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Liam Underwood

How to use LinkedIn effectively for lead generation: a best practices checklist

By | Business Growth, Lead Generation, Social Media Marketing | No Comments

Social Media MarketingAs B2B marketing budgets become increasingly stretched, sales and marketing professionals are constantly looking for better methods to increase outreach, engagement and lead generation that are effective, efficient and deliver maximum return on investment.

There are many established ways that you can raise your company’s profile and generate leads, such as paid advertising, search engine optimisation, email marketing and cold calling, but one of the most effective ways is by utilising the power of LinkedIn. However, it’s not quite as simple as creating a profile, adding some data and hoping that will do the trick.

With over 660 million users worldwide, LinkedIn can be an effective marketing and lead generation tool if used correctly.  If you use LinkedIn as part of your integrated sales and marketing strategy, then it has the potential to build brand awareness, create interest and start proper business conversations with your perfect target prospects, resulting in more of the right kind of customers.

Using LinkedIn to build your brand and generate leads

Have a look through your contacts on LinkedIn. You’ll find many of them have a profile that contains the bare minimum and their page hasn’t been updated since it was created. To help you get the most out of LinkedIn for your business, we have put together this guide:

  • Make a good first impression.

Choose a business-like, but welcoming profile picture, and add a background photo to grab your target audience’s attention – ensure that they are easy to identify with your brand when visitors look at your page.  While you are at it, you can customise your LinkedIn URL which will make you look more accessible and professional.

  • Use your headline to create impact

Use the headline to create a lasting impression that tells your target audience exactly what you can do for them.  Don’t make it a sales pitch, make it all about results for them.

  • Use keywords to get found when people are searching for your products and services

Keywords can help make your LinkedIn page easier to find both inside and from outside LinkedIn. Carefully choose keywords that you want to be found for and add them to the relevant sections within your LinkedIn profile for maximum optimisation.

  • Add and share articles

Write and share case studies, white papers, updates from professional bodies, as well as commenting on articles in trade magazines.  LinkedIn likes to keep the conversation inside LinkedIn so it’s probably best to repurpose blogs from your website as a post or article on LinkedIn.

  • Post regular company updates

Got some company news to share? Don’t forget to post it on your LinkedIn page, but don’t forget to keep it interesting, relevant and engaging and natural images of real people will work better than stock images.

  • Get your staff to connect with you

If members of your staff have a profile, ask them if they would like to link to the company page – but don’t make them feel like they have to!

  • Create a company page

Create a company page with your branding and a background image that demonstrates what you do quickly and effectively and invite your contacts to follow you.  This will help you to build a list of followers and to present a professional image.

  • Keep your content relevant and up to date

It is important to keep your content fresh, up to date and relevant to ensure that visitors who view your page keep coming back.

  • Join LinkedIn Groups to improve your visibility

Join groups that have relevance to your business, or those that have important business updates.  Make sure that you communicate with these groups to ensure that your business is noticed. You could also create a group so that you can direct the narrative and grow your connections.

  • Share your LinkedIn profile with other social media platforms

Don’t forget other social media platforms. You can add your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile and then share updates across platforms, thereby growing both your LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers at the same time.

  • Add a link to your company profile page on your website

Add your company profile link to your website to ensure you are easily accessible. You should also add your profile link to your email signature.

Contact us to discover more about improving your lead generation through LinkedIn

The above are just a few of the ways you can make the most of your LinkedIn page for your business growth lead generation.   Stratique helps our B2B clients to find, connect and nurture high-quality business relationships.  If you would like further information, any advice on building an effective LinkedIn strategy, or to find out how we can help you with your LinkedIn lead generation, please contact the Stratique team today for a free and confidential discussion.

Business growth

How to take a £1.2m business to over £2m in 24 months

By | Business Growth, Lead Generation, Sales Pipeline | No Comments

Over the coming days and weeks, we are going to be sharing a lot of bite-sized free content with you to help you make the most of the lockdown and to help you come out of the blocks with a plan, not just for recovery, but for growth.

If any areas of your sales and marketing processes need reviewing now is the perfect time to get it sorted, once and for all.

In this blog, we investigate how to grow a business strategically, by the numbers using the 3 ways to grow a business model, made famous by Jay Abraham.

