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MailChimp recently updated its branding and website design. What caught the eye were the font treatments: big, bold, crisp and black, the words seemed to jump off the page. They were also much easier to read.

Whether you read on your phone, tablet or laptop, the vast majority of us are glued to our devices. Reading online, while convenient, also has its drawbacks.

The flickering light can cause eye strain and headaches, and reading small text becomes exhausting. Which is why it’s important to optimize website text for reading – something most people don’t consider, but good copywriters and web designers do.

Text that’s been well-designed for reading does two things: It makes it easier for buyers to view what you have to say without strain, and two, it gets your message across because . . . people are reading it and understanding it. When comprehension goes up, so does taking the next step in the sales process (e.g. contacting you).

In addition, legible font sizes is one of the over 200 signals that goes into Google’s ranking algorithm.

What follows are a few of the items good designers take into consideration when optimizing website text for ease of reading.

Text Size

Google recommends having a font size of 12px for at least 60% of text on a page.

A font this size means you can comfortably read the text without having to pinch-to-zoom or bringing the phone close to your face.

Font sizes can also be too big. When this happens, you’re forced to scroll too often on a smaller device in order to read a paragraph.

Text Color

In the early 1990s, Colin Wheildon published Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes?

The book was remarkable because Wheildon used research and eye tracking studies to prove that most of the print advertisements of his time were simply unreadable – and thus did nothing to help sell products.

fOne of the many studies he conducted was on text color. He showed, through testing, that when a black font was used, more people readily retained what they read, and that the lighter the font, the less they retained.

It works the same for web pages. The darker (and blacker) the text, the easier it is to read.

Designers also need to account for color blindness, contrast with background colors, and differences in color display from screen-to-screen when selecting text colors.


The web differs from print in one huge way: not everyone will see text exactly as you intended it. Different screens, and individual device settings and preferences, mean fonts won’t look the same for everyone. Designers check that the fonts themselves are readable.

Fonts should be crisp, not jagged or blurry, and have a good weight and proper spacing so they’re readable on a variety of devices.

Line Length

Classic readability theory suggests the ideal column width, for ease of reading, is 70 – 80 characters per line (about 8 – 10 words in English).

When the line length is too long, you have to move your eyes (or even your head) too much – which quickly becomes tiring.

When line length is too short, it’s especially hard for readers on phones because they have to scroll down the page too often and can’t take in the text at a glance.

Line Length

Ever read text where the lines were all crammed far too closely? This type of design makes for a tiring reading experience because your eyes have to work harder to follow where you are in the text, without getting distracted by the lines above and below.

Designers generally set line heights somewhere between 120 – 150% of the font size. There’s even a golden ratio mathematical formula for how to best space out text!

Choosing a design firm

As you can see, many factors go into ensuring website text is optimized for comfortable reading.

When selecting a web design firm, look closely at how easy it is to read the text on the websites they’ve designed in the past, both on your laptop and phone.

When working with a web designer, be vigilant in checking everything is easy to read. Speak up if something looks too small, too light, or simply “unreadable” to you.

Web Typography Do’s and Don’ts

DO use smaller or “chunked” paragraphs of one to three sentences. Long paragraphs are difficult to read online.

DO use subheads, bullets, and other elements to help people quickly find the information they’re looking for.

DO check your web pages on a phone to ensure you can easily read the text without having to “pinch” it to make it larger.

DO have multiple people proofread your content before making it live – it’s easy miss typos.

DON’T use all capitals for paragraphs of text (for headers and sub-heads, it’s ok). Text in all caps is considered rude and the equivalent of shouting at someone.

DON’T underline words that aren’t linked to something else as this confuses site visitors.

DON’T italicize text as it’s hard to read. If you need to emphasize a word, phrase or sentence, bold it.

DON’T use small (less than 12 px) text or very large (greater than 16 px) text for paragraphs as both are difficult to read, especially on smaller devices.

DON’T use a double space after periods. It’s not necessary. The extra space creates “rivers of white” on the page – and drives copywriters and designers insane.

Looking for a great web design firm that also understands manufacturing?

Take a look at our Website Overhaul services. We work exclusively with manufacturers to design websites that help solve three big challenges: Attracting skilled labor, lowering customer service costs, and generating leads that become sales.

The post Don’t Tire Buyers Out: Optimizing Manufacturing Website Text for Ease-of-Reading appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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Three out of four small business owners, when surveyed, responded they wouldn’t do anything differently with regard to recruiting candidates – even though survey respondents across all sectors report they’re having serious trouble finding people with the right skills.

