfaced. It is crucial to have a hiring method that will attract employees and meet the economic needs of production. Rapid hiring of quality employees will lead the manufacturing industry to success. To overcome the challenges created by Covid, manufacturers need to confront the supply chain and hiring shortage that is in today’s current society. 

Interested in learning more about this tactic and how to further engage your prospects and customers? Call Rob Felber (330) 963-3664 or email RobFelber@felberpr.com 

Endless Job Opportunities with Manufacturers in the U.S.

Help Wanted”

Have you seen the “Help Wanted” signs at businesses in your city? It’s no secret that Covid-19 impacted every business across the globe. We are currently living the aftermath of the virus. As more people get the vaccine, businesses are starting to open up completely and there is a high demand for workers. According to Eric Morath, writer for WSJ, he stated, “openings continued to grow in May (2021) according to job search site Indeed.com. That followed an increase of nearly 1 million unfilled positions in April, to 9.3 million, the highest level on records back to 2000,” leaving endless opportunities for those looking for work. The number of job postings in May reached 27%, which was led by various industries who are looking for help. Manufacturing has seen a growth in the number of employees in May of 2021, but not enough to counteract the losses in April.

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics stated in their report, “Job Openings and Labor Turnover – April 2021,” that in December of 2020, job openings increased in various industries, reaching a high of 9.3 million. In manufacturing, this number reached (+78,000) job opportunities. As of April 2021 hires in durable goods manufacturing were (-37,000), showing that the manufacturing industry has still not recovered from the Covid-19 outbreak. The manufacturing industry will continue to suffer if nothing is done about the drastic decrease in hires.

How can your company recruit more workers?

With these record-level job openings across the country, it is crucial to have a marketing plan in order to attract potential employees. Here are a few ways to get your company’s name out there to those in need of work:

Print ads in local papers announcing job fairs

  1. Make applying for a position easy. Use online forms on the company website
  2. Host job fairs with access to proficiency and drug testing, factory tours, and benefits discussions
  3. Continuously posting on job recruiting websites 
  4. Reaching out to previous employees or current employees and telling them to refer those in need of work
  5. Post in the local newspapers
  6. Utilize local radio advertisements 
  7. Have a strong social media presence that is updated regularly
  8. Utilize billboards
  9. Movie commercials (those pre-movie ads in the theater)

 

How one local manufacturer is pulling out all stops for recruitment: a case study with Grand River Rubber & Plastics

Grand River Rubber & Plastics Company is a 100% employee owned company in Ashtabula, Ohio. Grand River specializes in lathe cut gaskets, vacuum sweeper belts, and drum and pail gaskets. Since Covid-19, Grand River has been using various marketing tactics in order to attract more employees. Grand River utilized a billboard, continuous social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter, print ads in local newspapers as well as movie commercials (those in theater pre-movie commercials), and a local radio commercial, to gain the attention of potential employees. 

 

Strategically placed billboards near the facility

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media posts were placed on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter

The billboard advertisement will help to gain the attention of anyone driving alongside the highway. With the link to the website on the billboard and big lettering saying, “We’re Hiring,” this will catch numerous drivers’ eyes. Having clear and defined social media posts is what will attract potential employees. Knowing which channels to use is also a crucial factor when deciding where to advertise. The print ad is detailed and organized with valuable information on Grand River and how to apply. The movie commercial will be played before any screening when the audience is waiting for the movie to start, giving it a large reach. Lastly, the radio commercial that will be played in the local radio stations near the factory is a great way to geo-target a specific audience in search of those who could be potential employees.

 

“Yes, please come visit our shop.”

The world, and specifically the sales side of manufacturing is opening up. Factories are welcoming their suppliers and vendors back for in-person meetings. This is a far cry from last year, and especially what we wrote about in our August 2020 blog How to Adapt B2B Manufacturing Sales Strategy for the COVID-19 World.

During the pandemic, we learned to market our manufacturing companies differently. Where we previously relied on visiting customers, trade conferences, and phone calls during Covid we turned to Inbound Marketing, digital content, automated email, and targeted social media. This was not only needed to maintain relationships but to make sure we can still nurture our prospects through the sales process. 

It worked, and now those same prospects are saying,

 “yes, please come visit our shop.”

As we transition back, we need to stay organized and balance both worlds. Prospects that still prefer a remote process and those that want us to schedule meetings. Having a world-class CRM such as HubSpot can make the difference. 

Here are three key attributes that will keep you organized and not let any opportunities slip through the cracks. 

HubSpot tasks offer a tremendous organizational tool

 

  1. Use the task feature so you do not lose track of opportunities. Schedule a call, email, or to-do for your prospect. Set priorities and reminders and you will quickly find a clean and efficient way to organize your prospecting. You can even build a custom queue to further organize lists, e.g. by industry, territory, or product mix.

 

  1. Use HubSpot’s meeting scheduler to eliminate the back and forth scheduling scavenger hunt we all go through when trying to find a mutual time to meet. Your contact can see when you are available and pick the most convenient time for them. 

