References are enough to keep customers coming
It is a common mistake in any industry to put all your faith in the future of your company in referrals. Here are some Marketing Myths for Manufacturers. Word of mouth alone is not a sustainable marketing strategy. It’s true, the power of social proof (online or offline reviews, word of mouth, referrals) to help new customers find your products is tremendous.
You can’t just count on referrals to bring you new or repeat business. Harness the power of these referrals to create a sustainable process and program to make those referrals work for you. Incorporate automatic trigger points that alert your team to request a referral and then create a referral incentive program for your best customers to reward their good deeds. As your business grows over time, continually evaluate your referral sources and adjust your schedule as they flex to ensure you’re creating a win-win scenario.
Social media doesn’t work for B2B manufacturers
As we’ve discussed in several recent webinars, social media can be of great help to both B2B AND B2C manufacturers. Take a look at companies like Toyota Equipment. They have an active presence on LinkedIn and get a flow of traffic to their site through these channels.
Using social media channels to reach target customers or suppliers is one way to differentiate yourself from the competition and differentiate your business. Don’t just think of social media as a sales tool, think of it as a mechanism to add value to your existing customer base and keep them coming back for more. Consider posting content that helps existing customers get the most out of your product. Or, create a campaign to add leads to your newsletter so that you can provide valuable blog post content that makes their workday easier.
Every potential customer is equally important
When your business is new, it is exciting to see interested parties knocking on your door to buy your products. However, as any sales or marketing employee will soon discover, potential customers who aren’t really interested can consume your valuable time. Instead of spending time nurturing each potential customer through the pipeline only to have half of them fall due to a poor fit, focus on your ideal customer so that you only attract the right customers from the start.
Do you know who that target audience is? Create one or more defined personas based on your best customers to identify the traits, characteristics, and thoughts of customers who buy from you repeatedly. Then put those characteristics to work in your marketing collateral to speak directly to those you know are a good fit for the customer. Don’t be afraid to change them over time, too, as your business grows and matures.
Your product speaks for itself
This idea is tempting. We all want to have the best product, the product that is so good that everyone wants one. However, even if we have made the best product in the world, your company needs a well-thought-out value proposition to sell that product. If you don’t guide potential customers to see the benefits for them in your product, you are simply making a long list of boring features.
Your team should be able to articulate your value proposition is simple, jargon-free, easy-to-understand language. If you haven’t taken the time to do this, consider creating tools that allow your team to do this. Many manufacturers want their defining characteristic to be “top quality.” When everyone has that motto, it is not unique. Instead, leverage the wants, needs, and desires of your buyers (remember the people we discussed earlier?) To build a value proposition that connects with them in a meaningful way.