The manufacturing sector is not one that you might naturally associate with content marketing. On the surface, manufacturing topics might not seem particularly blog post and video-friendly, but used correctly, content marketing can be a vital asset in attracting customers – particularly in the early stages of the sales funnel.
This blog post will examine what types of content you can create as a manufacturer to attract potential customers.
First of all, it is important to consider the number of people who influence a sale. Manufacturing sales differ from many other sectors, in that the decision-making cycle is quite lengthy and requires input from those who will make the purchase, implement the solution, manage it and those who will use it. The content you produce should reflect that by targeting different topics that will be of interest to the people in those various positions and answer their questions.
Within the sales cycle, you will find that different formats will be more helpful during each stage. For example, social media posts are helpful to raise brand awareness. Good content formats for the top of the funnel are informative ones: blog posts and articles, e-books, industry news and research that you can share with your audience. In the consideration stage, it is good to offer prospective clients some content that will help them make a decision about your specific products and services: comparison guides, case studies, FAQs and buyer’s guides. Finally, at the conversion stage, your content can help you close the deal, and it is OK to get a little more promotional and do some actual advertising, whilst still highlighting the benefits you can provide to your potential clients – product videos, spec sheets, brochures and manuals are all great formats for this stage.
On an international level, it is important to do some further research, in order to tailor the content formats to the habits and expectations of businesses from each target country.
For example, in China, the traditional way to expand your business was by cold calling companies, using connections to introduce your services and using conferences and expos to present your products. In the digital age, however, a holistic, transparent and highly-visible online presence now dominates the landscape.
High-quality content has become very important in China, as decision makers will conduct thorough research before approaching a company, so publishing well-researched and educational content on your website and WeChat account will let you demonstrate your expertise and authority, thereby helping you to build trust and elevate your reputation. Potential clients like to see practical advice and informative content from their supplier and will actually memorise it. Creating such content is a good way to promote your business and differentiate yourself from the competition.
In Russia, having relevant content in Russian on your website will help to boost your rankings in Yandex and Google.ru and make your company visible, but this is not enough. Following the Russian financial crisis of 1998, Russian businesses developed an approach of “do not deal with anyone you do not know”. You should use your content to let Russian businesses get to know who you are, what you do and your approach.
Informative and educational content such as white papers are very effective in Russia, although not well-developed – which can give you a further edge over the competition. Sharing valuable information with Russian businesses will help you to earn trust and authority.
I hope this has given you a useful introduction to content marketing in the manufacturing sector. For more information, read my free, full-length guide here. The guide covers:
- how content marketing can benefit your business
- how to decide which topics to create content about
- how to decide on content formats
- how to go about content creation
- the best channels on which to share your content
- how to scale your efforts internationally
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