5 Ways Small CNC Machine Shops Can Compete With the Big Guys
There are many CNC machine shops that are relatively small in size and number of employees. However, with today’s technologies, even smaller shops can take on substantial jobs if they have the right combination of equipment and expertise. Of course to compete for those jobs, a customer must believe that the CNC shop can handle the work. Which means that the shop must project an image of competency and capability – and be recognized to begin with.
Just how visible is your shop? How easily can potential customers find out about your capabilities? What kind of an image do you have in the marketplace? Remember: People’s perceptions of a company are their reality. In other words, what people find out about your company forms their opinion about your ability to perform the kind of work they need done.
So how do you go about creating the desired perception of your CNC shop? Here are 5 suggestions.
- Request testimonials. Ask some of your satisfied customers to comment about why they like working with you and ask if you can list them as a reference. Word of mouth is still the most potent means of promoting your business, so these testimonials can be priceless.
- Build a better website. Where do you go to find new resources or solutions to problems? Most of us immediately turn to the internet. So do your potential customers. That’s why it’s critical to have a website that presents your shop the way you want your customers to perceive it. It’s not enough to simply talk about the types of machining you do and display a list of your CNC machines. Your customers are looking for solutions, so show them what you’re capable of with case studies and those customer testimonials.
- Boost your internet presence. Having a great looking and easy-to-navigate website is just the beginning. To maximize your rankings in the search engine results, you need to have compelling content. Videos that show your capabilities or that offer tips on machining techniques are one example. Another is to write blog pieces (like this one) that address issues of interest to your customers. Not only will this content help improve your search engine results, it also positions your company as an expert in your field.
- Participate in social media. In addition to searching the internet for information, many business people look to social media sites. LinkedIN and Twitter are likely platforms for engaging with your customers. These sites provide a forum for conversations about a variety of subjects, and by participating in these dialogues, listening to the needs of your customers and offering advice and resources such as your blog entries and videos, you raise your stature. Additionally, posting your videos on YouTube takes advantage of the second most used search engine (after Google) on the internet.
- Seek media coverage. The trade press, in print and online, is always looking for meaningful editorial to fill their pages. If you have a compelling story about how you solved a production problem or developed a new machining technique, send out a press release or a synopsis to the magazine editor. Exposure in a respected trade publication elevates your status among the readers, who are also your potential customers.
In all of this, bear in mind that the quality of the content is critical. This doesn’t mean you need to hire a mega-marketing company to help improve the perception of your small shop. There are many talented, independent designers and writers who have the expertise you need and who often prefer working with smaller companies.