Why Manufacturers Still Need Traditional PR & Marketing in a Digital World

public-relations-manufacturersLet’s face it, manufacturers are living, breathing and selling in a digital world. If you’ve read our page on inbound marketing, you already know why manufacturers need to devote their time and talents to inbound marketing. However, manufacturers shouldn’t discredit the power of traditional publicity tactics; as well as advertising and trade show marketing. In this blog, I’ll highlight the top 5 reasons your manufacturing company should “tie the knot” with traditional marketing and inbound marketing for ultimate success.

Why Traditional Marketing Tactics Should Be Incorporated with Inbound

Attract People to Your Brand

The first step in the inbound marketing process is attraction. Business-to-business manufacturers don’t want just anyone visiting their website. They want qualified leads who can benefit from their products, services, and knowledge. In marketing terms, you want your ideal prospective customers or “buyer personas”. By going to a trade show, being featured in an industry publication or by advertising in the right magazine, you are enhancing your brand. The key to inbound is first attracting people to your website and then “converting” the lead, or enticing them with an offer that your prospect thinks has enough value to trade their information (email, company name, etc.) to receive. Interested in how this works in inbound? Click here.

Build Credibility in Your Industry

A study by Pew Research recently found that more people trust information coming directly from the news media than they do from social media. Sure, you could have a great case study of how you helped a manufacturers save time, money, and resources with your solution but having it on your website works better if it was first published in an established industry journal.  Published articles shows your prospects and current customers that you are who you say you are, that you provide great products and services worthy of recognition.  Your customers and prospects will view you, your experts, and your company, as a thought leaders or innovators..

Ability to Reach a Larger Audience

Looking to reach a larger audience? By receiving frequent recognition in industry and local publications, your message is able to reach thousands and thousands of people in that publication’s circulation who otherwise may not find you. When considering pitching a story or developing a magazine ad campaign, check their circulation statistics. The magazine should be able to provide you with a media guide detailing the number of readers and their demographics. Also, your customers are a great indicator of where you should pitch your stories. During your calls with loyal customers, ask them what are the top 3 industry publications they feel are valuable and you must read during the month?” If you see a trend, that’s where you should focus your strategy.

Traditional PR is still a powerful marketing tactic that marries well with inbound marketing. Editorial coverage, trade show marketing, and advertising help manufacturer position themselves as an industry thought leaders and reach a larger audience. For more information on our public relations and media services for manufacturers, visit http://www.felberpr.com/services/public-relations-manufacturing/.

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Big Changes Coming to Your LinkedIn

linkedin-big-changes

If you haven’t heard yet, LinkedIn is making some big changes that may affect how you use the platform. The now Microsoft-owned business social networking platform is redesigning with the intention of making the desktop version look more like the recently updated LinkedIn app.

LinkedIn has already started roll-out of the updated platform and I recently was upgraded to the new interface. I learned quickly that LinkedIn is pushing some of my favorite tools to Premium. It has changed my approach to social selling and made my ability to locate prospects more tedious and time-consuming. Read on to learn the changes coming to your LinkedIn and ways to navigate the revamped platform.

What is Social Selling? 

Social selling is leveraging your social network to find the best prospects, build trust and relationships with those prospects and ultimately, achieve your sales goals.

Social selling, along with inbound marketing, eliminates the necessity of cold calling. It allows you to get insight on your prospect’s behaviors, goals and communication style. That way, you can communicate with them in the best way possible and provide them with solutions for their biggest problems.

A Change in Approach to Social Selling with the New LinkedIn

Old Way of Finding Prospects– Prior to the LinkedIn upgrade, I was able to easily mine through the contacts of my connections. By using the “advanced search tool” on a connection’s page, I could find contacts of my connections who could benefit from my services, by narrowing my search to a specific geographic area, job title and industry. Now, on the new LinkedIn interface, I am unable to click on “Bob Smith” and advance search his contacts for people with whom I’d like to be introduced. Advance searching on a connection’s page is now a tool for only LinkedIn Premium users.

New Way of Finding Prospects– Now, for people who don’t have LinkedIn Premium like myself (though I’m leaning towards the upgrade), the process of finding prospects is more labor-intensive.

