If you work in the manufacturing industry and think the sector is either too professional, boring (you said it, not us) or too well established to benefit from email marketing, we’ve got news for you manufacturers.
You’re wrong – big time.
Email marketing is a vital tool for manufacturers, and if you’re not using it, you’re missing out on countless opportunities to increase brand awareness, retain customers and gain a steady influx of new clients who arrive already engaged with your business.
Unlike other forms of marketing, email provides a direct route to people via their inbox and gives savvy companies the ability to send out highly targeted, personalised communications that further wed customers to the brand.
You want that, right? So, without further ado, here’s our favourite best practices for manufacturer email marketing.
Make sure your website’s up to scratch
As you’ll find out, your website is going to play a key role in your email marketing strategy. In fact, without a decent website, you might as well pack up your email kit and go home now – sorry.
Virtually every campaign you send will need to point back to your website. Therefore, it needs to look the part and give you the option to easily create new landing pages without needing to call on a web developer.
Are you still embarrassed by your website? Now is the time to spend that part of your marketing budget, and it’s best to do so before you go anywhere near email marketing.
Work on your thought leadership
For people to engage with your business via email marketing, they need to trust that it’s an expert. This is where thought leadership comes in; a term that certainly isn’t new, but which has become increasingly important in the digital age.
To become a thought leader, you need to look like a leader in your industry. That means publishing innovative ideas and sharing expertise (see our next tip). Publishing white papers or commissioning research will also do wonders here, and provide plenty of content for email marketing.
Start publishing a manufacturers blog – regularly
Email marketing and blogging go hand-in-hand; one can’t really exist effectively without the other.
A blog is also the perfect vehicle for your thought leadership. Just one post each week will do the trick for now, and will ensure you have something to send out to your email subscribers regularly.
Sit down and start brainstorming topic ideas. Business blogging is about providing free, actionable advice and demonstrating your knowledge on a given subject. Don’t flick the sales switch either – your blogs need to help the audience, not sell to them.
Make your brand more human (you’ll stand out)
If you met your manufacturing business in the street, what would be your first impression?
A bit stand-offish? Suited, booted and only interested in complicated spreadsheets that detail a complex supply chain?
That won’t work for email marketing, or for the content on your website. People don’t want to encounter a boring business when they interact with you digitally – they want to be engaged, raise a smile and connect on a personal level.
That might sound odd in an industry like yours, but trust us – it works. Start thinking of your business as a human being. Write a persona for it. From there, you can develop a tone of voice to be carried across email, social and, of course, your website.
Start recording video at every opportunity
As much as we love email, we’ll freely admit that video is probably king of the jungle when it comes to digital content.
If there’s a play button, people will click it – it’s that simple. Behind-the-scenes glimpses at your manufacturing processes, interviews with staff and previews of forthcoming products or manufacturing techniques will give you some very powerful content for email marketing that should send engagement stats through the roof.
The best news? You probably own a smartphone, which means you have all you need to start recording video at any given opportunity.
Manufacture a goal for each of your email campaigns
Ready for a super-fast tip?
An email marketing campaign without a goal is utterly pointless.
Before you start planning, define what it is you want to achieve.
Focus on driving traffic to your website
If you’ve ever received an email that asks you to call a telephone number or “simply reply to this email” in order to act upon the information contained within, you’ve probably done one thing.
The call-to-action for each of your email marketing campaigns has to be your website. Very few people will make a purchase or significant buying decision from an email alone; it’s the start of the process.
Pick the most appropriate time
Manufacturing is still quite a predictable industry when it comes to working patterns and seasonality.
If your email marketing campaign is sometimes focused on partners, you should know the best times to send when they’re least snowed under, and if they’re customer-focused, knowledge of your target market will help you ascertain when they’re most likely to be engaged.
You won’t get it right first time. But, the great thing about email marketing is that you can lean on some brilliant statistics to inform future campaigns. So, be sure to check those engagement metrics from past campaigns before you choose a time to send.
Look at your competitors’ email marketing – and do the opposite
Chances are, most of your competitors won’t be conducting email marketing properly, or at all (unless they’ve also read this blog post, of course…).
With that in mind, make sure you sign up to their mailing lists and keep an eye on their communications. If they bore you to tears or make you laugh for the wrong reason, do the opposite of whatever it is they’re doing.
Learning from your competitor’s deficiencies in email marketing is the best way to make sure yours is something they’ll come to envy.
The keen-eyed among you will have spotted that the majority of tips above don’t really touch on email marketing at all, which you might think odd for a blog dedicated solely to the topic.
This is for good reason. An email marketing strategy simply can’t exist without great content, a well-defined company persona and quality brand image to support it.
Work on the elements we’ve discussed today, and your manufacturing email marketing strategy will stand head and shoulders above the competition (who really are starting to look boring, eh?).