As a manufacturing or an engineering company, you know why your prospects should buy from you, but they don't know it...yet. So you need to court them, like a suitor wins his bride. There was a time when a caveman just grabbed a mate and dragged her off to the cave, but times have changed. Now you need to take it slower, get to know her, fall in love, and finally pop the question.
The same is true for customers of manufacturing companies. You can't just swoop in anymore and make a sales pitch. B2B customers are doing a ton of research before they're ready to consider buying from you.
That means you need to walk with them through the buyer's journey—from their first awareness of a need, to their consideration of the best solution, to the decision to buy from you. The process looks like this:
To successfully nurture customers through the buyer's journey, you'll need the right kind of content for each stage of the journey. Today we'll explore the types of content at the Awareness stage that'll hook potential customers and keep them coming back to you.
What Is the Awareness Stage?
At the Awareness stage, the buyer is just realizing they've got a problem they need to solve. They might not even understand what the problem is, yet—they just know there's a pain and they want to get rid of it.
Your job at this point isn't to sell your product—it's to meet buyers where they're at: at the pain. Help them understand their pain, and introduce yourself as a possible source for answers.
Best Content for the Awareness Stage
At this point, you want to attract new visitors to your site. SEO, social media, and blogging are very important. You need to stand out and be found—and to do that you need to provide information that helps your buyers understand their pain, need, or challenge.
Here are the best types of content to use at the Awareness stage.
Blog articles create excellent opportunities to be found by new audiences, because search engines love to include blogs in their search results. Blog articles are also easy to share and distribute, so you can easily get found where your ideal customers are looking for answers.
Your blog content should make good use of your keywords. Posts should contain very targeted long-tail keywords that will help your content be found. Be sure to use keywords that your ideal customer will be using in their searches—not the professional jargon that only your industry uses. They aren't looking for made-to-spec products, they're searching for custom-built products.
A lot of manufacturing and engineering companies dismiss social media too quickly. But in the B2B space, certain social channels have great benefit, even if others might not. For example, LinkedIn can be a powerful platform to connect with manufacturing customers who are looking for trustworthy information.
Whichever social platform makes sense for your company, share information related to the pains or general questions your buyers are asking. Use a mix of your own content and third-party articles.
Trade forums are also a great place to establish a presence. By providing answers to the questions people post on these forums, you increase your brand awareness and show that you're a thought leader who can address customers' pains. It's a great way to introduce yourself to new markets.
Downloadable content like infographics, checklists, quick guides, and videos are great assets for manufacturers to answer the key questions buyers have at the Awareness stage. This kind of content is also easy to find and consume, and it's highly shareable.
Remember that at this point, your customers are just doing basic research, so they don't need in-depth analysis or product comparisons. Also steer away from case studies or white papers for now, and save them for the next stage.
Whatever format your content offer takes, make sure it provides value. It shouldn't be fluff, but should provide helpful information that the reader can use in solving their problem—whether they buy from you or not. Don't try to sell to them, but show yourself to be an industry thought leader who understands them—do that, and they'll come back for more.
Social Ads and PPC
These can be good ways to increase reach and brand awareness faster—but to maximize your ad spend, make sure you have some lead capture points set up on your site. You don’t want to just spend money on impressions and site visitors without getting more data.
Keep 'Em Coming Back
Your blog, social media, content offers, and social ads can be powerful tools to get your manufacturing company in front of new buyers when they're first aware of a problem they need to solve. While it's too early to win the sale, this stage is extremely important, and if you follow the best practices above, you'll keep 'em coming back to learn more about you.