First, start out with an advance search of all of your contacts. Be specific. Include job title and location or any other information that can really narrow your search. You can choose 2nd or 3rd connections (learn about degrees of connection here).

The biggest issue I’ve found with searching this way is I’m unable to easily limit my search to one specific industry. Since I work exclusively with business-to-business manufacturers, I don’t want to be populated with service or business to consumer companies. I only want to find manufacturers.

It’s frustrating to have to click on profiles, determine if the person fits into one of my buyer personas and then see who is connected with this person and could potentially introduce me. If you are in a sales-oriented role or HR, an upgrade to Premium may be worth it to save valuable time and money.

There are many additional changes coming to LinkedIn and the new desktop experience is expected to roll out globally to all members over the coming weeks. You can click here to view LinkedIn’ New User Interface or if you’d rather, below is a video which gives a more in-depth look at all the changes coming to LinkedIn.

An in-depth look at the new LinkedIn interface
Happy Social Selling!

Yes, I'm ready to talk marketing strategy

How to Increase Social Selling with LinkedIn

How to impact manufacturing sales and be ‘sticky’ with LinkedIn contacts

manufacturing-sales-linkedin

Why do you use LinkedIn? Are you trying to find new manufacturing sales prospects, trying to keep tabs on your customers or were you just told it’s the place to be for business professionals? Our manufacturing clients ask us all the time about how to use LinkedIn for marketing and generating leads.

As with most business relationships, familiarity leads to trust. People need to know you, like you and trust you before they will do business with you. Here’s a past blog about cultivating prospects and building trust, the old-fashioned way.

Sharing valuable content, acknowledging milestones; such as work anniversaries and truly engaging with your prospects profile is crucial to building a relationship. In this blog, you’ll learn how to strengthen relationships with your existing contacts by using various tools in LinkedIn. I call these the “sticky” tools, as they allow you to be genuine and ever-present with your contacts.

The three most useful LinkedIn tools I use are 1) Following prospects posts, 2) Liking milestones, and 3) Conversation starters (new feature).

Prospect Posts

To show you truly care, be the first to like and then comment on your prospect’s post. You can post a follow up question to really show you appreciated their post. Consider sharing the post as well. These simple tasks can be done very quickly. Your contact is monitoring their own post traffic and will certainly take notice of your action.

Milestones

You may have notice notifications on the top right hand side of your LinkedIn profile, which notifies you of active LinkedIn users birthdays, job advancements, and yearly work anniversaries. From your desktop or just as easily the LinkedIn smartphone app, you can acknowledge these milestones. I find I can get through 10-15 milestone notifications in just as many seconds. Often, I will be thanked for noticing and then the reengaged prospect becomes that much more open to another conversation.

Conversation Starters

This is a very new feature from LinkedIn. I first noticed a banner on the message portion of the iPhone app. It simply said ‘reconnect.’ I clicked it and it began suggesting contacts that I had not connected with in recent months. The feature might reference a recent article they were mentioned in or a recent post. What a cool way to remind us (through their magical algorithms) just how important it is to stay top of mind. Another easy way to access this is start a new message from your desktop and click on the lightbulb idea icon. As you can see in the photo below, if you click on the idea icon, it will give you great conversation starters to break the ice with contacts you haven’t spoken with in a while.

manufacturing-sales-linkedin-tools

Use the new light bulb icon to start a conversation today!

So, there you have it. Three more ways to become more than just a past connection on LinkedIn and impact manufacturing sales. Reconnect, start conversations, and be truly visible to build those crucial relationships.

Do you have a feature you love? Comment below and share.

Need Help Generating Leads with LinkedIn? Contact Us.


Leveraging LinkedIn: Hosted by: Factur, the Manufacturing Referrals Network

The Felber PR & Marketing team, is offering an invaluable LinkedIn training session on December 14th from 10 am-12 pm at Indiana Wesleyan University in Independence, Ohio. During this interactive workshop, we’ll share how we leverage LinkedIn to build brand awareness and connections for our manufacturing clients.

