How to Convince Your Stubborn Manufacturing Customers to Participate in Case Studies

case studies manufacturing

3 Ways To Get Great Manufacturing Case Studies

Manufacturing case studies are an amazing way to show your prospects and customers your skills and capabilities. Case studies 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.


Yet, many times when I ask my business-to-business manufacturing clients if they have 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.” I cringe, as 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 them into promoters). Below are some ideas to combat the dreaded case study feature dilemma.

Highlight The Benefits For Your Customer

Many times, companies will approach a customer for a case study feature like it’s a favor. This is a major no-no, as your customers already feel they are doing enough for you giving you their business. Instead, approach the case study as a win-win that will benefit both of your companies. Make sure you promise to spend a significant portion of the case study highlighting the benefits of your customer’s products, processes, and services.

Also, let the customer know your intentions to distribute the case study. A simple write up on your website is fine but agreeing to pitch the case study to publications, trade associations, or websites that reach your customer’s prospects and customers makes a case study seem more valuable. As an agency, we have honed the art of making our customers’ customer comfortable with how the trade media works and will feature their company.

Make It A Low Pressure Commitment For Your Customer

After presenting your customer with the benefits of a case study feature, explain the amount of time or effort required on his or her part to bring the case study to fruition. Offer to have someone from your company interview them, write the draft and submit it to the customer for final approval. If you have an established PR professional facilitating the case study, your customer should only have a 45 to 60 minutes time commitment for the interview. Whether you have a PR professional onboard or a marketing professional in house, it is important that whoever is facilitating the interview has a technical background. Remember, always be sensitive to the time commitment.

Make Sure Your Customer Loves The Finished Product

Engage your customer throughout the case study writing process. Email them questions during the writing process to check for accuracy, double and triple check to ensure you aren’t giving away anything  your customer wouldn’t want the public to know and ask for photo suggestions from your customer, all the while making sure nothing proprietary is being shared. Show your customer you value their opinion and want to promote their company in the best light possible. Remember to send the final print article or, even have it framed as a gift to your customer. Then, when you come back in a year or so and ask that customer for another case study feature, your customer will be more inclined to accept.

Interested in learning more about the power of PR for manufacturers? Check out these blogs: Why Manufacturers Still Need PR in a Digital World and Why Your Manufacturing PR Firm Should Be Sales Focused

Difficulty developing and distributing content? Contact us.

Why Manufacturers Need a Content Map for Inbound Marketing Success

content-map-manufacturersYou’ve heard it before: content is king—and the way to create relevant, consistent content is by creating a content map.  Content marketing is not a short-term campaign. Just like the manufacturing sales cycle, it is a long-term strategy to attract, convert, close and retain customers. Below, learn my best practices for creating a content map for inbound marketing success.

What is a Content Map?

A content map is a cross section outline detailing your approach to your buyer personas (prospects and customers). Your map details not only the type of content such as a blog post, infographic or video but the schedule and nature of how you are sending the content. Your messages are always developed with the inbound marketing methodology and your target buyer personas in mind. Furthermore, you must consider their stage in the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision). The goal is to target content according to the characteristics of the person consuming your content (that’s why buyer persona research is so crucial) and how close that person is to making a decision to buy your product or service (lifecycle).

Content Map Essentials

A content map is so much more than a calendar with content assigned to specific dates. An effective content map is tailored to the buyer personas (who you want to sell to), their specific engagement level (how often their opening, clicking or engaging with your brand/content), and the channels used to reach those targeted personas. Content map essentials include:

  • A list of what you are publishing based upon your content strategy. This should include if the content is repurposed or needs to be written. Also, keep in mind industry trends, new product lines, or other factors that should influence when you post certain content.
  • Names of individuals creating the content.
  • The channel(s) for the content.It is essential to map out where you are sharing your content. For example, if you are creating an eBook, list the blog content, social content, and email blasts to promote the eBook.
  • Target Audience and Lifecycle Stage. It’s important to include the targeted “buyer persona” and “lifecycle stage”. Also include keywords which your target buyer persona will be searching during their specific lifecycle stage.
  • Dates for completion and publishing. Indicating when it’s due for review and when it’s intended to be published is key to keep your employees accountable and ensure you create the content you intended.
  • Long-tail Keywords. Long-tail keywords are essential to ensure that your content appears in search. Use tools such as HubSpot or Google Keyword Planner to find keywords that will attract your ideal prospects.

