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?”  

  • The behavior of the industrial buyer has changed dramatically in the past few years. Your buyers’ start all new sourcing at Google.
  • The industrial buyer is getting younger and his dependency on the web for sourcing is getting stronger by the day.
  • In the world of search, mobile, social & artificial intelligence, if your branded industrial content/sales materials are not there to greet your prospect at the start of his sourcing journey, you lose top-of-mind awareness…and potential sales.

So…where does an industrial owner start so that…as least…he can move towards creating an online marketing effort that pays dividends instead of a marketing effort that drains cash?

  • First, as an industrial B2B, why do you want to improve your online marketing efforts? Do not start a fresh online strategy without understanding the “WHY” behind your effort. Who are you trying to reach? What makes your potential customers stand up and notice your company and your products?  Are there materials you can provide online that will make your prospect’s job easier? Can you improve your brand theme to further differentiate your company from your competitors?
  • Once the necessary “theatrics”, as I call them, are out the way decide on some basic goals. It would not be unreasonable to increase your web traffic by a factor of 10. If you use the right tactics and great content, it is also not unreasonable to expect your web site to dramatically improve the lead generation for your company.  Again, I have seen it happen often.
  • Many industrial marketers will admit they don’t like to measure online metrics. Most likely it is a new skill set and as I mentioned before, they probably don’t have the resources. Do not be afraid to measure your online efforts. Using modern marketing software, you can easily measure traffic, engagement, audience growth, etc. How many subscribers to your industrial blog? You do have a blog, don’t you?

You can easily measure “bounce rates” on your web pages. You can measure how much time your prospects spend on specific pages. You can measure leads generated from your “gated” materials and also “ungated” materials. Modern marketing software allows the sophisticated industrial marketer to do A/B testing. That is, measure two different call-to-actions or email subject lines to determine which copy provides the best best conversion rate.

And…the list goes on.

Make change and technology your friend.

Three Key Takeaways:

  • Much of what I outlined above can be done under the title of, “improving our web site”, when, in fact, you are changing your entire marketing strategy. Focus on the “WHY”!
  • By following the strategy & tactics outlined above and achieving some quick wins you can then get enthusiastic buy-in from key stakeholders…especially the sales group.
  • Stay at it. Continue to build on your measured success.  Don’t get discourage if some months render little success from your fresh marketing efforts.  This is constant improvement…constant progress.

In the end.. you will have a measurable ROI.