WARNING: This post is just over 2000 words. However, this is valuable information if you are considering investing in a new web site for your B2B industrial company.
This past week I had the pleasure of spending considerable time with some real pioneers in web marketing, Mark Jones, President of Amerifirst Mortgage, Dan Moyle, Amerifirst’s Inbound Marketing Specialist and also Marcus Sheridan from River Pools and Sales Lion fame.
I know these businessmen well and know their success comes from looking well beyond the cost of building a web site. These companies have made content marketing a culture and their vision is paying huge dividends for all three organizations.
It is my hope that this article allows you to look well beyond the costs and think of your web site as a marketing asset and not an expense.
This is not theory. This is a real marketing revolution.
This revolution applies to the industrial sector as well as home mortgages and swimming pools. In fact, Amerifirst Mortgage is right next door to our office. Stop by and I will introduce you to Dan Moyle…then you tell me this stuff does not work. Please…give me a call at 269-375-0349
Onto the boring, budget stuff. To simplify, I break down your web strategy into 5 steps. String these steps into multiple budget periods or do it all at once. But, do it.
- The Branding Road Map
- Build web site
- Blog test
- M.A.P. deployment
- Analyze & adjust
Strategy always comes before costs, right?
Before you spend another nickel on web development for your manufacturing company or web development for your industrial supply company you need to think about the end goal. And…the end goal should be that your web site will be a marketing asset and not a marketing expense. The end goal should be that your web site generates revenue, and I am not taking about an ecommerce site with a shopping cart.
I am talking about a web site that generates quality leads that turn into sales.
THE BRANDING ROAD MAP
First…take a serious look at your company’s brand theme.
In the digital age when a buyer can line up 5 of your closest competitors along the top of her browser, a good first impression can make a huge difference. I think your Mother gave you the same advice.
Your web site should tell the web user exactly what you do and, more importantly, why your industrial company should be selected versus the other tabs at the top of your browser. And…best price, best service, best quality does not count. Why? Because your competitor’s say the same thing. Price/service/quality is not a differentiating brand theme in the Age of Google.
We can collaborate with our branding partners, Maxwell and Miller and help you develop a Branding Road Map that will give you a clear, concise, differentiating brand theme that you can weave into your entire marketing mix.
At the heart of your Branding Road Map will be a brand position statement and brand theme. The brand position statement will clearly define your company’s area of expertise; the target market you want to reach (not just job title, but pain points and what makes them tick); what’s most important to that target; and why your company is best qualified to meet their needs.
The brand theme will be a concise, memorable way to communicate the brand position and will have meaning to both consumers and internal personnel.
Importantly, the brand theme will spotlight what the customers’ wants, not what you make. As examples, I’ll use consumer products since everyone can relate to them. Nike makes shoes. But their customers buy performance. Coca Cola makes soft drinks. Their customers buy happiness. Apple makes electronics. Their customers buy “cool” and ease of use. By uncovering what your customers want to buy, you’ll have a major competitive edge in your industrial marketplace.
The Branding Road Map, depending on your needs, can mean an investment from $4,000 to $20,000. The $4,000 option includes research of your current brand and the competition, a brand position statement, brand theme and rationale. The $20,000 investment includes extensive research, new logo, and examples of the tone and voice for your communications, blog articles, newsletters, and video script starters. You will also get examples of display ads for both print and web. Of course, depending on your needs, the price can fall anywhere in between.
The Branding Road Map allows you to hand over a comprehensive document and digital files to your marketing staff or outside agency. This approach insures consistency throughout all those ZERO MOMENTS OF TRUTH that are so critical in the age of digital marketing.
BUILD WEB SITE
So what should an industrial web site cost?
Now that you have your brand pumped up and it is time to think about the cost of your web site. Opps…I mean your marketing investment.
The event I participated in this past week was a live presentation by Marcus Sheridan right here in Kalamazoo. Marcus is a rock star when it comes to leveraging the web for lead generation. He took a struggling swimming pool business in the depths of the 2008 recession and lifted it into one of the most successful pool companies in the country simply by changing his attitude about his web site.
He embraced all the potential on the web instead of sticking his head in the sand.
By creating lots of helpful, branded, content for the potential buyer of fiberglass swimming pools his web site is now the number one web site in the industry. More importantly, it has generated hundreds of quality leads and millions of dollars of business. Go head type in “what does a fiberglass swimming pool costs”, or ” what are the problems with a fiberglass swimming pool” or “what is the best way to clean a fiberglass swimming pool”.
All because Marcus had an end goal in mind and looked for ways to execute on that goal. Isn’t that kind of how life works? I digress.