In fact, fewer than 10% of respondents endorsed adopting new recruitment strategies next year, such as finding new ways to advertise (6%), increasing pay (4%), adjusting the job description (3%), offering internships (3%), connecting with colleges (2%), working with headhunters (2%), or offering more benefits (1%).

Among those who searched for candidates in 2018, two in three say they will use the exact same strategy to search in 2019.

All we can say is, “Wow.”

If you’d like to try some proven strategies for attracting skilled labor, be sure to see our piece, “5 Strategies for Marketing Open Manufacturing Jobs.”

The chart below shows an overview of the recruitment strategies used by small businesses in 2018. To view this and other data in depth, visit the MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index website.

Want more job recruitment marketing strategies like this?

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The post Despite Challenges, Employers Don’t Have Plans to Change Recruitment Strategies appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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Because of its close alignment with branding and marketing, “corporate culture” is being talked about more frequently in the media and business circles.

Culture is also one of those “fuzzy” topics that most manufacturers don’t talk about. But, with today’s tight labor market and strong focus on attracting and retaining skilled labor, more manufacturers are paying attention.

In this piece, I’ll cover what is culture and the importance of communicating it to current employees and job seekers (and even prospective customers).

The difference between organizational development and corporate culture

Organization Development (OD) is a broad term and field. It’s about helping organizations change and enhance their performance. Within very large companies, OD falls under Human Resources (HR).

Many small companies don’t think about organizational development.

Culture, on the other hand, is a system of beliefs, and the mindset, that drive the norms and behaviors that impact decision making, communication, and results. All organizations, no matter their size, have their own distinct culture.

A good analogy is to think about your family of origin. You know which behaviors and norms are accepted within your family. You have certain ways of speaking and acting. You can’t “see” these behaviors and norms, but you know they exist.

It works the same way for organizations. Culture develops over time as the beliefs and mindsets take hold. When new people come into the organization, they adapt to the culture. When people leave the organization, they don’t take the culture with them.

Understanding your own company’s culture is important if you want to make internal changes, especially if they cross the cultural “grain.” If you don’t understand your culture, and the best way to make these changes, they won’t hold – and you’ll probably encounter resistance.

Knowing your culture is also important when you’re seeking new employees. If your culture values being proactive and solving problems, versus waiting to be told what to do, you’ll have a very hard time attracting and retaining the right kinds of employees if this aspect of your culture isn’t being communicated clearly.

Becoming more aware of your own culture so you can begin communicating it to prospective job seekers

The first step in communicating your company’s culture is to understand it. You can sit down with a corporate culture consultant or do internal workshops or surveys with your employees.

You can ask employees to describe how they perceive your organization’s culture. What do they value? What do they like about working there? What’s challenging? What would they like to change?

Pose these questions to all of your employees. You, as the leader, have a limited view – and often, leaders don’t understand how all aspects of their culture works.

When you ask employees for their feedback, you engage them and help retain them. But, you have to act on the information – otherwise, you’ll lose their trust.

Culture goes beyond benefits and perks – and even morale. People often confuse morale and culture, but they’re not the same. For example, your company’s holiday party may heighten morale temporarily, but it most likely won’t change how your culture operates.

Culture is about expectations and behaviors. “We value people who are proactive or incredibly precise.” Or, “We value ingenuity and resourcefulness.”

When describing expectations, you have to be brutally honest. Enron, for example, had posters saying it valued “integrity” – and you know the ending of that story.
Next, ask yourselves, “What will attract people to our culture? What are we offering?”

Showcase your company’s innovative spirit

Showcasing your innovation is huge. Younger people especially want to know they’re contributing to something larger than themselves.

People in manufacturing are often contributing to the greater good. In one company we worked with, for example, the employees discovered their products save lives as they’re used in the aerospace and aeronautics industries.

Once the employees articulated this, they began viewing their jobs with a much different perspective. What they did was important – and their care and precision was a critical element in adding to the greater good.

Why it’s important to communicate your values on your website and within marketing materials

For job seekers, learning about the company’s values is important because they’re looking for a values match.

“Is the company heading where I’m heading?” “Are expectations clear?” “Is the environment innovative?”

Putting this type of information on a manufacturing website is sometimes counter-intuitive, especially for leaders who come from the old-school mentality of “people should come in and do their jobs.”

But today, more people are looking for a connection. They want to know what your company is about, your relationship to the local community, and what employees say about working for you.

Culture is something you definitely want to understand and give time to. The better you understand your culture and how it works, the easier it is to talk about, as well as create the messages that attract and retain the right types of people.

Want more job recruitment marketing strategies like this?

