STRATEGIC EARLY WARNING NETWORK | SEWN

Are You an Innie or an Outie?

One common issue we deal with at SEWN is working with manufacturers to broaden their client base. Whether you are a machine shop, a medical device manufacturer or a print shop, the one thing that you need is a broad client base. 

The one thing that you do not have is the time to cultivate that base on a client-by-client basis.

A strategic marketing plan will help you cultivate new customers while maintaining current clients, all without requiring you to spend your every waking hour at work.

Basically, you have two options when it comes to marketing – Inbound and Outbound. Inbound marketing pulls clients into your space. Outbound marketing pushes your company’s name into your client’s space. 

Inbound marketing is relatively inexpensive. Outbound marketing can become quite costly, buying advertisements in newspapers and magazines, creating commercials, attending trade shows.

Ideally, your strategic marketing plan should contain a mixture of the two. However, if you are operating on a shoestring budget, inbound marketing is often the biggest bang for the buck.

Inbound marketing begins with an enticing web site. Since many potential clients browse a variety of suppliers online, if you do not have an online presence, you are missing a large pool of motivated buyers.

Once your web site is refreshed, optimized and ready to go, create a blog.

If you are like most people, you will probably stop reading this article now. After all, you signed up to manufacture widgets, not write essays or create short films.

If you are a motivated manufacturer intent on generating new business, you will want to understand the value of blogging.

Your blog is your opportunity to talk about anything related to your field. You can discuss the effects of 3D printing on small machine shops. You can expound upon the advances in medical devices. You can discuss the cost of printing all of your own marketing materials versus sending them to a print shop.

In other words, talk to your audience about the subjects that interest you because chances are good that those topics also interest your potential clients. Offer them something of value in your blog. While they may not purchase from you right away, they will come to view you as an expert in your field. Once you have their attention, they will be more likely to turn to you when they are ready to buy.

Blog often and blog regularly. The more information you can offer potential clients, the better your chances are of converting them into current clients. 

Post short videos of how your machine shop makes a simple repair or someone using a medical device that you created or how a meeting banner goes from concept to finished product. The videos do not have to be commercial-quality. After all, you are not buying a spot during the Super Bowl. The point is to humanize your company so that potential clients can better relate to you and to your business.

Devoting as little as an hour at a time a few days each week will, over a relatively short amount of time, reap more interest in your company and broaden your client base.

For free, professional strategic marketing planning and many other small manufacturing enterprise services in the Southeast region, call Greg Olson, SEWN Regional Director at 215-776-0130 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation regarding your business transition. Or, if you prefer, you can email Greg at with your questions. And be sure to visit our web site at www.steelvalley.org for more information regarding all of SEWN’s services, our newsletters and success stories, and interesting, relevant blog articles to help you navigate today’s manufacturing environment.

SEWN was founded in 1989 to support the region’s manufacturers and preserve jobs. The Department of Labor embraced and sponsored the program in 1993 to protect Pennsylvania companies and jobs. Since then, we have expanded to five regional offices, helping hundreds of companies and saving thousands of jobs statewide. Today, SEWN is one of the most cost-effective jobs programs in the United States. Over the last five years SEWN’s job saving services have saved Pennsylvania more than $34.8 million in unemployment benefits (over $836 million if jobs/payroll multipliers are included). Since its inception, SEWN has contributed to the retention and revival of more than 900 industrial enterprises within Pennsylvania, impacting more than 20,000 jobs.