3 Secrets to Gaining More Prospective Customers AND Skilled Manufacturing Workers — in One Shot

Amidst the resurgence of Milwaukee manufacturing, successful manufacturers are looking for the best ways to bring in both new customers AND qualified employees. Why not streamline the process and craft your content marketing strategy to achieve both objectives?

3 Secrets to Gaining More Prospective Customers AND Skilled Manufacturing Workers — in One Shot

Here’s how…

  1. Entice Skilled Manufacturing Workers with Great Content

Attracting a new generation of skilled workers? You’ll need great content (like helpful FAQs and interesting pics and videos) on your website and social media channels. The good news is all that great content can work to both entice prospects and customers and attract the skilled employees you need to stay ahead of the competition.

For example, that cool video of your factory floor in action can work double-time for your manufacturing enterprise, as it will impress your customers, while also showing skilled workers how great it would be to work at your company. Those photos of corporate events show your customers you’re active in the community and convince prospective employees to apply so they can be part of the fun.

Take, for instance, the official Toyota Twitter account. With over 40K followers, they share a nice mixture of industry news, humor and networking content that appeals to their customers and potential employees alike. Lincoln Electric, global welding equipment manufacturer, uses Twitter to reach more than 19K followers with a similar approach.

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  1. Create Channel-Specific Compelling CTAs

Great content is only part of the battle. You’ve hammered out a great content marketing strategy, filled it with various types of content ready to distribute across your website and social media channels. You’re ready to go, right? Not quite. A great piece of content is nothing without your call-to-action (CTA).

A great CTA entices your website viewers to take the next step and engage with your business in some way. But your CTA is nothing without that lead capture form. For example, a CTA might inspire the viewer to call or email your business, or to download a helpful and robust piece of content. Each CTA should be set up underneath a lead capture form to collect a few bits of prospect information in exchange for that additional content.

Each CTA should be:

  • Sized relative to the importance of the call to action. You may have pages with several CTAs, but the important ones should be larger.
  • Placed where they will catch your prospect’s attention. If your website visitor can’t see your CTAs or if they blend in with everything else, you’ll have a harder time getting clicks and capturing that qualified lead information.
  • Placed with plenty of whitespace around it to avoid confusion with any other webpage elements or CTAs.

Your CTAs should each be channel specific: The CTA you use on your email marketing campaigns should be different than the CTAs on your manufacturing website. Yet another CTA should be used when blogging or posting to social media platforms. Use one style of CTAs to attract customers and use another to attract skilled employees. Mix it up a little to see which CTAs are most effective for each channel.

  1. Don’t Stop at the Lead Capture—instead, Nurture

Just like the CTA is nothing without the lead capture—the lead capture is nothing without lead nurturing. Studies show 35 to 50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first, and you never know how many other manufacturers a potential customer has contacted. According to the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases compared to leads that are not.

Sure, you need the information from the customer before you can convert, but you must act on that information to convert. Create a system that automatically sends lead capture to your sales team so they can close the deal. Similarly, your CTAs that most appeal to skilled workers should funnel directly to your HR department for follow up.

By implementing a great content strategy, compelling CTAs and a clear lead nurturing process, your content marketing can work double-time for your manufacturing enterprise, attracting both prospective customers AND skilled manufacturing workers. Content marketing is an excellent way for today’s modern manufacturers to outshine the competition, so now is a great time to get started.

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  • 14 ways to engage your prospects to drive home the sale
  • How to influence your customer’s decision to buy
  • Why your current customers are your biggest asset
  • The exact type of content your prospects and customers want
  • How this proven, 5-stage process attracts new customers and grows your business

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The competition is heating up, so traditional marketing methods simply aren’t enough anymore. Get ahead of the curve.

Knocking Modern Manufacturing Up a Notch: How to Attract Top Talent

In the 1950s, manufacturing was the answer to the American dream. High paying, secure jobs with benefits meant a strong middle class and a booming economy. In the aftermath of World War II, nearly 40% of Americans worked in the manufacturing industry. Youngsters aspired to a career in manufacturing and a nice split-level ranch house in the ‘burbs…and there were plenty of trade programs and schools to help them get there. Career aspirations have changed a lot since then, and the idea of a career in manufacturing just isn’t as appealing as it once was.

With a limited talent pool and the competition heating up, how can you attract top talent?

Some companies are successfully using modern marketing tactics to polish up their company’s image and convince more bright young minds that manufacturing is a fulfilling and rewarding career path. Check out how these companies are knocking modern manufacturing up a notch—and how you can, too.

Nobody Does It Better Than GE

General Electric (GE) has fingers in a lot of pies. As a conglomerate manufacturer producing everything from lightbulbs to jet engines, GE needs a constant influx of skilled employees—many of them engineers. Worldwide, GE employs roughly 305,000 people with 134,000 employed in the U.S.

Their social media is widespread and all about making manufacturing look cool. Check out this video from GE Aviation about aircraft engines.

The branding on the video is subtle, but very clear: Work for GE and you get to do cool stuff. Slogans like “Imagination at work.” and “GE is committed to innovation.” reinforce the point.

