Many machine shops are small, family owned and operated, and built on a network of personal contacts. In the past, when you needed to grow the bottom line, you added salespeople to your sales force. The truth is, today’s buyers won’t engage your sales team until they are ready. They are self-educating online long before engaging with your sales reps, making digital marketing an important part of growing your business.

Winning Over Today’s Decision Makers

Part of embracing digital marketing is creating content to win your audience’s attention. Publishing short articles, tips, tutorials and videos to an online blog and using social media sites to share your content will help your company grow a robust online presence and establish thought leadership. Doing this can help differentiate you from your competitors where value, products and services are otherwise similar.

Your first step in building a robust online presence is to think specifically about who your audience is and what their needs are. At what level is the purchase decision made? Who’s doing the initial research; Buyers, Production Managers, Engineers, Executives? What information is most important to them? What bottlenecks do they face? Then, write meaningful and useful content that addresses these needs, interests and concerns. Publish this content to your online blog and share it across social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Next, take a look at your website; does it contain the educational content and videos that your buyers would find helpful in making a purchase decision? Is your website and its content optimized for the search engines so prospects find you as a result when searching for the products, services and information they need? You’ll want to create business profiles with Google Business, Yelp and other online business directories to help build your online presence and increase your visibility in the search engines.

The third step is to understand how today’s buyers access information. As millennials start to take on more decision-making roles, it’s important to acknowledge their reliance on the digital world and understand their preferred means for business-related research. Customers today are far more likely to use digital channels including search engines, websites, video, social media and online reviews to make purchase decisions. Be sure you’re creating short, useful, informative content like videos, infographics, how-to articles and case studies, and publish them to the digital channels being used by today’s buyers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are great places to start. Creating a successful digital marketing plan is key to winning over today’s decision makers and growing your business.