As I type this it’s the end of October 2023. The Studio and our B2B manufacturing clients are wrapping up projects, closing out goals for this year, and planning for next year. As we review our client’s efforts over the past year and identify new goals and initiatives for the coming year, I thought I would write down a couple of the items we check as part of our marketing pulse check for manufacturers.
This will be a quick read, I promise, with a few high-level things you want to consider as you plan how to best position your company in a very crowded manufacturing sector here in south central PA. If you’re not a manufacturer don’t worry, these high level items can apply to almost any industry.
Should you be on social media?
Better questions would be these:
- What networks should I be on?
- How often should I post?
- What should I post?
To answer those questions, you need to review your position in the marketplace, know your target audience(s), and know what your target audiences value. Two goals you should definitely work toward are these:
- Stay top of mind with frequent social media posts.
- Give your social media audience information and value – Providing value could mean a lot of things depending on your target audience.
Whether you realize it or not, you have multiple target audiences, and they all have different interests and needs. Most of us have these audiences:
- Active customers
- Inactive customers
- Current workforce
- Future workforce/recruitment audience
As you develop your content – something we recommend you do at least a month in advance of posting– consider your multiple audiences.
Major takeaway: Your audiences’ interests and values should dictate what you create and post.
Numbers and specs are great, but where are the people?
People buy from people.
Sure, you have the tightest tolerances, the best five-axis CNC, and the best quality control measures and testing– they all do. Unless you’re into the whole transactional sales thing (we aren’t) you need to connect and build relationships with your customers – that starts with your people.
People connect with people.
Who are the people in your company doing the work, and making the decisions? Tell their stories, put a spotlight on your people. Maybe you can spotlight Phil and his 30+ years of experience or Mary in shipping who for two decades has made sure customers get their orders on time. What about a new engineer, fresh out school, who uses the latest and greatest software and technologies to make sure every project is an efficient success?
Let your audiences know who they’re going to talk to when they call, who will be working on their project, who is responsible for their project’s success, and who they’ll call when they have questions.
How do you shine a spotlight on your people?
- Feature photography and short bios of the leadership team on your website.
- Post short videos that feature team members, their abilities, and their experience.
- Celebrate work anniversaries and accomplishments both internally and externally.
- Take your audiences on a video tour of your facility – one of your people can be the tour guide.
Major takeaway: People buy from people. Leverage your team to connect and build relationships.
Yazzo Mills gets it. Check out how we helped them put their people front and center:
Why are you so special?
I just did a quick Google Maps search for “Machine Shop York PA.” I counted 50 locations before I stopped – there are more, a lot more. South Central PA is a focused hub of machine shops and custom fabricators. That’s part of what makes this region so great – we make TONS of awesome things. So how do you cut through the noise, and make sure people find your shop instead of the one (or eight) right down the street? You need to identify why you are special, and put that front and center.
There are core competencies that most machine shops feature. What makes your shop stand out?
- Are you a custom shop with the fastest small run turn time?
- Are you the area’s best design-to-finished part solution?
- Do you have the most accomplished and experienced team of engineers?
- Do you specialize in extremely tight tolerances?
- Maybe you have a huge facility with the capability to handle massive parts or part quantities.
Whatever it is, make sure you’re telling people about it.
- Is this key differentiator front and center on your home page?
- Is it part of your 30-second elevator pitch?
- Are you creating and deploying content on Linked In about this specialty?
- Does your sales team have effective marketing tools to explain this service?
- Are you establishing yourself at the expert in the area for this service?
Major takeaway – Differentiate yourself from your competition. Showcase why you’re special.
Garrod Hydraulics is special, see how we helped them communicate this with video and animation:
What do others say about you?
What are people saying about you, and are you driving the narrative?
Harvard Business Review says referred customers are 18% more loyal than customers acquired by other means; MarketForce says they are 4 times more likely to refer more customers to your brand; and the American Marketing Association says customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher customer retention rate. (If you’re a marketing professional I recommend connecting with us fellow marketers in the American Marketing Association Central PA chapter.)
Leveraging the brand equity of your clients is a great way to help build credibility in the market.
“If Acme company works with them, they
have to be good. I’ll check them out/trust
them with my job too.”
^ That’s what we’re going for. There are a few ways to highlight projects and clients who already trust you:
- Case Studies allow a great mix of text, images, and video content. Host the case study on your website or blog, then segment it out across email newsletters, client check ins, sales opportunities, and your social media outlets. If you do it right, you’ll get some serious mileage out of one case study. We call this maximizing value process “single-sourced content” here at the Studio, and it’s one of our specialties.
- Client Testimonials make for great content too. The written client testimonial is a start, but it’s 2023: video is the way to go. Video is a tool that helps people see and connect with the person speaking. It also gives you a great way to show off a project in process, a completed and installed project, your facility, your capabilities, or the types of client sites where you work. Above all, video creates connections between potential clients and your business on a much higher level than written testimonials – the viewer can see themselves as the customer in video and think “that’s me, that’s what my facility looks like”.
A study by Brightcove found that video testimonials can increase conversion rates by up to 80%. This is because they provide potential customers with a genuine understanding of the benefits and value of your product or service.
Video always provides a better opportunity to connect and make a lasting impression. Here are some video testimonials we have created:
Major takeaway: Single source your content. Feature your customers and projects, develop a plan that allows you to create one piece of content that you can segment that into smaller pieces. Use those smaller pieces across multiple touch points, and lead customers to the main case study or testimonial on your website.
That’s it, pretty basic stuff. In a perfect scenario all of these things are working simultaneously and overlap with one another. If you’ve gotten this far in the post and are thinking “this all sounds good, but I have no idea where to start” don’t worry, we do. Give me a call at the Studio, 717-843-8338 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start the conversation. Here at Hayman Studio, we’re here to help as much or as little as you need to increase awareness, tell the right story, and grow your business.
For more content and marketing insight connect with Ryan on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ryanhaymanphoto
Hayman Studio is a third-generation, family-owned-and-operated, project-based creative studio. We opened our doors in York County in 1950 and have continuously served local and national clients from a variety of industries and organizations: manufacturing, architecture, food service, healthcare, hospitality, tourism, and community service are just a few of those. Our clients come to us for our unique Hayman Experience that only decades of knowledge and a deep passion for our craft provide: it’s great attention to the process, a productive and easy-going environment, professional and efficient turnaround, and exceptional quality projects.
See more at www.haymanstudio.com