You probably already heard the famous words of Peter Drucker, also known as the father of business consulting, about marketing:
So how can contract manufacturers, job shops, or small fabrication businesses drum up more business through marketing?
We’re listing six ways for you:
How to drive revenues for contract manufacturers through marketing
#1. Build your brand
Before you go about distributing flyers, advertising your business on Craigslist, or purchasing an ad spot in the local daily, it’s a good idea to first identify what makes you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your unique selling proposition? What does your machine shop offer that others in the same line of work don’t?
- What feelings does the mere mention of your brand name evoke in your customers? Is it happiness and satisfaction? Do they associate your brand with reliability, credibility, and quality?
Your brand is bigger than the logo you choose, the name engraved on the shop signage out front, or even the ad jingle playing on the radio. Your brand also encompasses how customers perceive you every time they interact with you. People will remember you for the quality of your work and how you treat your customers.
Therefore, always give every contract job that comes your way your best shot. Marketing can only do so much for a brand that delivers subpar work.
#2. Keep an up-to-date website
In the age of the internet, if you’re a business without a website, you’re limiting your company’s potential to grow.
A recent survey by CNBC and SurveyMonkey revealed that 45% of small businesses don’t have a website, and only 36% use a website to communicate with their customers and potential customers.
A BrightLocal consumer research also found that only 5% of people never search for a local business online. Said differently, the majority of people today conduct online research before engaging with a company.
Bottom line, an online presence is vital to your success. So if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy working with computers, or you just don’t have the time and patience to run a website, get someone to help.
#3. Start a blog
A person with a bone problem goes to an orthopedic doctor, and bone specialists, with their years of training and experience, are experts in their fields. The same principle applies to contract manufacturers. Customers will likely only conduct business with the experts.
If you’re not yet widely known, however, how do you leverage your expertise?
One way is through blogging. Blogging about your target customers’ pain points and offering them a solution establishes you as an authority in your niche. Consistent, high-quality content coupled with high-quality marketing accomplishes other things:
- Drives traffic to your website
- Converts traffic into leads
- Boosts your site’s SEO
Even better, blogging can drive long-term results. Meaning, even if you write and publish the blog today, you can still generate traffic from it days, weeks, months, even years from now.
#4. Send email newsletters
Email marketing still works in 2017. When done well, the ROI can be as much as 3,800%.
According to MailChimp’s 2017 Email Marketing Benchmarks, the manufacturing industry has a healthy email open rate of 21.74%. The average across sectors is 21.53% for companies with up to 10 employees and 20.62% for those with up to 25. This can only mean one thing: People still read email newsletters.
A newsletter sent via email does several things:
- Inform your customers about deals, discounts, new services, or products
- Remind people that you still exist
- Tell them what you’ve been up to
- Cultivate relationships with them, which can only happen if your newsletters are value-packed
Here are a few blog posts to check out if you’re still getting started with email marketing:
- Apruve: 7 B2B Email Marketing Rules You Can’t Ignore
- Campaign Monitor: Getting Started With Email Marketing
- Kissmetrics: A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing
#5. Network both online or offline
As the internet becomes more pervasive in people’s lives, business networking is no longer exclusive to trade shows, small business meetups, or out-of-town conferences. They now happen online, too, through social media, blogs, forums, and other platforms.
Among other things, a network can introduce you to prospects, help you get to know people who can recommend you to people needing your products or services, allow you to learn from the leaders in your industry, raise your profile as a contractor, and even boost your confidence.
#6. Nurture relationships with customers
In 2015, 85% of small businesses got customers through word of mouth. Today, referrals remain influential. The BrightLocal study referenced above also found that:
- 91% of people read online reviews
- 84% of consumers trust reviews online the same way they would a personal recommendation
- 74% of people trust a local business more because of positive reviews
Strive, therefore, to deliver the best possible products and services to your customers. As marketers love to say: “Customer service is the new marketing.”
To differentiate your contract manufacturing business from the competition, know your core strengths. Capitalize on those strengths by centering your marketing and brand messaging around them using the marketing tactics enumerated above. Then to look to grow profit margins and revenue, check out how to implement lean manufacturing techniques.