Why Every Manufacturer Needs a Robust Inbound Digital Marketing Strategy

In the world of digital marketing, it used to be that manufacturers have to compete against each other for attention. They needed to make sure that potential clients knew what they could offer and how they could help solve problems. But today, the landscape has completely shifted.

One of the most effective subsets of digital marketing involves what we call inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about buyer empowerment. Today, potential customers don’t need to rely on sales teams to tell them everything they need to know about the products they want to buy. Instead, they can research the information themselves online. And while they might still ask a few questions, they aren’t just looking for someone else to sell to them.

57% of the buying cycle is already completed before a potential customer even gets to a purchase decision

Old tactics were very “salesy”. Now, people don’t want to be sold. There’s a popular expression best-selling author Jeffrey Gitomer coined: “People hate to be sold to, but they love to buy.” Inbound digital marketing softly informs about the features and benefits of your products and services, which, in turn, invites them to buy into a low-pressure, long-term relationship that ultimately fosters trust. But above that, it’s also the ultimate system to generate leads, nurture leads, and convert leads into clients.

Inbound digital marketing gives manufacturers the opportunity to provide exactly what buyers are asking for. To do that, manufacturers must understand their target audience better. This starts with understanding where they spend their time online and where and how they consume content. Once they know that, they can start creating content that helps them connect with those audiences. After all, if they don’t provide value, nobody will listen. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key things to know about digital marketing for manufacturing companies and how to implement these tactics to your own campaigns.


Aligning Manufacturing Goals Within The Industrial Buying Cycle

Marketing is often thought of as a long-term strategy, but it should also be part of a company’s short-term plans. How can marketers ensure they stay relevant during the buying cycle?

The Industrial Buying Cycle (IBC) is a framework developed by Bain & Company to describe the steps companies go through before purchasing new equipment or services. This model helps businesses identify their current state, plan for future growth, and determine where they stand relative to competitors. A similar approach can be added to your company’s digital marketing.

Companies often struggle to balance short-term goals with long-term strategies. They fail to see the connection between marketing and the IBC. If they don’t align themselves with the IBC, they risk missing out on opportunities to improve their performance.

To get started, you first have to understand your industry. Then, you can create a roadmap based on your business’s needs. You’ll need to consider things like:

  • What’s changing in your industry?
  • What trends are emerging?
  • How does your product fit into this market?
  • Where do customers look when they need your product?
  • Where do they turn next after they’ve found it?
  • What are your competitors doing? Are they making mistakes?

Once you have an idea of where you want to take your business, you can begin planning for success. That means identifying your strengths and weaknesses, developing a clear vision, and setting realistic goals.

Here is the hard part. It is VERY difficult to conduct and execute this analysis internally. Subject matter experts are often too close to the business to see the forest for the trees. An outsider’s perspective allows companies to view the value of the products from a new perspective.

All of these questions are critical to marketing and are built into and frequently answered in Our Unique Process, outlined below:

This process has been built over the last 21+ years. It’s proven, battle-tested, and is one of the reasons why we have an average 97% client retention rate (year-over-year).


Attracting, Nurturing & Conversion, Client Delight: Three Key Strategy Areas for Manufacturers

All inbound marketing strategies can fall under one of three categories based on the goal of the campaign. If you are looking to attract new customers, engage existing ones, or delight current ones, here is how you can break down the different types of inbound marketing campaigns.

Attracting Strategies

If you want to attract new customers, you need to focus on creating content that shows how your products and services help solve problems. This could include anything from educational content about your product or service to customer reviews.

The goal of attracting strategies is simple: attract as many qualified prospects as possible. But how exactly does one go about doing this?

Common strategies to attract traffic to your website include:

Just like no two companies are ever alike, the same thing can be said for your marketing. There are many approaches that could ultimately be successful for your company and your industry, however finding the right one takes either trial and error OR really wise counsel and support.

Here are some examples:

  • Hypersonalized content for each of your critical buyer personas.
  • Developing an editorial calendar of SEO-optimized content specific to your industry, products, and services.
  • Paid and organic social media: Identify the right channels or platforms that are best for you to reach potential clients that may not even know your solution exists.
  • Developing email marketing campaigns and newsletters to provide value and to earn and win trust.
  • Digital advertising can go one of two ways:
    • Informative banner/display ads
    • Search ads (keyword-defined) that show up in search results
  • Programmatic advertising to harness the power of AI technology with the following approach:
    • Hyper-target individuals based upon a variety of different filters such as name, business title, region, etc.
    • AI auto bidding that reaches your sales targets on a variety of platforms via digital ads, native ads, cTV, podcasts, in-app advertising, etc.
    • Cutting Edge Reporting that allows your organization to understand how AI is impacting and empowering your campaigns so that you can pivot accordingly.