The program will go as follows:

  • Top Tips for a Stellar Profile
  • Recommendations and Endorsements
  • Growing Your Networking
  • Groups and Following
  • Mastering Content Marketing

Note: This is designed as a collaborative work session, so bring your laptops and make adjustments to your profile as we go.

Interested in attending? Email allisonmiller@felberpr.com

How to Convince Your Manufacturing CEO to Invest in Inbound Marketing

Throughout the last 2 years at Felber PR, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with and serving incredible manufacturers. I’ve spoken with many sales and business development professionals about their marketing tactics and sales process. Often manufacturing companies make targeted products that they can only sell to specific businesses. Manufacturers know their markets well and are closely watching every move their competition makes.

However, they know that they could do a better job at tying marketing and sales together through digital marketing. The problem? Their CEO isn’t convinced about the power of inbound marketing. The CEO says things like “Our customers are just not online.” or, “I do not buy online and I just think our customers do not use the web for research. They find us through referrals.” If you want to convince your manufacturing CEO boss to invest in inbound marketing, it’s essential to illustrate the return-on-investment manufacturers receive from investing in inbound.

Here are 5 ways to persuade your boss that inbound is the best way to bring more qualified leads into the sales funnel and shorten the sales cycle.
-inbound-marketing-strategy-manufacturing

1. Demonstrate Statistics and Growth Opportunities – Before the dawn of the Internet, trade shows were one of the main ways to reach people across the nation or the globe. Manufacturers also spent money on rep firms and printed (and mailed) thousands of catalogs. Now, with the Internet, one click and you’re able to go across the world from the comfort of your desk.

Inbound marketing opens up a treasure trove of insight on where your prospective customers live and work and more importantly what, exactly, they’re seeking. Inbound and the data provided allows your company to create more targeted communications and turn visitors into prospects. Manufacturers also gain insight insight on ways to retain the current customer base and expand sales opportunities to them. Inbound marketing provides you the opportunity to monitor your competition, stay in tune with their online presence, and keep your company at the forefront of your industry.

2. Show Cost Reduction Opportunities – Let’s face it. Old school sales and marketing isn’t cost effective. Taking your best prospects out for golf to close the deal on the 18th hole is expensive and honestly, who has time for that? Attending trade shows without a set trade show marketing plan is not only costly, but also difficult to show return-on-investment. Direct mail alone isn’t going to get you anywhere. The best way to approach your CEO about inbound marketing is by showing the potential savings by reducing direct mail and the time wasted on cold calling, and replacing with SEO, lead nurturing, content and email marketing.

3. Take Down the Misconception that Your Customers Aren’t Online – Your CEO may feel like your company has a clear grasp on getting business through referrals and cold calling, but the world has shifted. According to a study done by Google, 71% of business-to-business decision makers start their research with an online search. Research shows that business-to-business decision makers are 57% of the way down the path to making a decision before performing an action on your website. This new age of buying makes it increasingly more important to track traffic, leads, conversion rates, etc. Then, your business can have a much clearer understanding of its marketing effectiveness and tailor its efforts toward what your prospects and customers need.

4. CRM Integration Ties Marketing and Sales Together – Maybe you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Marketing) database but aren’t using it to it’s best advantage or your company has gotten by using multiple Excel spreadsheets. Whether you have a small sales team or a large international division, it is important to help sales track and work leads and customers. Let your CEO know that integrating your CRM into your inbound marketing platform allows for leads who database themselves through calls-to-action, landing pages, or form on your website to automatically be integrated into your CRM. This integration allows your sales team to follow up with leads quicker and more efficiently.


inbound-marketing-manufacturing-ceo5. Empower Your Sales Team with Better Insights On Leads
– Old world sales have been replaced with something greater and the age of cold calling is dead.  By creating a consistent stream of content (blogs, eBooks, white papers, emails) and a path to conversion (calls-to-actions, landing pages, and forms), you can track what pages people visit on your website, what content is interesting to them and get a better understanding of what your prospects are looking for and want.

