But there’s much more to a solid website than SEO. “Keeping track of user behaviors and continuously iterating your website to resolve user issues creates a positive experience for users by anticipating their needs and ultimately building confidence in your services and products,” says Francesca Griffiths, head of digital experience at EPM Digital. Make sure your website loads quickly and all links, embedded video and downloadable files still work. Update images and content. Add “301 redirects” to send users to related, but newer pages.
- Leverage LinkedIn – “Reshape what you think about LinkedIn,” says Dan King, founder and president of Fistbump Media LLC. “It’s not so much a social network. Instead, imagine it as the world’s biggest digital trade show.” He says the networking platform, which has 740 million members, can replicate some of the experiences of a trade show.
First, consider the booth your company would traditionally have at in-person trade shows. “When you transfer that to LinkedIn, that booth is like your company page,” says King. You want to entice people to learn more about the company, create connection points and even offer some freebies or promotions.
Second, think about what you normally do as an attendee at trade shows. “You walk around, go to workshops and mingle with people,” says King. He suggests using your personal page to display your expertise and following conversations on pages for industry groups, such as ACMA. “Comment and engage there,” he says. “Have natural conversations and develop relationships using your personal feed.”
- Become a blogger – “Develop your authority and display your expertise in a subject matter,” says King. “When you have a good, core piece of longer-form content, it gets your company name out there in different ways you can build on for years.” You can piggyback on the blog post to create micro-content, such as quotes, statistics and graphics, for social media posts.
A well-developed blog should also integrate SEO. “It’s about having the right content for the intent of people’s searches,” says Jackson. One of Lennox’s blog posts, entitled “Three Signs Your Home Has Poor Indoor Humidity,” attracts people searching for information on indoor air quality.
If you think creating blog posts is too time-consuming for you or your employees – or too costly to outsource to a professional writer – consider this statistic: Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads, according to 99firms, a company that helps businesses find online marketing agencies.
- Hold online office hours – Choose a representative from your company to hold regular online office hours to answer questions. Rather than selecting a member of your sales and marketing team, which may give the impression that you simply want to peddle products, ask your production manager, chief technology officer or president to set aside an hour or two every week or so to be available online.
“If you get in front of customers on a regular basis, there’s a better chance that when the need arises for your products and services, your company will be on the short list,” says Rabinovici.
A similar strategy that opens the conversation up to a larger audience is live streaming on social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Users can share comments and likes that you can respond to in real time.
- Host a podcast – There were 75.9 million podcast listeners in the U.S. in 2020, and that number could rise to 100 million by 2024, according to the Statista, a provider of market and consumer data. Rabinovici helps companies tap into the tool’s rising popularity, creating short, conversational podcasts that address customer needs.
“The key is to understand your audience’s pain points. If you know that, then you know what kind of content to deliver,” he says. “Keep it brief, touch on the highlights and invite people to ask questions.” He recommends limiting podcasts to around 15 minutes or so.
“You have to recognize that in manufacturing, we are not a destination site – not a casino or Angry Birds. You won’t get that kind of engagement,” he says. “Brevity is at a premium when you deal with something technical.” Composites companies could use podcasts to introduce a new processing method or material, discuss industry trends, share insight on regulatory and compliance issues, and much more. You can also convert your best-performing blogs into podcasts to distribute the same content in audio form.
- Create case studies – “There’s nothing more compelling than a success story,” says Carrie Mok, content marketing editor for EPM Digital. “Hearing directly from a customer firsthand about how your products and services have solved their problem builds trust for potential new leads.”
These testimonials can be posted on your website on a case study page or created as videos. If you choose a video, Mok suggests two methods. “One is the traditional ‘talking head’ type, where your customer speaks head-on to the camera about the benefits of working with your business. Another option is to take the testimonial and turn it into an animated video using an audio recording only. That may help your customer to be more at ease,” she says. “Whatever option you choose, it’s crucial that the interviews are authentic, ideally with facts and figures that indicate how your business helped theirs.”
- Make marketing videos – Case studies aren’t the only fodder for videos. You can create product demonstrations or behind-the-scenes videos to highlight your manufacturing plant. “This would be effective at building brand awareness and showcasing your in-house capabilities, while a case study or testimonial would be more suited toward building conversions and deeper relationships with both potential and existing customers,” says Mok.
Videos can be used across multiple platforms and communication channels. For example, you can create a longer video (two to five minutes) for a webinar, then edit it into bitesize video clips (approximately 20 seconds) for social media. Make sure to pin your videos to the top of your social profiles so they are the first post visitors see on your account, says Allen of EPM Digital.
In addition, combine videos with your email marketing strategy. “Emails with videos can increase your clickthrough rate by up to 300% and reduce your unsubscribe rate by 75%,” says Mok. She also encourages companies to embed videos in company newsletters.
While the options for digital marketing are vast, experts express a warning. “Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to be on everything,” says King. “Focus on the simple things you can do and get really good at, and track and measure those things to see how they are performing. That will guide you on how to tweak strategies over time.”