That’s great, but it just wouldn’t work for our industry.
If you’re a manufacturer trying to gain more leads, you may have said something similar before. You’ve heard of content marketing – that thing where you publish free articles, videos and whitepapers that answer the questions prospects are looking for online – but you’re skeptical.
Can content marketing strategies really work for manufacturers if their prospects aren’t even searching online for the things they make? It’s a fair question, but there’s just one problem – its premise is faulty.
Your potential customers ARE searching for information about what you’re selling. There just aren’t as many of them as compared to the Amazon’s, Barney’s and Macy’s of the world. Here’s where most manufacturers err:
Mistake #1: Assuming B2B leads are comparable in value to B2C leads.
Sure, you may not have the same kind of traffic for key search terms related to your business as the typical B2C. But… So what??
The sales cycle of your business is completely different; it’s comparing apples to oranges. You might nurture a potential customer relationship for several months before they purchase ONE order.
But that one order could literally “make your entire month,” pushing profits from average to extraordinary. And that one order could be the beginning of a lifelong B2B relationship that pays dividends over time. Replicate a content marketing strategy for your manufacturing business month after month and those cumulative gains will add up over time.
Especially, if most of your competitors are NOT capturing those online stragglers. But also consider the opposite scenario: What if you have a competitor who IS really on their “content strategy game?”
Say they’ve been diligently releasing quality, SEO-optimized content every month over the past 2 years. And they’re now at the top of Google’s rankings for several key search terms. Meanwhile, you haven’t done anything and are on page two for the exact same terms.
They may not even have your reputation as an industry leader, but it doesn’t matter: They’re going to get the sale.
Mistake #2: Assuming your manufacturing business is boring and there’s nothing worth writing about.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 59 percent of manufacturers report being consistent with content creation as a top content marketing challenge. We’re not going to lie – creating consistent content can be difficult, especially in a specialized industry like manufacturing. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible. Here are a couple tips for getting started:
Focus On The Customer
This may be surprising, but no one wants to hear about “how great your product is.” At least, not at first. Your prospects want to know how your offering fits into the bigger picture of what they’re doing. How are you making their lives easier? What is it about your product that will help them achieve their goals? Begin by mapping out each stage of The Buyer’s Journey – awareness, consideration and decision – before creating content that addresses the unique concerns at each stage. Once you’ve addressed their questions you can begin talking about how your features and benefits could be a match.
Utilize Case Studies
Effectively written case studies are perhaps one of the most under-utilized and best performing tools in your “B2B content marketing toolbox.” As a manufacturer, the value you provide isn’t always immediately obvious. This makes case studies the prime opportunity for demonstrating such value in a no-risk environment.
You’ll notice we said “effectively written case studies.” A good case study will concisely, vividly and accurately describe the following:
- The problem as experienced by the client.
- The factors that went into them finding and hiring you.
- The process you went through to present a solution.
- The implementation of said solution.
- The results gained.
Mistake #3: Trying to do it all yourself
Many manufacturers assume they should know what to talk about in their content marketing. But as you’ve seen, knowing the features of your products and knowing how to relate to your prospects are two different things. To put things in perspective:
You wouldn’t assume you should build your own Website simply because you know how to use a computer, would you?
Of course not. You’d have to study the fundamentals of design, learn how to code HTML and brush up on SEO optimization. Obviously, you could do this. But would it be the best use of your time?
It’s the same when it comes to crafting a content marketing strategy for your manufacturing business – don’t assume something doesn’t work just because you haven’t executed it correctly. And don’t assume you have to do it all alone.