Email marketing has emerged as a pivotal tool in the manufacturing sector, diverging from general marketing approaches with its unique demands and opportunities. This sector, marked by its technical nature and niche audiences, leverages email marketing to establish a more intimate communication channel with its audience. Unlike the broad and often impersonal strategies employed in other industries, email marketing in manufacturing is tailored to impact business growth by addressing specific needs and pain points of the industry.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through email marketing for the manufacturing sector, including tips and strategies to try. 

Laying Your Email Marketing Groundwork

Before you hit the ground running with your email marketing, you need to take three very important steps. 

1. Understand Your Audience

Before you get started, you have to know who you’re talking to. 

Manufacturing companies often target a wide range of individuals and organizations with their marketing efforts. The specific targets can vary significantly depending on the nature of the products being manufactured, whether they are consumer goods, industrial equipment, or B2B products. Here are some of the primary types of people and entities that manufacturing companies commonly target with their marketing:

Business Customers (B2B)

  • Procurement Managers: Individuals responsible for purchasing products or raw materials needed for their company’s operations. They are interested in product quality, cost-effectiveness, reliability, and supplier relationships.
  • Industry Professionals and Engineers: This group is targeted for products requiring technical expertise. They are interested in the specifications, capabilities, and innovations of products.
  • Executives and Decision-Makers: Senior-level managers and executives who make final purchasing decisions. They are concerned with strategic partnerships, return on investment (ROI), and products that align with their company’s goals.

Distributors and Retailers

These intermediaries are essential for getting products to market, especially for manufacturers that do not sell directly to the end consumer. Their concerns include product demand, supply chain efficiency, and profit margins.

End Users or Consumers

For manufacturers of consumer goods, the end consumer is a key marketing target. This group can be further segmented by demographics, interests, and buying behaviors. Marketing strategies here focus on product benefits, brand image, and emotional appeals.

Government and Institutional Buyers

Many manufacturers target government agencies and institutions (such as hospitals, schools, and military organizations) that require large-scale procurement of products or specialized equipment. These entities are interested in compliance, durability, and value for money.

Contractors and Builders

For manufacturers of construction materials, tools, or equipment, targeting contractors and builders is crucial. These professionals look for reliability, performance, and compliance with industry standards.

Manufacturing Partners

This group is other manufacturing companies that might use the manufacturer’s products as components or raw materials in their own production processes. These B2B relationships focus on quality, supply chain reliability, and long-term partnerships.

Investors and Financial Analysts

Although not traditional customers, investors and analysts are key targets for some manufacturing companies’ marketing efforts, especially for those looking to attract investment or improve stock market performance. The focus here is on financial health, growth potential, and market position.

Industry Influencers and Thought Leaders

Influencers, experts, and thought leaders within specific industries can impact purchasing decisions and trends. Engaging with these individuals through content marketing, partnerships, or events can help shape product perceptions and enhance brand visibility.

Regulatory Bodies

While not direct customers, maintaining positive relationships with regulatory bodies is crucial for manufacturers, especially in industries like pharmaceuticals, food production, and chemicals. Marketing efforts may include communication strategies focused on compliance, safety, and environmental responsibility.

2. Set Clear Email Marketing Objectives

Setting clear and measurable objectives is vital for any email marketing campaign. Objectives can vary depending on your needs, but each goal requires a different approach and success metrics to evaluate its effectiveness.

Here are some objectives that your email marketing can help achieve:

3. Build a Quality Email List

The backbone of any successful email campaign is a high-quality email list. For manufacturers, this involves implementing opt-in methods, ensuring GDPR compliance, and segmenting the list to cater to various sub-groups within the audience. This segmentation is key to delivering more targeted and relevant messages (but more on that later). 

Email Content Strategies for Manufacturers

To resonate with a manufacturing audience, email content must be informative and relevant. This could include:

  • Educational Content: Share insights, tutorials, and how-to guides related to your products or industry. This can help position your company as a thought leader and go-to resource for information, which is particularly effective in B2B contexts where purchase decisions are highly informed.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Looks: Offer a glimpse into your manufacturing processes, team, or company culture. This type of content can humanize your brand and build a stronger emotional connection with your audience.
  • Customer Stories and Case Studies: Share real-world examples of how your products or services have helped other customers. This not only demonstrates your product in action but also builds credibility and trust through social proof.
  • Industry News and Trends: Keep your audience informed about the latest developments in your industry. This shows that you’re on top of trends and committed to providing value beyond just selling products.
  • Educational Series or Courses: Create a series of emails that offer educational content, such as a mini-course on a relevant topic. This can help nurture leads over time, providing them with valuable information that moves them closer to a purchase decision.

Email Marketing Best Practices 

With every strategy comes a set of rules and guidelines to follow. That is what I’d consider the following for email marketing. While you can craft an email without following the tips below, it isn’t recommended if you want to see results. 

Optimize Design and Layout 

Email design in manufacturing should focus on clarity, responsiveness, and visual appeal. Given the technical nature of the audience, emails should be easily readable on various devices, incorporate relevant visual elements, and include clear calls-to-action that guide readers to the next steps.

Utilize Personalization and Segmentation

Personalizing email content and segmenting the audience can lead to significantly higher engagement. This might mean tailoring messages to address the specific needs of engineers versus procurement professionals, for example, thereby increasing the email’s relevance and impact.

Automate Email Campaigns

Automation tools are invaluable in manufacturing email marketing. They streamline the process of sending out drip campaigns and transactional emails, as well as nurturing leads through various stages of the sales funnel, ensuring timely and relevant communication.

Integrate with Other Marketing Channels

Integrating email marketing with other digital channels, such as social media, content marketing, and digital advertising, creates a more cohesive and effective overall marketing strategy. This integration ensures consistent messaging across platforms, maximizing the campaign’s reach and impact.

Analyze and Measuring Success

To refine future campaigns, it’s essential to track key performance indicators such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. These metrics provide insights into what works and what doesn’t, enabling more targeted and successful future campaigns.

Adhere to Legal and Ethical Standards

Compliance with laws like CAN-SPAM and GDPR is non-negotiable, especially in an international arena. Manufacturers must be vigilant in adhering to these standards to maintain their reputation and avoid legal repercussions.

Email marketing in the manufacturing sector is a nuanced and dynamic field. By understanding the unique characteristics of their audience, setting clear objectives, and leveraging the latest tools, manufacturers can harness the full potential of email marketing to drive growth and success.

Author Bio:

by Jessica Lunk

Digital Marketing Manager