Industrial Content Marketing Isn’t About Leads

“No more fancy metrics or acronyms that I don’t understand. I just want results…I want leads.”

This is exactly what a customer told me couple years ago, only six months after we had started an impressive website rebuild along with industrial content marketing.

Another large industrial supplier called me one month after launching a fresh brand and website with all the SEO elements built into the site and wanted to know why they were not showing up in search results for critical keywords. (I never promise quick results when it comes to web marketing and search engine placement).

Talk about short-term thinking!

I can’t tell you how many executive meetings I have attended where the following narrative was expressed; “We will only get a budget for the web project if we can guarantee lots of leads.”

In the age of search, social, mobile and AI (artificial intelligence) short-term thinking creates fatal blind spots for the industrial marketer such as illustrations sited above.

(I speak often of the opportunities for industrial marketers using content marketing.)

Much like any goal-setting activity, when you focus on your outcome you fail to see the positive benefits that accrue while pursuing your goal. For example, changing your behavior to lose weight has many positive benefits long before you the see the needle move on your bathroom scale. I can see it now, you jump off the scale after a few days in disgust, “Screw the damn diet”. Yet…you have enjoyed your new exercise routine, you sleep better, you enjoy your new food regimen, more importantly, you just feel better about yourself.

So it is with online industrial marketing or industrial content marketing

Just about anything to do with web marketing is a long-term effort, especially when compared to the traditional “salesman-on-the-road” efforts that built so many successful B2B industrial sales departments.

And…especially industrial content marketing. A focus on just the leads will cause the typical industrial marketer to give up early, entirely missing accrued and future benefits.

One of my favorite words is “holistic”, and that is exactly the approach you need to take if you embark on an aggressive web marketing effort.

In both examples above I personally witnessed very positive behavior changes to their web marketing efforts. Yet, they both gave up before the prize.

So, how do you approach your industrial content marketing strategy with eyes wide open…fully aware of that fatal blind spot.

First, make sure the content you are deploying is relevant to your buyer’s journey. Is your content easy to find in the search engines? (Why go to all that effort if your content can’t be found?), Is your content genuine, honest & helpful? Does your content help your audience do their job? Does your content represent your industrial brand well?

Second, attempt to enhance your relationships with customers and prospects. At the same time attempt to enhance your relationships with your outside sales group by giving them a say in the type of content they would find helpful on the road…face-to-face.  Ask them, “What type of content will help you become better closers?” “What type of content can we produce to make your jobs easier?”

Third, enhance your talent pool by deploying content that represents your company and brand well. One of my best customers constantly reminds me that their website and content has improved recruiting efforts and has lowered costs for recruitment. Remember, the college grad will go to the web first for employment. If your company is not represented well, you lose the chance at potential talent.

Fourth, repurpose your content to train your new employees. By creating recommended reading lists for new employees, you recruit new employees into your own army of brand evangelists, probably lowering training costs

Fifth, reach out to your primary industry influencers and promote your industrial brand using the content you have created. Every industry has some big names they all look up to. Leverage those associations by seeking out others that need to promote themselves. Ensure your content strategy platform allows major influencers to contribute helpful interviews, important quotes and their own content. This strategy will provide benefits for them as well as add credibility to your brand as well. This strategy also increases inbound links to your content, improving your website’s visibility with Google.

Sixth, be as human as possible. According to bestselling author and one of the most successful marketers on the planet, in his latest book, Marketing Rebellion, The Most Human Company Wins: (Yes, even industrial companies can be human!)

“How do you market to a person who is seemly unreachable. In fact, proudly unreachable. We see our foundations of command-and-control marketing collapsing before our eyes like an avalanche. There are no more lies. There are no more secrets. There is no more control. For more than a century we’ve built our greatest brands like Ivory (Ivory soap) through an accumulation of advertising impressions. But to survive this final rebellion, companies and brands must be built though an accumulation of human impressions”

So…it’s not always about KPI (key performance indicators) metrics, view-to-submission rates, bounce rates or number of leads per month.

It is about much, much more.

It is about tapping into your creative juices to uncover previously unimaginable sources of ROI for your industrial business.

Do that, and plenty of leads will follow.