Email marketing has quickly become the "black sheep" of marketing growth strategies in many people's eyes. Social media's impact on the marketing world has left everyone assuming there's not much juice left to squeeze from reaching out to potential and existing clients via email.
But that couldn't be further from the truth, especially for the manufacturing industry. Some would even argue that it's one of the best ways to ensure sales stay stable through customer engagement and maintaining customers for repeat business. In this blog, we'll cover all the ways you can increase sales with the often underestimated power of email marketing.
Understanding the Manufacturing Sales Landscape
Manufacturing sales can be challenging; an expanding business is combating bunk sales leads, lack of brand awareness, insufficient inbound leads or referrals, and longer sales cycles. You can overcome these challenges in varying ways, but they also underscore the importance of consistent, predictable sales pipelines and the need to increase sales wherever possible.
Market fluctuations also significantly impact manufacturing. The amount of inventory available can drastically affect your sales. Not only that, but supply disruptions are becoming more commonplace by the day. The good news is that volatility means change, and change means opportunity, which might mean that it's time to take a look at adding email marketing campaigns to combat the ever-shifting sales landscape.
The Power of Email Marketing in Manufacturing
It's 2023 — in the era of social media and fractured attention spans, how much better can email marketing be over an ad on Instagram? It turns out the answer is "significantly"; one study from McKinsey & Company even revealed that email marketing can be nearly 40 times more effective than social media marketing. That statistic alone makes it clear that email marketing is a precious tool.
Email marketing must be thoroughly planned and thought out. Making sure that your strategy for it is planned and straightforward, you will be able to utilize this strategy to the best of your ability. But the simplicity of email marketing makes it so appealing: it's highly cost-effective, makes it easy to target specific groups or demographics, builds existing customer relationships and keeps your name in their mind, and helps you track analytics and see how many clients are engaging with your content.
Building a Solid Email Marketing Strategy
Just because email marketing is straightforward doesn't mean you won't need to hone in on your unique growth strategy. The best place to start is to brainstorm what you want to tell whom. For example, your brainstorming list might include:
- Promote holiday sales to current and prospective customers
- Advertise an upcoming online event to current and prospective customers
- Educate potential customers about the benefits of a particular line of product
- Order confirmations for customers who’ve placed an order
- Inform prospective customers of upcoming trade show
This list isn't comprehensive or brilliant, but you get the picture. It’s a way of getting down all ideas and connecting them to a target audience. According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (eMarketer)
Strong call-to-actions or CTAs in every email are also a must. They should encourage the reader to click on a website, download content, or whatever specific engagement you're after.
Personalization and Segmentation
Connection and interest are essential elements to creating engaging email content. People want to read content that makes them feel like they're being spoken to — not marketed to. Your goal should be to tailor your emails to individual preferences and implement segmentation strategies.
A good example would be a Kansas City-based equipment manufacturer. Their goal was to increase email open rates. They can achieved this by personalizing emails rather than sending something too general to a list of names. Sometimes, it's as simple as writing content that makes the person feel connected with you. Other times, it's more about the value or information you provide. Every customer base will differ slightly, so it's up to you to know which approaches work best for your target demographics.
Email Automation for Manufacturing
While personalization is important, there's nothing wrong with automating your emails. In fact, it's one of the most efficient ways to ensure you're sending out consistent content. Automated emails take all the guesswork out of email marketing and ensure that both you and your customers don't miss any upcoming milestones for your business.
Simplify things further by using an email marketing platform like HubSpot or MailChimp. The features and costs of these sights vary, so it's good to do your research before you commit to anything. Regardless of which you pick, they're a must for keeping your automated marketing emails organized.
Targeted email automation can even automate some of your follow-ups, making engaging with your customer base even more accessible. The KC equipment manufacturer mentioned above decided to automate a follow-up series of emails to promote an offer download further. The follow-up saw a 10% click-through rate, while the benchmark for the click-through rate was 2.9% — more than triple the number of expected click-throughs.
Measuring Email Marketing Success
Now that you've sent out your emails, how can you guarantee you get the desired results? Take a look at some key performance indicators for manufacturing email campaigns:
- Click-through rate
- Delivery rate
- Clicks by link/URL
- Web traffic and conversions
- Trending performance and subscriber list growth
These are just a few things you should keep your eye on, but the more detailed you are with your data, the easier it'll be to understand which elements of your campaign work best. Web traffic and conversions are some of the most important for manufacturing, as this will tell you how many people are making it to your website. Trending performance is also extremely vital at first since it'll help keep you on the right track or do some damage control if you notice these numbers start tanking.
Once you start receiving your data, take the time to analyze and interpret it to learn what's working and what isn't. A/B testing is an excellent way to rapidly test and deploy data-driven changes to your marketing campaign. Our Kansas City-based equipment manufacturers are in this process right now, adjusting their promo emails to have less text and moving the button for the CTA, which is already positively impacting their click-through rate.
Email Marketing Can Help Stabilize Your Sales Cycles
Consistency is the key to longevity in the manufacturing industry, so any methods that help stabilize your sales should automatically go to the top of your priority list. How do the Kansas City equipment manufacturers fare with the email marketing campaign in full swing? As expected, monthly sales are going well due to email marketing strategies, and they're closing deals and garnering interest in new ones from this strategy.
Email marketing can help you in the challenge of rolling out new products into your product line. But previewing the product to those on your email list can help get attention and interest toward it faster and more reliably. Even with older products, your sales will be more stable by making it easier for your customers to make purchases when you send deals right to their inbox.
Following up with purchases, deals, or generally reaching out to see their experience can also help gather brand loyalty. This will make closing deals easier since even the most skittish or forgetful customers will be reminded of why they wanted to hear from you - for providing them with consistently good service and having their best interests in mind.
Solidify Your Success With a Powerful Email Marketing and Growth Strategy
Email marketing is one of the best ways to ensure manufacturing sales stability by cultivating relationships with reliable clients. It's also highly approachable, so taking the first steps is easy — you just need some basic understanding of what does and doesn't work in a marketing email. Establishing those working relationships is essential to longevity, and long-term email marketing strategies can ensure you'll always meet your bottom line.