According to Abraham, if you exclude business acquisitions, there are only 3 ways to grow a business.

  • Increase the number of active customers by targeting the right kind of customers similar to your top 10 customers.
  • Increase the average order value by targeting customers that spend more, and add/promote services that add value.
  • Increase the average order frequency by targeting and converting the right kind of customers, becoming preferred suppliers across the customer base and by out promoting your competitors.

For the benefit of these examples we assume that your business is competitive and has comparable quality, delivery and service. The numbers are purely to demonstrate the business model concept.

Here’s an example of a fictitious manufacturing company that has 100 active customers spending on average £2000, 6 times a year.

100 active customers x spending £2000 x 6 times a year = £1.2m in annual revenues.

If we increase each by say 20% then a dramatic change happens:

120 active customers x spending £2400 x 7.2 times a year = £2.1m in annual revenues.

That’s the theory but what about the detail?

Increasing the number of customers

Firstly the number of new customers is a key driver that most companies focus on but they often fail to recognise that customer attrition cancels out much of the good work that went into finding, nurturing, meeting, quoting and closing a new customer.  Customer retention is directly related to customer experience, service levels, relationships and perceived value delivered via regular marketing communications to existing customers.  How often do you market to your existing customers? Is it in the marketing plan and communications schedule?  If it is not on your schedule, this is easily remedied with monthly, fortnightly or weekly emails, posted letters and quarterly printed newsletters.  Regular calls on Zoom are also a great idea to keep your brand at forefront of mind.

New customer acquisition, is a process that requires skill, resolve and consistency.  Results are directly related to inputs, selecting the right tactics and the execution of inbound and outbound marketing activities.  If you skimp on the inputs and execution, then you won’t get the desired results.

The effectiveness of your new customer acquisition process is directly related to:

The number of high-quality leads x your conversion rate = number of new customers.

 

Quality leads/month x conversion rate = the number of new customers/month

 

If your inbound activities from search engine marketing, content marketing, LinkedIn marketing and online advertising generates 10 leads and your outbound telemarketing, direct mail and email activities generate another 10 leads, then you have 20 leads and a repeatable system that can consistently generate new customers.

Let’s say that half the leads are not a good fit.  That leaves 10 good leads and let’s say your conversion rate is 1 in 5.  In this case you would generate 2 new customers every month.

In this scenario after a year our example business would in theory look like this:

124 customers x spending £2000 x 6 times a year = £1.48m, an increase of £280,000

However, if customer attrition rates are running at 10%, then the business will lose 12 customers and the numbers will look like this:

112 customers x spending £2000 x on average, 6 times a year = £1.34m

An increase of £140,000 but leaving £140,000 on the table. Typically, 15% of customers leave a supplier due to a bad experience, which means that 85% will leave for either pricing reasons, because they no longer have a need or because they have been wooed by a competitor.  In this instance, customer attrition can be improved by small tweaks to the customer experience and by improving marketing communications to add value. Re-engagement marketing campaigns to lapsed customers can also result in quick wins.

Let’s go back to our example business and let’s say in year two, we implement the following improvements:

  • Reduce attrition rates by 50%
  • Improve the effectiveness of their digital marketing by 20%
  • Improve their outbound marketing campaigns by 20%
  • Improve their conversion rates from one in five to one in four
  • Start prospecting with better data, based on the avatars of their top 10 customers, which improves the average order values by 10% and order frequency by 10%

These are modest numbers and all attainable.  Now we have a business that looks like this:

Number of inbound leads from digital marketing – 12/month

Number of outbound leads from direct marketing – 12/month

= 24 leads/month.

Better qualification, testing, measuring and optimisation on the campaign can improve lead quality to 15 leads out of 24 being an excellent fit.

Consistent and automated nurturing and follow up processes will help improve conversion rates from one in five to one in four to increase the number of new customers to 3/month (36 year) which if we add to the 112 from year one, will equate to 148 repeat customers.

Attrition at 5% would bring this number down to 140 customers in total.

So with 140 customers, spending on average, 10% more (£2,200 a month) and with an average order frequency of 6.6 times a year our example business looks like this:

140 customers x spending £2200 x 6.6 times per year = £2.03m.  A growth of £832,000.

