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Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan couldn’t have been more accurate when they wrote: “By 2020, 60-70% of new car sales leads will be generated by a digital platform. Be it via websites, mobile sites, social media or apps.” It’s predictions like these that have pushed the manufacturing industry to embrace digital marketing and especially inbound marketing. Benefits such as connecting with more potential buyers, getting feedback or referrals easily, and lowering marketing costs further drove manufacturers to reconsider their marketing strategies. However, in addition to knowing what they’re selling, to attract the ideal customer marketers need to learn who they’re selling to.
Creating the Perfect Customer’s Persona
Understanding your customers allows you to better craft your content. As a result, you can win their business and even ensure their loyalty to your brand. This is where buyer personas come in the picture. Through this tool, you can determine who your ideal customer is and target your marketing efforts at them. To develop a buyer persona, seek answers for the following questions:
- What is their Demographic? – Basic information such as your client’s age, gender and annual income allows you to shape your client’s image in your mind and customize your tone and message in a way that appeals to them. For instance, writing for 40-year-old male executive who earns $100,000 a year demands formal wording that showcases your expertise in your niche.
- What is the Reader’s Level of Seniority? – Find out what your buyer does for a living and what post they serve at their company. This will help you determine the amount and style of information you should deliver through your content, changing your communication style in the process.
- How Does Your Buyer Spend their Day? – Add substance and personality to your buyer’s persona by learning how often they spend their time online, when they’re likely to view marketing materials, and even what they do for fun. As surprising as the latter may sound, it’s actually very helpful in certain campaigns. For example, a clothing manufacturer can appeal to retailers with a sense of humor by posting something like: “Winter is Coming… Prepare with X Coats and Sweaters.”
- What are Your Buyers’ Needs? – Understand what you can actually do for your clients. List down a set of needs to break down your persona. For instance, microchip manufacturers need to create their products for computers and household electronics. A buyer persona for computer chips would entail highly technical individuals who prefer quality, durability and functionality even if it means higher complexity and costs. On the other hand, household electronics chips will have buyers who need simpler, less expensive chips with limited functionality.
- What are the Buyer’s Goals or Values? – Learning your buyer’s goals and what they value helps you further tweak your marketing efforts and appeal to them. For example, if your client aims to provide better services for less, you can win them over by advertising inexpensive yet high quality materials or offering tempting discounts on bulk orders.
- Where Does Your Buyer Carry Out their Research? – To assess the success of your efforts, find out where your persona looks for information. Do they even search online or simply rely on word of mouth? If they use the web, find out if they use social media or simply input keywords for Google to search by. Learning this important aspect will help you determine where you should focus your marketing efforts.
- What’s their Ideal Shopping Experience? – Use an array of tools to determine how much time your clients are willing to spend looking for you and how much time they expect you to give them. You should also learn how much contact they want from you and whether they’ll need one-on-one sessions or simply suffice with a phone call or email. Answering these questions will help you establish what your clients’ expectations and push you to meet them.
- What Objections May the Client Have? – Anticipating any concerns or objections your clients may have will boost your sales efforts. You’ll also be able to deliver strong content that addresses these issues, showing them that you’re aware of their fears and can help them around them.
The Next Step: Marketing for the Manufacturing Industry
After understanding who you’ll be targeting through your promotional messages, it’s time for you to start creating an inbound marketing strategy for your content. You can use the following steps to guide you on this aspect.
- Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy – For the manufacturing industry, the best marketing strategies include five elements: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Personas, Overlapping Interest, Seasonality, and Devices. Addressing these while planning your marketing efforts will increase your efforts’ ROI and prevent unnecessary costs.
- Decide on the Best Content Marketing Technique – According to the ‘B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America’ report by the Content Marketing Institute, eNewsletters, in-person events, videos, articles on client’s website, social media content, and guest posts are the top five techniques. Based on your buyer’s persona though, your potential clients may prefer something else altogether. For example, experienced C-level executives may prefer reading a well-written case study to decide whether your brand is the best choice for theirs.
- Step in the World of Video Marketing – Approximately 81% of manufacturing marketers have started distributing their content via YouTube channels. This is because videos allow you to demonstrate the strengths of your products as well as engage in storytelling.
- Be Social – If your buyer persona uses social media, don’t hesitate to set up an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. These are the most popular platforms for manufacturing marketers and their clients alike.
- Don’t Sell AT ALL – While your goal is to increase your sales, you should do more than showcase your company’s products and overwhelm buyers with calls to action. Instead, share information that establishes your position as a thought leader. To get in touch with clients, generate surveys and work on following their feedback.
There’s more to content marketing for manufacturers than these five tips. However, they’ll definitely help you attract your clients once you successfully identify their personas.