Digital Marketing Success with Strategic Content and Marketing Automation

Most companies prioritize looking for revenue opportunities, generating leads, and creating brand awareness. The most effective way to do this is with digital marketing and a strong digital presence. It’s not uncommon for manufacturing and industrial companies to have a website, social media account or both, but these days that’s not enough.

Your industry is changing, technology is evolving, and your buyers are becoming proactive researchers, so you can’t just “set and forget” your website or Facebook page. To become and remain visible in the online environment, companies must provide timely information, new insights, and ongoing calls to action to keep engagement high.

B2B prospects expect more than just a webpage with list of products or services and contact information or a social media account with some dated photos. They want to find as much as possible about what you do and what you know about their needs, and they want that information in more than one format.

The challenge to companies is developing and managing a program of content at a level that has maximum impact and drives revenue. In practice it means creating a variety of content and using marketing automation tools to deploy and maintain it to the biggest advantage.

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Digital Marketing Overview

B2B Buyers in a Digital World

Your prospects share these two characteristics:

  • They do research online. They want to find information on their own and only interact with reps once they feel informed and have specific questions.
  • They make group decisions. B2B buyers are often part of a purchasing team and different roles such as purchasing agents, managers, and engineers. They also want the ability to easily share information with the rest of the group.

A base-level website or social media presence simply doesn’t provide the amount of detail and insight prospects seek. Digital marketing is method of developing and distributing that information while enhancing your visibility among competitors (who are also building a digital presence).

It also creates opportunities for prospects to engage with your company and for you to analyze and leverage that engagement. In short, if a prospect consistently finds a trusted and knowledgeable resource in your digital presence, there’s a greater chance they will want to buy from you.

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Digital Marketing Success Starts with Content

To attract prospects and keep them around, provide relevant, authoritative, interesting content for them to read, watch, and listen to. Think about creating content programs and campaigns based on these:

  • Your business goals. Align content to your business goals, such as targeting certain industries or promoting a specific aspect of your business, for example if your goal is boosting inspection equipment leads and sales:
    • In Q1 focus on your end of line inspection equipment in a series of blogs.
    • In Q2 promote the new line of safety sensors with video demos.
    • In Q3 discuss the idea of upgrading existing equipment and why and how a prospect might want to do that in an ebook and email series.
    • In Q4 publish the details of how your optics and designs work in a whitepaper and blog
  • Your prospects’ roles and perspectives. In order to create content that resonates with readers, identify who they are and what their perspective is. Make separate content pieces targeting the viewpoint of each, such as:
    • Purchasing/buying agents focused on finding a good price or a long-term vendor agreement
    • Managers interested in fast ROI time and solving labor shortages
    • Engineers looking for specs, operational data, and proof of concept
    • Quality inspectors hoping to improve efficiency and end product quality
  • Your sales experience. Take the questions and comments sales reps hear in conversation with prospects and respond to them in your content. For example:
    • Write an ebook that explains a product and answers questions raised during the latest webinar.
    • Design an infographic that recaps how your equipment fits into a customer’s workflow/process.
    • Record a video demo of an operator using your equipment.
    • Publish a case study and data tables showing how you improved time-to-market for your customer.

The best content is about more than branding and product placement. In fact, it may not mention these things at all. The point of content is to educate, build trust, and fill a gap in knowledge, and in this context overt advertising can be a distraction.

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Use Marketing Automation to Manage, Analyze, and Optimize Your Content Program

A great content program incorporates multiple channels, stays current, and is relevant to users. But you also need to know if it’s resonating and how it performs. Marketing automation tools (like Hubspot and others) manage content from the web and social media by allowing the user to preschedule marketing events then record them and their data to gain and retain visibility in the marketplace.v

Content Performance Analysis

Content is part of inbound marketing, which is designed to draw prospects to you and generate leads indirectly. But it can be hard to know how well your blogs and social posts are doing that. Marketing automation tools help you analyze content performance at micro and macro levels:

  • Micro level performance
    • Clicks on a specific blog post
    • Downloads of a single slide deck or ebook
    • Single email bounces and opens
  • Macro level performance
    • Overall web traffic
    • Search ranking performance (e.g. search engine optimization (SEO) effectiveness, keywords ranking, page structure and formatting, tags and coding, linking strategies, and content clusters)
    • Developing ideal buyer personas to tailor content
    • A/B testing to optimize word choice, images, subject lines, layout, etc.

In addition to performing well, want content to meet users where they are, answer their questions, and then guide them to more info. Marketing automation helps with this by deploying your content to reach the right buyer with the right information at the right point in the journey. This makes it easy to integrate content into the sales workflow without spending time manually sending out emails or marking up your calendar. Examples include:

  • Programmed workflows that send an email based on an action the prospect took
  • Automatic task reminders to call back in a week after you leave a voicemail message
  • Automatically email lapsed customers to re-engage them
  • Create a new record automatically when someone downloads gated content (e.g. filling out a form to obtain your new whitepaper)

Data analytics like this is objective and quantifiable and adds a new dimension to lead scoring and forecasting. Engagement with digital content (or lack thereof) indicates interested someone is. You can assign weights to different content pieces and types of interaction (e.g. three email opens adds 15 points, download adds 20 points, unsubscribe takes away 10 points).

It takes time and expertise to get an effective content program up and running. And then there’s the required routine maintenance. It’s not unlike acquiring a new CNC machine or making changes to your production line. There’s new equipment to master, maintenance, and periodic upgrades required to keep the gains you’ve made, but that work is offset by efficiency and improved production. Whether you want to get started with content or are ready to expand and upgrade what you have already, a consultation with Acadia is great next step – please contact us.

Digital Marketing Resources

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Persona Targeting for Manufacturing Companies

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Teaching Yourself Inbound Marketing

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4 Ways Industrial Marketers Short Circuit Their ROI

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