Creating Killer Content

Great Content attracts people. Great Content draws attention. And great Content gets shared. When you provide useful information to your audience, you give them something to talk about. Ultimately, you are hoping that content leads to an actual sale or conversion that’s why developing really great content can drive lots of traffic your brand. They might backlink to you, comment on your blog, retweet your tweets, like your Facebook post, subscribe to your newsletter, or buy your products. In short, good content drives traffic.

Publishing high-quality and link-worthy content regularly increases your chances of being found online. If you want to increase your visibility, make sure you focus on producing valuable content that your readers can either adopt effectively or challenges a long-held belief they might have that might force them to think differently. This means writing long-form content that provides unique value to your readers. It needs to be informative, aiming to answer questions and solve problems. Don’t just regurgitate what others say. And strive not to speak from topics that are outside of your experience. Instead, tell people what you know.

Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina, has spoken at length that the two factors that drive the most links and ultimately exposure are strong opinions or strong internally based data-driven research. If your content lacks one of these two items, consider making shifts to your approach.

All of these things help build trust and credibility among your target market.

In a competitive landscape, if you’re going to develop content, strive to be the absolute best, most thorough, most transparent, and provide maximum value. Those who commit to great content ultimately win while others are always chasing trends, hacks, and fads.


Nurturing & Conversion Strategies

When analyzing your marketing, one of the critical pieces of data that you need to look into are returning visitors. Let’s face it, 99% of the time, prospective clients are not in a position to buy. But if they are on your site, they should be learning and gaining trust in your organization, your products, and your services. And that is a good thing. The bad thing is when you have no formal lead nurturing strategy.

In order to keep them engaged and turn prospects into loyal customers, you need to provide continued value. Below, we will talk about example emails and approaches. But the critical takeaway here is that lead generation is NOT enough.

In fact, according to data collected by the VB Marketing Automation Index, over 50% of manufacturers are using some form of marketing automation software. This includes companies like Ford, General Electric, and Whirlpool, among others. Why? because it works.

Lead nurturing isn’t just limited to email and drip marketing. You can also use social media to engage and re-engage with your audience. Share helpful tips, ask questions, and offer solutions to common issues. By providing real value, you will gain their loyalty.

However, the #1 recommendation that we have would be for manufacturers looking to grow would be to utilize a marketing automation platform such as HubSpot into the backbone of your approach.

With HubSpot, your company is able to track the engagement of individuals and companies throughout the buying cycle. You’re able to lead score these individuals based on their engagement with your website and marketing, and you’re able to create highly personalized messages so that you can get the right message to the right client at the right time.

Here would be a common example:

In this example, Jim finds your organization thru the products page. He downloads an eBook that talks about the features and benefits of that product. Once he downloads that eBook, tracking code is installed on his devices. The marketing automation system then drips a campaign to him with three emails to try and nurture him down the funnel. The first one he opens, the second is delivered but not opened, and the third one is opened.

That’s how Jim went from a 0 to an 80 lead score. (See the video below)

When your sales team understands how these individuals engage with your marketing, it can reduce the sales cycle and give your team the intelligence to facilitate conversation and ultimately convert leads quicker.

Common forms of nurturing strategies include:

  • Marketing automation/drip marketing emails
  • Retargeting/remarketing ads
  • Email marketing
  • Desktop and mobile notifications
  • Personalized soft touch (email)
  • Social media (indirect engagement)

A lot of the details of lead nurturing are addressed in other blogs and articles we’ve written, but the most foundational one that 90% of our clients are missing before they come to us is the importance of having the following drip marketing components for product or serviced-based email marketing campaigns.

Anyone who engages with any of your marketing materials will receive the following emails:

  • Overview of your organization
  • Features and Benefits
  • Cost of Procrastination
  • Testimonials/Case Studies
  • Taking the first step

All of these emails will ultimately reflect in a potential customer’s lead score depending on their engagement (i.e. clicks and reads).

Retargeting/Remarketing Ads

Retargeting ads are one aspect of nurturing that subtly keeps clients who have engaged with your marketing top of mind.

Have you ever looked for shoes on Amazon and found that suddenly, ads were appearing all over your devices for those same shoes?

