MANUFACTURERS are very good at making things. Many of them are equally good at selling them. Some products sell themselves. Others, not so much. Marketing activity must support your objectives, your business goals for the year or season. We know there are manufacturers out there who lack the resources (time, energy, money, expertise) to market their products effectively. Whatever your marketing resource, these five essential tips should help you get it sorted.
1. Sort out your message. So many marketing campaigns are based on ‘noise’ and who can shout loudest above everybody else. It’s far more effective to work out what your messages are and put them in some kind of priority.
Your message can be based around your product’s unique selling point (USP), or your unrivalled customer service. It could also be highlighting your fast delivery times or competitive pricing. To use Made in Britain as an example, our main message is that the official mark tells buyers that a product was made by a trusted, ethical British manufacturer. We think that’s a good thing.
2. Sort out your website. Websites are not a ‘build it once’ endeavour. Your website is your most important communication channel, so it needs to be updated regularly to look modern and easy to navigate. Looking back at point one, your message needs to be front and centre so visitors know what you do straight away and get an impression of the kind of business you are.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) has an entire industry built around it and you might need professional help but you can start by imagining the types of phrases potential customers might be typing into Google in the hope of finding your product. Remember, it's not the words and phrases you'd like them to type, it's the ones they will naturally type so you must think like a customer who maybe doesn't know about you. When you have worked out what are the top three search terms you expect people to be using, incorporate those terms in your website text and keywords fields.
Product descriptions, specifications, prices and availability should all be easy to find, as should ‘how to order’. Provide lots of useful information, not just about your products and services but also the markets and sectors you serve. Be seen as an authority, a thought-leader in your industry. Include a news blog where you can make topical announcements about your company and its products.
Make sure you have easy-to-find positive testimonials on your site, preferably from recent customers. And get that official Made in Britain mark on there too, as long as you are a member.
3. Sort out your social media. This subject is worth a whole article (or webinar) all to itself but Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram have all got people taking part who might be your customers.
Members can access a lot of information in the downloads section of the Made in Britain website. Work out what channel best suits your target audience and the message you want to send them.
4. Sort out your PR/comms. Find out what newspapers, magazines and websites your customers read. Make a list, including emails of named writers. Download a press release template from the internet and fill it with your product or company announcements. Members can download a Made in Britain press release template from the downloads area. Send the carefully checked press release to the publications on your media list. Consider hiring a PR consultant.
5. Sort out your advertising. Combine all the learnings from point one, the message, and point four, the media, to create eye-catching advertisements. Use high quality images and a good layout artist/designer to get the message across. Always include your website address so customers can find out more, and social media accounts so they can open up a conversation. And don’t forget to include the official Made in Britain mark too. It says a lot about you as a company at a time when you need every advantage you can get.
Negotiate a good rate with the publication, especially if it's in a magazine close to a printing deadline or a website close to the end of the month. Enquire about paid articles, often called 'advertorials' or sponsorship of a section of the site or magazine. Build a relationship with a publication that explores ways in which you can help each other.
Do you have any essential marketing tips you’d like to share with the Made in Britain audience? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't forget, there's a ton of support and helpful marketing advice available to members of Made in Britain from the downloads section of the website. If you would like to sell more of your British-made products, put the official mark on them. Apply here.