Subscribe to Manufacturing Marketing Magazine — the only magazine with practical marketing strategies for industrial manufacturers.

Use the sign-up form below.

The post Communicating Company Culture in Job Recruitment Marketing appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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At some point, a manufacturer will ask if it’s possible to sell products to distributors and/or end-users online. Asking this question makes sense as it’s relatively easy, with the tools and platforms available, to integrate e-commerce with an existing website.

However, e-commerce is one facet of an entire business. It ties into everything, from inventory and order entry to shipping and distribution. For manufacturers, e-commerce can quickly become complex with tens of thousands of SKUs, customizations, multiple pricing models or currencies, and other issues.

While all of these issues are worthy of discussion, the two main challenges faced by manufacturers, when deciding to sell products online are: choosing the right e-commerce platform and then preparing the data for migration.

Can the product/s be sold online?

Not all products lend themselves to e-commerce. One manufacturer, for example, sold custom welders used for making vehicle siding. Each welder was 25’ wide and was made-to-order based on the customer’s specifications. Because of the customizations, e.g. system add-ons and parts to suit the customer’s workspace, the manufacturer would have had a difficult time selling the product through an e-commerce platform.

For this type of specialized product, we recommend a content heavy website that answers people’s questions and encourages them to initiate contact, whether through email, phone or RFQ. E-commerce is a viable option, however, for manufacturers with standalone products, complete systems sold as kits, or consumables and replacement parts.

Challenge #1: Choosing the right e-commerce platform

If you have a small catalog, a limited number of SKUs and/or variables, no custom pricing, and you mainly sell directly to your end users, Shopify is a great starting point. The platform has a low cost to entry, is easy to set up and use, and offers pre-built themes.

The basic theme (which is free) is easily customized to provide a seamless experience for site visitors. It also integrates well with WordPress.

However, Shopify has many limitations for manufacturers wanting to grow their online business. Integrating with back-end systems and ERPs is difficult, and custom pricing and catalogs aren’t native. For example, manufacturers of widgets sell in volume, not one-offs, and pricing is based on the volume ordered, material, any design customizations, and when the parts are needed.

In addition, the customer may want to place one order of 10,000 pieces, but have five shipments of 2,000 pieces shipped at specific times of the year.

Manufacturers may have different pricing for different clients or groups (e.g. distributors versus end-users) or some customers need approval to place orders over specific dollar amounts and simply want to generate a quote to start the PO process.

For these complex scenarios and many others, Shopify falls short.

For manufacturers wanting a more robust, flexible and scalable platform, Magento is the e-commerce platform of choice.

Magento offers manufacturers rich out-of-the-box features, seamless third-party integrations and an easy to use-to-use backend. Negotiated pricing and custom catalogs are easy to set up, and you can even sell to B2B customers on terms with credit limits.

Many manufacturers start on Shopify (or other similar e-commerce platforms), but as their business grows, move to Magento for its B2B features and functionality.

Challenge #2: Preparing the data

Once the decision has been made to migrate to Magento, manufacturers new to e-commerce and with large numbers of SKUs (in the tens or hundreds of thousands) typically run into the overwhelming hurdle of preparing the data for migration. This hurdle is usually due to one of two scenarios.

Scenario #1: The product catalog is literally a PDF catalog available as a download on the website. Or, the catalog is broken down into various pieces on the website.

The problem with the catalog-is-a-PDF is that site visitors can’t apply filters to find what they’re looking for. For example, when you shop online at a retailer, you typically apply filters based on specific attributes: men’s shoes / boots / size / color / style.

It works the same way for B2B products – buyers need to apply filters to make it easier to find what they’re looking for. A PDF, or flat HTML or WordPress website, doesn’t give them this option.

Scenario #2: The product catalog incorporates tens of thousands of variations or attributes, which haven’t been mapped out or categorized.

In this scenario, a manufacturer may have a spreadsheet that lists all of the products and part numbers, but the attributes for each part number are listed in one field – which means they have to be pulled out one by one before the data can be migrated to the e-commerce platform.

Whether the data resides in a PDF or a spreadsheet, the process is same – extracting the data and creating a taxonomy. This process can take the better part of a year.

A good e-commerce partner will usually have third-party resources available to make this process move more efficiently. In addition to working with the manufacturer to prepare the data, the e-commerce partner also helps map out the sales and order process, and how the e-commerce system will tie into existing systems such as CRM, ERP, accounting, etc.

The e-commerce partner will also set up permissions and rules for who can access the system and at which levels, as well as creating rules and permissions for various customer types.

