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Digitizing manufacturing must go beyond the production floor

Take a look at your company’s production floor. It’s pretty sweet, right? You might have the latest software and robotics, an effective IoT strategy, you might even be implementing additive manufacturing to shorten the supply chain. Your production floor is something to be proud of. It’s what powers your company and makes you one of the best.

But what about your public relations and marketing efforts? Do those reflect the same ambition and dedication to cutting-edge technology and technique which drives your company forward?

No? Well, you’re not alone.

For being an incredibly forward-looking industry, it’s surprising that manufacturing companies are oftentimes in the dark ages when it comes to promoting not only their products, but also their wealth of expertise and industry knowledge.

The good news is that there are ways to get your company out of the PR and marketing slump without requiring a complete overhaul of your current workings.

Below are three digestible digital tactics you and your team should consider implementing into your 2018 strategic plan.

Update your website

Usually when we suggest this, clients will interpret a “website update” as “a big, scary project that will cost more than last year’s entire marketing budget.” And yes, that can seem like a reason to freak out.

But don’t stress. Updating a website doesn’t have to be a big, scary project.

The key is tackling snack-sized bites of it on a regular basis. Doing so will incrementally get you to your goal without the time or budget required for a redesign.

Here are a few places to start:

  • Conducting a content audit: Before tackling anything new, check out what you already have. Go through every page of your site and look at all content to determine what’s obsolete, what needs updating and where you might have gaps. Your results may provide a sensible jumping off point to get you started.
  • Creating clearer calls to action: Ask yourself what you want potential and current customers to ultimately do on your site. Is it to contact a rep? Reach out with questions? Subscribe to your blog? Whatever it is, make it known to them by placing that call to action on key places on your site.
  • Punching up copy: Write so visitors can easily, and quickly, scan your website for what you can offer them over competitors. Section headers, a prime opportunity for execution, should be succinct, eye-catching and informative.

If you want your website to work as hard as you do, research can be a critical tool for success to learn from internal and external stakeholders how they view your brand, what their pain points are and how they use your website. Their insights will guide the revamp by pinpointing specific areas of focus that can be implemented every step of the digital journey from messaging to user experience.

Analyze your social channels

When social media first began emerging as the next monolithic form of communication, the mantra for businesses was “get on or get left behind.” Several years in and simply being there is no longer enough to make an impact.

The new plan of attack is a more strategic, thoughtful approach where businesses should be only on the platforms that make sense and allow them to reach their audience(s), and do so with targeted, meaningful messages that cut through the noise.

To get there, think critically about your business’ strategic plan and apply it to your social media presence. Use one of our previous blog posts on the three D’s – define, develop and determine – to help get you started on refinement.

Arm your sales reps

Don’t forget about your front line! Sales reps go to battle for your brand every day, so give them special attention as well. Do this by:

  • Providing a portfolio of high value, digital materials that reps can easily reference and send to customers.
  • Organizing that portfolio to be accessible and easy to navigate.
  • Supporting your reps with drip email campaigns that allow them to easily keep customers engaged.

But before starting any new initiatives, be sure to check with your reps first to gauge what they need and how they’d use it. Keep open lines of communication through the entire process for reps to feel comfortable in providing feedback.

If your company’s work is at the forefront of its industry with trail-blazing technology and service then make sure your marketing and PR efforts follow suit. Digitizing your manufacturing business beyond the production floor will further differentiate your company and win you future business.

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