From a marketing point of view, I'm sure many firms spend their budget on attending global events and exhibitions - and I still believe this is a great way to gain awareness of your products and services.
However, digital marketing is understated within certain industries, and shunned as a viable option to spend money on. Some believe their audience 'don't use the internet' and others believe any investment in a new website or additional digital marketing strategy channels is a 'waste of time'.
But when it comes to competing internationally, how is a business supposed to go head-to-head with native firms without any kind of point-of-call, such as a website? Here are just a few ways digital marketing can be used to boost your presence online and globally too.
Website with focus
If you've got a website that's over five years old, the chances are you need a new one. Technology has changed, and so too is the way people use the internet.
Whether you believe it or not, other manufacturing businesses ARE looking for your product or services online and if your website does not include information about them - you're missing out on a potential customer.
Likewise, if your website is not optimised for search engines such as Google, also known as SEO, you could be suffering at the expense of competitors - whether these are based in the same country or not.
It goes without saying, but your website should have an option to change the language to the country you're looking to trade in. Sometimes search engines can automatically change the language on your page, but with limited success.
Having customers that can read your website, makes for a much better experience and warmer sales lead, than one they have to translate themselves.
Regardless of location and language, you would have already identified that your typical target audience, or buyer persona, has pain points that they need to be solved - and you have the solution.
Blogging is a great way to answer these pain points and give solutions to your buyer's problems. The best example I could give is a blog we did for our client, Mirage Machines. The blog, entitled "Everything to know about the set-up of a portable tapping machine" focused on the common problem in the oil and gas industry of setting up a hot tapping machine.
Something that may not be a problem to me and you, but one that was successful in attracting blog views, and ultimately, potential leads and sales for Mirage Machines.
By offering our target audience free advice, we are showing that we have expertise in the sector and can help them solve their problems. Does your business currently do this with its digital marketing?
Digital marketing techniques, such as emails are a great way to communicate with potential and existing customers. Within certain email software systems, segmentation of your contact database can be done to target groups of people - for example by their location.
Targeting customers by location, means you can tailor the message you send them, as well as the language too. This means for an enhanced relationship between you and potential customers, something that cannot be done particularly well with just 'offline' traditional media platforms.
Whether you're looking to place an advert on LinkedIn, or do a Pay-Per-Click campaign through Google, digital advertising offers a great way to get in front of your audience no matter where they are in the world.
With a mediocre budget for both LinkedIn and Pay-Per-Click, you can still achieve a good awareness of your business through targeting your audience. Both offer ways of narrowing down your audience by locations, industry and other measures to ensure you're getting the maximum return on your investment.
Magazine adverts may have a readership of "over 30,000" as an example, but how many people actually read it? With digital advertising, you can target more people and more efficiently, as well as track leads, without expensive artwork and placements costs associated with printed media.
So how can UK manufacturers take advantage of the global market place?
Relying on events and traditional forms of marketing isn't enough. Digital marketing, such as your website, or maybe even your LinkedIn profile, is rapidly becoming the first place potential customers look to solve their problem.
If you're website is not optimised, offering solutions, or targeted to a leads' needs, the chances are your losing out to your competitors. Now is the time to start thinking seriously about digital.
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