It’s probably pretty safe to say that the manufacturing sector has generally been a “follower” in its adoption of online marketing practices. It may also feel like “content” is hard to come by in many manufacturing settings – content that will draw people to your company, your products, your people. Is manufacturing a content-hopeless space? Should we just forget about it?
No. There are plenty of opportunities for manufacturing companies to harness the power of the internet, get their chops up, and create a solid and searchable online presence. Key word there?
The buying cycle for manufactured goods has stayed more or less the same:
Needs Awareness –> Due Diligence –> Consideration/Comparison –> Purchase
There is little to no impulse buying in the manufacturing space, and interest is based on real needs and problems.
Did you know that 46% of industrial professionals spend at least 6 hours every day online for work related activities? (2010 Globalspec Economic Outlook Survey (.pdf)) 78% of those use search engines and 76% of them use the suppliers website. 89% of these professionals are looking for spec sheets and 76% of them actually want a quote. These are both very product-centric activities that are close to buying phase.
Or what about the fact that 42% of all buyers look up four or more suppliers in the research phase of the buying cycle, and 26% of those get quotes from all four, while 63% get quotes from three.
What does this mean? In the words of HubSpot great Karen Rubin, why not get in front of them when they’re looking to buy. And that’s through search. Which means that your SEO is very important. Get found early. Get found often.
One of the best ways to achieve this is through content production. If you can provide valuable and applicable content for people to find at various stages of the buying cycle, then you’re one step ahead of the game. Especially in a space where many of your competitors are likely dragging their feet….
There are many different forms that content can come for manufacturers:
- Blog posts
- Industry trade articles
- Product explanations
- White papers
- Case studies
- Spec sheets
- Data sheets
The main criteria is that it provides value to your readers and enhances or compliments your product options in some way, shape or form. Did you know that 68% of people who download and read white papers actually contact the vendor for more information on their products? That’s a great percentage!
To get the best mileage out of your pieces of content, you should consider where in the buying cycle your pieces of content will be most effective. Your eBook may help people in the Needs Awareness and Due Diligence phases, while your How-Tos or Case Studies might be more helpful in the Consideration/Comparison phase.
Once you’ve determined what stage your content supports the best, you make each piece as search friendly happy as possible (more on this forthcoming….).
Have you found content production to be useful in the manufacturing space? What advice can you give to those in the setting?