Industrial Inbound Marketing: How to Deliver the Right Content at the Right Time
Inbound marketing is one of the best ways to nurture leads in the industrial sector and nudge them toward a purchase. But to work effectively, you must first understand the steps in the buyer’s journey and deliver the right content at the right time.
This post covers the essentials of industrial inbound marketing and the specific strategy we recommend to clients.
The Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
A critical precursor to successful industrial inbound marketing is understanding the buyer’s journey. Boston-based B2B marketing agency Grant Marketing says it perfectly with this quote.
“Inbound marketing methodology is built on intercepting the buyer’s journey with relevant, quality information that helps the buyer find a solution on the seller’s website. With most manufacturing companies, the buyer’s journey (and selling cycle) of their customers can be an extremely long and delicate process. The most influential factor in supplying people with helpful, applicable content is to tailor that content directly to which stage in the buyer’s journey an individual is currently in.”
Although the exact stages of the buyer’s journey can vary depending on who you ask and isn’t always linear, you can break it down into three main stages — awareness, consideration, and decision. Here’s what that looks like visually, along with examples of typical content from each stage.
Once you know how one stage flows into another, you’ll better understand the buyer’s psychology and overall thought process. For the rest of this post, we’ll discuss an actionable strategy we suggest specifically for industrial brands.
Taking an Account-Based Marketing Approach
We often find that account-based marketing (ABM) is a hugely successful strategy for industrial manufacturers because you usually go after high-value buyers you want to treat like individual markets. Unlike traditional marketing, where you send mass marketing messages to prospects, ABM takes the opposite approach. You first identify who you’re trying to reach and then create a highly personalized, hyper-targeted campaign.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of traditional marketing versus account-based marketing for clarification.
Because you’re typically going after bigger clients that want the royal treatment, ABM is often more effective than traditional marketing. ABM helps you craft content that targets the exact buyers you want, addresses their specific pain points, and gets you in front of them.
When implementing ABM, you’ll want to ask yourself, “What are the dream clients we want to establish partnerships with?” And to find the answer to this question, you’ll want to list your dream clients (industries, budgets, employee numbers, locations, revenue, etc.) and find key stakeholders within those companies (LinkedIn is excellent for that).
From there, you’ll want to determine those dream clients’ most relevant wants and needs, talking with people with inside info and monitoring their websites, social accounts, and initiatives. Then, audit those clients’ competitors to see what they may be missing out on (e.g., your competitors are doing X, but you’re not).
From there, it’s just a matter of crafting content that targets these buyers, addressing relevant pain points for different dream clients, and getting it in front of them.
Types of Content to Use
When it comes to types of content, there’s no one-size-fits-all game plan that works across the board. However, various kinds of content work consistently well for targeting and reaching ideal manufacturing customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey. The earlier graphic regarding the buyer’s journey highlighted several types of content throughout each stage of the buyer’s journey. And those are all worth consideration.
But here are a few specific types of content we’ve personally had success with and recommend to clients for industrial inbound marketing.
Blog articles are almost always a great starting point for prospects in the awareness stage and are perfect for getting on their radar. A good example of a company that pulls this off well is Insulgard, a manufacturer of bullet-resistant windows and other security products.
Simply having a blog, though, isn’t usually enough to target and reach your ideal customers. Instead, we recommend distributing your blog content across channels that are relevant to each particular prospect, such as social networks they frequent and digital publications.
Whitepapers, eBooks, research reports, and most other educational content also work well during the awareness stage because they allow you to address the particular symptoms of a prospect’s problem and build initial rapport.
Podcasts, webinars, and videos are great for the consideration stage, where the prospect clearly defines their problem and understands the opportunity to buy from you. If possible, we suggest inviting a leader from the account you’re targeting to be a special guest, as this can quickly lay the foundation for a strong relationship and get your foot in the door.
Product comparisons, vendor comparisons, product literature, and case studies are all great options for the final decision stage. For instance, Polymershapes, a plastics company that sells safety solutions to protect against infectious diseases, has a robust product literature page on its website where prospects can search by product keywords, material, type, and supplier.
And industrial automation brand Rockwell offers several case studies that let prospects see examples of real-life results brands have seen by partnering with them.
By having targeted content for all three stages of the buyer’s journey, you can ensure you’re delivering the right content at the right time to nurture each prospect until they’re ready to purchase.
This also plays into ABM and makes the overall experience relevant and personalized for each client. For example, if you have an online platform for purchasing your manufactured products, you’ll want to personalize the selection based on what the prospect buys most and personalize the prices. It’s also smart to personalize your landing pages to speak directly to the needs of specific companies. You may even want to incorporate individual company names on landing pages.
The more tailored the experience is to each particular manufacturing prospect, the higher your chances of ultimately making a conversion. According to Statista, 93% of B2B brands believe website personalization results in revenue growth.
Finding a Partner to Help with Industrial Inbound Marketing
Regardless of the industry, leads are seldom ready to commit to purchasing immediately. On average, 80% of visitors aren’t prepared for a sales discussion on arrival. That number is often even higher in the industrial sector, where there’s a notoriously long and delicate sales cycle.
Industrial inbound marketing is ideal because it offers a framework that enables you to target and reach ideal customers throughout each stage of the buyer’s journey and create highly personalized content that appeals to each prospect. It’s just a matter of taking the time to develop and refine your campaign until you have the right formula.
This concept is often easier said than done, and many industrial companies can benefit from partnering with a professional agency to assist with their inbound marketing. At 3.7 Designs, our specialty is inbound marketing, and we have a proven system that helps manufacturing organizations reach their goals and get efficient conversions.
For example, we helped Polymershapes increase its leads by 75% while getting a 285% increase in search visibility through our search engine optimization strategies. We also helped Insulgard get 1,000% more leads and achieve a 50% higher conversion rate than the industry average.
If you’d like to learn more about how we approach industrial inbound marketing and discuss a project, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us through our online contact form or by calling 734-531-9737 / 800-672-1714.