Although a complex operation, once the e-commerce system is up and running, manufacturers find that having an online ordering system helps increase sales and makes it easier to work with customers. Even better, a robust and flexible system such as Magento creates efficiencies across the board that improve customer service while reducing costs.

The following chart lists out the advantages and disadvantages of Shopify and Magento for B2B e-commerce.

Magento versus Shopify for B2B e-commerce

Want more manufacturing marketing strategies like this?

Subscribe to Manufacturing Marketing Magazine — the only magazine with practical marketing strategies for industrial manufacturers.

Use the sign-up form below.

The post E-Commerce for Manufacturers: Shopify versus Magento appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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As a manufacturer, you may have different customer types to whom you market. They could be other small business owners or CEOs of very large companies.

Or, you may have customers in different industries, such as agriculture or mining. When different customer types are looking for specific information, have different needs, or require a specialist language, you’ll need to communicate this through your website’s messaging and organization.

When it comes to home page design and addressing multiple customer or audience types, however, things can sometimes get a little tricky.

One reason is due to the limited amount of real estate on the home page. Another reason is you may have more than a few customer types – so how do you address them all? Companies go about this in various ways depending on what they’re selling and to whom.


Providers of a software application, Hawksearch has three grey boxes that allow people to self-select who they are: Marketer, Merchandiser, and Developer (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Hawksearch customer type selector

Select one of the boxes and the image / copy changes. This method of addressing multiple audiences enables the company to present an overview for each customer type without overwhelming visitors. Very nice and easy!

MacroAir Fans

MacroAir Fans, manufacturers of large fans, also has three audiences or “fan space” types: Industrial, Commercial, and Residential (Figure 2).

Figure 2: MacroAir Fans lets people choose a fan by type of space

Each blue box describes the respective audiences within each space, which makes it easy for people to self-select and learn more. The “Industrial” box, for example, includes “warehouses, manufacturing, and agriculture.” A manufacturer looking for a warehouse or factory fan sees it and thinks, “manufacturing warehouse . . . yep, that’s the one I need.”

Again, very nice and easy.

K2 Castings

K2 Castings, a client, also had the dilemma of reaching multiple audiences within the industrial recycling industry – and each with a very different purpose: Selling industrial shredder parts, shredder performance consulting, and construction management projects.

Founder and CEO Tom Stanek used a similar format to MacroAir: three images with descriptive copy on each one (Figure 3). Each image links the searcher to the appropriate area of the website.

Figure 3: K2 Castings helps people find the right area of the website without a lot of clicking

These are just three examples of how to address multiple audiences. Others exist as well.

In addition to using three images to address their respective audiences, all three examples have one other thing in common: they use static images rather than rotating images.

Static versus Rotating Images

Many designers and web usability experts aren’t fans of rotating images. Research shows that rotating images (also called sliders, carousels, sliders, and slideshows) are largely ignored by site visitors – usually because they’re viewed as ad banners.

Here’s what Craig Kistler, Founder of conversion rate optimization firm Strategy & Design Co., had to say about them after 15 years of running usability tests:

“In all the testing I have done, homepage carousels are completely ineffective . . . In test after test, the first thing the visitor did when coming to a page with a large carousel is scroll right past it and start looking for triggers that will move them forward with their task.”

When you have multiple audiences, it’s important to immediately indicate your key messages to all your visitors. When rotating images are used to address multiple audiences, you end up hiding information from the vast majority of your visitors – because few will take the time to view all the slides.

Other disadvantages of having rotating images include making the page slower to load, which can frustrate visitors and impact search engine ranking. One website we viewed, for example, had 20 rotating images on the home page header!

Rotating images that include text in the images themselves are typically difficult to read on smaller mobile devices and ignored by on-the-go searchers.

When considering how to address multiple customer types on your home page, keep in mind the following:

Less is more – The tendency for marketing teams is to cram everything onto the home page, which is why a website ends up with a large carousel. Think through your audiences, who you’re trying to reach, and why.

Keep it simple – The easier it is for people to self-select, the better. You want people to have a glitch-free user experience.

Think “next step” – The goal, when addressing multiple audiences, is to get people to where they need to be on your website without a lot of clicking around. In other words, you want to make it easy and fast – without any thinking required by the site visitor.

Employing sound marketing practices, such as choosing static versus rotating images, is very similar to keeping your machines regularly maintained and in tune.

As with any in-tune, well-maintained machine, the more efficient your website, the less it costs you in lost sales in the long run.

Rachel Cunliffe is the Designer and Creative Director for Huff Industrial Marketing. She draws on over 16 years experience of designing websites for companies and individuals around the world.