 

  1. Your prospect’s behavior often is an indicator of future success. Know when they are visiting your website, what they are reading, and even if they viewed your proposal (And…how many times!). This is great intelligence that you will use as you prepare for that first in-person sales call. 

 

HubSpot offers many levels of features, starting with free CRM, MarketingStarter, and Marketing/Sales Professional. You can start small and grow. Interested in a demonstration? Contact us today.

The Trade Show is over – Now what?

 

You did it! You effectively pre-planned your show (You committed to a trade show, now what?)  and you worked the show successfully (Trade Shows – Owning the Floor), what should be your next step after the show?

I know you might be thinking of soaking your feet and adding up the frequent flyer miles, and you are not too far off. As the dust settles and you wash off the grime of travel, how will you measure success? Do you have a system (think CRM) in place to measure the results and report on the return on investment?

Let’s start with the activity first. If you are not following up within 3-7 days you will be forgotten! We all return to the office, exhausted and with best intentions, but if you do not reengage with those you met, your name recognition drops like that soggy breakfast sandwich they put out at your hotel.

Next steps:

  • Have pre-planned emails targeting the attendees written and automated
  • Make sure the messages and graphics are the same as those used in your pre-show and booth graphics for consistency
  • Upload the leads you obtained and let the email automation do its job
  • If available, obtain the list of attendees and consider sending a separate “sorry we missed you” message to those you did not talk to at the booth
  • Set tasks and reminders to review each lead, assign to team members if needed and continue the conversation

Finally, evaluate your entire campaign. Did you achieve the goals you outlined in the pre-planning? Did the booth activity go as planned and generate excitement? Did you pull reports on the leads generated and determine their overall value? All these steps will help you determine your return on the entire investment, improve your plan for the next show and impact the growth of your company.

Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for a job well done!

PS. Need more? Download our Trade Shows for Manufacturers Guide here.

 

Trade Shows – Owning the Floor

Rolling out the carpet, pulling up the retractable display, and filling a large punch bowl with hard candy just does not cut it at a modern trade show. You need to drive traffic to the booth, capture leads, and make the very best impression in an incredibly compressed time. Our last blog introduced the concept of pre-show planning. Now, let’s discuss the show itself.

Let’s first start with the old real estate mantra, location, Location, LOCATION! Many shows let you bid on or pick your booth location. Pay attention to entrances, lounges, bars, and the main stage. You may also want to see who else has chosen their space. Are they a big draw exhibitor or your largest competitor? Can you get a corner booth that will provide two directions of travel versus being stuck in the middle of an aisle? Or, better yet, can your budget support an island booth?

Once your location is set, the single most valuable resource you have is who will be representing your company in the booth. At the show, for all practical purposes, this is your office. First impressions should not be that of a booth worker, sitting down, talking on the cell phone, eating a hoagie while they drip sauce on their laptop. Admit it, you have seen this at every single show you have ever attended.

Booth personnel should first and foremost, want to be there. Believe it or not, salespeople might see the show as a waste of their time. They have clients to meet with and calls to make. Standing in a booth often seems like a waste of their time. Who would be great in the booth? Consider your customer service team. They rarely get to travel but might have decades-long relationships with customers. Customers they have never met face to face.

Booth traffic builders, product demonstrations, press conferences, entertainment on and off the show floor are all considerations when building your plan. Check out the full section on During the Show planning in our eBook. Trade Shows for Manufacturers Guide. In our next post, we’ll wrap it all up with Post-Show promotion.

You committed to a trade show, now what?

Pre-show preparation is key to success and achieving a return on your investment

 

Step one in your trade show plan is goal setting. What do you really want to happen at this show? Knowing the outcome is key to effective goal setting.

  • Can you expect actual sales and signed purchase agreements?
  • Are you introducing a new product, feature, or service?
  • Is your goal to improve and strengthen the relationships with the customers you know will be in attendance?
  • Or, perhaps you are attending to create stronger relationships with other vendors and exhibitors
  • Lastly, media relations and creating opportunities for editors to write about your company is a worthwhile goal with long-term benefits.

Check out the full section of pre-show planning in our eBook Trade Shows for Manufacturers Guide.

One of the best tools for pre-show planning is the exhibitor handbook. This should be made available as soon as you commit to the show. Rules, order forms, sponsor information will be detailed. Make sure to order on time and secure valuable sponsorship opportunities before they are gone.

Once you have defined your goal, consider the theme of the event. Is your theme a one-time use or do you anticipate a motif across multiple shows for the year? While a baseball theme could work in the spring or an Olympics theme is tied to a particular season/year, a sports theme across an entire year offers more opportunity to engage your audience with varying promotions.

As you develop your booth, theme, and tactics, turn your attention to activities that will drive prospects to your booth. What advertising opportunities, online and in print are being offered? What about announcements to the show media? Many publications publish pre-show guides months in advance. Do you have news or announcements that should be in these trade publications? What about demonstrations at the booth or press conferences? Yes, there is a lot to consider ahead of the show. With proper, thoughtful planning you will arrive ready to tackle the challenge of the show.

Next week, we will discuss Owning the Floor with During the Show planning.