When you're looking for advice on #SEO and #content marketing, you'll find lots of help on how to push weight loss, muscle building and technology products, not so much on pressed steel. So how does a #manufacturing company in a large city make the most of SEO?
Let's make it clear from the outset, there is no technical difference between SEO for one marketplace or another, there’s just a difference in volume, customers and how that market operates.
I’ll give you an example. If you were selling exercise products for women who had just given birth, you could market directly to people on Mumsnet. It’s a relatively simple equation; that’s where mums are going to be hanging out.
Someone tries it and becomes wealthy overnight selling their patented exercise system and so they decide to explain how they did it. As a manufacturer, you pick it up and try to copy the technique – would it work for you? Could you sell chamfered steel to the Mumsnet crowd?
There’s a saying, “feed a starving crowd” that comes from a simple analogy. If you were looking to put up a hamburger stall somewhere, where’s the best place to put it? Obviously, it’s where there are crowds of hungry people. Hungry vegetarians? Probably not, again, there’s caution with every tail.
First of all, just what is this SEO we talk of? You’ll notice on our site we push “content marketing” here a lot, has one taken over the other? Are they different or the same?
Well, although it’s probably not a popular view, I’d like to come out now and say that in all honesty, they’re the same thing. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimisation” which in some respects alludes to the fact that we optimise a website for search engines. That’s only one aspect of the whole job though. Making sure your website is absolutely spot-on and will be found, indexed and understood by Google (and other engines I suppose), is a technical task that just has to be looked at every now and then.
It’s things such as title tags, headings, sitemaps, etc. Geeky stuff.
However, part of the SEO job was also about creating content for blogs, sending this out via social channels, promotion etc. The SEO work was all of that (and a bit more), but now that bit is called “content marketing”.
So, as a manufacturing company, you need to do two things. Firstly, make sure your website is up to date, fast, looks good.
“My website’s fine, it doesn’t need updating”
Take a look at a bunch of sites of manufacturing companies and it’ll make your heart sink. It’s as if the rules of good design don’t apply. I’m willing to argue the toss here. If your site isn’t up to scratch, someone will beat it, you’re not only up against others in the industry, you’re up against other sectors.
Try searching for “steel fabricators Birmingham”. The top two slots? Yell.com. That’s right, instead of displaying an actual steel fabricator, Google chooses to show the relevant Yell.com directory.
Why’s that? It’s simple, the Yell site is more optimised.
If your site doesn’t tick all the essential boxes of being well optimised and well created, it could lose out to other sites that aren’t even in the same industry.
So somebody looking for steel fabrication company in Birmingham would potentially click on the Yell result as it’s the first one. Taylor Engineering above wouldn’t get a look in.
All websites regardless of their marketplace should look good, but importantly, should operate well, be easy to navigate and be optimised. Once you’ve got that bit right, you can move on to the next bit, actually marketing your products.
Content – The Key to Great Marketing
Take a look at some of the best manufacturing and engineering companies and you’ll find they do one thing better than anyone else – they publish tons of content. They’ve been doing this well before content marketing was even a thing. They’ve just been doing it forever because they realise that good information, handed out free, is great marketing.
This is true for any industry, too.
If you have a product or service, then it stands to reason you’ll have information about it. For example, your product may be excellent at one particular job in one particular industry, so you should make it clear what that industry is, how it helps, what problem your product solves. And you should keep doing it.
This information should go on your website, but you should also put it in front of the noses of those people who are likely to need your product. For example, on LinkedIn there are groups that discuss, in detail, certain engineering and manufacturing topics. People ask questions, others answer them and others start discussions about those responses.
This is a great place to start. Search for groups of people discussing your product or service and monitor it for a bit. You don’t have to dive in straight away, simply look, watch, learn about the group and how it interacts. If you see someone who’s having an issue that you can solve, nip in and answer their question.
You could potentially expand on the answer. After all, you know a lot about it, so you can create an e-book maybe that goes into some detail. It doesn’t have to be huge, maybe six pages, but go into enough detail to answer the question thoroughly.
Then, you can promote this book in the same group. You’re now marketing. It’s content marketing, and you’re a manufacturing company.
Anyone can do it, regardless of the market.
Find More Places to Interact
Of course, LinkedIn is just one of many places you need to be publishing your content, and each place will differ depending on your particular company, products and services. But when you find those places, the techniques are the same. Tell them what you do, how you do it and they will want more.