Want more website marketing strategies like this?

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The post Rotating vs. Static Images: Addressing Multiple Customer Types on the Home Page appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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Urethane Innovator’s Charlie Liland, affectionately referred to by all as “Uncle Charlie.”

In 2016, the AARP’s Public Policy Institute issued a report, Disrupting Aging in the Workplace: Profiles in Intergenerational Diversity Leadership.

The report makes the case for why age diversity is so important by featuring case studies of five companies engaged in promising practices of disrupting aging in the workforce. (The following points and data come from this report.)

According to PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, 64% of CEOs have a strategy to promote diversity and inclusion.

Diversity can include dimensions such as age, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability status.

Inclusion is defined as “creating an environment in which people feel involved, respected, valued, and connected.”

According to the survey, today’s workforce consists of workers from five generations — Gen Z, millennials, Gen Xers, baby boomers, and the Silent Generation.

However, only 8% of CEOs include age as a dimension of their diversity and inclusion strategy.

Age: A competitive advantage

“How companies view experienced workers is changing rapidly,” states Todd Fahey, State Director for AARP New Hampshire. “The smart companies have realized that workers age 50 or older are not a liability. In fact, they’re an asset and a competitive advantage.”

Research is showing that age diversity can improve business performance and lower employee turnover. One study found that productivity for younger and older workers is higher in companies that utilize mixed-age work teams.

“We constantly reinforce the story that we don’t have enough workers,” says Fahey, “but ‘working age’ doesn’t end at age 65. Huge numbers of people work beyond that age. The New Hampshire labor force participation rate, for example, is ranked third in the country for ages 65 to 75. Instead of talking about a labor shortage, we need to find a way to entice these experienced workers to remain engaged.”

Attract experienced workers

When asked how small manufacturers can make experienced workers feel welcome in applying for jobs, Fahey said simply “feature them in your advertising.”

The company website is the easiest way to start, as most small manufacturers already have an incredibly diverse team. (See how Summit Metal Fabs did it; page 6 in Issue 11 of Manufacturing Marketing Magazine.)

Photos of your employees at work, and especially showing the various generations, go far in communicating the messages that experienced and younger workers alike are valued and needed.

Messages should resonate with the different audiences and their needs and motivations. For example, older workers may need flextime to take care of grandchildren due to various circumstances; younger workers may want to know how they’ll be developed as leaders.

Create mentor programs

The successful sharing and transfer of knowledge across generations is intentional, and begins with a top-down approach, says Fahey. It’s also a retention point, meaning, younger workers who are mentored stay on the job longer.

“Experienced workers find value in being mentors and helping younger workers become better employees and grow their skill set. Experienced workers pass on ‘soft skills,’ such as how to manage time or work productively with others,” he says.

“Younger workers enjoy sharing their technical computer knowledge and/or how to do things differently,” he adds. “Hunter Ingalls, the largest shipbuilder in the U.S., credits its success to this exact type of teamwork.” (See the write up in Issue 12, Manufacturing Marketing Magazine.)

Look at age differently

The bottom line, says Fahey, is that people find value in work, and this “finding value” doesn’t come to a stop at age 65.

Because of advances in healthcare, and the fact that many jobs today, including those in manufacturing, are less rigorous, people are living active lives far beyond their grandparents or even their parents.

As Lori Trawinski, of the AARP Public Policy Institute, stated, when age is removed as a filter, companies can then focus on people’s knowledge, skills and abilities.

With the age filter removed, employers can then hire the right person for the right job, whether it’s a younger person in a supervisory position, or an experienced worker transitioning from one industry to another.

The narrative then changes from “lack” to one that’s more positive and inclusive.

If you’d like to learn more about attracting experienced workers – or retaining the ones you have – Fahey suggests you begin by consulting the AARP website. The website has a wealth information for employers about age diversity research, programs for attracting experienced workers, and even virtual career fairs and a job board.

Todd C. Fahey, J.D., is the State Director, AARP New Hampshire. Visit the organization’s website at www.aarp.org.

Want more job recruitment marketing strategies like this?

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The post The Business Case for an Age-Diverse Workforce in Manufacturing appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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The job recruitment market is a $200 billion industry and includes heavy weights Google, Indeed.com, Monster and a whole host of small to mid-size recruiting firms and temp / staffing agencies.

In addition to posting your open manufacturing jobs to job sites, we list five other strategies you can use to effectively market your open positions.