The final piece in the jigsaw is a question.  If the average customer spends £14,000 per annum, and they keep their top customers on average say 5 years, then the lifetime value of the average customer is £70,000.  So, the killer question is what should this company be willing to spend to buy a new customer?

Once you know this figure, and you have a system that is proven, marketing budgets can become a thing of the past and growth can be a given.

Your homework:

  • Calculate the number of active customers in your business over the past 12 months.
  • Work out the average order value (annual revenues/number of orders).
  • Assess the average frequency of purchase (number of orders/number of active customers).
  • Now look at the effects of a 10%, 20% and 30% increase across all three.
  • Finally, calculate the lifetime value of your top ten customers and work out what you would be willing to pay to acquire more, like these.
  • Email your top-level numbers to us and we will be happy to give advice on the best strategies to achieve these.

Good luck, stay safe, keep smiling.

Sales Pipeline

Making the best use of self isolation time

By | Lead Generation, Sales Pipeline | No Comments

In these are uncertain times it’s fair to say that many businesses will be adversely affected by current events and that the most prepared companies with the strongest sales pipelines will flourish the most as we come out of it, which of course we will.

If you are required to self-isolate, this is the perfect time to devote quality thinking time to strengthen your marketing and sales pipeline building process, and to tackle the things that always get pushed down the ‘to do’ list.  We have created a checklist below of the things you can do to dramatically improve your marketing, to tip the odds for a speedy recovery and your best sales pipeline to date.

1. Allocate the budget and resources required and concentrate on the multiple marketing pillars below:

  • Follow up and nurture existing customers and prospects to build stronger customer relationships.  Give them multiple reasons to trust you more than your competitors.  When your competitors are desperate for sales, and slashing prices, your OTIF delivery performance may not be enough on its own for retention, so it’s important to keep these relationships strong.  Try printed newsletters, personalised letters, emails and keeping in touch calls.  Reassure them of your preventative plans, and your contingency plans to keep your service levels to them up.
  • Outbound marketing and lead generation to new prospects.  Offline to online.
  • Inbound marketing and lead generation to new prospects.  Online to offline.
  • Evergreen direct marketing to build the list and work the list.

2. To build a stronger sales pipeline start now.

  • Develop your proposition and marketing hook, pick up the phone and let all of the buyers within 60 miles of your business known who you are and how you can help them if their existing suppliers let them down.
  • Follow up regularly with compelling emails.
  • Follow up within days with clever personalised direct mail, (in the post). Don’t leave this to someone who can’t write, doesn’t like cold calling or who has a busy to do list.  If it isn’t an in-house core competence, outsource it to a specialist.  If you need help setting up a campaign or delivering the call our Business Propeller team can help.
  • Follow up within days on the phone and ask to become their backup supplier. Push for the first sample order to become a trusted supplier.

3. Now is the time to sort out your website and inbound marketing once and for all.

  • Sorting out the website so it delivers a steady stream of quality enquiries always gets put to the bottom of the list due to other workloads and self-isolation is the perfect time for quality thinking time and remote collaboration.
  • Think of your core message and your core proposition and how this can be best conveyed to your target audience.
  • Try and sell the sizzle (not the sausage) by focusing on what you can do for them rather than what you do.
  • Make sure the site structure is easy to navigate for the optimum user experience and also for Google.
  • Add video to increase engagement
  • Add keyword rich professional search engine friendly copy to improve your rankings.
  • Run site tests to ensure your site is loading correctly and speedily on desktops, laptops, notepads and mobiles. Google insists on this!
  • Don’t leave your website strategy to a web designer.  A pretty website won’t necessarily deliver the highest ROI so seek expert advice from a digital marketing specialist with experience in your sector. We would love to work with you but if it’s not Stratique, that’s fine but we do recommend that you get expert advice if this isn’t a core competence in-house as it’s a critical factor to your success.
  • Ensure your online advertising strategies are set up correctly and monitored.  Driving targeted traffic to specific landing pages should be high on your to-do list and testing and measuring are key.  If you aren’t an expert we wouldn’t recommend trying to do this yourself as it is easy to waste time and advertising budget on online advertising.
  • Make sure Google Analytics is in place and reporting is set up properly.
  • Ensure conversion tracking is set up properly.
  • Ensure that you are split testing your ads and your landing pages. If digital marketing isn’t your thing outsource it to a specialist and review their monthly reports.
  • Ensure you add regular content and blogs to your site every month.  Content is king with Google and it loves regular pieces of 300-1000 words every month.  Self-isolation is the perfect time for copywriting or drafting some bullet points.  If copywriting isn’t your thing outsource it to a specialist copywriter with sector knowledge.
  • Plan, do, check, act every month.

4. Evergreen marketing is a discipline that should not be underestimated.

  • Your competitors won’t be doing a very good job here as it takes time and effort, so take the time and effort to stand out and build the relationship.

Good luck! If you need help with any of the above we offer free advice to manufacturing companies on building their sales pipeline.  Alternatively, we can help build the systems and run them for you.  We call this our Business PropellerTM Service.  To find out more on how it works, call 01827 69772 or email propeller@stratique.com.

How to build the perfect manufacturing or engineering company’s sales pipeline

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It’s common knowledge that a healthy, high-quality sales pipeline can transform any manufacturing or engineering business.  In fact, creating and maintaining such a pipeline is pretty much every business owner’s and business development manager’s dream.

Because a healthy sales pipeline means there’s a steady stream of quality new prospects or leads, all open to trying your manufacturing or engineering product or service, there should not be any more sleepless nights wondering when your next enquiry will come in and no more worrying about whether the production line is going to be kept busy or if there are any issues with meeting payroll next month.

Healthy sales pipelines make for all-around healthy manufacturing or engineering businesses,  sustained revenue growth and long-term profitability

And this unique position gives you more options – i.e. deciding to steadily grow or being more selective about the work that’s taken on or swapping out low margin, awkward jobs for higher margin, more straightforward work. You also have the luxury of being able to:

  • Forecast future business results more accurately
  • Analyse and optimise sales strategies for continual improvement
  • Manage and allocate internal resources more effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate how you’re performing against your sales growth targets

Inadequate sales and marketing nurturing processes lead to an unhealthy sales pipeline and poor-quality leads which results in low margin sales as well as many more problems for manufacturing or engineering companies.  These poor results are invariably caused by failure to effectively manage and review and refine the sales, marketing and nurturing process on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, it would appear they’re rife across other sectors too.  According to research carried out by the Sales Management Association, 44% of executives think their organisation is ineffective at managing their sales pipelines. 

Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue

Meanwhile, a study carried out by the Harvard Business Review revealed an 18% difference in revenue growth between companies that have a defined a formal sales process and those that haven’t.

How manufacturing and engineering companies can develop a more successful sales process to prime the sales pipeline

Healthy sales pipelines don’t just happen by chance.  We know this because we’ve helped countless manufacturing and engineering businesses build a sales and marketing process that is still delivering just as well for them now, as they were when we first implemented them. We achieve this by helping them:

  1. Decide what their perfect customer looks like and who they ideally wish to work with: 

  • Company size
  • Sector
  • Cultural fit
  • Products and services that are core to their offer
  1. Scope out the lifetime value of what that customer looks like (or could look like):

  • Profile top customers by sector size etc.
  • Desk research other businesses, including their best customers’ competitors
  • Purchase data from Direct Marketing Association-approved sources
  • Sift and cleanse the data
  1. Develop their unique proposition and positioning to put them in a category of one:

  • What makes them unique?
  • Why do their existing customers use them over their competition?
  • Create a compelling value proposition
  • Develop campaign collateral and sales copy that underpins the above proposition
  • Claim that unique position in the market through marketing and nurturing communications
  1. Support their team with:

  • Telemarketing to find the decision makers with the budget, authority and need that aligns perfectly with their engineering capabilities
  • Persuasive sales copywriting that delivers the top unique capabilities to the decision makers
  • Direct personalised email marketing that educates and nurtures the decision maker until they are ready to buy
  • Direct personalised direct mail to ensure the message is received through a physical media
  • Digital/search marketing to ensure prospects looking for a solution to their problems find them and either reach out or are followed up
  • Social media to underpin the positioning and to build more targeted prospects.

An integrated and systematic approach to marketing and lead generation to develop a sales pipeline involves building funnels/customer journeys and adopting marketing automation sequences to find the decision-makers and deliver campaign messages that focus on customers’ pain points and to show them how they can overcome them.

