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Digital Marketing for Manufacturers: The Buyer's Journey

Carlie Hill avatar

Carlie Hill

Director of Growth Marketing

4 min read

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Manufacturing is experiencing a shift from traditional marketing methods to tactics that provide clearer visibility in today’s cluttered manufacturing landscape. With so many options for customers to choose from, it’s easy to become lost in the noise.

To combat this, many manufacturers are turning to digital marketing. When done well, digital marketing nurtures potential customers from discovery to sale and can even help in getting future referrals. The most effective way to do this is to map your marketing content to the buyer’s journey, as outlined below.

diagram consumer

Here, we share your buyer’s mindset at each stage of the journey and how your marketing can address their needs in four steps;

  1. Attract: Turn Strangers into Visitors
  2. Convert: Turn Visitors into Leads
  3. Close: Turn Leads into Customers
  4. Delight: Turn Customers into Promoters

1. Attract: Turn Strangers into Visitors

Very rarely do potential buyers come across your brand by chance, especially when they don’t even know you exist! This is because, the majority of the time, your potential customers aren’t looking to be sold to, rather, they’re looking for solutions to their problems. Purchasing managers and engineers aren’t looking for product lists and prices, they’re looking for buyer’s journeys and solutions for their pain points - and most of the time, they’re looking for these solutions online.

The strategy at this early stage is simply to get found by the right people and help them get to know your brand. You want to prove to your visitors that your company is a trusted source that understands their business, pain points, and goals. It’s the first step towards building important relationships and trust while increasing brand recognition.

2. Convert: Turn Visitors into Leads

Next, is when your prospects are ready to buy. They’ve clearly defined their product needs and are now looking to find the right supplier. And where are they looking? You guessed it - online. A study by Gartner found that when buyers are considering a purchase, 27% of that time is spent independently researching online. That means that over a quarter of your buyers’ decision-making is done before you even meet them. They’re doing their own analysis to understand what’s available to them on the market and make their supplier shortlists.

Your goal here is two-fold: To identify your prospective buyers and ensure that they have enough information to understand if you’ll fit their needs. The strategy at this stage is to show the value of your products and services, and why your brand does it best. It’s important to be accurate and honest about what you can offer – overpromising will only result in a lost sales deal or an unhappy customer down the line.

3. Close: Turn Leads into Customers

The decision-making stage is when most of the one-to-one interactions will happen with the potential buyer. They’ve done their homework, and now they’re ready to commit. This is when they’re looking for hard numbers and comparisons, but don’t forget they’re also making decisions based on things like accessibility, open communication, trust, the value of service, and partnerships—things that make dealing with a manufacturer easy on a daily basis.

This is your time to sell - to reinforce why your brand, services, and products are better than your competitors, and why the buyer should choose you. Don’t be afraid to compare yourself directly against a specific competitor, especially when you have third-party statistics and reviews that are in your favor. The right kinds of sales conversations paired with the right kinds of marketing close deals.

4. Delight: Turn Customers into Promoters

Once the deal is closed, happy clients are in a position to become advocates for your brand. Satisfied customers will not only continue working with your company, but they’ll also be more willing to give referrals, testimonials, and online reviews.

This is the time to nurture relationships carefully and create long-lasting partnerships. After all, it’s less expensive to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. Not only that – a study from Bain & Company found that increasing your customer retention rates by 5%, can also lead to a 25-95% increase in profits! Brand loyalty, retention, and advocacy are the main goals at this phase, so connecting with your clients in a genuine way should be part of the focus.

Adding Value with Content
Creating content that informs, educates, helps solve problems, and even sparks curiosity is vital in driving traffic at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Not only is content extremely valuable to your target market, but it’s also a great way to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) and communicate your product offerings in an engaging way. It is vital, however, that you use the right type of content to address your buyer’s mindset.

In our latest eBook, we do a deep dive into the best type of content to use at each stage of the buyer’s journey. You can download the full version here.

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