Strategy #1: Pay to get listed inside the Google Job Search Box

If you’re like many small businesses, you may use Indeed.com to post job listings. If you do, you should note that Indeed listings appear beneath Google’s job search box versus in the search box itself (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The Indeed listing, showing beneath the Google box

Currently, Google has documentation that allows you (or your developer) to add “structured data” to your website code. This structured data is necessary for your job listings to be added to the Google job search box.

We’ve tested this with a client and have found that the listings didn’t appear or were buried. We believe it’s because the client had only a few listings, whereas larger employers would have dozens or even hundreds of listings — which got picked up by Google.

Therefore, if you want your listings to appear within Google’s search box, you may want to consider paying to be listed on one of the third-party sites Google partners with. Costs vary by site. We priced out getting job listings in Snagajob, for example. One job listing is $99 a month. Sixteen listings priced out at $1040 a month – and that included the volume discount.

Job listings from very small companies may appear in the search box at some point, so this is something you’ll want to watch.

For additional info, see our piece on the Google for Jobs platform.

PROS: Gets your listings in front of job searchers using Google’s tools.

CONS: Getting listed may extend your budget; you’re competing with dozens of other companies; there’s no guarantee where your listing will show position-wise.

Strategy #2: Create a careers section on your website

Advertising open positions on a third-party site is a great tactic for getting found by searchers using Google. However, by adding a Careers section to your own website, you can add a link in your profile to it (the way BAE did in Figure 2).

Figure 2: The BAE CNC machinist listing

With a Careers section, you can better sell your company to prospective job searchers and show them, through photos and messaging, why they should consider coming to work for you. (See how Summit Metal Fabs did it; page 6 in Issue 11 of Manufacturing Marketing Magazine.)

The Careers section should include, at minimum:

  • Listings of all open jobs, locations, hourly rates / salary, etc.
  • How to apply and a mobile-friendly online job application form
  • Benefits, hours, etc.
  • Company information: Culture, number of employees, the company story, etc.

You can also include written or video testimonials from current employees, photos of company events or people at work — anything that will show your company is innovative, modern, and diverse (age, ethnicity, gender, etc.).

PROS: Let’s you tell your story and communicate

CONS: Will require time and maybe outside help to create the new content, gather photos, etc.

Strategy #3: Place Help Wanted signs street side

One manufacturing company in the local area has a simple “Now Hiring – Apply Inside” sign at the foot of their driveway, which faces a high-traffic area. Signage like this is good as everyone who drives by sees it — and if someone is looking for a job, or knows of someone looking, it’s easy to capture their interest.

Figure 3: Manufacturing Help Wanted sign (c) Huff Industrial Marketing

PROS: Low to no cost — depending on your skills.

CONS: Inviting people into your facility, without telling them which jobs are available, wastes their time and yours.

Strategy #4: Run a Google Ad Campaign

The benefit of using Google Ads is that you can set your bids high enough so that your ads appear above the Google job search box (Figure 4) — and thus searchers may click your ad before making their way into the box.

Figure 4: A Google Ad for a job search company — above the search box.

PROS: Buy your way to the top of the search page.

CONS: Running a recruitment campaign on Google Ads can be complex and costly if you don’t know what you’re doing. We recommend hiring a seasoned Google Ads pro to help you.

Strategy #5: Post job openings to social media

Whether you’re on Twitter or LinkedIn, you can post open job positions in your feed at no cost. You can also use the for-fee job listing services of LinkedIn and Facebook.

PROS: Easy to micro target ads to very select audiences using demographic targeting tools; both LinkedIn and Facebook are Google for Jobs partners, so your listings will show in the jobs search box.

CONS: If you don’t know your way around the platforms’ advertising tools, you could end up spending a lot of money while in learning curve mode — or not see any results.

Want more job recruitment marketing strategies like this?

Subscribe to Manufacturing Marketing Magazine — the only magazine with practical marketing strategies for industrial manufacturers.

Use the sign-up form below.

The post Recruitment Marketing: 5 Strategies for Marketing Open Manufacturing Jobs appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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Launched in June 2017, Google for Jobs is the search giant’s newest initiative within the $200 billion job recruitment market. The suite of tools uses AI and machine learning to help “power smarter job search and recommendations within career sites, jobs boards, and other job-matching sites and apps,” according to Tonya Riley for CNBC.

Searchers, if they’re logged into their Google account, can use the suite of tools free of charge.

The platform lists all types of jobs, including those for skilled manufacturing labor. In this piece, you’ll learn how the platform works and how to use it.

How it Works

Google partners with job search boards, such as Monster, Snagajob, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc. and displays the listings in its job search box – which is prominently displayed for any type of job search (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Example of the Google Job Search Box

Clicking or tapping a job listing, such as the CNC Machinist job at BAE Systems, takes the searcher to the complete job description (Figure 2), where he or she can read the requirements and apply either through CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, or on the BAE website. Users can use Google’s tools to save jobs, receive alerts, and filter jobs by type, pay, location, etc.

Figure 2: The BAE CNC machinist listing

If you, as the employer, use third-party sites such as Snagajob or Monster to post jobs, your listings will appear in the job search box. One caveat, however. Indeed job listings do not appear in the job search box as Indeed doesn’t partner with Google.

A brief backstory

When Indeed began 13 years ago, the company, like Google for Jobs, was an aggregator for job posts. However, according to Jason Nazer, founder of Comparably, also a job site, Indeed had become so good at sourcing job listings, “they were showing up at the top of Google searches above the original job boards. . . . In fact, they built up so much free traffic on the back of Google, that Indeed became the largest direct job board, beating out all the original job players.” (Inc. May 22, 2017)

In addition, Indeed used bidding similar to AdWords. Hence, Google, watching from the sidelines, decided to enter this market and is currently in the process of disrupting it.

Upcoming Changes

What’s important for you, the owner of a manufacturing company, is understanding how these changes could impact you:

1. Cost — As Google gains a larger footprint into this industry, you may pay more to list your jobs on third-party sites as they share a cut with Google, their “partner.”

2. Competition — You’re already competing for skilled candidates; with the Google Search box, you’ll also be competing inside a very crowded area.

3. Time — Google provides many tools that improve business processes, and no doubt they’ll improve the job search process. However, Google changes things constantly and the onus is on you to keep up — almost a job by itself. If you’re relying on one third-party platform for recruitment, it behooves you to keep abreast of its dealings with Google and how their listings appear, or don’t appear, in the Google Jobs search box.

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The post Recruitment Marketing: Google Job Search for Industrial Manufacturers appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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Made in USA. Cycling clothes: AeroTech Designs, Pittsburgh, PA. Bike frame: Gunnar Cycles, Waterford, WI. Custom road bike: Jamie Chatigny, Cycles Etc., Salem, NH. Water bottle: Polar Bottle, Boulder, CO. Tool bag: Road Runner Bags, Los Angeles, CA.

A strong manufacturing sector = more jobs. More jobs = strong families. Strong families = a strong America. Your first step: Buy American.

I made a commitment mid-2014 to buy US-made products whenever possible. I did this for two reasons: I wanted to support US-manufacturers (especially small businesses — the lifeblood of our country and economy), and I wanted to help bring jobs back to the United States.

When I tell people about my commitment, they express surprise. “Can you even buy things made in the US???” people often ask. Yep, you sure can!

From these conversations, I’ve learned that some people don’t buy American simply because it hasn’t occurred to them or because they don’t know how to find products made in the USA. What follows are some tips for getting started.

Read the labels on everything

You’d be surprised at what you can find if you simply read the packaging — everything from manufactured goods like washing machines to clothing and food items. Always read the label, and be aware that “designed in the US” doesn’t mean “manufactured in the US.”

Ask salespeople “do you have Made in USA?”

Whether you’re shopping for tools at a big box store or clothing at a department store, ask store personnel if the item you’re looking for has a US version.

Research your choices before you buy

I’ve found all kinds of things made in the US, including clothes, tools, and furniture for my house, by searching online. I normally use a search phrase such as, “[item] + made in the USA.”

While you’re online, look for compiled lists that companies or people have put together. such as those by USA Love List. You can find all kinds of lists for all sorts of items — making your search for for US-made goods much easier.

Look for stores in your community

Some retail establishments across the country have started selling only goods made in the US — such as the Stars and Stripes Gift Shop in Windham, NH and Norton’s USA in Barrington, IL.

Since going “US-made” four years ago, I’ve seen a huge change in my life. I no longer purchase things on impulse or shop at discount outlets (which is where a lot of the cheap imported stuff ends up). This in turn has resulted in a cleaner and clutter-free house, and less curbside trash.

I’m also much happier because the items I do purchase are the things I actually want and need, and they’re of much higher quality. I feel really good knowing I’m supporting American manufacturing and helping to keep jobs stateside.

But the best thing is that as people learn my story, they tell me they’re now looking at labels and noticing where items are made. We think our choices won’t make a difference, but they do.

The post How to Buy US-Made appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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In 2007, Michael Collins wrote an insightful piece for Manufacturing.net about US-based manufacturing companies.

He grouped manufacturers by four types:

Type 1: Very small shop, family-owned, with very little operating capital and a real fear of generating enough day-to-day cash flow to keep the doors open.

Type 2: A company with up to 50 employees, known customers, and decent cash flow. Also family-owned. These companies are very good at what they do, but lack the systems and staff to grow to Type 3 companies. They also have their own unique family dynamics, which can be good and bad.

Type 3: The mid-sized companies with 100 – 500 employees (usually family-owned but not always), managed by a professional staff and well-developed systems.

Type 4: Very large manufacturers, often publicly-owned.

Challenges facing Type 2 manufacturers

“One of the most popular approaches to helping small manufacturers is the assumption the same theoretical concepts and solutions pioneered by giant manufacturers will also work for small manufacturers,” Collins states. [emphasis added]

Collins’ focus is on the issues Type 2 manufacturers face as they seek to grow to Type 3 companies.

The quoted statement is about how business growth consultants will applying the same practices and ideas the “big boys” use to grow, and how these practices can actually harm a small, family-owned manufacturer.

That’s because smaller manufacturers face resource limitations, which Collins labels as “FACTS”:

F – Fear of making the wrong decision
A – Limited access to capital
C – Cash flow problems
T – Time constraints
S – Small or no staff

Huff Industrial Marketing works with Type 1 and Type 2 manufacturers. Because our clients lack marketing staff, we become their marketing department.

As the relationship grows, trust is built, and over time, clients open up about the challenges they face.

Cash flow is always an issue, but in the last year, as the pace of US manufacturing speeds up and companies struggle to find skilled labor, clients have begun talking about creating healthy company cultures, entering new markets, and redesigning their factories or facilities to accommodate new and unexpected business.

But the biggest challenge facing family-owned manufacturers by far is time. Time to deal with day-to-day fires and especially time to think about how to market and grow the company.

Small manufacturers know they need to market their companies; the problem is, they lack the time to do it or even the energy to think about it.

They’re also bombarded by marketing advice, much of it hyped up as publishers seek to increase clicks and page views.

Due to lack of time and knowledge, marketing becomes reactionary vs. proactive and strategic.

Consultants and agencies are sometimes called in, and the small manufacturing team is swayed by slick presentations and promises.

Concepts that work for consumers or large B2B companies are then applied – and fail.

The result is wasted money, wasted effort, and little in the way of ROI.

Opportunity: Changing this paradigm

In his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Anecdote to Chaos, Dr. Jordan Peterson advises to find people who want the very best for you (and distance yourself from those who don’t).

This advice is easily modified for small manufacturers: Find marketing consultants who care about your company and your success as much as you do.

To find the right agency or industrial marketing consultant for your manufacturing firm, you’ll have to spend some time talking to people and asking lots of questions.

Experience – Any agency or consultant can add “manufacturing” to a website. What you want to know, however, is if the person doing the work on your account has real manufacturing experience.

  • Has he or she worked in a production environment?
  • Does he or she understand your method of production as well as shop floor vocabulary?
  • How long has he or she worked with small manufacturers?
  • Has he or she even been to a factory and are they willing to come visit yours?

Approach – Each agency or consultant has a reason why they prescribe specific recommendations for improving marketing results. Ask probing questions about an agency’s approach, such as:

  • What is your approach with regard to marketing a small manufacturing company like ours – and what’s it based on?
  • What have been your results with this specific approach?
  • I see you also work with consumer companies; how do you differ your approach with regard to manufacturers like me?

Results – Speaking of results, ask for them. Ask specifically how the agency or consultant is helping the small manufacturer grow sales. Don’t be swayed by, “Our client has top rankings” or “Our clients get xx number of leads.” The client could be getting dozens of leads, but they’re all crap! Ask instead:

  • What is the percentage increase in sales for XX clients and how much can be attributed to your work?

References – And last but not least, ask for three current references and then call each one and ask specific questions such as:

  • How responsive is the agency or firm? How long does it take for them to get back to you when you put in a request?
  • How many inquiries do you get a month, how many go to quote stage and how many become sales?
  • By what percentage has the agency or consultant helped you grow your sales?
  • Do you believe the agency or consultant cares about your success? What actions on their part have lead you to think this?

Finding the right agency or consultant who understands your business, how you work, the challenges you face – and even better – cares about your success, will take some time and effort.

But the results will more than pay for themselves. In fact, you’ll find that your agency or marketing consultant becomes like part of the family – someone you can trust and who has your back.

The post Finding the Right Industrial Marketing Consultant – Challenges and Opportunity appeared first on Huff Industrial Marketing.

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