Manufacturing in the UK is growing. UK factories grew their output for an eighth month in November 2017 according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

The challenge facing many manufacturers is how to scale marketing activity to access new markets. Reaching new customers who don’t know you or your business needs investment. But where should you be investing your marketing budget in order to reach your growth targets? Could digital marketing be the answer?

If your potential customers are online researching, connecting and buying from their new suppliers, then yes you should be investing in digital marketing. But to be effective your digital marketing needs to be targeted and measured. It is easy to invest large sums and see no returns on digital marketing, we hear it time and time again from customers who come to us.

So here are 7 reasons we think you should focus your digital strategy using digital marketing.

1. Digital marketing focuses on your ideal customers

This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many manufacturing companies we meet that focus on their products not their customers. Real growth comes from understanding your customers. You need to understand their challenges and pains. Find out what channels they use online and who influences their decision-making process. Once you know the answers to these questions you can start building a more effective digital marketing strategy. Digital marketing uses buyer personas to ensure all marketing activity is targeted to reach your growth goals.

2. Digital marketing focuses on your customers’ buyer journey

Over 75% of the visitors to your website will not be ready to buy your products and services. Most will be in research mode trying to solve their problems. They might not have even put a name to their problems. Digital marketing recognises this and provides relevant and helpful content to help your buyers through their journey into buying your products and services.

Customer buyer journey with digital marketing

3. Digital marketing generates more traffic to your website

The key to getting plenty of high-quality traffic to your website is to write relevant, helpful and valuable content that draws and engages your target audience. Manufacturing companies have traditionally underestimated the the value of a blog. But a business blog allows you to add new content regularly to your website. A blog can help educate your target audience on the common roadblocks in your industry and tell them how your products and services can help solve their problems. It is important to not to be too promotional and remember that different types of content can also help carry people through the sales cycle.

4. Digital marketing builds trust in your brand and helps establishes authority in your niche

By providing content specific to ideal customers and for the different stages in their journey to buy your products and services you will be able to build trust in your brand and help establish your authority as the provider of good and services in your niche. Valuable content such as blogs, guides, videos and infographics combine to help elevate and lend creditability to your brand.

5. Digital builds and nurtures better leads

Manufacturers sell expensive equipment and/or provide high value services which tends to make lead generation challenging. You may also have a long sales cycle (months or even years) but the value of each sale is high. Connecting your sales team with your leads at the right time is fundamental to getting results. Digital marketing helps with this process. It helps to generate high quality leads and keeps you in contact with them until they are ready to connect with one of your sales team. It keeps your company top of mind with your target customer until the time is right for them to contact you.

6. Digital is multi-channel

As a business you always want to know why and how you acquired a customer. You want to know how they heard about you and what marketing activities helped convert them into a lead and then helped with the decision to make a purchase decision. You want to know which campaign and which digital channel was effective. What was the first touch (lead source), what was the last touch (lead source most recent). Without this data you can hope to understand what is working and what is just a waste of money. With digital marketing you can track multi-channel attribution campaigns so that you can understand which channel contributed in acquiring a new customer, and determine the most efficient channels for further investment.

7. Digital marketing is measurable

Because it’s online digital marketing is entirely measurable. You will be able to see how many visitors are viewing your content, how many leads you are generating and how many customers you are winning. Ultimately you will be able to assess what’s working and what needs improving so you will waste less money on digital marketing.