But GE doesn’t stop at YouTube. They have active Twitter accounts full of photos and info, plus you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and on Vine. They even invite followers to see the manufacturing process in person with #GEInstaWalk. What a great way to inspire followers…and create buzz! What GE does best is remind people that manufacturing is about ideas and innovation.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the ROI on all this social media output, GE credits their smart content marketing for 30% better returns.

Like GE? Check out Siemens

Siemens is another industrial giant that uses content channels to enhance its image. Far from being mired in the past, Siemens uses website and social media content to emphasize a corporate culture that embraces sustainability, innovation and the future.

Here’s a recent tweet:

There’s even a free app to download for people who want to follow news and articles across various Siemens publications.

The Common Thread

What do Siemens and GE have in common (aside from the obvious)? Instead of using social media and web content to sell their end products, they connect to their target audience in meaningful ways—and in the process, enhance their hiring process by showing students interested in computer science and engineering that there’s more to life than trying to develop the next Halo. They show how it’s possible to create awesome real-life technology that works…and not just in the virtual realm.

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Manufacturer’s Guide to Attracting More Customers: How Top Manufacturers Are Driving New Revenue By Attracting More CustomersYou can create a workable content marketing strategy for your manufacturing enterprise—and you don’t have to be an industry giant to do it. Learn how by downloading our FREE, step-by-step guide: Manufacturer’s Guide to Attracting More Customers. The guide also includes:

  • 5 key marketing strategies used by leading manufacturers
  • 20+ effective, proven tips for generating more qualified leads
  • Step-by-step instructions to attract and retain more repeat customers

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No matter what industry you’re in, the competition is heating up, so traditional marketing methods simply aren’t enough anymore. Get ahead of the curve.

This Ain’t Your Grandpa’s Assembly Line: Creative Recruitment to Bring in Young Manufacturing Talent

Manufacturing was once the cornerstone of a middle-class lifestyle…the American Dream. A high-paying union job that would allow you all the comforts of life: a house, a car, a vacation every year, and even college for your kids.

Today, perception has changed. While manufacturing got more high-tech, its reputation was tarnished. Even though manufacturing jobs still pay relatively high and come with more benefits than most jobs offer, they don’t rank high on the list of career choices for young people. How did this happen?

 This Ain’t Your Grandpa’s Assembly Line: Creative Recruitment to Bring in Young Manufacturing Talent

The Perception Problem

Manufacturing is suffering from an image issue. Between sensationalist news stories of plants closing and the demonization of unions (often to score political points), manufacturing in general has taken a beating in public perception.

Part of the perception problem is rooted in fact and education. Between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. lost 5.7 million manufacturing jobs and 57,000 manufacturing companies went under. It may seem like too much of a gamble to consider a career in an industry that took such a huge hit. At that same time, high schools on tight budgets have culled elective shop programs that once allowed kids to build necessary skills.

Unfortunately, now that manufacturing is starting to make a comeback, the workers aren’t there to fill the jobs. There’s an alarming shortage of engineers, skilled tradesmen and IT workers in the manufacturing industry, and it’s time for manufacturers to step up and change their image.

Attracting Millennials

With the workforce aging and young people choosing different directions, U.S. manufacturing could be in trouble. We need to show young people that manufacturing is as cool as gaming. In fact, manufacturing has a lot of similarities to gaming, except at the end, your achievements create something people can actually use.

Shifting perceptions isn’t easy, but some companies already have a jump on it. Caterpillar, for example, is building engaging content geared to attracting customers and potential employees. Landscaping and construction equipment may not seem very sexy, but Caterpillar manages to tap into viewers’ passions with clever, entertaining videos that demonstrate precision, ease of operation and performance.

The “Built For It Trials – Stack: Largest JENGA® Game Played with Cat® Excavators” video has more than 2.5 million views to date. Now that’s exciting. Check this out:

For potential employees, the message of the Built For It campaign is clear: Driving a Caterpillar takes skill and precision—so it’s more than just a grimy, entry-level job. For customers, Caterpillar shows its equipment has the versatility to perform even the most delicate jobs.

Changing the Narrative

Launching a successful recruiting campaign for millennials means peaking their interest and showing off the cool side of manufacturing: 3D modeling, robotics and complicated programming.

Manufacturing, almost by definition, sounds repetitive and boring. Gen Y Millennials want to know their jobs will not be routine—they want to know they’ll be met with constant challenges. Show young manufacturing talent the intricacies of the work and the upward trajectory of their jobs. They are innovators. Present your company as one open to new ideas and receptive to input.

Millennials are natural collaborators. They grew up in constant communication with their peers, so they crowdsource every decision from dinner to life choices. Use your content to stress the teamwork aspect of your business and you tap right into their comfort zone.

When you change your narrative, you put a fresh new face on your company. If you can change the way young prospects view your company, you can attract and retain top talent.

By 2015, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce will be Millennials, and by 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.

You need them. Take your company image from stodgy to innovative, dynamic and exciting to lock in your top talent today.

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