Marketing the latest industrial products and services may not be as glamorous as promoting the latest high-tech gadget. However in many ways, it is significantly more important since it often has far reaching implications regarding the safety of the world we live in. E-mail marketing, tradeshows, content marketing, and search engine optimization are the leading marketing channels for the industrial sector. The most critical channels are digital channels, which indicate many marketers understand the importance of devoting resources to a mix of digital channels. More and more industrial marketers have added blogging to their arsenal of marketing channels in recent years. Without further ado, here is my list of 18 leading marketing channels for industrial marketing success:
- E-Mail Marketing– It is a great, low-cost way to communicate with current, past and potential customers. Increase brand awareness, reinforce and rekindle relationships, drive purchases, and announce sales. Provide reminders, share the latest company or industry developments, distribute content such as blog pieces, whitepapers, and articles, and enable easy sign-up for your website visitors.
- Tradeshows– Industrial companies often allocate a large portion of their marketing budget to tradeshows. Sadly, they often don’t maximize tradeshow ROI since they don’t communicate enough with their audience before, during and after the show. Social media, e-mail marketing, e-newsletters, mobile apps, and company websites are critical here.
- Content Marketing– Content is king and you don’t get the crown without a winning content marketing program. It often makes sense to repurpose content in different formats, have a content marketing strategy in place, use an editorial calendar to plan content, and align content to different phases of the buying cycle.
- Company Website– Here’ a direct quote from Linda Rigano, Executive Director of Strategic Services at ThomasNet that says it all. “Treat your website as if you were hiring a six-figure salesperson. If you were going to put them on the street, what would you do? You’d arm them with information about the marketplace. You’d arm them with information about your products and how people use them. Then you’d put that person in front of the audience and check with them.” Website content needs to be search engine optimized. There is some great software out there that helps with this.
- Social Media– LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube/Video Sharing Sites, company blogs, and community sites/LinkedIn groups are critical to use/participate in. It is advisable to have social media links from your corporate website.
- Online Directories/Websites– With so much of business conducted online, industrial marketers have begun to migrate from print to online advertising at directory sites such as ThomasNet, MacRAE’s Blue Book, GlobalSpec, and Industrial Quick Search plus websites including publishers and associations.
- Trade Magazine Advertising– Industrial marketers still spend a fair amount on trade magazine advertising. This is often done to generate sales leads and for corporate branding. Tracking leads from ads helps you get the most bang for your ad buck. Wherever possible, include a unique promo code for your ad and phone extension for tracking purposes.
- Public Relations– Reach out to targeted media with announcements on new products and services, company news, new appointments and distributors, and more. Engage with editors and help them out by submitting appropriate content for upcoming editorial opportunities and pitch mutually beneficial story ideas. You can distribute via major newswires and can reach major media outlets, bloggers, and radio and TV people as well.
- Internet Banner Advertising on Individual Sites– This is a great way to get website traffic/leads from relevant websites.
- Blogs– They are great way to create authority and credibility, offer relate-ability by having a personality, drive search engine results, repurpose content, and most importantly generate qualified leads.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- Industrial marketers determine the most valuable keywords/keyword phrases and feed Google, Yahoo, and Bing the necessary content from company websites and other content vehicles that can be crawled from the web. Being found on the first page of search engine results substantially improves lead generation. This is often accomplished through a combination of on-page and off-page activities that meet Google’s Quality Guidelines and utilize industry best practices. Keep in mind search algorithms keep changing and you need to keep creating new content or your site can quickly lose relevance with search engines.
- Paid Advertising (PPC)- It makes sense to target high value keywords or specific niche opportunities. Pay per click campaigns can be structured and managed to deliver a positive ROI. There are proven pay per click management strategies to drive traffic to your website, improve on-site conversions, and control costs. Building a PPC campaign that leverages industrial keyword research and real world business knowledge gives you a distinct advantage over competitors. It is best to focus on relevant traffic and improve the quality rather than quantity of leads.
- Videos– Videos enable you to convey thought leadership, show how products work, and even replay your webinars. They can be featured on your company website, YouTube channel, and can be shared via e-mails and social media.
- Direct Mail– Direct mail is far from dead. With B2B mailings down substantially, it presents an opportunity to stand out from the crowd when you mail something relevant that subliminally screams ‘open me’.
- Webinars– Webinars are live meetings that take place on the web. The meeting can be a presentation, discussion, demonstration, or instructional session. Participants can view documents and applications via their computers, while shared audio allows for presentation and discussion. They are a great way to generate leads which can be converted to customers.
- Printed Directories– While the mighty Thomas Register is no longer printed (it is now ThomasNet online), there are still various printed directories such as manufacturers by state from Manufacturers News, product and service annual directories from publishers, plus tradeshow and association directories.
- Internet Banner Advertising Networks– Services such as Google AdWords allow you to place ads on a variety of news sites, blogs, and other niche sites across the internet to reach more potential customers.
- Telemarketing– One of the ways industrial marketers can generate qualified leads for salespeople is via telemarketing to qualified lists of prospects and past customers. It is best to track performance of outside telemarketing firms to ensure you are getting sufficient ROI.
While the above are all channels industrial marketers use, it is better to do a great job in a select few critical channels such as digital channels that drive sales and profits rather than a mediocre job with all. What has been your experience with the above marketing channels? Have I missed any important marketing channels for industrial marketing?