Content Map Organization

When organizing your content map, we suggest mapping 6 months to a year worth of content. Below is a suggested content map layout.

  • Content type
  • The buyer persona(s) targeted
  • Lifecycle stage of buyer pesona(s) target
  • Person/individuals responsible for creating the content
  • Long-tail keywords to include in the content
  • Channels to publish the content (social, blog, YouTube, etc.)
  • Due Date
  • Publish Date
  • Column for Status (yellow for in process, green for completed)
  • Call-to-Action on the content
  • Separate tab on the content map for content idea brainstorming

With these simple tips, you’ll be on the right track to content marketing success. Struggling to think of content ideas? Check out our blog 10 Ways to Reignite Your Manufacturing Blog for some content ideas that your manufacturing prospects and customers will love.
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Cleveland Business-to-Business Manufacturers Networking Event


FACTUR–Manufacturing Referrals Network presents the first Cleveland “Manufacturing Networking Mixer” hosted at Felber PR & Marketing!

Details for the Event

When: August 23rd from 4:30 – 6:30 PM

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

Who’s attending?

Job Shops

Metal Fabrication | Thermoforming | Stamping | Plastic Fabrication | Assembly | Control Panels | Special Machinery | Coatings | Electrical | Inspection | Machining | PCBA | Rapid Prototyping


Metals | Equipment | Tooling | Components | Plastics | Supplies | Software | Automation | Material Handling | Packaging | Electronics | Mechanical | Power Transmission | Chemicals | Lube & Oil | Compressed Air

Engineering and Consulting

Design Engineering | Quality System | Process Improvement | System Integration | Product Development | Tooling Design | Automation | Electrical Design | Control Design

Service Providers

Materials Recycling | Maintenance & Repair | Facility Services | Staffing & Labor | Logistics | Process

The event is invite only! Submit your information for an invite consideration in the link below.

Interested in attending Manufacturing Networking Mixer? Click Here

Why Your Manufacturing PR Firm Should Be Sales Focused

How to Align Your Manufacturing PR Strategy with Sales for Ultimate Success

manufacturing-prAt the end of the day, (for most manufactures on a single shift that could be 6:15 pm!), sales are the bottom line. We have said it before, “nothing happens until someone sells something.” Sales should be top of mind for everything you do from your trade show strategy to manufacturing PR and everything in between.

Your marketing department needs to be laser-focused on this one goal: When they see our content (news article, press release, blog post, social messaging) what do we want them to do? You guessed it, buy your product and service. Ah, if it was just that simple.

Tactically, you still need all the tools of an optimized website, a strong trade show plan, a targeted direct marketing program…but let’s keep the focus where it needs to be, selling. Inbound, outbound, telemarketing, even cold calls still work if done in the right context. Content is the fuel that each of these tactics need to move the process forward.

Stories allow your manufacturing company to show your expertise and differentiate your company from competitors, and who better to tell your story than the experts at content creation: a PR firm. PR firms are the experts in telling stories. Your marketing strategy should incorporate PR to create brand recognition and give your company third party credibility. Read “Why Manufacturers Still Need PR in a Digital World” to learn about the importance of PR.
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Now, not all PR strategies are created equal and it is important to have a PR strategy that is tailored to your buyer personas, or the people to whom you sell.   Now you may be thinking to yourself “how do I create great content”? Have your sales engineers, the ones who know each customer’s story share what was successful on a recent project or trends they are noticing in their industry. There is a story behind each invoice; align your sales team with your PR firm. Let your PR firm help you evaluate the newsworthiness of each piece of content. When you feed the top of your sales funnel with more qualified leads and you’ll start to see customers at the end of the funnel. So, what story will you tell?


Grow Your Manufacturing Workforce – Manufacturing Day 2017

manufacturing day 2017

Manufacturing is booming in the United States, yet there is one major concern holding companies back from growing to their full potential: manufacturing workforce. We exclusively work with business-to-business manufacturers and at every single meeting, regardless of whether we’re discussing trade shows, content development or publicity, the topic eventually turns to talent acquisition.

Manufacturers across the country continue to struggle with attracting qualified workers. Manufacturers tell us workers do not have the skills needed to operate a more advanced machine, many are lacking soft skills for the work place and worse, many cannot simply pass a drug test. Is this an epidemic? You tell me…a recent meeting with a colleague revealed they could add one million more in sales if they had the workers to produce the goods.

