Advertising is one of the many effective ways to get the good word out about your shop. However there are a number of strategies—and media—that can serve as tools to successfully market your shop’s capabilities.
Byrne Tool & Die Inc. (Rockford, MI) has used trade magazines and associations in nonconventional ways to make a name for itself in the industry. The company has been recognized three years in a row. In 2008 it was named the Manufacturer of the Year by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce; in 2009 it won the Leadtime Leader Award: Small Shop; and in 2010 the AMBA named the shop the Mold Builder of the Year. Sending press releases to industry trade magazines and associations, and entering competitions and contests can increase your company’s industry presence without breaking the bank.
According to Byrne Tool Project Manager Andrew Baker, the company has received positive feedback from current customers and new contacts as a result of this increased exposure. “Last year we had our first exhibit at amerimold and are currently looking for other venues to exhibit at as well,” Byrne says. “We did come home with a few good contacts. Being at the show gets your name and face out to many people.”
Social media also are slowly catching on in the business world. According to Peter Zelinski, Senior Editor of Modern Machine Shop magazine, business-related use of social media by industrial professionals is small but growing. “Using social media isn’t mandatory for a moldmaking business,” he says. “But if you have an interest in seeing your business use social media this way, then you ought to pursue that interest. Being present in these channels provides a great way to build and maintain awareness for your shop—as long as you can keep giving attention to these media on a consistent basis.”
Zelinski recommends doing some basic things first. Any online strategy should still start with a comprehensive website. “This is the most natural way for people to seek information about you,” he states. “The site should be attractive, interesting, focused and clear—making plain what is different and important about your shop. If your site is sub-par in any of these areas, attend to this before investing time in social media.”
Both Zelinski and Cyndi Kustush, Marketing Manager for Wauconda, IL-based Progressive Components, tout LinkedIn as a valuable resource in the business community. “There are many helpful and interesting forums for the industry on LinkedIn and it should be something you should tap into,” she notes. “With time, it will no doubt become a commonly employed tool for growing manufacturing businesses.” Zelinski adds, “It is a wonderful resource not only for staying current with your own contacts, but also to ensure visibility in ways that have minimal impact on your time.”
Byrne Tool’s Baker notes that the company is looking into creating a Facebook and/or Twitter account over the next several months, and is hopeful it will also have a positive impact. “Ten years ago no one knew who Byrne Tool was, except our customers at that time,” Baker says. “Once we started creating a company image by joining groups and reaching out to trade magazines, it led us to many peers, industry leaders, politicians and marketing people. You can’t just be a member of an organization; you need to be involved in it. Because we are on different boards of these associations, our name is printed in the trade magazines monthly. Add a few articles about your company and people start to get interested.
“The more you are involved the more you benefit,” Baker concludes. “Marketing your company is important and does make a difference.”