Times have changed. Wouldn’t you agree? Buyers today are shopping differently than they were 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Opportunity used to come to you in the form of phone calls or visits. Back when people had to call you directly and ask about your product or for a catalog or a meeting so they could gather information to help them make a purchase decision. When those people came to you, it opened the doors to hopefully present and closed a sale.

Today’s buyers in control of that process more than ever. No longer does the prospect want to speak with you about what you do as a manufacturer. They can now research and see your capabilities; they can shop you against your competitors online and compare you without you even knowing. So, what does that mean for manufacturers? Well, it means that you are being shopped and possibly dismissed by potential customers without even knowing it’s happening. How can you adjust your sales strategy and closing rates when you don’t even get a chance to pitch?  Unfortunately, you can’t.

Manufacturers looking to increase sales in 2018 will need to show up. Literally.

Here is a sobering statistic; 90% of B2B buyers start their research on Google. If they don’t find you within Google, then you do not make it onto their short list. No, I’m not talking about consumers looking for t-shirts and iPhones. I’m talking about people looking for machines, conveyor systems, or packaging equipment. I’m talking about high-level buyers shopping for components to add to their products. These people will type in questions they have about these topics and the companies google serves up as credible experts will make that potential buyers list.

So, here are five things you can do in 2018 to improve your marketing and directly improve your closing rates.

  1. Website – What you need to be providing is a window into your facility, valuable information, and a clear path to do business with the prospect. Is your website a clear representation of what you have to offer? Is it up to date, does it load quickly, is it showing up for important competitive keywords in search? Providing a website with these features along with a great user experience including professional imagery and video along with helpful blogs that are a valuable reference to your prospects WILL bring you more business in 2018.
  2. PPC – Pay per click advertising will put you at the top of page one in search engines. In 2018 this should be a large part of your advertising budget. If done right, this one thing alone could pay for itself hundreds of times over.
  3. Organic SEO – Although it’s great to have a PPC campaign running your long-term strategy should include organic SEO work. As you move up in search engines, your PPC budget can decrease. Eventually, you will have ownership of those keywords, and you will be able to drive traffic from them at no charge. We’ve had clients in the past receiving thousands of dollars in value from their keywords each month.
  4. Retargeting Ad Strategy – Although 90% of buyers will research you online, only 28% will be ready to make a purchase the very first time they visit your website. They are in what we call the research portion of the buyer’s As they move into the consideration portion, you want to remain top of mind. You can achieve this by utilizing retargeting ads. A good retargeting ad strategy would have a valuable offering designed to pull them into your sales funnel.
  5. A Plan That Works Across Traditional and Digital Platforms – In no way am I suggesting that you abandon all of your traditional methods. What I’m suggesting is we tie the two together. Creating packages that can be sent out to buyers, triggered by an action they took on your site. Trade booths designed to draw prospects to your site which is designed to pull them into your sales funnel and things of this nature are of high value.

The good news is most manufacturers have not made the leap into digital. That means you will swim inside a small pool of competitors. Over the next few years, more and more will make the switch, and you will always be ahead because you laid the foundation early on.

If you think digital marketing is the right step for your company, lets come together and start devising your strategy.

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