So, why is your talent on third base looking for signs from their coach? It’s summer and school is out. Before we know it the lazy, hazy days of August will turn to the Labor Day picnics and the beginning of another school year.

Now, not three months from now, will be the time to plan your Manufacturing Day events. Teach students, parents and educators why manufacturing is a strong and worthwhile career. Demonstrate your capabilities while you recruit future talent.

Not sure how to begin? Here’s a few stories to get you started:

Planning articles: It’s Time to Start Planning Manufacturing Day 2016 Events and I Don’t Work In Manufacturing So Manufacturing DaSubscribe to Our Newslettery Doesn’t Matter

Past events: Manufacturing Day Campaign 2015 and, always photos: Facebook photos from past events and tours

Make sure to invite your local reporters. Local stories help recruit talent. While discussion the media release on a recent plant expansion, we reminded our colleagues that the local press is what your neighborhood workforce is reading. Product sales might come from trade publications, but home town news provides the buzz in your city. The business media loves to report on positive manufacturing news:Local Manufacturing Day events aim to produce buzz for industry

Lastly, don’t forget to list your event. Yes, search engines love listings and Manufacturing Day is a national event. List your event on the Manufacturing Day site Felber PR & Marketing Event

10 Ways to Reignite Your Manufacturing Blog


Is your manufacturing blog lacking content? Sitting down to develop a content map or write a new post but nothing is coming to you? Great manufacturing blog content may be right under your nose. Here are some simple ways to find and create blogs that are relevant and engaging to the various verticals and buyer personas that you serve.

  1. Review Social Media & Website Forms

Are people consistently asking the same kinds of questions on your contact us form? Are people leaving comments on your blog or social media? These are all great places to get a sampling of your audience and their unique needs, wants and preferences. What content is getting the most engagement? Your audience is probably already telling you what to do.

  1. Re-purpose Videos and Webinars

Have a great video of your process? Did you do a webinar showcasing your industry expertise? Just because you shared your videos and webinars doesn’t mean they can’t be re-purposed! Embedding videos provides visual interest. Consider transcribing the script of the video for a blog series or create an eBook.  Remember, to have good search engine optimization ranking, aim for 300-500 words in your blog content.

  1. Check Out Your Manufacturing Network

Look at manufacturing industry related LinkedIn Groups to identify current trends and issues facing their industries.  Also, follow industry experts on LinkedIn and Twitter.  While you’re checking your feed, jot down trending topics for content inspiration.

  1. Set Google Alerts

Google Alerts are a simple want to stay on top of industry trends. Set Google Alerts with keywords from your industry or the verticals you serve. Google alerts will send you emails with your pre-defined industry headlines.

  1. Debunk Manufacturing Misconceptions

Notice any common manufacturing misconceptions? Don’t be scared to explain why the misconceptions are wrong and take the opportunity to explain how your products and services address the challenge.

Example: A common misconception our client in the gasket and rubber products industry faces is that o-rings and lathe cut gaskets are interchangeable. Writing a blog on the 5 differentiators of a lathe cut gasket vs an o-ring in a certain application is a great way to showcase your expertise and give your audience valuable knowledge.

  1. Showcase Industry Research and Case Studies

Let’s face it: people are naturally skeptical of what they see on online. Your prospects know that you can say anything you want about yourself on your website. That’s where your white papers and case studies come in. White papers and case studies add third person credibility to your company.

  1. Interview Your Employees and Business Partners

Hearing firsthand from your employees and business partners why they like your company and enjoy working with you. Employee spotlights and partnership spotlights always make great pieces of content.

  1. Recap Industry Events

Attend or present at an industry trade show or seminar? Share the key takeaways in a short 300 word blog with photos from the event. Don’t forget to caption the photos as captions are often the most read item on a page!

  1. Highlight Giving Back

Does your company raise money for charity or volunteer for a specific cause? Bring awareness to your philanthropic efforts and invite others to participate. Remember, your customers do not want to buy from a “vendor” they want to buy from people. Making the public aware of the company’s volunteering brings a human aspect to your brand and helps you develop deeper relationships with your prospects.

