Even though online marketing is often more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods are, many manufacturers do not have the resources or expertise to effectively promote their products and services online. Some choose instead to focus their efforts on strategies that have worked for them in the past — such as trade shows, print ads, face-to-face sales, and word-of-mouth — because they believe that their target customer cannot be reached through online channels.

I’m here to tell you that belief is inaccurate — especially in 2023.

The internet and the search engines that power it are more important now than ever because they are the most effective way to help people find the information, products, and services they need. As of April 2022, there were more than five billion internet users worldwide, which is 63.1 percent of the global population. Of this total, 4.7 billion — or 59 percent — of the world’s population were social media users as well.

While your potential customers are using many different search engines when browsing the internet, Google remains the number one worldwide, handling 92% of all search queries, and is undoubtedly dominating the global search engine market share. This makes Google the most powerful tool individuals and businesses can use to find the products and services they need quickly and easily. And for manufacturing businesses, it is why having your website appear on the first page of a Google search is really important.

The point is, a strong online presence will allow you to increase your company’s visibility, enabling you to reach a wider audience while making it easier for potential customers to find you. A strong online presence allows you to stay ahead of your competition and can keep you at the forefront of your manufacturing segment.

Can Potential Customers Find You Online?

Having a company website is important. It allows you to showcase your services and enables potential customers to learn more about your manufacturing company and its offerings at their own pace. You can even use your website to build trust and credibility through features like customer reviews and testimonials.

But just creating a website is generally not enough if you want to truly get the most out of your online presence. As I mentioned earlier, you also have to promote it. There are two basic methods you can use to do this: organic or paid search.

Organic Search

Organic search refers to the process of finding a website through the use of a search engine. Search engines return results based on the relevancy of the website to the search terms entered by the user. Organic search results are the web pages that appear in the main body of the search engine results pages (SERPs) after a search query is entered. These results are generated by the search engine’s algorithm and are not influenced by paid advertising.

Organic search results typically include a mix of different types of content, such as:

  • Web pages

  • Social media

  • Online directories

  • Images and videos

  • News articles

  • Local businesses

  • Product listings

  • Amazon profile

  • Reviews

It is important to mention that business directories and review sites — such as Google Business Profile, BBB, and Yellow pages — can list your business online without contacting you. Chances are, your manufacturing company may already be mentioned online in one of these directories, so it is a good idea to know where and make sure you are represented accurately.

Paid Search

SEM stands for search engine marketing, which uses paid search advertising to promote websites by increasing their visibility in SERPs.

SEM is important because it allows businesses to reach potential customers at the moment they are searching for products or services like theirs. It is a highly targeted form of advertising that can drive a significant amount of traffic and sales to a website, helping businesses to gain visibility and credibility.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use SEM to promote your manufacturing business, you can find numerous tutorials online. HubSpot — a company that produces software for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service — offers a good free primer here.

The Easiest Place to Get Started

Focusing on improving your ranking in organic search results is generally the easiest place for most manufacturers to get started promoting your business online. Here are five tips to help you nudge your company’s presence closer to the top of the list when a potential customer searches for a product or service you provide.

  1. Make sure your website is optimized for the search engines. This means including relevant keywords and phrases within your website copy.

  2. It also needs to be mobile-friendly. A majority of internet users are accessing the web on mobile devices these days. Mobile-friendly websites load quickly and are easy to navigate on these devices.

  3. Consider your website design and user experience while you’re at it. Whether potential customers are visiting your website on a desktop computer or mobile device, they’re more likely to stick around long enough to see what you have to offer if your website is well designed. Plus, Google’s algorithm has consistently taken user experience into account, so a good one can help your business show up higher in those organic search results.

  4. List your business in online directories. Search for your company’s name in Google Business Profile, the Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc. Make sure that you can be found and that your contact information is correct.

  5. Start using social media for your business. Establishing a social media presence can also help potential customers find you online and appear in search engine results.

While promoting your business online does not have to be a full-time job, it may be helpful to consider hiring a professional to get you started. If you don’t currently have the time or resources for this, other options are available, including joining the Sustainment community. We’re connecting U.S. manufacturers and suppliers with the brands and OEMs that need their services — and we’re doing it for free. Set up a simple profile for your company today, and you can discover new partners and suppliers, be discovered, and engage with decision makers within the manufacturing industry.

Nina Payan is brand manager for Sustainment, a technology and software platform connecting manufacturers and suppliers. Reach Nina directly at nina.payan@sustainment.tech — and let her know other marketing topics you’d like her to cover.


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