For a long time, your marketing budget would be spent on print ads, events and brochures. Then came online, SEO, social media and now the options are far more complicated. With a decade’s experience in marketing for niche industrial companies, Chris Bland attempts to demystify some of the options.
1. Be clear about what you want
Whatever your marketing goals are, they are much better achieved if you know two things;
- Where you are now
- Where you want to be
You will get much more out of a marketing campaign if undertake some research to learn ;
- How your brand is viewed
- How you compare to your competitors
- What your customers want from you.
2. Know the value of print
The true value of print advertising has been made clearer as marketing has gone digital. Print publications remain valuable precisely because there is so much information online now, a quality print magazine is more rare treat and stands out. Industry journals in particular retain a strong prestige and capture people’s attention in much greater depth than fast-moving digital content. Readers recognise value in what they see in print and pay it much closer attention to it.
3. Know the purpose of online
This does not mean there is no benefit in online – far from it – you just need to know what you are getting. Online advertising can generate an instant and measureable response and this is how it is best used.
Most marketers have moved away from misleading terms like ‘hits’ and now talk about unique visitors and page impressions. But it’s also important to be wary of the many tricks websites use to bolster these numbers, from the relatively innocent such as multiple pages on short articles, to the more devious paying for low quality web traffic from overseas.
You don’t want to just drive traffic to your site, you want to make sure it’s quality traffic and one of the most important things an online campaign can do is capture qualified traffic and drive it to your own website.
You can also make use of lead generation techniques, such as offering free whitepapers in return for people’s contact details to ensure you are attracting qualified potential customers.
4. Let your website find you customers
Many companies now spend big on their own websites, and it should be professional and reflect your business, but make sure you ask these questions;
- What do your customers want from your website?
- How do you capture their details?
- How do you keep them coming back?
If you are using online advertising to drive traffic to your website, you also need to make sure the site is easy to navigate and you can convert them to the outcome you’re looking for.
5. SEO: content is king
Everyone talks about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), but how many of them know what they’re talking about? Like any new area, it attracts its fair share of charlatans selling easy solutions but in the end Google and other search engines will keep working to outwit them, because their only goal is to make sure the person searching actually finds what they want.
So how do you actually SEO your website then? While there are a few technical rules to make sure it is friendly to Google’s automated crawlers, the best way is to actually provide the content that your customers want and search for, and this way you will always stay in favour with the search engines.
This can be a challenge for many companies, especially if you’re an engineer not a publisher, but keeping your site up-to-date with fresh content, case studies, technical information, webinars etc will not only keep you top of the search results, but also present you as an expert in your field.
6. Get real about social media
The only thing that gets more hype than SEO is SMM, or social media marketing, and I’ve seen a few too many companies in the industrial and business-to-business (b2b) space spend up big to create a facebook page then get absolutely no return. Many social media channels work best in consumer markets, as in the end you need to market where your customers are. But there are some good SMM options for b2b companies as well, particularly with LinkedIn, an online professional network, which is very useful for;
- Sales reps to identify and connect with prospects
- Sharing your company’s relevant and useful content (see tip 5) to potential customers via LinkedIn Groups
- Driving quality traffic to your own site
7. Use events effectively
I’ve seen too many companies shell out big bucks to be at an event, not to mention taking the time away from their usual day to day work, then waste the opportunity once there. A few tips to make sure you get the most out of an event;
- Ensure your booth is staffed at all times, by competent staff who know your products. A flashy booth might draw crowds but make sure you have something of substance to show them and talk to them about once you have their attention.
- Contact any clients or prospects in that area and invite them along, encourage them to visit your stand or better yet, buy them tickets to a social function
- Work with the event organisers to see how much you can find out about who is attending and what options there are to make contact beforehand. Many modern event planners can offer some great options to connect you with delegates, while staying on the right side of privacy laws.
- Plan time in your diary to follow up, then actually do it! You’ve put the effort in, don’t let months go by before you take action.
Monkey Media offers a full range of industry-specific marketing services. For more information on any of the ideas here, please contact Chris at [email protected] or (03) 9440 5721