Industrial email marketing is alive and well, despite what you may have heard or read to the contrary. Sounds a lot like manufacturing, eh? However, many industries are still unaware of the power of using email in their manufacturing marketing.
Many industrial companies either ignore email marketing altogether or rely on one-off blasts asking for business. That strategy does not align with the needs of industrial buyers. Most of their purchases are expensive and complex, with long sales cycles and multiple decision-makers involved.
You'll notice that open and click rates reflect this lack of alignment among marketers targeting this industry. (Click here to see rates for additional industries.) in the case of manufacturing (see the bottom entry below), the numbers looked like this as of the beginning of 2018:
You could interpret those results in more than one way. Is one industry better than another because it places a higher value on digital marketing. Is one industry lagging because it’s notorious for overly pushy and loud marketing and sales tactics?
Either way, it’s on manufacturers to step it up with more effective, efficient email marketing.
8 Email Tips for Manufacturing Marketing
1. Set a Goal Every Time
“What is the point of this email?”
If you can’t answer that question, you may want to consider whether it’s worth sending at all. To answer the question, think about what you want your contacts to do after reading the email.
Do you want them to use your blog to further their education? Download a free offer you just put out? Call you for a consultation about their engineering design?
Customize your messaging to the result you want.
2. Use Personalization
Don’t be bland. Keep your specific audience in mind.
Studies show people are more likely to open an email is the subject line includes their first name. Keeping in mind the education level, interests, and lifestyle of your leads can help you better empathize with their needs. In other words, consider your buyer persona.
Segmenting your database (more on your subscriber list in a sec) is a great way to narrow your audience when less might actually mean more. For example, you can address your audience based on factors like this:
- High level of activity (These people may be ready to buy or evangelize your product!)
- Interest in a specific product/service
3. Drive Traffic and Clicks
Turn your email marketing into a massive driver for website traffic. Send links to blogs they may find relevant. Make it clear where they should be clicking to get this juicy info.
Especially in manufacturing marketing, an educational vibe is important. Your sales cycle is long, so instead focus on updates to safety standards, industry trends, and other worthwhile topics.
These tactics will increase the potential for new sales, even it it’s a gradual process.
4. Get to the Point
You only have seconds to make an impact. The sense of urgency should be even greater in B2B companies.
Don’t overload your emails with a mess of calls-to-action that overwhelm the reader.
Manufacturers are busy people. You can be brief while still sounding friendly and interested in their needs.
5. Don’t Be Sales-y
Today, a great marketing campaign educates and leads. It doesn’t badger and harass. This holds even truer in manufacturing, where “HEY COME BUY THESE POWDERED METAL COMPONENTS” isn’t a compelling marketing hook for a long sales cycle.
The emails you send should reflect recent shifts in buyer behavior. Your buyers want to be educated about the industry. They want to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible -- found online -- before they have that first phone call or in-person chat with a sales rep.
Showing a genuine desire to help and inform your leads will always trump an obnoxious approach.
6. Pick the Right Time & Place
Last fall at the INBOUND 17 conference, I learned about HubSpot’s most recent recommendations for email send times and dates. The looked like this:
- Wednesday is the best day.
- Tuesday and, to a lesser extent, Thursday are the worst days.
- Everyone avoids Monday and Friday because they assume recipients are either playing catch-up or checked out. But you can use the lack of competition to your advantage. HubSpot does advise against sending email first thing in the morning on Mondays.
- Lunchtime and early afternoon are the ideal times of day.
Depending on your industry, results may vary. Keep an eye out for any trends in open rates based on time or day. Also keep in mind that ideal times and dates may change later on as everyone jumps on the bandwagon and renders your “insider knowledge” useless.
Are you setting up auto-respond follow-up emails to someone who downloaded an e-book or requested a sample? Space your emails out appropriately so the lead doesn’t feel harassed. And keep the number of emails reasonable. Don’t bombard leads into resentment.
7. Optimize Your Subscriber List
You can’t just buy email lists of engineers and buyers, then blast them to death with sales pitches and pat yourself on the back. Emailing people without their permission is slimy. The last thing you want is your message to be marked as spam.
Instead of buying lists, grow your in-house subscriber list and get to know your customers and what they need from you. If someone is not responding, move on. Collect email addresses at manufacturing trade shows and by promoting blog subscriptions through your website.
8. Set It But Don’t Forget It
Automation and tracking allow you to set up and maintain an efficient operation.
HubSpot, MailChimp, and many other services are available to help you streamline and automate emails for your manufacturing marketing. In other words, “We don’t have time” isn’t a valid excuse.
They also allow you to track and analyze results, which is an important step in any marketing campaign. Why did one email perform better than another? Was it the subject line? Content? Call to action?
Congrats! You’re a Certified Email Genius
With these eight simple steps, you can run an efficient and effective email campaign without putting too much extra stress on your staff or budget. It doesn’t take much effort to be brief, genuine, and educational.
Now that you're ready to revive your email marketing, maybe it’s time you became a master of social media, too. Remember, the well-rounded manufacturer covers several bases with its marketing efforts!
If you need help with covering your other bases, check out The Manufacturer's Ultimate Guide to Trade Show Marketing.