By building relationships using ‘evergreen’ strategies, trust and rapport develop and, combined with consistent and time-prompted follow up processes (using CRM systems), results will start to flow steadily through.

These are just some of the many components that go into bridging the gap between sales and marketing to deliver a healthy sales pipeline.  

For more details or to find out more about the results we’ve helped our manufacturing and engineering clients to achieve, please call us on 01827 69772 or complete the short contact form below.

Social media for manufacturing: Are you still wasting time on Facebook?

By | Social Media Marketing | No Comments

With a whopping 2.3million+ active users, Facebook has grown to become of the largest connective platforms in history.

Everybody’s heard of it and, if stats like the one above are anything to go by, everybody’s using it.

social media

So, why did we start off this post by asking you that somewhat contentious question about how much time you’re wasting on it?

By ‘you’ we mean manufacturing businesses, who we’ve been providing proven lead generation sales pipeline and marketing services for, for more than 15 years.

And in our vast experience of leading and developing new B2B business opportunities for this amount of time, we know that (as much as we hate to say it) if you’re a manufacturer who’s putting all of their social media eggs into the Facebook basket, you’re most probably getting little ROI from it.

You see, plainly speaking, Facebook isn’t set up for B2B businesses. It’s great at showing you what your friends get up to at the weekend, who’s got married, who’s expecting and whose birthday it is, but from a B2B perspective, it’s not a B2B marketing platform.

What’s more, due to sophisticated algorithm updates, Facebook no longer shows all posts to all followers, which means it can be difficult to scale your efforts unless you use boosted posts or paid for advertising campaigns, which obviously come at a cost. You could try these options, but let’s face it, the chances of the likes of JCB’s chief buyer engaging with you on Facebook is highly unlikely.

But you don’t have to rip up your social media strategies right away, you just need to tweak them, so they’re more in line with the world in which you operate. And the good news is that it is possible to deliver social media for manufacturing companies that does make a difference.

For instance, you could focus on using a B2B platform, such as LinkedIn, instead. You’ll certainly see a marked difference in your results.

LinkedIn is great for researching job titles, but, of course, not everybody’s profile will show up unless you’re connected to them or subscribe to paid versions, which also have their limitations. Yes, there are automated systems out there that can help you with the LinkedIn legwork, but won’t guarantee the top buyers within the top companies are going to engage with you.

So, what’s the solution for amplifying your LinkedIn lead gen efforts? In fact, is there a solution at all? Yes, there is, and it involves building your LinkedIn activity around these three key areas:

  1. Proposition

Before you even start to put your LinkedIn wheels, or any other social media wheels, in action you need to nail your proposition, which involves asking yourself – why should companies choose you over the competition? What’s unique about your offering? How does your expertise stand out from the rest? What’s so impressive about your resources/service/delivery etc?

  1. Digital inbound marketing

How does your company perform in online searches? The best attraction marketing campaigns hone in on the decision-makers who have a challenge/issue they need to overcome now, hence the reason why they’re hitting the search engines. The question is – are your products/services guaranteed to show up within their search results, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated due to many factors including GoogleAds, artificial intelligence and voice-activated search, which is a whole world in itself away from traditional SEO?

  1. Outbound

Support your digital inbound marketing efforts with direct marketing campaigns that target the buyers and budget holders who don’t know and trust you yet, as well as those who’ve found you within their online searches.

Your outbound activity should involve carrying out desk research into identifying the right companies, using the telephone and LinkedIn to find the name of the right person to approach and asking permission to market to them. You’ll also need to deliver the right information at the right frequency in the right formats (words, graphics, emails, posted mail, case studies and videos), to encourage prospects to know you, like you and trust you. And this needs to be implemented using an integrated approach, which includes generating relevant tailored content on a regular basis.

Got any questions or need help with any of the three areas above? We have significant experience in creating and delivering highly successful social media for manufacturing strategies and can do the same for your business. Contact us on 01827 69772 or you can use the form on this page for more information.

Marketing for manufacturing businesses: Where should you start?

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While it’s not uncommon for manufacturers’ order books to be continuously filled by repeat customers and recommendations, their long-term success does depend on their ability to cast their net much further afield.

