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There’s never been a better time for manufacturing SMEs to embrace digital marketing

04 June 2018 by Bridge PR and Media Services

Manufacturers have traditionally been slow to embrace digital marketing. Many we have spoken to have not previously felt the need to focus on modern methods of marketing such as digital or social marketing. Typically, B2B manufacturers make sales by word of mouth and through networking, which is done at trade shows such as MACH, National Manufacturing Debate, EEF Annual Conference, Farnborough Air Show and through trade associations such as the EEF, the MTA, the Rail Alliance, SMMT, Midlands Aerospace Alliance and Cranfield Manufacturing Co-operative.

When it comes to digital and social marketing, which includes everything from responsive and dynamic websites, blogging and social media right through to video blogging (vlogging) and podcasts, B2B manufacturing SMEs in particular have been lagging behind. With full order books, it is easy to see why companies might not think it necessary to invest in marketing, but these days that may be short-sighted.

So how can SMEs exploit the potential of inbound marketing with a fully optimised digital profile including a professional SEO friendly website and social media?

Let’s start with blogging. Blogging and manufacturing may seem unlikely bedfellows but a good company blog can play a critical role in digital marketing. First a blog can increase the search ranking of your website. Search engines like Google prioritise content that is regularly updated and contains popular keywords and backlinks. A blog can enhance the SEO of your website by playing host to new content with links to relevant websites. You can also insert popular keywords without keyword stuffing other parts of your website and reducing the quality of your copy in the process. Blogging also attracts new traffic to your website and creates a buzz around your brand. Second, a blog can increase lead conversion rates. A well maintained company blog that has interesting and relevant content tells customers that you are a credible, proactive and forward looking company. Visitors can be turned into potential customers and kept informed about what your company is doing. Additionally blogs can be used for data capture for potential email marketing and newsletter recipients. The importance of blogging is illustrated by the 2016 Content Preferences Survey by DemandGen Report which found that 47 percent of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. Thirdly, blogs are a form of digital marketing that you can measure and track. Unlike ads in magazines which have a “fire and forget” quality, a blog allows you to track where your readers come from, follow the buyer journey by tracking link clicks, and view customer feedback by looking at the comments section.

Another digital marketing strategy that benefits manufacturers is social media. Social media gives potential customers a platform to endorse your company and check out your latest developments, as well as giving their feedback via comments. One social media site that our clients find particularly useful is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the go to site for professionals who want to network with employers and potential clients. The LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a crucial tool in this process. By tapping into LinkedIn’s network of over 500 million professionals it can increase sales opportunities by finding leads and providing an integrative platform to manage sales. At Bridge PR we unlock the full potential of LinkedIn for clients with our Digital Profile Builder. This covers a suite of digital marketing tools including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, email campaigns and templates and blogs/thought leadership articles. We are even running a LinkedIn Workshop that aims to show SMEs how to unlock the potential of LinkedIn Sales Navigator to increase their customer base.

 

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