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Marketing for Manufacturing Companies, amid a Pandemic 

Written by MS
09/11/2020 12:00:54

The COVID-19 pandemic can be characterised by both disruption and adaptation. In last week’s blog, we looked at how disruption in the supply chain forced various companies to adapt and welcome a more digitally integrated form of manufacturing into their business. This week, we’re thinking about how marketing strategies have begun to change for manufacturing companies as a result of the pandemic. 
The focus on this blog is going to be on the necessary growth of digital marketing methods due to restrictions placed upon us all in situations such as the national lockdown. We will document a transition from traditional marketing methods to what we like to call ‘inbound marketing’ - and this affects a business’s reach and the type of content they create. 
Here at The Plastic People, we have had a bit of a marketing revolution take place in the last few months as we began to put more time and effort behind our online presence, and it has worked wonders for us! This blog will contain everything you need to know to start an inbound marketing campaign in Q4. 
We would love to hear what you think about marketing and the manufacturing sector: are there any strategies you have found particularly effective? How has COVID-19 altered your own content and online output - if at all? Let’s start a conversation on social media: our Twitter and Instagram are @barkstonplastic! 
Inbound Marketing:
Firstly, let’s get some statistics out of the way. HubSpot Inc. has put together a Marketing Report recently that outlines this new interest in online and digital platforms. In short, they have said that 70% of companies globally are investing in content marketing and 63% of businesses are thinking about upgrading their website soon. It is also thought that upwards of 50% of businesses post content on several social media platforms daily. 
With that said, you don’t want to be the outlier in your industry who is not reaching the standard and output levels of your competitors. It goes without saying, really, that the more impressions you get - the higher your reach - the more ‘clicks’ you can turn directly into sales. 
Inbound Marketing has been around since the early days of social media networks; it focuses on meeting the needs of your online audience. Instead of the traditional marketing methods of manufacturing such as attending trade shows and flyering, inbound marketing prioritises the creation of educational content that attracts and informs your audience. 
This includes everything from blogs, newsletter and graphics that intend to teach your audience something. Generally, online communities want to learn new snippets of information. We typically spend longer with a piece of content if we find it intellectually stimulating. And we aren’t just saying for the sake of it! Take a look at our blog page, there’s a whole range of new and informative posts of plastic machining and manufacturing that provide expert insight into our industry. Click here to take a look! 
We should, however, express the importance of context. You should try and tap into the zeitgeist, as it were, when creating content. For example, we’ve recently focused on Industry 4.0 and changing supply chains because, as we head back into lockdown in England, these will become key topics of discussion again!
As well as providing consumers with insights, inbound marketing - if done well - can also attract more B2B and trade customers. After all, we are all looking at how to improve our own businesses and get an edge over our competitors. 
Integrating an Inbound Marketing Strategy:
There are several instances in your marketing strategy and content output wherein you can - and should - be considering how to utilise methods of inbound marketing. A clear example of this is on your social media pages. Sites such as Twitter and Instagram are flooded with thousands of uploads every minute and if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to give your audience something worth their time. 
This could be anything from information about a particular aspect of your business, news about the industry itself or a deep-dive into the properties of a particular type of material. Hashtags are here to help you too: themes such as #WednesdayWisdom specifically targets those looking for advice and new information. On Twitter, in particular, there is a great and supportive community of OEMs and SMEs in the manufacturing industry who tweet under #UKManufacturing and #UKmfg. 
A focus on providing your intended customer/buyer with the information they need to make a decision can also be carried over to your website. FAQs are an important aspect on any website and these help less-clued-up customers trust your business. The more information you can provide about the properties and characteristics of your product, the more confident anyone will be in purchasing it - it’s that simple!
Website optimisation is also a key element of inbound marketing. Your website should be fully stocked with information, but also easy to navigate for any given consumer. The fewer clicks it takes one to get to the desired page, the more likely you are to hold their attention and create a sale. 
Email newsletters have been around for over a decade and continue to perform strongly for all businesses. A newsletter is a place to collate and organise your content so subscribers can receive the information that is most pertinent to them - and most likely to encourage them to use your business and services. You might link to a specific blog in your newsletter or directly to a product you want to push that week.
Remember: you need to set clear goals for your inbound marketing strategy. Nothing is worth your time if there is not a solid return for your business. Play around, see what works for your audience and what doesn’t. After only a couple of months, you’ll already have a great idea about what content works best for you. And don’t be afraid to change your strategy if something isn’t working!
There you have it, a crash course in Inbound Marketing and three of the key areas you should be thinking about in relation to this marketing strategy. We are becoming more and more independent on our online presence and online services due to the pandemic. Don’t get left behind: be one of the businesses who adapt and overcome during this lockdown. 
Our weekly newsletter is full of insights such as this and is delivered straight to your inbox every other week. Whether you are a seasoned digital marketeer or just getting started, there’ll be something for you there. Sign-up by clicking here. 
If you would like more blogs from us on marketing strategies, campaigns, content generation, and future-planning, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you and to provide any advice we can. Click here to head to our LinkedIn page and send us a message! 
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