The best eMarketing techniques for manufacturers and wholesalers

This week’s blog is the second in a series which looks at how eMarketing tactics and techniques apply to different industry sectors.

Like the retailers featured last week, eMarketing is now a vital component of the marketing mix for manufacturers and wholesalers.

Not only is the web a critical space for the promotion of their product, but, subject to the specific strategy, it is a major sales channel.

Listed below are the key eMarketing techniques with a rating of how effective the technique is likely to be to manufacturers and wholesalers. High = high effectiveness, Low = low effectiveness and so on.

Selling online: HIGH

On the one hand the web has provided manufacturers and wholesalers with an unprecedented opportunity to sell their product direct to their customer base. On the other, such a move could well upset the very channel they are likely to have spent years developing and nurturing – retailers. So care must be taken to decide whether to sell online or not and if so, are traditional channels going to be ditched altogether or carefully managed?

For some though the move to selling online could prove to be a business changing decision.

Search Engine Optimisation: HIGH

Even if you choose not to sell online, both end customers and your retailers will use the web to search for products like yours, and if yours is not prominent, you could lose the business to a competitor.

So it’s imperative that your website is not only optimised for relevant keywords and phrases, but your website provides as much information as possible in the form of photography, specifications, fact sheets and even video demonstrations.

Search engine advertising: HIGH

If your product category is especially competitive, you might find that you need to supplement your ‘organic’ (unpaid) search engine presence with an ongoing ‘pay per click’ advertising campaign. This strategy will ensure that you have some control over how prominent your product is on search engines, unlike ‘pure’ optimisation which can sometimes be very difficult and/or expensive to achieve desired results.

Email marketing: HIGH

Because your market is likely to be quite small in numbers compared to retailers, it’s easy to service your customer base with regular email marketing. Email provides a brilliant way to keep retailers and other stakeholders informed of new products, features, improvements, price and warranty changes and so on. It should be the key plank of your ongoing communication strategy.

Online directories and portals: HIGH

Many categories of manufacturing and wholesaling rely heavily on vertical portals or buyers guides as a means of promoting products within an industry.

For example, manufacturers of home or office decor and furnishings ensure they appear prominently in architecture guides like specifier.com.au so as they can be specified in architectural plans for building and renovations. These in turn are likely to be prominent on the search engines for specific terms – boosting your own search engine prominence due to their important relevancy to the search term in question. So a presence on these portals should be a priority on your eMarketing shopping list.

Banner advertising: MEDIUM

Banner advertising has the dual benefit of ‘on demand’ information and branding – so they have a ‘double life’. Because your business is likely to want to promote to the less congested and expensive consumer market in preference to a more defined industry market, banner advertising should be relatively affordable and yield a higher click through rate than its consumer equivalent.

Social networking: MEDIUM

Like retailers, success with social networking is less about business type and more about resources. If you are large enough to have dedicated marketing resources, an investment in social networking is likely to yield a positive return on investment. However, smaller manufacturers and wholesalers may not be able to justify the time.

In the meantime fashion satchel manufacturers Haul and Western Australian winery Wine by Brad are two examples of manufacturers that swear by social networking and report impressive results. Similarly those who target younger markets are likely to be enjoying strong results from having a presence in their end-customers’ medium of choice.

Affiliate marketing: MEDIUM

Unless you are selling directly to your markets, affiliate marketing may not work for manufacturers and wholesalers. The tactic is better suited to online selling because a sale can be tracked to its referral source and rewarded accordingly.

However, provided you choose some other measure (eg. pay per click or pay per sale to a third party), it could still yield good results due to its outstanding performance-based remuneration model.

While the exact mix of eMarketing tactics will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, what’s certain is that failure to include it in your promotional mix will lead to a significant failure in your marketing and in turn business success.

Do you agree or disagree with these ratings? Either way, tell us why below. We’d especially love to hear from manufacturers and wholesalers who have tried the techniques described.

For more Internet Secrets, click here.

Craig Reardon is a leading eBusiness educator and founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which provide the gamut of ‘pre-built’ website solutions, technologies and services to SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.

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