I am as guilty as anyone.
As a marketer I get overly geeked about all the new ways to measure data. When I visit with other marketers that are up to date with current technologies, most are obsessed with data analytics, KPIs (key performance indicators) and all kinds of crazy reports generated by cloud-based marketing automation, Google Analytics and SEO research tools. I work hard to focus on my client’s industrial brand visibility rather than the actual metrics/numbers.
Granted, this information can be extremely helpful when it comes to developing a strategy. but too much focus on the numbers devalues human nature and how your buyers’ actually make their sourcing decisions.
Again, I often look at this data for clues and trends. But let’s face it, in the world of industrial marketing it is rare that you get a large enough data sample to give you any real insights.
So…part science, part art (i.e. creative)
Let’s say you have just started using Google Analytics or you really took the plunge and built your new website on a marketing automation platform such as Marketo or HubSpot.
The best way to approach all that data is to focus on these 5 must-haves.
Create an Industrial Brand That Resonates
First, create a solid, memorable brand message that differentiates your company from the rest in your industrial niche. Your industrial business is in a very competitive environment. To many customers the products and services seem the same. The brand that customers think of and feel the best about…wins.
Without exception, all the industrial customers I have worked with have a unique story to tell that could easily separate them from others in their niche. A clear, benefit-oriented, and strategic brand story could easily separate them from the pack. The result would be increased top-of-mind awareness with purchase intent.
Yet…few take the time or allocate resources to tell their unique story.
Create a Content Strategy
Second, once you have nailed your company’s brand story, create a content strategy.
To make this as clear as possible, let me lay out a content strategy I recently developed for a small auto parts manufacturer that competed against a large multi-national. Overall, my first goal was to make my client’s brand as discoverable & visible as possible using good SEO…yes, using some numbers.
By entering my client’s primary competitors and their most critical keyword topics into SEMrush.com (an online research tool) I was able to determine that there was very little content related to my client’s niche. As is typical, there was one large multi-national competitor with a great looking website. And, that is all. No blog, not strong brand message, no e-books, no product data…nothing. No content.
The rest of my client’s competitors were smaller regional players that had only websites. All done poorly. No content marketing,
The visibility (measured by a percentage metric in SEMrush.com) of all the competitors was extremely low, including the well-funded multi-national.
Further research within SEMrush.com told me that not one of the competitors was taking advantage a fantastic gift from Google called featured snippets. Out of the 40 keyword topics my client gave me, not one was listed on a search engine return page (SERP) as a featured snippet.
The content strategy was staring me in the face.
I decided to create pillar pages and topic clusters around my client’s critical keyword topics. Due to my client’s competitors’ lack of online content & marketing savvy, SEMrush.com told me there was a high probability that all 40 pillar pages would land on Google’s first page fairly quick. Once the pillar pages were in the top ten of Google, then there was also a high probability they would be selected to be in a featured snippet…improving my client’s industrial brand visibility.
This may seem like a short-sided content strategy, not factoring in ebooks, videos, webinars, etc. Given the data and the lack of content by my client’s competitors it was time to strike where the largest opportunity was. Further, data from the topic cluster will give us valuable info for the next content opportunity.
Share What You Know…Honestly
Sharing your industry expertise is critical when building your online brand. Build your content with no hidden agenda. Just share honestly.
When creating blog posts, ebooks, videos, etc, put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What makes them tick? What are the common challenges they have daily? What content can you publish that will make their life easier? What challenges can you help them solve with your products and services…and knowledge?
I love Marcus Sheridan’s TEDx talk about the value of the Honest Economy. Marcus uses a very simple formula for brand visibility, “They Ask. We Answer”. As Marcus says, “Be a literal David in the land of Goliath” by providing honest answers to your customers’ most troubling questions. I highly encourage you watch Marcus’ talk and embrace his message.
Embrace Your Industrial Community Online
This is a tough one for my industrial marketing friends.
Most industrial owners and marketers simply don’t believe that social media can make a difference in lead generation. However, there are plenty of success stories of industrial marketers leveraging social media for the benefit of branding and lead generation.
Sharing your content is quite easy if you are using a marketing automation platform or platforms such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. Each time you create a blog, create a new e-book, send email marketing, the occurrence gets posted automatically to your connected social platforms. So, publishing to your social platforms is a no-brainer. The tough part? Engaging in discussions and participating. This should be a critical element of brand visibility efforts.
My advice is to carve out a portion of your marketing budget for an interested millennial to create and monitor Linkedin & twitter to start. Once you get a little bit traction, get a few key sales and engineering employees involved.
You cannot build your online brand and visibility without this critical step. Give it time, give it patience. It will work.
Target High Profit Products and Services with Long, In-depth Content
Allow me to give you a quick example that demonstrates not only how in-depth content can improve your brand visibility but also the lack of content in the industrial community…making visibility relatively easy for most in the industrial sector.
Attaching a blog to your website and publishing helpful articles is the best way to attract traffic to your industrial website…hands down.
Typically, I will counsel my customers to write at least 1000 words in a blog post that targets specific keyword topics. However, for this example the published blog is only about 400 words along with a video.
My customer, HECO Industrial, published a blog post on Sept 4, 2019 featuring a critical topic, “sacrificial stator coil”. As of this writing (11/05/2019) HECO’s blog post appears in the number one position for the search term “sacrificial stator coil” in Google…with ONLY 400 words. By the way, the blog post is written by a salesperson (Business Development Manager) which provides brand visibility for not only the company but also the Business Development Manager personally.
Target Topic Clusters
Given the last example, you may think you need to showcase a broad range of expertise, but that is not necessarily the case.
Current best practices (i.e. Google’s “rules of the road”) suggest you provide deep focus on 20 to 30 main topics critical for your business growth.
This practice, recommended by the Content Marketing Institute is call topic clusters, a term originated by my favorite marketing automation platform, HubSpot.
So…in the last example of “sacrificial stator coil”, the blog would be linked to one or several of the pillar pages that focus on related topics such as “electric motor reliability”, “motor management” or “condition-based maintenance”. This topic cluster gives Google great insight into my customer’s expertise and gives the web user honest and useful information building brand authority and visibility.
Remember…even in the “old days” nobody builds a great reputation overnight. It takes time and trust.
Stick to these 5 must-haves and consistently publish content your customers love and your company’s brand will own your niche.
For more info on what The Repp Group can do for your industrial marketing & lead generation…CLICK BELOW
A passionate marketer attempting to change the way industrial marketers leverage the web as a growth-oriented, lead generation machine. View all posts by Tom Repp