2 Marketing Tactics to Knock Off Your Industrial Competitors

use pillar pages for industrial to create a digital moatThat is…”knock off” your competitors from Google’s first pages.

Understanding two online marketing concepts, pillar pages for industrial & content saturation, can give your industrial company a huge competitive advantage.

Bear with me for a while and I will explain how the industrial marketer that embraces these two marketing tactics will benefit from a digital moat his competitors will find difficult to cross.

PILLAR PAGES FOR INDUSTRIAL

First, let’s discuss pillar pages for industrial and why they are so important to your online marketing effort.

Google, in their infinite wisdom, continues the goal of creating the best possible user experience for their customers. You have experienced it.  Think about the results your searches rendered 5 years ago compared to the results you expect today. You simply get better information and it is quick.  Amazingly quick.

Here’s how things are changing in the search world.

Google used to rank your pages using keywords. The results you enjoyed were sometimes relevant and sometimes not so good, depending how close your requested keyword was to actual answer you were looking for. Now Google ranks your webpages around topic-based content, not keywords.

As before, Google dictates how your content should be structured on your website.

When I first started Market Pipeline we could gather critical keywords from our clients, do some keyword research and strategically load those keywords into the webpages and botta bing…the webpage was ranked well.

Now the search for information is generated in a completely different manner. Now searchers are mobile, so results have to be returned in a smaller format. Now searchers ask the search engines as if they are talking to their best friend, “Siri, can you tell me who has the most inventory of Falk speed reducers?”  “OK Google, where can I get my Baldor motor repaired?” (Of course, Google knows exactly where you are and renders the right answers based on your location).

Google continues to update their search algorithm to focus on understanding the specific intent of your search. At what location are you searching from? What exactly did you mean?  Are there other related topics that you might be interested in? Can Google provide a quick snippet of information, rather than long page of search results, such as the one below.

using pillar pages for industrial to create snippets

Just 2 years ago, the CEO of Google said that 1 in 5 searches were on mobile and voice activated. That should be a red flag for all industrial marketers.

In other words, our marketing efforts no longer focus on company or product-specific keywords as we did 5 years ago. Now, Google wants us to focus on topic clusters built around pillar pages.

One the very sharp marketers at HubSpot, Sophia Bernazzani, boils down the concept of pillar pages:

A pillar page is the basis on which a topic cluster is built. A pillar page covers all aspects of the topic on a single page, with room for more in-depth reporting in more detailed cluster blog posts that hyperlink back to the pillar page. Pillar pages broadly cover a particular topic, and cluster content should address a specific keyword related to that topic in-depth”.

Given Google’s methodology of using pillar pages and related back links: “Who supplies Falk speed reducers?”, “Where can I find a used speed reducer?”  “I’m looking for new or used Falk 5DTC reducer”…Google has the opportunity to render the most appropriate answer using artificial intelligence in their algorithm.

So, after my brief explanation I would ask you, “Is your website built around pillar pages or keywords?  Are your primary competitors’ websites built around pillar pages and topic clusters or keywords?

Chances are you answered negative in both instances. And, that is the first marketing tactic that can give you a significant competitive edge over your competitors as your younger audience becomes increasing dependent on the web for everything, including industrial sourcing

So…the good news is you can easily re-architect your website around pillar pages and benefit from more traffic and potential lead generation.

For more information about topic clusters and pillar pages, read HubSpot’s marketing blog, 5 Pillar Pages Examples to Get You Started With Your Own:

LACK OF CONTENT SATURATION

Now, let’s move on to the second marketing tactic that can give your industrial company a decided edge, a lack of content for industrial marketers or content saturation.

Use Content Saturation to Own Your Industrial Niche

Based on what you already know about pillar pages, topic clusters and keywords, I am sure you realize most industrial marketers are far behind when it comes to leveraging the web for top-of-mind awareness and lead generation…whether using keywords or pillar pages…i.e. content (blog posts, e-books, spec pages, white papers, etc. )

For illustration purposes type into Google, “where can I get my Baldor motor repair”. Notice the lack of any company or topic consolidation in the return page. I know of several Baldor motor repair service centers in the Kalamazoo area and none are listed on the first page. Yes, several of the manufacturer’s webpages are listed, but the web user does not care about the specifications or the price.  They want their Baldor motor fixed right now.

This is a perfect example of the lack of content for this specific search request…i.e. very low content saturation.

Now go to Google and type in, “who has the most inventory of Falk speed reducers”?…a typical request from someone needing multiple Falk speed reducers.  Notice that www.mardustrial.com dominates the first page with the top 5 positions. Notice the URL addresses of each return. Google has rewarded Mar-Dustrial with top position, because they have given the web user the content they need.

In this case Mar-Dustrial create a pillar page (either by design or by accident) about “falk-speed-reducers” and with related topic clusters, such as “inventory” or “power transmission” linked to it.

