Every year more manufacturing companies are recognizing the importance of creating great content. In their annual B2B manufacturing content marketing study the Content Marketing Institute reported that 85% of manufacturers are now including content in their marketing strategies (CMI, 2016). They’re using it for more than simply generating awareness; they’re using it to generate sales.
However, this is about where the good news stops. The study found that only 18% of manufacturers believe that their organization is effective at content marketing (CMI, 2016). We can see that there is a massive gap between manufacturers who are using content and those who are using it effectively.
In order to improve and drive sales, manufacturers need to be investing in the right content types. Now, we admit there is no magic content mix that is guaranteed to work for all manufacturing organizations; it all depends on your organization, your goals, and the needs of your customers. That’s why it’s important to understand the effectiveness of different content types; these five pieces are the perfect place to start driving your sales success.
According to the CMI, 68% of manufacturing marketers are expecting to produce more original content in 2017 than they did in 2016, we have to make sure that they’re producing effective content (CMI, 2016).
Manufacturing marketers continue to embrace video as a top content marketing tactic. Video ranked as the second most effective B2B marketing tactic (70%), after in-person events (75%). Up to 89% of marketers were using videos as a part of their content marketing in 2016 (CMI, 2016).
Videos are a valuable content type because they allow manufacturers to demonstrate complicated topics and processes in a simplified way. They also provide an opportunity for organizations to show off their brand’s personality.
For example, Mettler Toledo, a global leader of measurement and precisions instruments, has an expertise library on their website. This portal is complete with videos featuring best practices, product tutorials, and overviews. Helping to communicate complex information in a way that their customers love.
(Source: Mettler Toledo)
Another form of video marketing that manufacturing should be utilizing is webinars. Modern buyers crave information, and webinars are the perfect way to demonstrate your expertise in the field. They can used to effectively demonstrate the difficult to explain processes that are predominant in manufacturing.
Need some inspiration? Look inwards. You probably have a plethora of interesting individuals working for your company. Interview Bob from Sales, and ask him about the significant challenges his customers face. Talk to Mary from Engineering about the latest innovations, and if you have the opportunity bring in external industry leaders and influencers to join you on your webinars.
For years now blogging has dominated the content marketing scene. Each blog that an organization creates is a new opportunity for search engines to index your site, creating paths to your website for individuals interested in industry news, insights, and informative content surrounding your solution. Blogs also have the added bonus of being rated the fifth most trusted source for accurate online information (Hubspot, 2015).
Manufacturing giants such as CAT Construction have entire forums dedicated to communicating and connecting with their customers. Their large team of bloggers post about everything from industry news and product innovations, to organization updates (CAT).
While CAT is crushing it with the help of the huge team behind their blog and forums, it doesn’t have to be that way. Blogging is one of the cheapest and easiest content types to produce. You can start slowly and simply, producing one or two blogs a month, gradually building up traffic and experience.
If you need some blogging inspiration, think about information or insights that you can offer your customers can’t get anywhere else. Think about common challenges in your industry and how your solution can help others to overcome them.
Sales sheets are the ultimately content for manufacturing sales. It’s essential that you arm your sales forces with these assets filled with detailed information about your products.
For potential customers that are interested in your solution, they need to see the specs for your products. It’s important to provide them with easy access to the information that can make the difference between your product and your main competitors.
Sales sheets can include materials safety data, product specs, and broader guides or tip sheets. At this stage any information that your potential customers may need to make their decision should be available to them. Sales sheets are a practical way to position your company as an industry and product expert.
For example, say an injection moulder may not be using your material (yet), but he or she has probably had issues with sink marks or ballooning. Your handy injection-molding guide can help that moulder pinpoint the cause of the problem. Making you to go to source for someone searching for common injection moulding problems.
They also function as great training guide for manufacturing sales teams, providing them with detailed product information and tips, allowing them to become the product knowledge experts that modern buyer want.
Did you know that 85% of manufacturers are using social media in their content marketing? (Kuno Creative, 2016). They’re using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with their prospects and customers, share useful content, and indirectly promote their businesses.
Now, social media content may not close your next sales deal, but it’ll definitely help to increase your visibility, humanize your brand, and gain you that coveted top-of-the-mind awareness (How to Build a Brand, 2016). Think of social media as a stepping-stone to the rest of your content, you use it to reel in potential customers.
Very few manufacturers are using social media quite as effectively as Leibherr Construction. Their Instagram account is full of shareable images, reflecting their innovative products, team members, and events. It’s an impressive look into the heart of the organization, and it’s clear that they understand who their audience on social media is.
(Source: Liebherr Construction)
Now, while blogs are helpful for reaching and attracting customers that are interested in learning about the industry and products in general, case studies are helpful for converting them to your specific solution.
Case studies are an excellent way to illustrate to your potential customers how you operate and work with your current customers to deliver successful solutions.
There is no right way to write a case study. We’ve seen everything from a straightforward Word document to a delightfully designed interactive PDF. What matters the most when it comes to a case study is the solution. You want to communicate to your buyers the problem that your customer had and how your solution helped them to solve that problem.
So, you’ve created all of this great manufacturing content, now what?
Now for the sales pitch! Come on your knew it was coming. I told you at the start the blogs are a great way to bring in potential customers, you’re one of our potential customers!
Once you’ve created all of these fantastic pieces of content you’ll need a solution of management, that’s where we come in. WHUT is a sales content management platform built for manufacturing. Our solution improves the way you publish, present, share and analyze your content marketing. With WHUT you can publish, organize, and distribute all of your content to your users all around the world, from one convenient and intuitive app.
Are you ready to embrace the future of sales content management? Then don’t hesitate to book a product demo with one our sales specialists today!