  1. Survey Your Prospects and Customers

If you’re stumped for content go directly to the people who are consuming yours. Create a simple 5 minute survey about your content to gauge if your prospects and customers like your content or if not, what types of content they would enjoy seeing from you in the future.
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3 Captivating Calls-to-Action to Drive Manufacturing Lead Generation

Manufacturing lead generation on your website starts with one thing—Calls-to-action. Calls-to-action (CTAs) are essentially a graphic or button with a compelling offer to make people want to provide their contact information in exchange for something of value to them Long gone are the days of the old outdated three-page  Contact Us form. CTAs are a great way to influence your prospects to take a specific action, ultimately, allowing you to track their behavior on your website. Below are the top 3 CTAs to drive manufacturing website lead conversion.

  1. Free eBook or White Paper on Notable Industry Topic

Many visitors on your website may not be ready to   download product information or request a quote. Rather, they may be only doing some background research. Just because they are early in the buying process doesn’t mean they aren’t still valuable prospects. It is important to give prospects greater understanding of your company, what solutions you offer as you start to build trust. Trust must be earned and even the smallest of interactions is a start down that path. Target these customers by using a call-to-action to “Download a Free eBook on Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing” or a white paper on “Resistance Welding Exotic Metals,” offering prospects the information they’re seeking.
Download Here Industrial Manufacturer's Guide to Inbound Marketing

  1. Download Our Product Catalog

For prospects who aren’t ready for a quote, create a CTA for prospects to download your product catalog. So many times, I see manufacturers have a product catalog on their website and are giving it away without tracking who is viewing it. By creating a CTA to download your catalog, which takes the prospect to a coordinating landing page with an embedded form to capture his or her information, you can gauge who is interested in your products. And, if you have an inbound marketing platform, you can track their behavior an interaction on your website and social media channels. For more on the power of inbound marketing, check out these resources Inbound Marketing Services and The Industrial Manufacturer’s Guide to Inbound Marketing.

  1. Request a Free Consultation, Quote, Sample or Demo

There should be CTAs on your website that cater to each stage of the buying process- awareness, consideration and decision. The free eBook/white paper and product catalog CTAs cater to prospects in the awareness and consideration stages of the buying processRequest Your Free Inbound Marketing Assessments. The free consultation, quote, sample or demo CTA is a great way to create an offer that aids your prospects in the decision stage and allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and get your sales people or your products in front of your prospects. Interested in learning more about how to incorporate CTAs into your inbound marketing strategy? Request your free inbound marketing consultation!


How to Attain Media Interviews at Trade Shows Part 2


In Part One, we covered the steps necessary to prepare your company to arrange interviews with industry media at trade shows. Now that you have interviews scheduled, you’ll need to be prepared for the actual interview.

The Interview

Have both your media-trained experts as well as media kit information ready at interview time. Copies of press releases, company profiles and even product samples are important. Be ready for photo opportunities, including video and audio interviews. It’s a mega-media world now.

Hint: We stop (no not accost) anyone with a skinny notebook or a camera more expensive than your first car. These are media that may be flying under your radar. Ask who they are working for and if they know your company. Invite them back to your trade show booth for a tour.

Hint two: Same approach with media but track them down in the show’s media room. There is often a table for your materials and you might be able to politely start a conversation while you drop off your materials (last show I was tossing candy bars across the room to the hungry media toiling over their laptops).
Download Your Free Trade Shows For Manufacturers eBook

The Follow Up

If you promised photos or a research paper, send it! Make sure they have everything they need to post their story. Thank them and follow them as well on social media. We often post pictures during the interviews at the booth to the media social accounts.

So, go get ‘em! Start a relationship with media. Be patient. Understand they work months ahead of time, have no obligation to cover your company and have a job to do as well. Be persistent, helpful and flexible. The results may be years of stories as you become a trusted industry resource.


Trade shows not bringing you qualified leads? Contact us.

How to Attain Media Interviews at Industrial Trade Shows Part 1

Frustrated that your competitor is always in the news? Questioning why they are continually interviewed and not your company? Wondering how to secure a feature about your manufacturing company’s products and services?

Here’s a secret: Smart manufacturing sales and marketing professionals treat the media just like any other prospect. They get to know industry reporters, build rapport, find out what is important not only to them, but also their readers.


