The Times Have Changed
Why do you need to understand industrial content marketing strategies? Because today, it’s getting tougher for your sales reps to get the opportunity to make a presentation. The days when you pitched as you played golf with the president of his or her best customers are dwindling fast. They’re all retiring (or worse)! A new generation of younger purchasing agents are replacing them, and they do things much differently than their predecessors.
Today’s purchasing managers don’t want sales reps to come in and pitch a product. Before they engage with you, they’re spending time surfing online for solutions and direction. They’re typing in keywords to find articles, videos, studies, what we in marketing call “content,” to solve a need or problem. When they are just getting started, they’re at the “high-level” or “top of the sales funnel” and usually not willing to speak with you.
Once they’ve gained enough knowledge online to determine WHAT they want, they move on to consider from WHO they want to purchase. Only then do they fill out a contact form or call to grant your sales rep an audience. The network and buddy system is giving way to the impersonal sales cycle. This is what has given rise to content marketing for industrial companies.
You Need Competitive Online Marketing – Now
I can say this with full confidence. Unless there is another paradigm shift in marketing (such as the internet), you need to adapt to online marketing and strategies. And before your more online-savvy competitors leave you in the dust. Waiting to play catch-up down the road will present you with much more complicated tasks. Do you know the odds of trying to replace a company that has established a working relationship with another firm? There is an interesting article from Source Point Associated called Five Reasons Companies Stay With Sub-Par Vendors. They believe “The number one reason that companies stick with sub-par vendors is…it will just be too time-intensive to search for and train another vendor.” I would agree. In advertising, you often need to spend about 3-10x more advertising communications to unseat an established brand. It’s generally better to get them on board now than later.
Top of the Funnel Content
When you begin industrial content marketing, you might not know who your prospects are or where they’re at in their buyer journey. All you know is they are online and looking for valuable content. And the company that supplies this great content gains awareness and credibility (provided the content is good and relevant.) Once this “relationship” has been established, and they are ready to move from WHAT they want to WHO they might purchase from, guess which vendor will most likely be contacted? The one who presented the right information, at the right time during their decision stages – online.
The content you produce at the top level should be information that helps provide them with solutions to typical problems. A better understanding of your buyer will be necessary to know your specific buyer’s needs and challenges. To move them closer to sharing their identity with you, you should also make them aware of more valuable data or webinar events which require them to provide their email address. Once “converted” (to a known prospect) you” be able to provide them with more personalized emailed offers and communications.
What Type of industrial content marketing works best?
Digital content, such as white papers and e-books, are popular with industrial audiences. They are less resistant to dedicate time to comprehend content than a typical consumer. If you choose this route, blog platforms are an excellent way to get information out there. However, how-to videos and online demos are quickly gaining popularity at every stage of the buyer journey. These tools will help buyers understand your products faster, leading to quicker engagement. Other popular tools to add to your website and marketing plan are webinars, online events, and e-newsletters, all proven to be effective in the manufacturing industry. According to many industrial marketing experts, technical professionals subscribe to more digital publications than print publications.
Engineering Content Management
Recent surveys found the most effective way to build trust through content is when an engineer writes the content for an engineer. Basically, an expert to expert will always be more relevant and accurate. Don’t make the mistake of generating manufacturing or industrial content without engaging the experts!
Where to Start?
Your first step is to audit your website! Make sure it’s built on a current platform. Check to see if your content is properly optimized. If you don’t, you could develop and post valuable information that no one will see. This is not a thing for any company to take lightly. An effective and healthy website is not a simple as it’s presented by the DIY website development apps you see advertised. At Red Crow Marketing we spend an enormous amount of hours each year trying to untangle low-quality websites for many new clients. It would be a very good idea to contact a professional marketing firm to audit your website. Red Crow Marketing offers a free initial consultation and Manufacturing Online Marketing Audits to assess your website health, your online presence, and strength against competitors.