Can you say “brand awareness”?  How about, “lead generation”?

My point is this:

Most industrial companies are 10 years behind when leveraging the web for top-of-mind awareness and lead generation.

I predict the industrial companies that embrace the changing search landscape, pillar pages for industrial and a lack of content in their industrial sectors, will emerge with a significant digital moat around their business.

For more info on what The Repp Group can do for your industrial marketing & lead generation…CLICK BELOW

When You Do Industrial Content Marketing…Do No Evil

I was in the car today and made the mistake of answering a local number that was not identified by caller ID. Sure enough, I had to put my nasty hat on and tell them to “get lost”.

My wife and I switched from Android to iPhone last month at the assistance of my wife…actually my wife’s friends, as well as my own kids. (Domestic tranquility is bliss.)

I noticed that several of my favorite blogs were now populated with extremely annoying pop-up ads on the iPhone versus my old Android. I will fix that!

It seems like every website you visit now has followed you around like some sleazeball stalker and then displays ads for the last watch you were looking at on Amazon, that last automobile you were researching or those magnificent golf clubs you had your eye on. Creeps me out.

Technology is great. Your car works better because of technology. Your medical care is better because of technology. Industry is more productive because of technology.  And so, it goes.

But marketing is suffering because of technology & marketing automation…and big-data is the culprit.

Now marketing professionals can slice & dice customer data and push data and annoying ads to millions of customers and a meager 1% conversion renders a healthy return on their investment.

I hear it almost daily from my marketing friends, “But…it just works”. To me it is evil.

If you know me and read this blog you know that I am a believer in using the web, big-data and marketing automation to gain a competitive advantage over your industrial competitors.

BUT….

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Industrial Marketing Strategy & Insights in the Age of Google

industrial marketing strategyI recently met with two Presidents in the same week. One was a mid-size manufacturer of machine tools. The other was the owner of a third-generation industrial supplier.

Almost in lock-step they both, passionately, howled, “Tom, our trade shows, cold calls, and e-mails blasts just don’t work as they used to!”

Both went on to admit they are woefully behind when it came to using the web to brand and market their businesses. They both wanted to know if the web could improve lead generation and customer retention…i.e. industrial branding.

Both, wanted to know if there was some recent marketing data on the buying habits of their customers. Frankly, neither executive had any idea of where to begin and wanted some solid marketing data on what others are doing in their sectors in terms of web marketing.

I was aware of two recent studies that would provide guidance and intelligence for these two industrial executives as they re-tooled their respective industrial marketing strategies.

I viewed this opportunity as a teachable moment to instruct both on the value of industrial content marketing. I told both, “Tell you what, I know of two excellent studies and I will publish them on my blog right after New Year’s. I knew both were subscribers to my blog so I instructed them to keep an eye on their inboxes as they will be notified when I publish my post.

So…if you are looking for some critical intelligence concerning your industrial marketing strategy here are two recent reports: One from GlobalSpec.com titled, IEEE GlobalSpec Releases Findings from Its Annual Industrial Marketing Trends SurveyThe other from Engineering.com titled, How Engineers Find Information 2018.

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Further Evidence of the Opportunity for Industrial Content Marketing

industrial content marketing-making the caseFirst, if you are not serious about retooling your industrial marketing strategy to create sustainable lead generation and top-line growth, you don’t need to bother reading this post or follow up on the valuable links below.

If you are serious about creating top-of-mind experiences for your industrial prospects and sustainable lead-generation, then spend 10 minutes to educate yourself from two of the most reliable resources on the web, Forbes.com and Search Engine Land about the need for industrial content marketing.

For those you that follow me and read my blog, you know that I have been consistent concerning the opportunities for the savvy industrial marketer. The articles below provide further evidence that my customers are on the right track when retooling their online strategy & taking advantage of opportunities in the industrial market:

Can you say, “OPPORTUNITY”?

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Your Industrial Customer Marches On & You Fall Farther Behind

industrial content marketing is falling behindI have found smart phone apps such as Google News, Feedly, Flipboard & others extremely helpful when it comes to keeping up with industrial marketing strategies & trends.  For example, I monitor my favorite blogs & authors with Feedly, Also, apps like Google News, Flipboard can be customized to my exact interests.  For me, some of the feeds/categories include “industrial marketing”, “industrial content marketing “.  When I discover an article that I want to read or reference at a later date, I save it to www.getpocket.com, one of the handiest tools on the web.

For me, this system is an invaluable time-saver.  In fact, this past weekend I caught up while waiting for my wife outside the dressing rooms at Macy’s. Told ya’ it was an invaluable time-saver

Anyway…

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Show Me the $: Industrial Content Marketing & Your ROI

show me the ROI of industrial content marketingMany times, I get the question, “Can you show me the ROI of improving our digital presence”?

