Whether you have a limited industrial marketing budget or are just getting started with your online marketing efforts and want to stay focused, where do you spend first? This is one of the most common questions manufacturers have when they are ready to invest in their digital presence. With so many channels and so much advice coming from so many directions, it’s difficult to know what will work best and how to spend wisely.
To help, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the areas in which your industrial marketing budget can be best used, and how you can track and respond to ROI over time.
To start, let’s look at the core of most online marketing campaigns: owned media that you will publish and maintain. This includes your website, a blog (if you publish one), and any downloadable resources.
Why start here instead of with an advertising campaign? Because ads are only as effective as the website to which you direct people. If your website has nothing of interest for prospects, it doesn’t matter how big your ad budget is – people won’t stick around for long.
- Your Website – Your website should be rich with information about your products, services, past projects, and differentiators. It should also be visually compelling.
- Your Blog – A blog is a great way to publish relevant new content on a recurring basis. It offers value to visitors, an anchor that draws in traffic, and a useful conversion tool when properly targeted.
- Downloadable Content – Downloadable content that targets your ideal prospects in procurement, engineering and management can improve your website’s conversion rate and generate new leads for your business.
Earned media is anything that you generate through outreach efforts and by leveraging the content you already own. This includes things like press release coverage, links to your blog, social media shares, and interviews.
Earned media frequently differs from owned and paid in that it focuses primarily on time investment – the more you spend in generating interest, the better your content and resources will perform.
- Press and Outreach – Traditional press channels — including industrial directories, industry-specific trade magazines and websites, and local news — as well as blog and forum outreach for your owned content will all help generate new traffic to your website.
- Social Media – Social media can be approached from multiple angles, and for industrial companies it’s best to focus on the channels that work best. LinkedIn and its groups and public facing broadcast platform, Twitter and the ability to directly engage with both large and small brands, and video channels like YouTube and Vimeo (if you can produce and publish video regularly) all are good outlets in which to invest time.
- Engagement with Other Thought Leaders – Actively engaging with other bloggers, content producers, and executives in the industrial space can garner greater thought leadership, and help introduce your brand and content to new audiences. This includes guest blog posts, interviews, video clips, and coverage at trade shows.
The third and final pillar of a good marketing campaign is often the first and only one that manufacturers think of. Because of this, many are turned off quickly – seeing high costs, low returns, and small audiences.
But when used in conjunction with a high-quality website, frequently published content, and an active outreach and social campaign, paid media can drive substantial ROI for your business. This includes:
- Google PPC – Paid ads in Google search related to the specific terms people are searching for can be highly effective in the industrial space if they are well researched, highly targeted, and carefully refined over time.
- Social Ads – Paid ads on LinkedIn targeting specific job roles and companies can be quite effective when you have a very specific campaign to which you are driving this traffic.
- Directories and Display Ads – Paid placement in directories like ThomasNet or GlobalSpec can work when the targeting is good and the categories not too competitive. Display ads on these and related sites more specific to your niche are also highly effective ways to generate traffic.
With a limited industrial marketing budget, the best thing you can do is ensure your website and any other online channels offer real value to the people who find them. Driving traffic without giving people something on which to focus almost guarantees a low return rate. But too much content and not enough traffic can be just as ineffective. Balanced investment, careful analysis of what works and what doesn’t, and ample availability of time from your team’s leaders will help drive greater results from your efforts across the board.