Inbound empowers your sales team to pick up the phone and have the knowledge of what the prospect wants and how your company can help them. Start learning about your prospect in a whole new way and you will be amazed what they, through inbound and analytics, tell you about what they want to buy from you.

Interested in discussing how to bring your old-world manufacturing company into the digital age?

Contact Us

ROI for Inbound Marketing – Ciuni & Panichi 2016 CPE Day

C&P Advisors© MORT TUCKER PHOTOGRAPHY [#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D200 2013/01/16 14:57:39.6 Compressed RAW (12-bit) Image Size: Large (3872 x 2592) Color Lens: 18-125mm F/3.3-5.6 G Focal Length: 45mm Exposure Mode: Manual Metering Mode: Center-Weighted 1/160 sec - F/9 Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sensitivity: ISO 100 Optimize Image: Normal White Balance: Preset d-0 AF Mode: AF-C Flash Sync Mode: Flash Mode: Auto Flash Comp: Color Mode: Mode I (Adobe RGB) Tone Comp.: Auto Hue Adjustment: 0° Saturation: Auto Sharpening: Auto Image Comment: Long Exposure NR: Off High ISO NR: Off [#End of Shooting Data Section]

 

ROI for Inbound Marketing

2016 CPE Day Friday, December 2, 2016. Register here

Explore the measurement tools available to evaluate your marketing strategies. Establish goals beyond website visits, and actually establish conversion strategies for content marketing, publicity and social media.

Speaker: Robert M. Felber, Felber PR & Marketing

Felber PR helps business to business manufacturers impact lead generation with both traditional and digital marketing. Manufacturers invest in new websites but often do not see an increase in visitors and the conversion of visitors to qualified leads. Felber PR was established in 1993 and has decades of experience can help your company. 

Who should attend: CFO’s in manufacturing and nonprofit organizations

Other topics: Course descriptions

Topics include:  GAAP Update, Retirement Strategies, For-Profit Tax Update, NFP Tax and Cash Flow Forecasting, Controls Every Organization Should Consider, GASB Update, Employee Benefit Plans Post Election Update, Revenue Recognition and Lease Accounting, Pain Relief for Not-for-Profits, and Employment Law Updates.

Download Your Free Trade Shows For Manufacturers eBook


Why Developing Buyer Personas is Invaluable for Manufacturers

Attract Ideal Customers to Your Website with Buyer Personas

You are a manufacturer, which means most days, you are swamped between responding to customers, managing inventory, solving a technical issue and the list goes on and on. You may think you have a clear understanding of your customer base but do you really understand their behaviors, goals, challenges and demographics?

To create a sound content marketing plan, it is essential that you take the time to identify your ideal customers. This process is called creating buyer personas. Buyer personas help manufacturers identify their best prospects. The profile of your best prospect and how they buy is the buyer’s’ journey.

Note: Manufacturers should conform to the “buyers” way of purchasing and not the other way around. If you are quick to send literature or conduct a product demonstration, you’re using your process, not theirs. With 71% of B2B research starting with a generic search, manufacturers need to reach prospects digitally and engage in a completely new way.

buyer-personasWhat Are Buyer Personas?

Semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on select educated speculation and real data about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

How to Create Personas:

1) Day in Their Life Scenario– Creating a day in the life example for your persona can help you better understand your customers challenges and motives.

2) Demographic Behavior– Identify the typical age, income, education, and location of your buyer personas.

3) Identify Goals– Knowing your persona’s goals and dreams is crucial. This helps you craft your content, products and services to help them achieve these specific goals.

4) Discover Their Pain – Does this persona have certain pain points in their day-to-day operations? Are there ways that you can reduce business interruption or bring new products or services to this person to eliminate these pain points?

5) Information Search Process– How does this person search for information? Are they at a desk or on mobile? Do they switch off their phone at dinner or are they working 24/7? You need to know how and when to contact based on their specific behaviors not how you operate.

6) Common Hesitations or Objections- Manufacturers overall are very careful and risk-averse by nature. Are there common hesitations or objections they typically have working with a company like yours? If you identify their hesitations, you can better prepare a solution to counter them. This will be an invaluable asset to your sales team.