Like most industries, the manufacturing sector is switched on to the benefits of marketing, both tried-and-tested traditional techniques and 21st century methods, including digital, inbound and content marketing.

According to a report carried out by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 78% of manufacturing marketing professionals use some form of inbound marketing and 71% of manufacturing content marketers list lead generation as a top organisational goal. 

But knowing which strategy is guaranteed to drive sales and generate a healthy pipeline isn’t always easy, particularly when you’re time-poor, have limited resources or haven’t always prioritised your marketing efforts.

15+ years’ manufacturing marketing success

Having delivered countless successful marketing and lead generation campaigns specifically for manufacturing companies for more than 15 years, we instinctively know which marketing tactics resonate the best within the world of manufacturing.

In fact, our proven Business PropellerTM lead generation process was developed to help business owners, including manufacturers and engineering companies, tackle one of their biggest challenges – how to find new prospects with the budget, authority and need; start a meaningful conversation with them and nurture them until they become loyal, repeat customers.

And while it’s encouraging to see many manufacturers are implementing marketing strategies, not all of these strategies have started in the right place. And, of course, there’s also the cluster of manufacturers who aren’t sure where to begin in the first place…

So, where should manufacturers start their marketing?

Well, the first step involves putting yourself in your prospects’ shoes and identifying their main pain points, and by pain points, we mean the business challenges that most keep them awake at night. Once you’ve honed in on this key piece of information, you then need to present them with a solution to their pain points. (Note – your prospects may have just one main pain point or multiple and you may have one, catch-all solution or several).

But being armed with this insight is only part of the equation. It’s essential the key decision-makers within the organisations you’re targeting: a) have an instant brand recall with your company, b) know and like you and c) trust you. And from your perspective, it’s important you market your solution to their problems, keep them warm with long-term nurturing campaigns and always, always follow up with them every month, no matter how busy things get.

Right messages to the right people at the right time

And this is where your marketing efforts are key. From your overall brand and your website, to your direct marketing materials, they all need to be clear and consistent and, more importantly, communicating the right messages to the right people at the right time (follow-ups included).

In today’s digital era, having a website is a basic marketing requirement and just simply having an online presence is just the start, especially as 99% of web visitors reportedly leave a site without making contact and 70% of people who go to your Contact Us page won’t actually make contact. (The words ‘horse’ and ‘water’ spring to mind here…)

While this is a significant obstacle, it is possible to overcome it, with the right strategy and implementation, such as web visitor forensic tools, online advertising, highly relevant content marketing campaigns and systemised follow-ups in place.

Admittedly, marketing for manufacturers isn’t without its challenges, but they are all challenges that can easily be tackled with the right insight and approach.

What’s more, if you’ve started your marketing at the point we suggested at the start of this post, then you won’t have half as many issues to deal with, meaning you can spend more time and energy nurturing leads that are guaranteed to convert.

Got any questions or perhaps you’re a manufacturer or an engineering company who’d like our help with developing and implementing a winning marketing strategy? Contact us on 01827 69772 or you can use the form on this page.

RIP Google+: The battle’s over, but the social media marketing war has only just begun…

By | Social Media Marketing | No Comments

In January 2019, everybody with a Google+ account received an email informing them of something many of us didn’t see coming…time’s up for Google+.

Google has closed the social network it set up to take on Facebook. On April 2, every single Google+ page and all photos and videos stored in Google+ archive albums were supposedly erased, never to be seen again.

However, while the total shutdown may run on a little while off yet, users are already being prevented from creating any new Google+ profiles, pages, communities and events.

According to Google, their decision is based on ‘low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations.’

The announcement has been the subject of much speculation and debate since it was revealed, sparking many a story centred around failure.

But if only that were true….

Yes, Google may have lost the battle against Facebook, but by no means has it lost the war. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be streets ahead, but who’s the one that dominates the search market? Google!

However, this doesn’t mean it should be taking down its guard anytime soon. The search engine giant is facing a new, up-and-coming challenge – how to safeguard its long-term future against voice-activated search on the likes of Siri, Alexa and other voice-activated apps.

The rise of voice search has caused new ripples through the world of SEO, with many questioning whether adverts on social media platforms will take over from conventional search. For instance, people are already increasingly turning to YouTube and Google images for search.