That’s an example of retargeting ads. They are designed to keep a potential customer engaged with your products and services so that even when they leave Amazon, your company remains top of mind until they are ready to make a purchasing decision.

Retargeting ads can range from very simple to very advanced. Investigating an approach that works best for your company’s goals is worth its weight in gold.



It is often said that marketing is like taking the horse to water, but it is sales that makes them drink. When marketing is done effectively, it’s should be a seamless yet soft hand-off between your marketing department and sales department.

But just because it should work this way doesn’t mean that it’s easy to set up and maintain. Often times, both departments work against each other rather than work with each other. Marketing creates content that doesn’t fit the pulse of the message that sales is trying to portray and often comes across as “out of touch”. Similarly, the sales team is notorious for going rogue and straying from branded, pre-approved messaging. It is this lack of consistency that confuses buyers and impacts potential sales.

So how do you get sales and marketing aligned? View it as a dance. Automation will use evergreen content to keep your clients informed, while hyper-personalized client-specific information is usually crafted by sales. When they’re working in unison, great things happen.

Sales Cycle Strategy

So where do you get started?

In discovery, we take the time upfront to look at how your sales and marketing are integrated.

In this example, I want to walk you through the sales cycle strategy that Farotech uses to clearly identify every touch point that we have with a sales target—in this case, a potential customer.

After a first and then a second appointment, with lots of content and resources provided in between, we write a proposal. And finally, that proposal is either accepted or rejected.

Of course, there are always those times in any sales journey when everything is going really well, you’ve had a couple of good meetings, the client seems to be resonating with your message, and then…

For some reason or another, that potential client just disappears, or becomes a ghost!

They don’t answer your emails, calls, or texts. They essentially “slip off the hook.”

We call that phenomenon “dropoff.”

The goal of a well-designed sales cycle is to eliminate dropoff by creating buyer persona-specific marketing materials that are engaging and keep the potential sales target enthusiastic about your products or services.


Delighting Strategies

According to Harvard Business Review, it is estimated to be 10x more expensive to sign a new client than it is to keep and upsell an existing one. (Yes, this is the exact quote that Ryan makes to Michael in the office.) It is actually very true.

Converting clients is only half the battle. You have to be proactive and understand the value of what you have in your hand with a new customer. That means that this process doesn’t just stop with the sale. Clients who are delighted are more likely to become something we call brand ambassadors. Brand Ambassadors are raving fans of your company. These individuals will enthusiastically promote your products or services.

First thing to mention here is that you have to be committed to these strategies in order for them to work. We recommend developing a formal client delight strategy. These strategies often include:

  • Client education (written and video formats)
  • Client training (written and video formats)
  • Customer relationship management
  • Knowledge base (resources, FAQ)
  • Product webinars

Even beyond that, clients like to be recognized. This can look like:

  • Client spotlights
  • Client appreciation gifts
  • Incentive programs
  • Regular touch bases and temperature checks

One of the hardest metrics to understand about client delight is to develop a client retention number that is looked at on a monthly basis.

The goal is to be able to attribute these tactics to actual client retention. I promise you, just creating a really great product isn’t enough.


The Power of the Flywheel

Several years ago, marketing experts challenged the traditional sales funnel model. The old model was outdated and was missing a major piece of successful approaches because it didn’t solve for referrals. A flywheel approach looks at the customer journey beyond generating, nurturing, and conversion. It addresses how customers end up taking your brand to the next level with their passion. Great customer service becomes great marketing in the flywheel approach: customers become brand ambassadors. It’s not simple, though; you have to ask for it.

Jay Baer, the author of Talk Triggers is famous for saying: “Competency does not create conversation”. No one talks about an adequate hamburger, they talk about an amazing hamburger. But if you do amazing customer service, that ties into your marketing by passively asking them to recognize the value of that customer service and strategically ask for referrals without sounding “salesy”, scummy, or that you have an agenda.


The Value of Thought Leadership

It’s important to consider the latest marketing trends and how manufacturers can capitalize on them. In particular, here are some major shifts you should keep in mind as you plan out your lead generation strategy and conversion flywheel for your manufacturing company.

Influencer Marketing in the B2B manufacturing segment.

Influencer marketing has been around for years, but it’s only recently become mainstream. The reason? Companies have realized that influencers are powerful tools for generating brand awareness and driving traffic to websites. According to MarketingSherpa, brands spent $3 billion on influencer marketing last year alone. That number is expected to grow by 50% this year.

