May 29, 2015
These days business is good for most manufacturers in general, and CNC machine shops in particular. It’s a pleasant feeling after the deep recession we all suffered through. However it’s still a very competitive world and keeping the pipeline filled with orders can be challenging.
Some shops get caught up in the cycle of “Get the work. Do the work. Look for more work.” Others recognize that getting more business means ongoing efforts using such marketing tools as personal selling, direct marketing, advertising, public relations, and a strong Internet presence.
Whether you’re handling these efforts yourself or using outside professionals, it’s important to set realistic goals for your marketing efforts. This provides a clear understanding of what you expect to achieve, and a basis for measuring the results.
It’s also important to recognize that business goals and marketing goals may not be the same. For most shops the business goal is to increase dollars, number of jobs or numbers of units to be produced. The marketing goals are based on the activities that help you accomplish your business goals. Typically this means attracting new customers, retaining existing customers and moving them both along the path to a buying decision.
For example, your goal may be to make more potential customers aware of your capabilities. One way to do this is to create useful content on your Web site that is of interest to the people you want to do business with. Strong content such as case studies, how to articles and white papers will attract new site visitors who find you through search engines, social media or referrals. You can then track the results using data analysis tools that measure the activity on your site.
Likewise, your goal for existing customers may be to keep them informed about any new capabilities you add, improvements to your facility, new hires who bring specific skills and other news of interest to your customers. Email blasts and e-newsletters are good, affordable vehicles for getting these messages across. Again, most email services provide statistics including how many people opened the email and pursued activities such as following a link to your Web site. These data enable you to measure the effectiveness of each effort.
These are just two examples of how setting specific marketing goals can help you gain a better return on your marketing investment and keep orders flowing through your pipeline.