With recent data showing a 63% increase in insolvencies in the manufacturing sector since last year, and the ongoing financial crisis, it’s more important than ever that businesses use PR and marketing tactics to expand their brand reach to new customers along with reinforcing your prescence with your existing client base.
It can be easy to associate PR with the celebrity and influencer industries, and believe it can have little benefit for traditional B2B sectors like manufacturing .. With this in mind, PR and marketing agency Wild PR has shared advice on how PR can support manufacturing businesses to meet their objectives, increase turnover and support cash flow.
Get in front of the right audience
Whilst word of mouth is excellent; it can often restrict your potential audience to specific areas or sectors. You can combat this by gaining a true understanding of your potential target audience versus who you are currently getting in front of and selling to and then identifying areas or demographics that need to be included.
This will enable you to identify which publications they read, which social media platforms they use and when and the tactics you need to consider adopting to get your business in front of them.
As well as an online or print audience, meeting potential customers face-to-face is always a beneficial move. With a 247%² increase in search interest for ‘manufacturing expo’, industry-focused exhibitions are held worldwide and attended by industry professionals and leadersIt’s important to bear in mind that while these events may not guarantee immediate sales or profits, the connections you can make often lead to significant sales in the future.
Awards are another way to establish your business as a trusted brand. There are a variety of awards across industry sectors that can support brand awareness and grow the credentials of a business.
Award shortlists and wins also present an excellent opportunity to create social media and on-site content and create press releases to pitch out to target publications. Often the organisation behind the awards will be active in promoting those shortlisted and those who will providing you with further opportunities to raise awareness of your business.
Highlight what makes you unique
An apparent reason why customers should come to you is a crucial element of business success. These messages should be clear and consistent across platforms, such as website content and social media, and be highlighted in any press releases and marketing materials. At the same time, you must ensure these messages aren’t too salesy or repetitive, making your capabilities seem limited.
Aim to incorporate your ‘Unique Selling Point’ across content organically and search for opportunities to tie in products, services or capabilities with recent news or updates for the relevant industry.
Improve your search engine performance
Google and other search engines rank your site depending on the quality and relevancy of on-site content and backlinks from referring websites and publications. To improve your position in search results, look at how you can build links to your website from high-relevance industry publications .. National and regional news websites can also improve keyword rankings and position you higher in results, as they have incredibly high authority with Google and a large readership leading to more people visiting your website. An easy way to do this is by providing business announcements or advice-led content via press releases and Digital PR.
You can also improve keyword rankings by optimising on-site content such as product pages, case studies and blog content. If you’re stuck on what to write about, focus on what kind of queries potential customers would be searching or regularly ask you and ensure content relates to this. Some plug-ins can assist with improving the SEO-optimisation of content by providing suggestions when drafting copy. However, if short of time and resources, using external support experts can be of great help.
Position yourself as an expert in the media
Journalists often use social media to search for expert comments to support an article they are writing. Keeping these monitored and providing comments can secure high authority backlinks and position your brand as an industry leader.
This coverage can help build brand awareness within your industry and with journalists or production companies looking for businesses willing to film or be interviewed for advice. Journalists will often research local and regional news sites in areas they are working in to search for a suitable business. Having plenty of coverage and examples of your expert comments will make you stand out from competitors and can lead to radio or TV appearances.
Personify your brand
Although showcasing products and services is vital, creating a personality across your platform humanises your brand, creates trust and can help develop a long-standing relationship between you and your customers.
This isn’t always about managing positive relationships; you may be forced to handle a hostile situation with your brand, such as negative comments on your social media that a customer has left about their dissatisfaction.
These situations need to be handled professionally and display your passion for customer service and client satisfaction.
Also, take advantage of showing behind the scenes of your business. Consider showcasing how you support your employees with professional development, this can support with future recruitment needs and keep a pipeline of talent sending speculative applications. A key thing to consider is people buy from people so showcasing things like charitable initiatives and support, working with the education sector or doing something different will always stand out and make your business memorable.
How PR Benefits Manufacturers’ Growth Case Study - Specialist Glass Products
Founded in 2003, Specialist Glass Products is a leading structural glass manufacturer specialising in bespoke annealed, laminated and toughened bends and manufacturing and supplying all types of glass.
Managing director Andrew Taylor outlines the decision to utilise PR for his business: "As a business, we strive to meet our customer's requirements, however, complex they may be. Our innovative machinery makes us one of the only manufacturers in the country to curve glass in a particular size. Because of these USPs, it's vital that we get our name out there and potential customers know the quality of our products and service.
"Developing a comprehensive strategy using marketing, social media, events, and digital marketing allowed us to strengthen our online presence and reach a wider audience, ultimately expanding our potential sales pool.
"Having developed an integrated marketing strategy in 2018 combining multiple PR and marketing tools, we have seen our website traffic increase by over 102% thanks to massive improvements in keyword positioning for key services. With more people finding our website, we have seen online lead generation increase 100%. This has been instrumental in supporting us throughout the recent pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, and we have been fortunate to continue doing what we do best.
"The business has had coverage in various target publications like The Yorkshire Post and The Manufacturer, as well as television appearances on Grand Designs, George Clarke's Remarkable Renovations and BBC Breakfast. We've also made various award shortlists, won two awards and been crowned as an exemplar in The Manufacturer 100 this year, further positioning us as the go-to business for bespoke glass services."
Katrina Cliffe, managing director and founder of Wild PR, summarises: “Businesses in the manufacturing industry are facing increased competition that is constantly intensifying. Following the pandemic and cost-of-trading crisis, it is a simple case of survival.
“From working with two of our longest-standing clients in manufacturing, we know manufacturers need to stand out now more than ever. Businesses should be promoting their capabilities and attributes to position themselves as top performers in the industry, and targeting key audiences through PR is the perfect organic tool to do so.
“Whether you want coverage in publications your target audience is reading or awards to position yourself as a leader in the industry. PR can support you in reaching potential customers, leading to further conversions and an increase in turnover.”