@Fabrisonic3D: Our Mark Norfolk talks heat exchangers and embedding sensors with Bill Koenig of Manufacturing Engineering Magazine @RAPID_Event #Rapid2017

Trade shows, especially industrial shows, are the perfect place to begin building a relationship with editors and reporters that cover your industry. Follow the steps (and bonus hints) below and you will soon see your company featured. Remember, editorial coverage means thousands of eye balls on your article which will bring them to your website and ultimately, capture their information in lead conversion.

Part One: setting the stage for media relationship success

Pre-game: Before you begin, have the end in mind. Think about your prospect and what you want them to know about your company. Align the right media publication(s) with both their readers (your prospects) and their editorial direction or coverage. Then, have something to say. Have press materials, photos, charts, infographics at the ready should they be interested.

Step one: Obtain the media list from the show organizers. Show organizers may have last year’s list but what you really want is the current and registered media. These are the folks already credentialed and confirmed they are attending. You may have to ask for several updates to this list, as media may registered up to the last minute. You may have to do some research, securing email addresses and mail address as this is often not provided.
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Step two: Peak the media’s interest. Mail something ahead of time with both information about the company and a request to meet while at the show. We actually create a schedule and book set times for meetings. 90-100% of the media appointments booked are honored with on-time interviews (So, have your experts in your booth!). Here’s a cool dimensional promotion we sent prior to a rapid prototyping conference for our client


Dimensional promotions are a great way to cut through the clutter and get the media to look over what you sent

Step three: Make the call! Yes, pick up the phone and actually speak to the editor. Tell them why it is worth their time to meet your company and employee experts. Have your top three message points and your schedule for interviews at the ready. Often, they will pick a time right on the phone

Step four: So, you were given unlimited access to their voicemail. Don’t fret. Send a detailed follow up email referencing your succinct voicemail, again with your reasons to meet. We often use the words ‘media’ and ‘the trade show name’ in the subject to get their attention.

Now that the stage is set, you’re ready to move forward with the actual interview. In Part Two, we’ll cover how to be prepared for the interview, how to gather additional interest and secure the press coverage you deserve.
Trade shows not bringing you qualified leads? Contact us.

5 Must Haves for Your Business-to-Business Manufacturing Website

manufacturing-websiteEvery day design engineers and procurement professionals across the globe are searching for new suppliers and manufacturers. If you are not seeing steady traffic and qualified leads hitting your website, you can make some simple changes to position your company as a leader in your industry. The following are the five most important components of information that design engineers and procurement professionals are seeking when considering new suppliers and manufacturers for their products.

  1. Thorough Capabilities Information

The most important component of your content should be your capabilities. Visitors need to know that your company can execute the products or services they are seeking.  There should be detailed information about the manufacturing and fabricating services offered along with in depth content regarding the materials used, maximum dimensions, quality processes, achievable tolerances, industries serviced, and accepted drawing formats. This will help the purchasing decision makers and engineers viewing your website know if you are a viable manufacturer worth further consideration.

  1. Promote Industry Certifications

Is your company ISO certified or do you hold other certifications in your industry? If so, promote it! Certifications increase your credibility and show prospects that your company is recognized for its achievements. Certifications should be prominently displayed on your website and visitors should have the ability to download or request documentation.

  1. Video

Video has emerged as a leading way for manufacturers to influence and engage their prospects. Using video content in a company’s strategy used to be an option but now it is an integral piece of the puzzle that could make or break your company reaching its sales goals. Video is an excellent way to showcase your quality processes, safety and scope of products and services offered.

According to a study done by Klein Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), this year video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic. 

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  1. Case Studies

Let’s face it, people are skeptical of what they see online. Your sales team can say whatever they want about your company, so engineers and procurement managers are looking for ways to vet you and other companies that are considered quicker and more efficient. Featuring case studies on your website is a great way to show your prospects you are a credible company. Showcase the types of projects you’ve worked on, parts you have manufactured, and specific companies utilizing your products or services.

  1. Valuable Offers

The way you really start to see who is visiting your website and their actual interest level is by creating valuable offers. Having strong calls-to-action on your website, which leads visitors to a landing page form to “Download a Free eBook” or “Contact Us for a Free Assessment” is a great way to see which content or offers are most appealing to your visitors.  In addition, it is also important to capture their contact information for a follow up by your sales team. To learn more about the importance of strong offers in your overall inbound marketing strategy, click to download our Industrial Manufacturer’s Guide to Inbound Marketing below.
Download Here Industrial Manufacturer's Guide to Inbound Marketing