Digital marketing has been a branch of business development that’s been often overlooked by most in the machine tool industry. In its most basic form, having a website that effectively conveys your message and reaches your prospects can give you an edge over your competitors. Yes, local machine tool distributors thrive on repeat customers. However, as the younger generations sub in for the Baby Boomers, changes in the way people shop for machine tool equipment are expected. Machine equipment and tooling users purchase new units because either the old ones wear out or they are expanding. How do they make sure about their next investment? How do they give your shop a shot? All reputable machine builders have local distributor support in nearly every state. So any given end user will have at least one local distributor within driving distance. How do you reel in these local potential customers?
Continuous Growth of the Machine Tool Industry
The machine tool consumption in the US has increased by 11% (to $7.7B) within the last 2 years. Job shops account for $2.2B of it. In the most recent International Manufacturing Technology Show last September 2018, the show hit a record-breaking 129,415 registrants. The last highest record was 20 years ago. The show VP, Peter Eelman, attributes this to the “rapid growth of digital technology, automation and additive manufacturing are especially driving interest. The booming manufacturing economy means visitors have the capital and are ready to invest.”
Quick Digital Marketing Tips for Distributors
Here are some digital marketing efforts that you can cost-effectively implement to gain more leads:
- Responsive Website – 60% of searches online are now made via smartphones. This is not to say that machine tool users will now start researching entirely on their phones. This just means that online searchers. More importantly, Google has changed its algorithm to prioritize mobile-friendly sites and penalize the ones that are not. Nearly 90% of the machine tool distributors in our database don’t even have a decent working website to begin with. Having a presentable and mobile-friendly site will not only be pleasing to the eyes of Google, but also to your buying customers as well.
- Local Search Engine Optimization – Getting your keywords to rank high on Google is definitely easier when you have a target geographic area. If “surface grinders for sale” is a search phrase that you’d like to rank on, you don’t need to compete against distributors that are out of state. Using local SEO techniques can get you to appear higher on Google much faster, locally. In most cases, that is all you need.
- Local Pay-Per-Click – Google and Bing PPC services might seem expensive at the national level. However, the cost per click significantly decreases the more you narrow down your targeted region. Couple that with a highly targeted niche, then now you are looking at about less than 50 cents a click for a possible lead.
- Social Media – 82% of Baby Boomers and seniors now spend more time online more than watching TV. This same group also own an average of 4.6 online accounts per user – Facebook and LinkedIn being the most common. Combine this with the millennial crowd, who we already know are active online users, then that easily makes up almost everybody. Facebook’s advertising platform allows you to inexpensively market to reach out to its users. Having your ad show up on your customers’ news feed might be enough to keep you in their “to call” list the next time they’re ready.
To summarize, the machine tool industry has been growing and will continue to grow. In addition, there is a growing percentage of younger purchasing influencers that relies on the Internet for shopping comparison. These mean more machine tool equipment purchases will be made – decisions made from researching online. Improving your digital marketing efforts improves your odds of capturing more sales leads in this transition in machine tool equipment buying.