In addition to spending money, influencers are increasingly willing to share their expertise and advice. As a result, marketers are now able to tap into the knowledge of industry experts without having to pay them directly.

This trend is especially true in manufacturing. A recent study found that nearly half (48%) of B2B buyers say that they prefer to purchase from businesses that have strong relationships with influencers.

You may be thinking that influencers are huge, unattainable, and unaffordable. However, that is a common misconception, but it really comes down to your approach. One strategy that we recommend is to find micro-influencers in your industry that maybe don’t cost as much but have similar pull in their industry and more flexibility in terms of what they can offer and for how much and thus, a higher ROI for your company rather than going after thought-leaders with outrageous fees. Ultimately, all of these engagements should be tracked for efficacy. Let the data tell you if this approach is working or whether you need to pivot.

So, what does all this mean for manufacturers? It means that you need to start thinking about who your influencers are and how you can leverage their influence to drive traffic to your website.


Reach a wider manufacturing audience

The reach of a manufacturing company is determined by where people go online to find information about products and services offered by your company. It is widely known that a well-designed website is essential for reaching customers, it shouldn’t just be a static brochure. Sadly most manufacturers fail to realize that there’s much more to creating a successful web presence than simply having a good design.

In fact, Marcus Sheridan, the author of They Ask, You Answer, is famous for his “Teach to Reach” Approach. Seek first to educate before you begin to sell prospects on the value of your products and services.

A recent Content Marketing study found that most manufacturers don’t know what steps they need to take to increase their reach. This includes understanding the difference between traditional marketing methods like advertising and PR and newer digital techniques such as social media, SEO, and programmatic ads.


SEO is both an art and a science, and we’ve written countless articles on SEO, but here’s a quick overview of SEO to guide you.

Manufacturing companies often struggle to get their websites ranked well in search engines. This is because they don’t have enough time or resources to invest in improving their site. They also lack knowledge about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.

There are several ways to optimize manufacturing sites for better rankings. These include:

  • Effective keyword research, including competitor analysis
  • Creating high-quality content
  • Building a backlinking strategy
  • SEO-optimizing existing content and webpages
  • Technical SEO (set-up, hosting, technical code)

Social Media

In the age of digital marketing, social media is increasingly becoming a vital tool for businesses to use. However, it isn’t just about posting pictures of cats and sharing funny videos; there are many reasons why manufacturers should utilize advanced social media tactics. In fact, according to Forrester Research, “social media is now a $13 billion market.” With that being said, here are three ways manufacturers can use social media to boost sales and profits.

  • Scheduling Innovative Content

The most effective way to engage consumers with your product is to provide useful information and insights. By creating innovative content and providing helpful tips and tricks, you’ll be able to increase consumer trust and loyalty.

The trap, however is doing something we call RAM: Random Acts of Marketing.

Part of doing this successfully is to design an editorial calendar that allows you to go from being a reactive marketer to a proactive marketer. Just like working on and focusing on your fitness, consistency is the #1 way to get results. Having a social media editorial calendar with posts that highlight relevant statistics, hashtags, and influencer mentions is key to driving engagement on social media and thus, to your site.

Calendars can put out content in 30, 60, 90, or even year-long increments that is eventually rewarded by Google for consistent output.

  • Paid Social Ads

Since Facebook and other social media platforms killed organic reach to a mere 2%, essentially, what you’re left with in this space is what’s widely called “pay-to-play.” So while it might feel good to have followers, likes, and connections, the only way to actually reach a wider social media audience is to pay for the privilege to do so.

Before you get bent out of shape about that, there are tools to target demographics and lookalike audiences that are second to none in terms of advertising.

Sadly, it all comes down to execution. So if you’re not using an agency to develop a campaign successfully, you’ll waste time, energy, and money, and you’ll quickly start to believe that social media doesn’t work. It does, but you need the right agency to help you.

  • Expand Your Network

You probably already know that social media platforms like Facebook allow users to connect with others in their network. But did you know that you can actually utilize those connections to grow your business? This is especially important if you’re trying to find new suppliers or partners. Connecting with influencers in your field could lead to some great opportunities.

So you might be wondering how to do that. The answer is LinkedIn. We view Linkedin as the largest Rolodex in the world. Unfortunately, the platform has a lot of noise, and so it’s absolutely worth the time and effort to develop an approach to networking on LinkedIn that targets influencers. To take it to the next level, you can hyper-target with Linkedin advertising to reach a specific audience based on their location, job title, etc.