And will direct advertising on Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram reign supreme? Where the masses go, the advertisers follow, creating a cycle that’s continuously evolving over time.

Our conclusion? Social media channels and digital marketing platforms are morphing. They are merging and lines are becoming blurred.  SEO may well have had its day as a scalable national and international form of lead generation however, content marketing can still be effective in driving targeted traffic to websites.

Artificial intelligence will play an increasingly valuable role in helping marketing professionals profile B2B prospects on wider parameters than ever before. Social media marketing organisations know who these people are, where they go, what their beliefs and motivations are and will continue to grow in popularity and effectiveness as the market fragments and matures.

As for Google+, some will miss you, I am sure that Google has learned a lot whilst it has been testing and measuring.  In the words of Winston Churchill, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’

Got any questions or want to find out more about our industry-leading B2B social media marketing strategies? Contact us on 01827 69772 or fill in the contact form on this page.

Book Summary: Marketing for Manufacturers

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Marketing for Manufacturing by Carl Jarvis We thoroughly recommend you buy this book, here is a summary of the book Marketing for Manufacturers, by Carl Jarvis.  In it, Carl states that 80% of small to mid-sized manufacturers mismanage their marketing.  Carl started off his working life as an engineering apprentice and later had a successful corporate career in sales and then marketing before becoming a Marketing and Business Advisor.

Here is a summary of some of the key points, 10 chapters distilled into a bullet-pointed list below:

Introduction:

  • There are approximately 30,000 small and mid-sized manufacturing companies in the UK generating £151Bn and employing over 1.1m people. Many of these manufacture world class products.  As good as they are at making things, it is generally accepted that they are ‘universally poor at marketing them’ and their ‘products are the best-kept secret in the market.’
  • Carl estimates that the inability to market correctly is costing companies around 20% of their potential and estimates that this is costing the UK around £24bn/year and accounting for one of the major reasons for business failure.
  • This isn’t a how-to book on marketing though. The book sets out to inspire manufacturers to embrace marketing and to let go of the old ways such as relying on 3rd parties and word of mouth.
  • Many manufacturers have filing cabinets full of contacts, lapsed customers, web enquiries, prospects that have been quoted but not won. Contacts that could be entered into a CRM system, contacted and nurtured and followed up. Lapsed customers that could be called and asked why they have gone elsewhere.  Existing customers who could be upsold and market researched to ensure they stay ahead of the competition.

Part 1: The Inconvenient Truths about Marketing

  • Manufacturing companies are set up by manufacturers and engineers who tend to have very little professional sales and marketing experience, if any at all.
  • Very few companies have one person of authority responsible for managing the marketing function. It may sit with the MD/CEO but does it ever have as much focus as operations or finance?

CALL TO ACTION: Give marketing the same weight as production planning, QC, materials handling, stock control, scheduling and WIP.  Your marketing needs that same level of commitment and focus to succeed.