7) Create a Story- I know, I know. You’re a manufacturer, not a writer. The idea of writing a story is daunting.. But trust me, it’s invaluable. By writing about your persona in a story format, it is much easier for everyone in your organization to recognize people that fit under that persona and it’ll provide your sales team with the skills to communicate with prospects in the way that best suits them.

Daunted? Here Are Some Ways to Make the Process Easier

  • Look through your CRM to discover trends about how your customers find and take your content (Are they at their desks or on mobile? Are they more receptive to a quick email blast or an in-depth white paper?)
  • Interview customers about what they like about your products and services.
  • Create forms on your website that capture information about that individual’s buyer persona. (Example: Size of the company, Title, Biggest 3D printing challenge, etc.)
  • Talk to your sales team. They have intelligence on your sales cycle and the customers that work best with your company. Ask them what generalizations they can make about the various customers you serve.

Buyer personas provide structure and insight for manufacturers to nurture leads through the sales process. A detailed buyer persona helps determine where to best spend your time, guide product development, and empowers your sales team with knowledge to better communicate with prospects. Then, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.


Need Help Creating Buyer Personas? Click Here.


Top Tips for Cold-Calling Prospects on Your Website

cold-calling-websiteCreepy Crawlers on Your Website or Your Next Sale?

The scary sales call is not just for Halloween..

Let’s face it, technology from George Orwell’s 1984 is alive and well on Halloween 2016. We’re a mobile society; we buy stuff with one click from Amazon and react when online retailers offer other products to go with the one we just purchased. So, why would we not want the technology to help business to business manufacturers? Yes, the “sale” is different and the cycle may be dramatically longer; but, the relationship needs to start somewhere.

When we see visitors to our website it’s now more data than the anonymous IP address traffic of the past. We see what pages they visited, what content they downloaded and just as important, who they are and the company they represent.

So, is it creepy to call immediately or really good proactive sales? If I was lost on a city block and someone offered to direct me, I would be grateful.  The same goes in searching for a solution for your business or a new product. People want information and to come up with a solution as soon as possible.  This is why you should call your possible prospect while they are actively searching for answers. Manufacturers work hard to attract visitors and hopefully future customers to their website. We use many tools, from search engine optimization and keywords to public relations and email marketing to attract qualified traffic. When they arrive, they should get a warm greeting.

Are you concerned your prospect will find your call creepy or be amazed at your use of technology? When making the call, we find it easy to quickly dispel this concern and address it head on.

If communicated with humor, an introduction like this example quickly melts the ice.

“Hello Mary, I hope this isn’t too creepy — I saw that you were visiting our website and thought I would give you a call to address any questions you might have. What were you looking for help with?”

Our experience is your prospect will laugh, but then quickly discuss what they were looking for when they found your website. Take the leap, call your prospect and do it today – within minutes of their visit.

Have fun selling!



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I Don’t Work In Manufacturing So Manufacturing Day Doesn’t Matter

It’s October, which means it is the season for fall colors, clambakes and football. Additionally, it is Manufacturing Month, kicked off by Manufacturing Day on October 7, 2016. Founded in 2012, Manufacturing Day is an annual national event that “has been designed to expand knowledge about, and improve public perceptions of manufacturing careers and manufacturing’s value to the U.S. economy.”

Participants of Manufacturing Day use the hashtags #MFGday16 and #MfgDay to join the movement and support US manufacturing as a whole, with people and businesses around the country.

Admittedly, I am the last person you want building anything. I am a firefighter part-time; I know how to break stuff with fancy tools. But fix or manufacture something….not even.

manufacturing-day-2016

Manufacturing Day Ohio and preparing for Crain’s M Power #MFGday16

So, why am I writing about manufacturing? Our region, our country for that matter, was founded by builders, makers, and innovators. While many of the old-school steel mills and factories that we grew up with are gone, many have been replaced by a new-age of manufacturers that are creating parts and products with cutting-edge technology and 3D printing.

Manufacturing and all those that support the process are what Manufacturing Month is all about. Manufacturing goes beyond the young engineers and safety personnel at a factory. There are so many companies (like our agency), that are also employed because something needs to be built.

