The manufacturing industry, especially those companies in a B2B space, have historically relied on more traditional marketing channels. Many of them spread word about their brands and products through trade shows and other in-person sales opportunities. While these efforts are still effective, diversification and evolution are necessary in a world where trade shows are suddenly cancelled, and people are seeing less of each other.
But how do you do that when staff and budgets are already stretched thin? One word: automation.
Marketing automation is the process of using software to program your marketing efforts to run automatically, allowing you to develop a more robust marketing mix without requiring a bigger team to manage it all. There are several user-friendly platforms – from HubSpot to Marketo – that make it easy for even the least technology savvy people to get an automation strategy up and running.
If that alone doesn’t pique your curiosity, here are 5 marketing automation pros that will specifically benefit manufacturers.
Let’s say you have contact forms on your website, specifically on each of your product pages. Instead of these form submissions getting dropped into a big bucket of leads, marketing automation can help sort those leads based on the user’s needs and behaviors. For example, the contact can be sent straight to the right salesperson based on which product page the form was submitted, saving time and improving the customer experience.
To top that off, marketing automation software doubles as a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) platform, allowing you to store all your leads and website user information in one convenient location. Depending on the software, this often allows you to keep track of essential touchpoints. For example:
- A person’s different interactions with your website (form submissions, blog articles read, etc.)
- The marketing emails the person has been sent and whether they were opened
- The number of times they have been contacted by the sales team and what the results of those conversations were
- Their purchase history
Because automation platforms log users’ journeys through your website – keeping track of pages and products viewed, for example – it becomes possible to personalize the experience every user has. Personalization can range from sending automated emails with the contact’s name and company, to a personalized homepage with articles and products they may find valuable based on their previous engagement with the site.
The information the CRM collects also helps quickly inform your sales team as to where a particular user is in their buyer journey, helping to tailor sales messages and the supporting information offered.
Marketing automation software keeps track of your data for you, eliminating the need to pull and compare data from multiple platforms. You’ll have all your contacts, their form submissions, their website activity, and their purchase history in one place. This helps ensure your data is not only up to date, but also is more accurate and without human error.
Plus, a lot of these different platforms have data and reporting dashboards that allow you to quickly analyze and export your key performance indicators (KPIs).
For any manufacturer, the ultimate goal is to expand – either by becoming the industry standard in your chosen product line or by expanding your product offerings to better serve your customers. By automating your company’s marketing functions, it becomes much easier to scale and grow going forward, versus potentially hitting a resource ceiling when trying to expand sales and marketing infrastructure manually.
A computer will have no problem quickly responding to and forwarding an ever-increasing number of contact form submissions. This is not the case when relying on a one-person marketing team to vet and respond to queries.
Many of these platforms also support multi-channel marketing, so it’s easy to add different social media platforms, paid digital advertising platforms (like Google Ads), and search engine optimization tools all to one convenient location for monitoring and management.
- Automatic Nurturing
Lead nurturing and customer nurturing programs are a great tool for either:
- Guiding a lead who isn’t quite ready to purchase and who needs more information and reassurance
- Maintaining a relationship with existing customers and keeping communication flowing
Manufacturing is a no-nonsense, to the point industry. Your B2B clients don’t want to beat around the bush. By implementing marketing automation, prospects and customers will experience faster, more personalized communications, improving efficiency on both sides, and ultimately helping relationships and businesses grow stronger and faster.