Independent contractors who work for manufacturing companies used to depend on attending trade shows and networking events. There is an easier way to take your business to the next level, though. Digital marketing is the key to connecting with more potential customers and clients than ever before while generating additional leads and brand awareness along the way. It can be tricky figuring out where to get started, but these five tips will get the ball rolling in no time.
1. Define Your Target Personas
The first step in any digital marketing campaign should be defining who your ideal customers are. Independent contractors have a unique approach for this. Since you can hire yourself out to either clients or larger organizations, your target personas may include individuals as well as other businesses. In manufacturing specifically, this might consist of identifying certain types of companies or industry professionals that would be likely to work with you. Either way, the key is to determine who would benefit most from what you have to offer.
A good place to start is with broad market segmentation categories, such as location or demographics. Suppose you are an independent contractor based out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In that case, you might define one of your target personas as small or medium businesses in the construction industry within a 25-mile radius. Knowing who you want to reach will allow you to tailor your language and presentation to the most interested parties.
2. Become a Business
Defining yourself formally as a business rather than an individual contractor has a couple of benefits. From a marketing standpoint, it makes you appear more professional and trustworthy. Legally, becoming a business can help you avoid issues with certain gig worker laws that have greatly impacted independent contractors.
The law that has stirred the most controversy is California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which defines the point at which businesses must compensate independent contractors as employees. While AB5 and other legislation like it have their positives and negatives, they do tend to muddy the waters.
Businesses retain the independence to work with anyone on their terms. Plus, potential partners and clients may be more interested in working with you because they won’t have to deal with the independent contractor complications, either. This is in addition to the previously mentioned appearance benefits that would give you a leg up against competitors. It shows you are serious about your skills, resources, and knowledge, and are more than a gig worker.
3. Polish Your Website
At the core of any digital marketing strategy is your website, with social media profiles close behind. If traditional marketing aims to get people to visit a storefront, the goal of digital marketing for independent contractors is to get people to visit your website. This site is your home base online, the hub for all you have to offer the industry, as well as your main conduit for acquiring new customers or clients.
Ideally, you want your whole digital marketing strategy to bring people to your website. The most effective way to do this is to build your site for search engine optimization (SEO). This can be a complicated process, but it is well worth the time and effort.
The goal is to get your website to the top of search engine results for certain keywords related to your business, thereby getting the attention of potential customers who are already looking for services like yours. Doing this properly requires you to have a good understanding of your target personas.
Your website’s design is also crucial. It should be clean and easy to navigate. When organizing your pages, consider what a potential customer might want to find on your site. Create tabs for all your main pages, including your blog. Content marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies and a great way for independent contractors to show off their knowledge to potential clients.
4. Create a Distinctive Brand Identity
A brand identity represents who you are as an individual and a business and helps you stand out from competitors. For inspiration, take a look at companies you like or identify with. What do you like about their branding? Is it the color scheme? Maybe they have a fun mascot that appears in their logo or use a font that matches their industry.
Consider again the perspective of your target personas and what might appeal to them best. Certain colors carry specific connotations, so choosing the right ones can help paint a picture of your brand identity in customers’ minds. Sometimes branding is affected by location, as well. In Pittsburgh, many businesses use black and gold Steelers’ colors in their branding.
5. Connect with Influencers
When people hear the word “influencer,” they tend to think of YouTube personalities or people who work with fashion or makeup brands. In reality, influencers are a core part of every market and industry. They are people whose opinion carries weight in their field.
For independent contractors working in the manufacturing sector, these influencers could be larger organizations you’ve worked with or notable clients who have hired you. They could also be bloggers or YouTubers who often cover your niche of the industry. Working with them is a great way to establish credibility with your target audience.
Remember, influencers are people who are already trusted by your target personas as reliable and impartial sources of information. Your connection with them must be authentic, or customers may not connect with your messaging.
Marketing Made Easy for Independent Contractors
Finding success as an independent contractor in the manufacturing industry is about more than doing good work. Potential clients are looking for talented, knowledgeable experts like you, and the best way to help them find you is by implementing a robust digital marketing strategy. It is an important part of your business and deserves plenty of time and careful consideration to be truly effective.
The tips on this list will give you a place to start. With a little time and effort, you’ll begin seeing your hard work pay off with more leads, referrals, and happy customers.