Sales people who start the process are an integral part of the manufacturing process. I often say, nothing happens until someone sells something. Let’s not forget about the financial folks who are instrumental in finding the fuel to acquire the machinery and raw materials. Website designers and writers, journalists and hotel operators. And the list goes on and on. We are all impacted by the manufacturing sector.


Download Your Free Trade Shows For Manufacturers eBook

Our mission at Felber PR & Marketing is directly supported by all those who manufacture. We’ve been here too for 23 years – rolling up our sleeves, donning safety glasses and doing our part to promote manufacturers in all sectors, from roofing to flooring, fasteners to 3D printing. That’s why we say We Get Manufacturing. Later this month we will sponsor, for the third year in a row, Crain’s [M] Manufacturing Assembly, on October 19th, 2016. Want a chance to attend for free? We’re giving away tickets to the event.

Please join me in supporting manufacturers. Northeast Ohio is home to some of the most incredible manufacturers work hard. Tag us, @FelberPR and we’ll share your manufacturing month posts and amplify your message with our network. Last year our campaign went national! Want to see how we have celebrated in the past?

However you support the manufacturing process, we salute you.

Relay For Life and The Power of Giving Back

 

committee relay for life photo

Rob and I along with the rest of the Relay For Life Committee

A couple weeks ago, Felber PR & Marketing participated in Twinsburg/Nordonia Relay For Life. One of the great privileges of working at a  small business is being able to give generously to charitable causes and to the community. While giving back to causes near and dear to you feels good, it also has some business advantages as well. According to a Cone Communications and Echo Research study, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop.

Here are four things to consider when incorporating charitable work and community involvement into your business plan.

  1. Create Relationships Within Your Community– When deciding where to invest your company’s efforts, take a deep look at your community to see what is important. Does the local animal shelter need donations? What are the major pain points people are talking about at your local chamber of commerce?  Is the school district struggling? Our blog on community involvement gives tips on ways to identify areas to donate your time or ways to create a community involvement program. Choosing to volunteer our time to Relay For Life Twinsburg-Nordonia was second nature, as Rob’s twins we both co-chairs of the entire event (at just 16 years old), and we both had many family members affected by cancer. We were happy to take the time to give back to a great cause and volunteer in the community that has been so good to us!
  2. Get Employee Buy In- Providing employees with the opportunity to give back is important to boost morale and build a stronger and more collaborative team. Instead of having employees meet for drinks after work, it’s better and more fulfilling to give employees volunteering opportunities during work hours or the option to participate in service based activities after work. Involve your employees in brainstorming fundraising ideas and ways to give back! Volunteering also has the added benefit of providing leadership opportunities for employees, which can lead to increase staff performance, fulfillment and overtime, increased productivity and sales. 
  3. Customize Your Volunteer Plan Based on Employee Strengths- If you read our blog Why You Need StrengthsFinder for Employee Engagement,  you’ll have identified yours and your employee’s strengths. We recommend when creating a volunteer plan for the business owner to look at employee strengths and select volunteer activities that draw upon those strengths. Really take the time to review your employees’ strengths and the strengths of your business as a whole. Identify how much time your employees are able to volunteer annually, taking into account your operational demands. 
    team relay

    Team Cures R Us show their spirit at Relay!

    I was the Online Chair for Relay For Life, and managed social media and email communications. Rob was the logistics chair and was excellent at on-boarding people in the community to volunteer and getting vendors to volunteer their time. We both used our unique skills during Relay and felt great giving back to a cause near and dear to our hearts, as well as the community in which we do business!

  4. Tell Your Customers How You’re Giving Back- Once you’ve implemented your volunteering plan, tell current and prospective customers know what you’re doing. Share it on social media and blog about it! Your customers and prospects will appreciate that you’re the company that “pays it forward”. Also, when potential employees are scrolling through your company’s website, social media, and blog, they will be impressed by the fun features on your company giving back, rather than pages filled with typical sales messages about how ‘great’ your think your company is. Giving back to the community is not only a great way to highlight your company’s culture, but also separate your company from your competitors!

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