In the increasingly competitive world of manufacturing, it can be difficult to know how to make your company stand out from the crowd. Even if you are the best in the business, it takes more than hard work to stay competitive — it takes strategic marketing as well. No matter how different you are from your competitors, it won’t matter much if you aren’t effectively communicating that difference to your target audience. That’s where content marketing comes in.
The goal of content marketing is not only to get your company noticed by potential customers, but to set you apart as a thought leader in your industry and the go-to manufacturer in your area of expertise. Here are five ways to differentiate your manufacturing company from the competition.
1. Lay the Foundation: Tell Your Story
To begin with, it’s important to communicate who you are as a company: how you got started and why you do what you do. The primary tool you’ll use to do this is the About Us page on your website. (Note: If you don’t have an About Us page yet, now is the time to add one!)
Does your business have a great founder’s story? Use your About Us page to tell it. If not, that’s ok! Simply give a brief overview of when and how your business started, and then talk about your WHY. We’re talking big picture “why” here: What is your mission or your vision for your company? Why do you do what you do — what drives you? One of our manufacturing clients, SCS Elevator Products, does a fantastic job of telling their story — check it out here!
Your story, your “why,” reveals the heart of your business. It gives your company depth. It shows that there’s more to your business than the products you manufacture. In other words, telling your story adds intangible value to your company in the eyes of potential clients. And whether you’re a B2C or a B2B manufacturer, you are working with people…and people want more than a sales pitch. They want to know something about the people they’re doing business with.
2. Highlight Your Company Culture
Once you’ve told your story on your website, continue pulling the curtain back on your company by highlighting your employees and your company values on social media. Manufacturing can be an especially faceless industry, focusing primarily on the end product. Unfortunately, when it comes to today’s marketing — especially social media marketing — simply talking about your products or services will no longer cut it. To attract the audience that is most likely to do business with you, you need to share more about the people behind the products.
Use social media to introduce your audience to the people who make your products possible — from the CEO to the office manager to assembly line staff.
Share a bit about what each employee does, how long they’ve been with you, and how they contribute to the success of your company or embody your company values. And speaking of company values, share those with your audience as well. These are the values your company abides by from day to day — the values that determine how you run your business. We all like to do business with companies whose values are similar to ours, so sharing your values will help you attract customers with similar values. And as new generations grow up and become your next clients, this will become even more true: both Millennials and Gen Z put a high value on knowing who they are doing business with.
Plus, sharing about your staff and your company values does more than attract prospects with similar values — it also attracts top talent with similar values. This will come in handy the next time you’re looking to hire.
We have to give another shout-out to SCS Elevator here, as they do an amazing job of highlighting their company culture on both their website and social media. Check out their Facebook page for some great examples!
3. Understand Your Buyer Persona & What Makes Them Tick
To determine how best to differentiate your manufacturing company, you need to know what is most desirable to your target market. You need to understand what your prospects are looking for and what they feel is important. Then you can more effectively communicate the value of your products and services to potential clients.
To do this, marketers use a tool called the buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client based on market research and data that you gather about your existing clients. You want to obtain information about your customer base such as:
- Where do they get their news and information?
- How do they make decisions?
- What problems do they need solved?
And so on. Depending on how varied your customer base is, you could have several different buyer personas that represent the different types of clients you want to market to. Buyer personas help you determine how best to reach your ideal client and are a key part of a successful targeted marketing strategy. For more on creating your buyer personas, check out a recent blog we wrote on the subject.
Once you know what your ideal clients value, you can speak to the way your products or services provide that value. This focuses your marketing on the benefits, improvements, and overall value that you offer your customers. This kind of marketing attracts not just more leads, but the right leads — the ones that are most likely to do business with you.
4. Craft Quality Content That Educates Your Ideal Client & Positions You as a Thought Leader
One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition is content. Specific, quality content that is educational and informative not only provides helpful information to current and prospective clients, it also elevates your credibility and positions you as a thought leader in your industry. Quality content helps to position you as a knowledgeable, valuable partner, not just another face in the crowd of potential manufacturing partners.
The best tools to accomplish this are blogs, case studies, and customer stories, as well as long-form content like eBooks and guides. Focus your blog articles on problems your clients are facing or questions they might have, highlighting real customer stories as proof of how your product or service meets real needs and solves real problems. You should also include blogs on topics relevant to your industry and supply chain (such as this one on our client Macrotech’s blog about the rising price of copper).
- 35% of engineers rely on blogs as part of their research and needs analysis in the early stages of their buying journey, and
- 56% of industrial professionals “do not contact a vendor until they’ve compared and evaluated several vendors based on their website content.”
And as every area of industry becomes more and more tied to the internet, you can expect that those numbers will only go up.
Curious about what this might look like on your website? Take a look at the blogs of two of our clients: Macrotech and Versare. Both of them have blogs full of helpful, relevant information for their clients, as well as pieces that help to showcase their knowledge of their respective industries.
5. Get Personal
Don’t worry, when we say “get personal,” we’re not talking about sharing your innermost secrets, your vacation photos, or what you had for breakfast. (Save that for your personal social media accounts!) We have something else in mind for your company’s social media pages and email newsletters.
Earlier we mentioned highlighting your company culture and showcasing your employees on your social media pages. Take that a step further by occasionally sharing what your employees like to do outside of work — their hobbies, interests, or volunteer work — as well as the ways your company contributes to the wider community. Highlight the organizations you support as a company, as well as the ways you are involved in your community. (For a great example of this, we’ll refer you once again to SCS Elevator’s Facebook page — scroll through their page to see multiple posts like this).
Sharing these details adds a personal touch to your marketing. It humanizes your company and makes you more approachable to both potential and existing customers. Again, remember that whether you work directly with the end consumer or focus your business on B2B manufacturing, in the end you are working with people. And when people feel like they know you as a company, they’ll feel more connected to you, and therefore more loyal to you. Getting personal in your social media posts and email newsletters is a great way to build long-lasting relationships with your clients.
Differentiate Your Manufacturing Company With Help From Wild Fig Marketing
We hope this list gets you excited to hone in on your buyer personas, create relevant content for your website, and share more about your company and the people who make it a success on your social media channels.
On the other hand, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of putting all of this into motion, we’ve got your back. The team at Wild Fig has experience working with a variety of clients in the manufacturing industry, and we know what it takes to differentiate your business from the competition.