  • Be in control like you are with operations and don’t leave the reputation of your company to chance.
  • Your sales and marketing process should replicate your production processes. Bring in raw materials (leads), convert the materials into products (lead conversion process), package, ship and fulfil the order (sales then convert them into a first-time customer and wow them), so they become a regular, repeat customer.
  • Every business has 3 functions:
    • Production (make it)
    • Finance (manage the flow of money)
    • Marketing and Sales (promote and sell it).
  • Jarvis states that in all his years he has never met an MD that is strong in all 3 areas (4 if you separate sales and marketing).
  • Jarvis: ‘If most companies ran their financial and production departments like they run their marketing function, they would be in complete and utter chaos.’
  • One of the biggest challenges a business owner will face is finding highly qualified leads or prospects to convert into rewarding profitable business, whilst simultaneously developing and expanding their existing customers to increase order value and order frequency.
  • CALL TO ACTION: MDs should balance the business and get support on marketing. If they delegate to a junior member of staff, they should get support from an external source.
  • Look at your organisational tree and delegate marketing to a senior person and support them with the resources required to deliver results.
  • Develop a marketing strategy and an annual marketing plan and budget. Then resource it correctly to ensure results are achieved.  See guidance on marketing budgets below.
  • Make sure you implement! Take action, as failure to implement is a primary reason for business failure.  
  • Many manufacturers do not have an adequate marketing budget.
  • Some think they will allocate the budget AFTER the sales come in. It never happens.
  • Recommended marketing budgets: Jarvis quotes a MORI poll on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Marketing 2010 with some interesting insights:
    • The average marketing spend as a percentage of gross annual turnover is 7.29% (excluding marketing salaries).
    • The average spend by sector is: Financial services-7.79%, Manufacturing is lower at 5.83%, retail -7.61% and technology – 7.76%
    • Average UK marketing spend by annual gross revenue:
      • Below £1m T/O -9.96%
      • £1m-£10m T/O – 7.61%
      • £11m-50m – 4.72%
      • £51m – £100m – 6.64%
    • Jarvis surmises that you should be spending 8%-11% of gross annual sales on marketing.
    • McKinsey & Co recommends a minimum annual marketing spend of 5% of gross revenue.
    • Drew McLellan blue chip marketing expert suggests a 7%-8% spend of gross revenue.
  • Jarvis asks a leading question: Why is it that manufacturers can always find money for a new machine but rarely if ever for marketing? 
  • CALL TO ACTION: Work out how much the lifetime value of a customer is worth to you. Decide how much you are prepared to pay to buy each new customer. Allocate the budget and ringfence marketing as this is the activity that will generate future sales and profitable growth.
  • Look at your customer lists. Review your top 20% of customers.  Have a formal review with each customer every year. Discuss their future plans and needs.
  • Create customer records and make systemised contact Make a list and develop marketing materials that make it easy to get the message out there and include videos. Stop just sending data sheets.
  • Is your website too product focussed?  Get an independent review of your website and develop it as the hub of your campaigns to download information and datasheets:  ‘A website is for life, not just Christmas’.
  • Who is writing your marketing and sales copy? Get professional help with your sales copy as this will have a significant impact on your results.
  • Does your marketing material reflect the quality of your products and services? Who designs your literature?  Is it in-house by an experienced graphic designer?  Is it professionally designed and professionally printed or is it a DIY job in-house?  Don’t go cheap on this as the quality of your product/service deserves better.
  • Is your marketing fragmented? Make sure it is integrated and coordinated.  Develop regular marketing habits and review every year.
  • Make sure you identify your key markets and follow up again and again by systematically taking them on a customer journey. Ditch the stuff that isn’t working and do more of the activities that do and always ask for the order!
  • Build the profiles of your top engineers and communicate these to your customers.
  • Create case studies, articles and blogs.
  • Arrange speaking engagements at conferences.
  • Let go of the past and get social.

Part Two:  The Mechanics of Marketing Strategy

What is Marketing?

  • A list of definitions:
    • At its highest level, the purpose of marketing is to make selling unnecessary
    • A lifelong method of building trust and educating your customer so they believe in the benefits, advantages, value and beneficial results of your product or service.
    • Marketing is developing an intelligent process for increasing the customer’s desire for your products and services.
    • Marketing is forging lifelong, ongoing relationships with the customer.
    • Marketing is about bringing the market to desire your product or service. Sales is to close the deal. – Dr Eliyahu M. Goldratt, originator of the theory of constraints.
    • Strategic vs tactical marketing. Think first, decide key objectives then implement.

Three Critical Questions in Marketing Effectiveness

  1. What is your primary mode of marketing?
  2. What is your primary origin of sales?
  3. How do they differ or compare?
  • Why would anyone buy from you?
  • Why do your current customers buy from you? Ask them.
  • Market and sell end outcomes.
  • Develop customer avatars of your ideal customer. Who are they?  What do they really want from you?  Who makes the final decision?
  • 80/20 marketing. 80% of profits will come from 20% of your customers.  Why not target and win more of these types of customers?
  • Where is your area of excellence?

Conclusion:

A first in this sector, Marketing for Manufacturers is an easy read and makes a lot of sense.  It is not a ‘how to market your business’ book (there are hundreds of these out there).  This is a well-considered attempt to educate MDs and owners of UK manufacturing companies as to why they need to get better at marketing their business and when to ask for professional help.

Marketing for Manufacturers by Carl Jarvis is available on Amazon.

If you would like to explore how to get more of the right kind of customers, then please contact a member of the Stratique team on 01827 69772.