Marketing Strategies for a Thriving UK Industrial Sector

An industrial site thriving in the UK.

After several difficult years for the UK industrial sector, there are strong signs that the sector is starting to grow again. Q3 2023 was the first time since before the pandemic that exports exceeded internal UK orders, and by the end of the year, both Make UK and BDO had upgraded their forecasts for manufacturing growth for 2023 from -0.5% to +0.8%. UK GDP is forecast to grow by a modest 0.4% during 2024, which although falling short of pre-Covid, pre-Brexit levels, is a long way from a recession.

Get Your FREE Website Review

Growth drives more growth, and many business owners are welcoming the return of stability for the industrial and manufacturing sector as a sign of forecast-exceeding growth prospects for 2024 and the coming years.

For manufacturing or industrial SMEs, Q1 2024 may not be the time to throw caution to the wind. It is, however, a good opportunity to look at the ways in which your marketing strategy can equip you to take advantage of whatever opportunities come from the economic recovery.

Buyer persona analysis

Since 2019 – ever since many manufacturers thought they were looking down the barrel at ‘no deal’ Brexit – businesses have been marketing to a ‘scarcity economy’, framing their value propositions in terms of how their products and services can help customers stave off or survive a crisis. This approach may not work if your ideal customers are now planning for growth, so the return of optimism presents a good opportunity for the UK industrial sector to re-evaluate their buyer personas, and express the ways in which forward-looking products and services can enable smarter business decisions and prepare customers for expansion.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Manufacturing and industrial businesses stand to benefit from strong research positions on Google for customers making sales -related queries. However, to take full advantage of SEO, businesses should re-examine their search marketing strategy in light of the post-Brexit requirements of UK businesses.

With the re-shoring movement still in full flow, location-based SEO may give you higher search results, optimising your content to include UK city names, regions, and local references to strengthen your local market presence, and ensuring that your website, social platforms, and blog use British terminology and spellings to resonate with a predominantly domestic audience.

Content marketing

Free educational resources, case studies, and thought leadership articles will help showcase your businesses relevancy and expertise, and also provide value to potential customers eager for help and support. Content marketing isn’t about selling products and services directly, but about establishing your brand as a go-to authority for industry insights, cultivating trust and credibility in the process. In 2024, the two big stories are digital transformation in manufacturing, and sustainability and the environment. Your content should speak to the ways in which digital transformation is streamlining and changing the sector, and the ways in which your products and services can help your customers navigate and leverage the benefits of these changes. Manufacturing-focused marketing strategies should also reflect the growing and central importance of sustainability in the sector, highlighting any eco-friendly practices or products, and highlighting the ways in which your business can support customers with compliance and Net Zero KPIs.

Paid advertising

Pay per click (PPC) digital advertising on Google, LinkedIn, and other social platforms has never been cheaper, more accessible, or more effective. If you haven’t used PPC before or are still cautious about the potential returns, 2024 is the time to start making full strategic use of paid search and display adverts. Targeted investment in PPC (you don’t have to spend a fortune) can help put your business front and centre when customers are actively seeking solutions on Google and LinkedIn, supplementing your organic marketing strategies in the crucial consideration and decision stages of the buyer journey.

Cost-effective digital marketing strategies

While it makes sense to plan for a more positive near and mid-term for the sector, it still makes sense to be cautious in your expenditure. This is what makes digital marketing such a vast and untapped source for many businesses in the industrial sector, yielding strong returns from a modest outlay.

At JDR, we provide a range of tailored digital marketing services for manufacturing and industrial businesses throughout the country, and can help you extend the value of your marketing budget to reach more customers and make more sales. Please click here to get in touch with one of our experts today.

Get your copy of "how to get more leads from your website" guide

Image Source: Canva