Google Ads

Using advertising tools like Google Ads is important when it comes to marketing a manufacturing company. It is measurable, realistic, and should be a key component of your online advertising strategy, according to research conducted by Gartner Research.

Paid Ads, including Google search ad campaigns, are the third largest generator of customer conversions online. According to Google, you can increase brand awareness by up to 80% with carefully crafted search ad campaigns alone.

Programmatic Ads

Programmatic advertising allows manufacturers to create custom advertisements through software instead of manually creating each advertisement. This saves companies time and money. The downside is that these programs aren’t perfect and sometimes they don’t perform as expected.

Advertisers who want to reach consumers through mobile devices often choose programmatic advertising over direct marketing methods such as email campaigns. In fact, according to eMarketer, global spending on programmatic advertising crossed $27.4 billion in recent years.

Measuring interaction effectiveness:

The best way to measure the success of your marketing efforts is to look at the overall performance of your interactions. This includes everything from the quality of leads generated, to the number of people talking about your brand, to the amount of traffic coming into your website. In addition, it helps you understand what type of content works well for your audience and where you might want to make changes.

To start measuring your interactions, we recommend using Google Analytics. You can use several different reports within GA to determine the most effective ways to interact with your target audience and potential customers. For example, you could see which campaigns are driving the highest levels of revenue or which types of content generate the greatest engagement. If you’re looking for even deeper insights, you can also set up custom segments based on specific criteria like gender, age group, location, device, etc.

Once you’ve got the data flowing, you’ll need to decide what metrics matter most to you. Some of the most important ones include:

  • Cost Per Lead – How much does it cost to acquire each qualified lead?
  • Dwell Time – How long do visitors spend interacting with your site?
  • Bounce Rate – What percentage of visitors leave without clicking anything?
  • Conversions – Which content drives the most sales?
  • Revenue – Which channels drive the most revenue?

Making data-driven decisions is key to marketing success. What we find is that many businesses struggle to prove ROI on their marketing and resort to what we call RAM (Random Acts of Marketing). These stranded approaches rely on hunches, best guesses, or trends––none of which lead to long-term success.

By defining your metrics, carefully measuring them, and retooling your approach based on what the data tells you is a surefire way to keep your marketing efforts on target.


Marketing for Manufacturers: Gaining Insights for Growth

In today’s world, it seems like every manufacturer wants to become a global leader. As we know, there are many challenges associated with doing so, including increasing competition, adapting to changing consumer preferences, and finding ways to keep pace with technological innovation.

But what if there was one thing manufacturers could do to take control of the situation? What if they had a tool that enabled them to better understand how consumers think about their products, where they buy those products, and why they choose certain brands over others?

This is exactly what companies across industries are realizing. And while some companies still struggle to make sense of all the information out there, others are taking full advantage of the opportunity. They are leveraging the power of big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and more to gain insights into their customers and ultimately grow their businesses.


Marketing is Moving Fast

As a leading provider of marketing solutions, we work closely with our clients to help them build a strong foundation for success. We believe that when manufacturers look to grow their businesses, they need to start by looking inward—and that includes thinking about how they can improve their marketing tactics and strategies.

That’s why we developed a unique approach to digital marketing that focuses on being nimble and creative. Our goal is simple: to help manufacturers develop a robust digital marketing strategy that helps them achieve their goals. This starts with understanding the needs of their target audience and creating campaigns that speak directly to those needs.

We want to help manufacturers see beyond the noise and find real opportunities to connect with their customers. To do that, we use data analytics, marketing technology platforms, and the latest and best marketing technologies to deliver personalized messages to potential buyers. These tools allow us to quickly identify customer behaviors and interests, uncover hidden buying patterns, and provide actionable insights that enable manufacturers to make smarter decisions.


A Team-Based Marketing Approach

Farotech provides a team-based marketing approach that allows us to provide you with expert support in every area of digital marketing. We take care of everything from strategy development, creative execution, data analysis, and even project management. This gives our clients the ability to focus on building their businesses while we handle the nitty gritty tasks required to make those dreams come true.

Ready to Start With a Gap Assessment?

Reach out to Farotech to get started with a system that can reliably generate, nurture, and convert leads into lifelong clients. Fill out the form below to request a sample gap assessment that will identify some key areas where we can help transform your marketing. We look forward to building a custom digital marketing solution for your manufacturing needs