So what did Marcus’s web site cost him? What would have been the costs if he had not figured out a way to generate mountains of leads from this web site? Frankly, he would have lost his home.
I know of others, but I use Marcus because I know him and I have spoken with him at length about his success on the web. (I featured a video interview with Marcus a couple weeks ago) As an industrial marketer there is no reason you cannot replicate the success Marcus has experienced.
At the web development company I founded, we have done web sites from $3,000 to $70,000. None of these web sites are e-commerce sites with shopping carts. Our average is around $13,000 per web site.
So why the disparity?
Some of our B2B manufacturers and industrial suppliers have extremely deep product & service lines.
For Google to index each product page, care needs to be given to the technical aspects of each page. We need to ensure that the title tags, meta description tags, and actual text on the page is keyword specific. This takes time, both in terms for creating text-based content and graphics. If we have to create additional graphics for each product then the time adds up and so does the cost.
If your web site needs a specific application such as a product selector driven by a database, that will add to the tab.
Of course, if you are comfortable with your current brand theme our talented graphics department will bring your current branding to life on the web.
In terms of developing text-based content for your web site, at my previous development company we provided writers if you needed help…and most did. Adding keyword-specific content helps improve visibility with search engines. Some industrial companies have hardly any content at all and need lots of help. That can raise the price as well. Typically that service is included in the average price I mentioned above.
The great thing about the industrial market, almost without exception, most industrial companies have not produced a lot of content. So for 95% of industrial marketers the opportunities to get found by Google are huge. There is huge opportunity to own top-of-mind awareness for every industrial customer I know of… with very, very few exceptions.
“Remember the best thing about the new rules of marketing is that your competitors probably don’t know about them-David Meerman Scott-The New Rules of Marketing & PR. This holds true especially for the industrial market
As Marcus Sheridan said this past week to me, “It is like the wild, wild West out there and a lot of wagons have already left to stake their claim. A lot of businesses are going to be left behind”. I could not agree more.
Allow me to circle back to the brand issue. If you have taken time to produce enough quality content to own your space on the web your brand theme better be strong…because it lives forever on the web unlike traditional, one-off, marketing.
Hands down…the best way to create helpful, targeted content is a blog. All of The Repp Group’s sites include a Blog Manager as standard equipment. The surest way to success on the web is mastering the craft of blogging.
The Repp Group will give you the tool. It is up to you to use it.
THE BLOG TEST
This is where the rubber meets the road.
If you find you or your employees make a commitment to understand blogging and produce it faithfully you will see a significant increase in your web traffic.
So what is the cost to our organization to produce the content that Google demands? Only you can factor that, but it must be factored. If you are timid about writing quality, helpful content The Repp Grop can provide a starter package of multiple posts. A package of 8 posts will cost you $900. You can continue to purchase blog posts from us crafted by a degreed, trained content journalist or you can make the commitment yourself to master the craft.
If you do master the craft of blogging you will see increased traffic to your web site. I guarantee it. Since I started our blog at The Repp Group our traffic has double and continues to climb as we get better at blogging…and the leads are coming. This sure bets cold calling.
If your company passes the blog test, then you are ready to use a marketing automation platform. At The Repp Group we use HubSpot. So does our branding partner Maxwell and Miller.
If you want to know those costs simply go to a previous blog that outlines the actual costs of deploying a quality MAP. If you would like to know the advantages of MAP you can also go to another post about the intangible benefits of working with an MAP.
ANALYSE & ADJUST
Now, let’s back up to the strategic level again.
Let’s say you build your brand theme properly and your company’s brand stands out as unique differentiator. You have built your attractive, branded web site. You started your blog or multiple blogs because you have multiple product categories that need to be emphasized. You have even deployed more content such as e-books, white papers, tip sheets, product guides, etc.
Move forward one year. You now have become the Wikipedia of your industrial niche on the web (Where all your prospects go anyway!) and you own top-of-mind awareness for your unique products & services.
Along this journey you have had luxury of using the analytics from your HubSpot dashboard. For you Google Analytics aficionados, Analytics is great, but it only measures visitor activity on your web site. HubSpot measures so much more including lead activity.
Now you know which calls-to-action (CTAs) worked the best and the ones that flopped. You know which landing pages performed the best and which ones did not. You know which e-mails performed the best. Most importantly you know the blog topics that brought in the most traffic. Over time as you gather more data on what works and what does not work, your marketing gets stronger, your visits improve, your leads go up and sales soon follow.
Sorry to be trite, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. Industrial internet marketing will never be the same.
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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