Manufacturing is a tricky business to market. You need to keep your current clients informed as you come up with new options, but solicit new ones at the same time. This is where a marketing plan comes in. Using one requires you to understand who your customers so that you can target them specifically. However, before you can set one of these plans in motion, you need to understand exactly what it is that your company does. Do you make nuts and bolts, do powder coating, build machinery, or make stamped metal parts? Odds are, your company only handles one of those things – or has branched out to include several related functions. Either way, having a marketing manager who understands the manufacturing process is the key to success.
Creating a Thorough Marketing Plan
A solid marketing plan consists of several different things. You need to outline, and then describe, every aspect of your business’ advertising. This means that every potential thing, from social media to traditional print ads, should be included in the plan. This might sound like it’s hard to do, but it really isn’t. It all starts with putting the right elements into place. Your company’s logo should be the first piece of the puzzle that gets finalized.
A good logo for a manufacturing company obviously includes the company’s name. You’ll also have to choose a color for the logo. Since you’re in manufacturing, you might want to stick with classic colors like red and blue. However, silver, gray, and black are all good neutrals that will work. A good logo also has some sort of picture in it. This is where your manufacturing company’s specialty comes in. If you make nuts and bolts, then a drawn image of them should be placed somewhere in your logo. You’ll also need to leave some space for your tagline if you have one. A tagline is what calls attention to your business and makes a memorable impression. In some cases, coming up with one can be even tougher than designing the logo itself.
When it comes to developing your marketing plan, you need to have some very specific goals in mind. What is it that you want to accomplish? Obviously, you want to bring in new business, but from where? Are you targeting local companies or national ones? And what types of accounts do you want to bring in –large or small? As you can see, there are many things that go into creating the goals themselves. Once you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to develop the rest of the plan.
Do Manufacturing and Social Media Mesh?
People tend to think of manufacturing as something from an older era. They picture people working at stations and churning out machinery or tools at a slow rate. This is no longer accurate, as many manufacturing companies use modernized processes. There are machines operated by robotic arms and extremely detailed and computerized methods of building things. Looking at it from this perspective makes it clear that social media can indeed play a role in your marketing efforts. There’s nothing wrong with creating a Facebook account or using Twitter and Instagram to share what your company does. In fact, people will be interested to see the manufacturing process in action, so they’ll follow you. While not all of them will become customers, the point is to spread the word about your business.
However, social media isn’t the only way to market your company online. You’ll also need a website and the ability to get visitors to it. This is done through the use of keywords. Once you set up a blog and attach it to your site, you can start using this method of gaining traffic. Of course, you first need to ensure that your website has the right pages. It should have several pages that explain what it is that your company does, as well as one showing your location and how to contact you. Since all of the online ads that you place will direct people to your website, it needs to be easy to navigate. Plus, your logo should be prominently located on it. Think of your logo as being a form of your company’s identity. The two go hand in hand.
What about Traditional Forms of Media?
Besides the online marketing options, there are traditional ones that you can take advantage of as well. These include setting up referral programs and placing ads in things like newspapers and trade publications. Depending on the type of manufacturing that you do, a television commercial may work as well. Basically, you need to do everything possible to get your company’s name out there. This should be the main goal of your marketing plan. It all comes down to that target market. If you know what they read and watch, then you can place your ads accordingly. The referral option, which is mentioned above, also works well. This is when you give your current clients a small reward, such as gift card or credit, in exchange for referring a new client.
You can also advertise in more subtle ways. For example, if you place your company’s name on your shipping materials – actually have it printed on the boxes – people will see it. Those who are curious about what your business does will look it up and hopefully if it’s set up right, find your website and discover more about you. While you aren’t able to track this in a marketing plan, it is an efficient method all on its own.
Developing a marketing plan that works involves examining your client base. You’ll need to develop this target market so that you know where to place your ads. And although manufacturing is traditionally not thought of as being social media friendly, it is. You’d be surprised at the many advertising avenues that are open to your company. If you determine how to take advantage of them, you’ll be a success.