The essentials of a marketing strategy for the steel industry
The availability of raw materials is a cornerstone of the American industrial sector, and clearly vital to its growth. Steel continues to be one of the main commodities purchased by buyers. Here are some basic marketing strategy must-haves to grow your business in the steel industry and tap into more market share.
Digital Marketing Strategy Must-Haves for 2022
Understand the customers you are trying to reach
Digital marketing allows you to stay in touch with customers and continue to be seen by new prospects – and more and more manufacturers are investing in its technologies. Indeed, today’s new era of B2B buyers are tech-savvy millennials and they research your services online before contacting you. Studies show that:
- 74% choose the supplier who was the first to add value and better understand their problems
- 67% rely more on content and search than a year ago
- 80% expect the same shopping experience as B2C customers
Reports show that manufacturers can no longer avoid the reach and effectiveness of digital marketing and have adapted their approach to outdated tactics like print ads to generate new customers using their website and digital advertisements.
Provide the online content buyers need
With buyers searching for your services online, your website is an important foundation for your growth efforts. They just can’t find you if you’re not there. [See exactly who’s searching for you with a free Custom In-Market Buyer Report]
Today, 47% of consumers expect a webpage 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 in functionality and control to the desktop version, visitors may get frustrated with the poor user experience and turn to a competitor.
Buyers like to seek advice in your industry and educate themselves before contacting you. Present yourself as a trusted leader by posting free resources, guides, and case studies that address common buyer challenges.
Infra-Metals presents all of its material specifications organized in catalog form. This helps their engineers and buyers see exactly what Infra-Metals has in stock and how their materials can meet their project requirements. It just makes the customer’s job easier, which is essential for winning new customers.
In addition to updating your website’s mobile features and content pages, prioritize key components to encourage website conversions. This means including simple solutions on your website for prospects and customers to contact you or submit their information. For example, your Contact Us page offers several options for website visitors to contact you, such as a one-click call button, quote request forms, email address, and 24-hour service CTAs. and 7 days a week. Make sure they are visible at all times.
The Continental Steel Contact Us page is designed for lead generation. Note that website visitors have many options to contact Continental Steel depending on their needs – a basic form, an emergency quote request, a future project quote request, etc.
See more examples:
Regularly track your current lead generation efforts
Before making any changes, it’s important to see the performance of your current marketing efforts (if any). For most manufacturers, that would mean digging in your reporting tools such as Google Analytics and by reviewing key website components Like:
- Keyword performance
- Optimized images
- Page titles and descriptions
- Contact buttons
- Mobile page speed
If you don’t know how to analyze your website’s efforts, that’s okay! It may be necessary to hire industry experts to fully assess your website content, SEO traffic, mobile friendliness, etc., and understand what all those details mean. All of these reports are important so you can see where to allocate your resources, make more informed business decisions, and prove ROI.
Thomas’ Free digital health check can review your steel fabrication website and view a detailed comparison of your website against your competitors.
“Thomas saw our blind spots we didn’t know existed and filled them with data and technology to help fuel our sales and marketing efforts,” said Brad Godwin, CEO of E2Global. “Thomas is truly a partner in E2Global’s digital marketing transformation and engages my internal team to do better. You don’t find many companies like Thomas who take full responsibility for the full growth of your efforts.”
Online directories to promote your business in the steel industry
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 business information into online directories such as:
Take the time to make sure your business name, address, and phone number are consistent across all platforms. This ensures that you bring traffic to your website, that prospects and customers can find you, and that your brand remains professional. The right content combined with digital strategies such as SEO will help drive high quality search engine traffic to your website and add location-based keywords to relevant pages such as steel in New York” or “custom steel and metal fabricator in New England”. will help attract buyers who are looking 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 manufacturing dollars, which is a direct result of advertising on Thomas. Currently, we have attributed the 200% increase in CHE sales to our internet marketing program that we have developed with Thomasnet.com.”
Learn more: How to Market to Defense Industry Buyers Online
Many manufacturers include paid advertising strategies such as displaying ads and promoted content to amplify their reach, increase awareness of their steel services, and drive traffic to their website. Managing paid advertising campaigns on search platforms can be expensive if you’re new to 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 hosts over 1.2 million B2B professionals who source industrial products and services. Manufacturers in the steel industry have the opportunity to announce a new service in our email newsletter (read by over 300,000 B2B and MRO buyers!) or show how proud your family business is with the video advertising.
➡️ Thomas Done: Vendors who advertise with videos (like the one below) on their Thomasnet.com business profile get 32% increased engagement and bidding – with some seeing increases of up to 70%. You can have a video produced for free (like the one below) with the purchase of an adware program.
In the email newsletter announcement example below, Uber Freight chooses the audience (e.g. agricultural, construction, etc.) to whom it wants to promote its discounted service. The ad drives qualified visitors to their website to submit the form and convert to a lead!
Generate leads with a digital marketing strategy
Is your marketing strategy defined to meet the needs of your buyers? Today’s business and consumer landscape is changing to become more digital every day. A complete digital marketing strategy for steel industry manufacturers has many components, but you can start with a few website updates. Studies show that 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business if they don’t have a website. Your website should therefore be the foundation of your growth efforts. Our free eBook The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing for Makers will outline all the steps you need to take to grow your business to 2022 and beyond.
If you have any questions along the way, Contact us to learn how Thomas’ online solutions increase your reach to audiences seeking your steel services and enable your team to generate new leads, sell new business and attract new customers. We’ve been connecting B2B buyers with suppliers for over 122 years and can perform a free digital health check on your website to show you exactly what you need to achieve your growth goals.
“Partnering with Thomas has allowed us to develop customer relationships that have allowed us to stay more stable as the economy grows. We were able to create a whole new company for our business through Thomas,” said Ken Carlton , vice president of Corrugated Metals.