Raw material availability is a cornerstone of the U.S. industrial sector, and clearly vital to its growth. Steel continues to be a top product sourced by suppliers. Here are some basic marketing strategy must-haves to grow your steel industry business and tap into more market share.
Understand The Customers You’re Trying To Reach
Digital marketing ensures you stay connected with customers and continue getting seen by new prospects — and more manufacturers are investing in its technologies. That’s because today’s new age of B2B buyers are tech-savvy millennials and they’re researching your services online before contacting you. Studies show that:
- 74% choose the vendor that was first to add value and insight to their problems
- 67% rely more on content and research now than they did a year ago
- 80% expect the same buying experience as B2C customers
Reports show that manufacturers can no longer avoid digital marketing’s reach and effectiveness and have adjusted their approach from dated tactics like print ads to generating new customers using their website and digital ads.
Is your marketing strategy set to meet the needs of your buyers?
Planning A Basic Marketing Strategy For The Steel Industry
A key component to any marketing strategy today is having a website. To see if you have a strong platform to reach more buyers and set a marketing plan in motion, begin with a competitive analysis of your website.
Go into your reporting tools like Google Analytics and take a look at key website components like:
- Keyword performance
- Optimized images
- Page titles and descriptions
- Contact buttons
- Mobile page speed
If you’re unsure how to analyze your website efforts, that’s okay! It might be necessary to turn to industry experts to fully assess your website’s content, SEO traffic, mobile-friendliness, etc., and understand what all those details mean.
Thomas’ Free Digital Health Check can review your steel manufacturing website and show a detailed comparison of your website against competitors.
Optimizing Your Website To Deliver The Content Buyers Need
With buyers searching for your services online, your website is a big foundation of your growth efforts. They simply can’t find you if you don’t have a presence. [See exactly who’s searching for you with a free Custom In-Market Buyer Report]
Today, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 33% of people abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load. If the mobile version of your website is not similar to the functionality and control of the desktop version of your website, visitors are likely to get frustrated at the poor user experience and turn to a competitor.
Buyers like to research tips in your industry and educate themselves on their own before contacting you. Present yourself as a trusted leader by publishing free resources, guides, and case studies that address your buyers’ common challenges.
Infra-Metals showcases all their material specs organized in a catalog format. This helps their engineers and buyers see exactly what Infra-Metals has in stock and how their materials can fit their project requirements. It simply makes the customer’s job easier, which is key to gaining new business.
In addition to updating your website’s mobile functionality and content pages, prioritize key components to encourage website conversions. This means including easy solutions on your website for prospects and customers to contact you or submit their information. For example, your Contact Us page provides more than one option for website visitors to contact you, like a click-to-call button, RFQ forms, email address, and 24/7 service CTAs. Make sure these are visible at all times.
Continental Steel’s Contact Us page is built for lead generation. Note that website visitors have many options to contact Continental Steel based on their need — a basic form, an Emergency RFQ, Future Project RFQ, etc.
See More Examples:
Other Ideas To Promote Your Steel Industry Business
To take your website efforts even further, a digital advertising strategy can promote your steel business to the exact audience you want to do business with. In some cases, you can advertise your business for free with minimal effort. Enter your company information in online directories like:
Take the time to make sure your company name, address, and phone number are consistent on all platforms. This ensures you’re bringing traffic to your website, prospects and customers can find you, and your brand stays professional. The right content combined with digital strategies like SEO will help drive high-quality traffic from search engines to your website, and adding location-based keywords to relevant pages like “steel manufacturing services in NY” or “steel and metals custom manufacturer New England” will help attract buyers searching for you in your area.
“Thomasnet.com has brought California Heating Equipment (CHE) over $5 million in business and opportunities with major aerospace manufacturing companies. We are currently working with two major aerospace companies on over 3.6 million dollars in manufacturing which is a direct result of our Thomasnet.com program. Currently we have attributed the 200% increase in CHE sales as predominantly attributed to our internet marketing program we developed with Thomasnet.com.”
Learn More: How To Market Online To Buyers In The Defense Industry
Many manufacturers include paid advertising strategies like display ads and promoted content to amplify their reach, increase the awareness of their steel services, and drive traffic to their website. Managing paid advertising campaigns on search platforms can be costly if you’re new at it. There are many filters and factors to consider like the timing of your ads and the job titles you’re trying to reach.
Thomas makes it easy to advertise to the buyers you want to do business with. Our platform is home to more than 1.2 million B2B professionals sourcing industrial products and services. Steel industry manufacturers have the opportunity to announce a new service in our email newsletter (gets read by more than 300,000 B2B buyers and MROs!) or showcase how proud your family-owned company is with video advertising.
➡️ Thomas Fact: Suppliers who advertise with videos (like the one below) on their Thomasnet.com Company Profile get increased engagement & RFQs by 32% — with some seeing increases as high as 70%. You can have a video produced for free (like the one below) with the purchase of an advertising program.
In the email newsletter ad example below, Uber Freight chooses the audience (e.g. agricultural, construction, etc.) to which they would like to promote their discounted service. The advertisement drives the qualified visitors to their website to submit the form and convert to a lead!
Today’s business and consumer landscape is changing to be more digital every day. There are many components to a full digital marketing strategy for steel industry manufacturers but you can start with some website updates. Studies show that 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business if they don’t have a website, so your website should be the foundation of your growth efforts. Our free eBook The Ultimate Guide To Digital Marketing For Manufacturers will outline all the steps you need to take to grow your company into 2022 and beyond.
If you have questions along the way, contact us to learn how Thomas’ online solutions increase your reach to audiences searching for your steel services and allow your team to generate new leads, sell new business, and bring on new customers. We’ve been connecting B2B buyers to suppliers for more than 122 years and we can run a free digital health check on your website to show you exactly what you need to reach your growth goals.
“Partnering with Thomas let us develop customer relationships that kept us more stable as the economy grows. We were able to spawn an entirely new company for our business thanks to Thomas,” said Ken Carlton VP of Corrugated Metals.