As large companies resume manufacturing operations and bring them back to the U.S., industrial distributors create more value by building on commercial and operational excellence and digitizing to create the omnichannel experiences customers are looking for.
Given the B2C expectations driving change in the B2B space, here are some digital marketing ideas industrial distributors can implement to drive customer loyalty and increase sales growth.
A media-rich online product catalog
According to Deloitte, Ecommerce customers want:
- intuitive, easy-to-navigate ordering platforms
- High quality 3D product images
- Look into inventory to see if an item is in stock
- Access to detailed measurements and specifications
- relevant, multi-faceted search options to make it easier to compare similar items
- quick access to complementary products
- the ability to buy online with a variety of fulfillment options
A healthy manufacturer-dealer relationship – and strong sales – are based on useful data. However, maintaining and updating technical product information can be complicated and time-consuming for both parties. When a manufacturer sends their dealer a data feed that is missing product specifications, certifications, CAD drawings, and other extensive details, a significant amount of manual effort is required to populate the dealer’s eCatalog templates.
The solution begins by discussing file formats and choosing standards for sharing, including file formats and labeling techniques. Implement a media-rich online product catalog solution that can be updated regularly, easily and correctly by all teams.
Online catalogs have many advantages over their printed counterparts, one of the greatest being their flexibility. Errors can be corrected, products added or removed, designs changed, and features updated without reprinting the catalog. An online catalog can be integrated into your company’s order database to create an additional sales channel. This enables a search engine friendly system that allows customers to browse SKUs at any time and purchase products with minimal customer support. Errors in quotations can be greatly reduced because compatibility and pricing data is approved before a customer views the information.
When all important product information is available online, a company’s products are immediately available to a global customer base. You can adapt the language and images to any geographic location, which is particularly important for entering a new market and selling industrial products to a global clientele. Once implemented, online catalog systems tend to pay for themselves quickly and offer many different benefits, including improved productivity, higher sales, and fewer returns.
Learn more: How to Sell Industrial Products in a B2C World
By having products next to one another, customers can easily compare attributes and prices. Live comparison options on websites can help guide customers through the options that are best suited to their needs.
Offer downloadable CAD drawings in multiple formats
In today’s marketplace, designers often find parts and products directly on the internet rather than going to suppliers. Use this to your advantage by integrating a CAD program into your website that can be used to view, pan, zoom and rotate 3D drawings. This gives engineers and designers access to the information they need in exactly the format they need, making it easy to purchase even the most complex products.
An online product catalog such as that of Dehumidifier Corporation of America provides customers and prospects with full product specification and CAD drawings. When content is categorized by factors like material, role, and industry, the products can be found quickly and easily – and the customer is likely to make repeat deals.
Content Marketing, Reviews and Resources
Reviews and ratings create trust and reliability in your company. Provide customers and experts with a platform to share recommendations and testimonials like US Air Filtrations did in a “What Our Customers Say” section. Send email marketing to your top and happy customers and ask them for reviews to post on your website.
Learn more: 9 Email Marketing Types You Should Be Sending And Why
Make resources like blogs, eBooks, and guides available to your customers so they can make an informed decision about the best products and solutions for their needs. Likewise, regular email campaigns and being in touch with new products and product updates can help you close sales sooner. Post helpful content by product line and send reminder emails to reorder when a customer recently purchased a consumable, such as B. a lubricant that you know may need to be reordered soon (this is where your digitized product data comes into play).
Why are these important? Here are some quick facts:
- 20% of millennial buyers start with vendor websites and 17% look for peer reviews
- Email marketing continues to have the highest ROI for small businesses
- 97% of B2B respondents stated that major supplier websites offer easy access to content
See more: Top 10 Content Marketing Ideas for Manufacturers
Unlike traditional growth methods, reporting on your digital marketing efforts will guide and refine your strategy to show you what is working and what you can improve. These insights also give you insight into buyer trends and data to adjust your business plans accordingly. Hundreds of manufacturers regularly download the Thomas Sourcing Activity Snapshot to see what’s trending in the industry. Download the S4 2020 Sourcing Guide here to see which industrial services and products were sourced most frequently over the last quarter.
Update your contact page
Ask your suppliers to link to you from their website, and vice versa, as this can also help with search engine placement and traffic growth. Many suppliers have a “Distributor Locator” on their website to show where buyers can buy products. However, location or contact information is sometimes dated on such pages. See how Schroeder Industries does it below. Search engines like Google determine the local ranking based on relevance, distance and awareness. This relates to how well your location content matches what someone is looking for, how far their location is from you, and how strong your overall online presence is. Therefore, it is important to make sure that all required pages of your company information are updated and consistent so that buyers can find you.
Online business directories
To increase your reach and visibility online, a free (but powerful) marketing idea will list your business in relevant online business directories like Google My Business and Thomasnet.com.
When creating these business profiles, make sure you have a consistent company name, address, telephone number, link to your website, and company description. Add a multimedia option, e.g. B. a video or photo that shows off your business, e.g. B. the location of your facility or workshop.
See more: 5 Places to Promote Your Manufacturing Business
Increasing the number of quotes in these directories (especially Thomas) will increase the number of backlinks to your website. This means that this will help with search engine optimization and improve your website in search results.
“Qualified leads are coming to us now, and since prospects can easily browse our skills and qualifications, those who contact us are more likely to do business with us.”
Future-proof for your company with digital marketing today
Traditional approaches to growth should be reinterpreted with technology, online efforts, and marketing to simplify the buying process and really empower and enable the business. According to McKinseyIndustrial distributors who move quickly (in the digital space) can create deeper customer relationships and sustainable competitive advantages in order to achieve constant outperformance in the years to come. Industrial distributors can implement many other marketing ideas to drive growth, such as: B. SEO and advertising campaigns. Contact the Thomas team to learn how digital marketing tactics can future proof your business. We offer a free digital health check-up to determine which marketing ideas you can implement to stay one step ahead of the competition. Request yours here.
Additional resources for distributors: