handshakeContent strategy for dealer networks is rare in the manufacturing industry. Very few manufacturers do it well; most don’t do it at all. But in order to interest dealers who are the best fit for your product lines, you need to let them know who you are as an organization and show them how doing business with you will benefit them. If your manufacturing company needs a larger dealer network but is at a loss as to how to attract the right kind of dealers, consider updating your website’s content strategy to help you achieve your goals.

Developing content strategy for dealer networks is a process that involves positioning the manufacturer as an organization that meets very specific needs in the industry and then creating content that both highlights that need and illustrates how your company meets it. So the first task of content strategy development is determining what niche your company fits into and articulating it to your dealer audience. This provides an overall “voice” for all of the content you subsequently create.

The Voice of Your Content Strategy

Your company’s mission statement and business model will help you determine the voice you need to use with dealers. Perhaps your company has been in business for 80 years and you want to emphasize your longevity and stability; if your organization is young, perhaps you will focus on your progressiveness and communication skills. Questions to answer when determining the voice of your content strategy include:

  • What does your company provide to dealers that other companies don’t provide or don’t do well (i.e. ongoing training, regularly updated sales materials, a dealer portal)?
  • What does your company avoid doing that is a problem for dealers when they work with other manufacturers (for example, perhaps you have no hidden sign-up costs or no minimum purchase requirements)?
  • How does your company make it easy for dealers to make money from selling your products (easy credit terms for their customers, exclusive territory rights, etc.)?

Types of Content

Types of content you might implement include:

  • Blogs on your website
  • Guest posts on other websites
  • Dealer FAQs on your website
  • Social media posts; consider LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube to start
  • Dealer portal on your website
  • Shopping comparisons, detailed sales sheets, and/or market research on your website or through the dealer portal
  • Dealer locator on your website that reinforces your dealers’ knowledge and professionalism and offers contact information and links to their websites

Keep in mind that while the length of the content must vary by platform, content can be repurposed so your organization gets more value out of it. For example, you can post a link to a blog article on your Facebook page and Tweet a line from the blog on Twitter.

Sell the Benefits of Becoming a Dealer

Here are some tips on how to use content to increase the size of your dealer network by selling the benefits of becoming a dealer:

  • Focus on possibilities, not restrictions. While it’s important to have standards, emphasizing the qualities you’re not looking for could make you seem difficult to deal with and make dealers who would be terrific back away from your company just as quickly as those who would be trouble.
  • Vary the content type to appeal to a broader audience. For example, upload a video of a company representative explaining the value of becoming a dealer.
  • Talk about features and benefits. If your economy line helps maximize profit margins, say so frequently in your dealer network content.
  • Tell a success story. Has a dealer been so successful with you that he talked his cousin into signing up, or have generations of families been dealers because your company is reliable and stable? Let prospective dealers know.
  • Give credit to your dealer network. Prospective dealers will feel much more comfortable with your organization if they know you appreciate your existing dealers and credit them for your success.
  • Emphasize the bottom line. Whether it’s through pricing, exclusive territories, or something else, assure dealer candidates that they will make money from your products.

Establishing a content strategy for your dealer network can help you attract and retain the best dealers and ensure success for your organization. For more information, please contact us today.

About the Author: Rachaelle Lynn is Google Certified in Analytics and AdWords and has over 12 years of experience in website development and digital advertising, including e-commerce, SEO, PPC, and social media. She has helped many businesses, from small local companies to large international organizations, establish online presences and leverage them to increase revenue.

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