To be frank…probably not.  Sure, larger organizations with tons of capital can afford to have great software and great talent to build a measurable online strategy that will, in the end, render a real ROI figure.

But to be honest, it is not reasonable to expect that kind of culture change and granular metrics from a mid-size industrial company.

It can be done, and I have seen it done. But it is a rare leader that can pull it off.

Given the following three market dynamics, I think a better question is, “What happens to my business if we don’t pursue a more aggressive digital presence…more specifically, industrial content marketing?”  

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Are Your Industrial Eyes Wide Open to Opportunity?

industrial marketing strategy and eyes wide openI am sorry, but I am beating the drum again.

While I was at the company I founded, Market Pipeline, I started to notice alarming trends when Google continued to make changes to their algorithm to improve the search experience. These changes would have profound effects on our customers’ industrial marketing strategies.

First, Google was improving the search experience at a daunting pace.  My industrial friends & buyers were now relying on Google as “gospel” for all things related to industrial…products, services, specifications, technical data, etc.

It was clear to me that if our Market Pipeline customers did not greet their customers with the information their buyers wanted…then, our customers were missing out on their buyers’ with specific intent, (i.e. A great lead). Our customers were also missing a great opportunity for top-of-mind awareness. (i.e. Industrial branding)

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Use the Web to Build Your Industrial Franchise

industry marketing strategy, industrial franchiseYou say, “What’s an industrial franchise?”

Allow me to continue.

Before we continue let’s define “franchise” from Merriam-Webster:

Franchise: “a special privilege granted to an individual or group

Here’s why your industrial company can build “special privilege” or a “franchise” in your industrial niche pumping up your industrial marketing strategy using the web as your branding megaphone .

First, let’s agree your industrial buyers’ behavior has changed dramatically in the last few years. For information about your products or services they will always check Google first.  After all, you checked the web for your next vacation, didn’t you?

If you are like most industrial marketers, your branded sales materials are not there to greet your buyers that have specific intent when searching for your products. They want quality information in a format and time frame of their choosing.

Just this morning I had coffee with a prospective customer and he told me about a particular project they stole from a competitor because their competitor did not have the technical expertise to complete the project to perfection. This prospect’s brand revolves around completing highly technical systems, where many of their competitors do not have the technical expertise.

So, I came back to my office and checked several of the technical keywords phrases associated with the engineered materials and project mentioned above.

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Industrial Marketing Strategy: 10 Concepts to Grow By

Many of you that follow my blog know that I am a big fan of David Meerman Scott. David is a real thought-leader in the age of search, social and mobile. He is also a best-selling author when it comes to marketing, sales and service. David understands the fast changing marketing landscape better than anyone.

(David was kind enough to endorse my recent book, The Essentials of Industrial Marketing,..The Inbound Way)

I am often approached by B2B industrial owners that truly struggle with the web and the effects the digital channel has on their industrial marketing strategy & sales strategy going forward.

They know things have to change, they are just not sure where to begin.

I recently had the President of a 30-million-dollar machine builder tell me, “Tom, I don’t even know the right questions to ask.”

So…when I came across one of the David Meerman’s Scott’s recent blog posts, I thought it was ideal for the CEO strategist trying to wrap his sales & marketing mind around the alien digital channel.

David outlines 10 concepts that ALL industrial owners need to embrace before they develop a new industrial marketing & sales strategy. David’s 10 concepts are a great place to start.

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Is it Time to Give Up On Industrial “Marketing”?

frustrated industrial marketingIt is clear that marketing on the Web is moving the revenue needle for tons of businesses. Call it digital marketing, call it content marketing, call it inbound marketing, call it new media marketing.

Call it whatever…just don’t call it “marketing” to an industrial CEO, President or CFO. To these guys “marketing” is an expense and therefore has little relevance to top-line growth or sales.

In the early days of the web, when I founded Market Pipeline, we could get away with saying “SEO marketing” or “web marketing”. Both a web presence and SEO were seen as necessary.  After all, their competitors were all doing it….so, “What the heck, let’s launch a web site”.

Very little top line growth came from our search engine optimization and web development efforts. Oh yea…occasionally we would get a few “attaboys” because one of our industrial clients did a quote from a previously unknown customer that found them on the web.

Did our SEO or web development efforts really contribute to top-line growth?  Some, but not enough to get CEO’s excited.

Our “marketing” efforts reminded me of a large expense, like a new roof on your home. Lots of expense, but adds no value to the property. So, when an owner of an industrial company turns his nose up at any kind of marketing, especially online marketing, I certainly understand. That is why I started The Repp Group, to render better results.

So…is it time to give up on industrial “marketing” on the web?

Not by a long-shot.

Continue reading “Is it Time to Give Up On Industrial “Marketing”?”