Industrial Blog Sites Revisited

The idea of combining a website with the benefits of a blog is very appealing to many industrial marketers. In my conversations over the past few months, I have noticed a growing acceptance of blog sites among manufacturers, industrial distributors and engineering services companies.

Blog sites as inbound marketing hubs

Industrial companies have realized the importance of inbound marketing and its impact on lead generation. They are beginning to look beyond a static informational website and are now seriously focusing on developing a more robust online presence for attracting qualified traffic, generating higher quality leads and positioning themselves as thought leaders in their respective niches.

If you are still not convinced about the power of industrial blogs and inbound marketing, let me highlight some of the facts and findings that I have written about in the past.

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How Blogs Help Manufacturers Enter New Markets

The current economy and a global supply chain have forced many manufacturers to reevaluate how they do business these days. Traditional sources of new business – word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business from existing customers have slowed to a trickle for many of these industrial companies. They now find themselves in uncharted waters where they have to think of and appreciate marketing as something more than mere sales support.

Business owners and executives crave stability and predictability but expectations and behaviors of industrial buyers have changed. It is time to get out of your comfort zones and rethink your industrial marketing strategies and tactics if you want your company to survive and thrive. That is an important and sometimes painful lesson that many manufacturers have learned over the past couple of years.

Entering new markets (49%) is cited as one of the top three areas where manufacturers and industrial companies will be spending more time and effort in 2011. (Source: 2011 Economic Outlook Survey by GlobalSpec.)

How do you enter a new market where you have no brand awareness, credibility or customer references?

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Build Industrial Websites as Dynamic Blog Sites

For most industrial companies and manufacturers, a Website is the centerpiece of their online presence. By now, most industrial marketers are aware of the power of inbound marketing for lead generation. A blog is considered the cornerstone of an effective inbound marketing strategy.

What if you could combine the best of both these marketing tactics? I’m talking about creating a blog site with dynamic content instead of a static digital marketing asset.

Building or redesigning a company Website as a blog site is increasingly becoming the preferred method for many industrial and manufacturing marketers.

Here, I’m referring to an integrated blog site where yourcompanyname.com is the home page of the blog or is in a subdirectory within your main domain such as yourcompanyname.com/blog and not an external blog like someotherblogname.com.    Read more

Industrial Blogs for Lead Generation Using Inbound Marketing

If you are an industrial or a manufacturing marketer, you know all about the constant pressure of generating high-quality sales leads. Upper management asking you to fill the pipeline with ever-shrinking budgets is a given these days.

There are three key ideas in the headline of my post – 1) Industrial blogs, 2) Lead generation and 3) Inbound marketing. In this post I’ll talk about how the three work together nicely in industrial and manufacturing marketing.

Various studies and my own experiences with industrial clients show that filling the top of the lead-gen funnel is still the number one goal.

A study of over 1,400 small and mid-sized businesses found that marketers with blogs generated 67% more leads. (Source: HubSpot).

Industrial marketers who don’t use a blog are missing a key component of feeding the top of their sales funnels. The single biggest benefit of blogging that I know of is getting found early and often when engineers and industrial professionals are researching solutions using search engines.

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How to Coax Content Out of Engineers

Keeping a steady flow of content coming out of engineers and in-house technical experts is a challenge.

You know your work is cut out for you if you are a Content or a Marcom Manager at an engineering or manufacturing company.

Engineers are known to be passive participants when it comes to generating marketing and social media content of any kind. What can do you do if you are tasked with maintaining an active industrial blog that needs fresh content regularly?

If you are a marketing department of one, I suggest you do whatever you can to hone your journalistic skills. You will need to become good at:

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Don’t Let Lack of Content Stop You from Blogging

The mantra for effective business blogging is to regularly pump out fresh content that is reader-centric and not focused too much on you, your products or your company. I agree.

More power to you if you already have a horde of avid readers who visit your blog every time you post new content. For others, the bulk of your blog traffic, in some cases as much as 80%, will come from first-time visitors. These people find your blog while searching for answers to their current problem or visit via social media.

It is not just your latest post that draws traffic. Your blog posts will remain online in perpetuity. A post that is a few months old to you may be news to someone else, as long as it is not time sensitive.

As an industrial marketer, you recognize the importance of constantly publishing fresh and relevant content to attract qualified visitors and convert them into leads.

However, at the end of the day, every manufacturer or distributor of industrial products wants to sell more widgets and not just publish more content. (See my earlier post, “Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher, Act Like an Investor.”)

Many manufacturers and industrial companies tend to back away from launching their business blog because of this content dilemma.

Is there a way for industrial marketers to solve this “Catch-22” problem for blogging? There is!

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B2B Blogging Gaining Acceptance by More Industrial and Engineering Companies

For a while now, marketing consultants have been preaching the benefits of making B2B blogging the cornerstone of inbound marketing. It is difficult nowadays to find a marketing company or an independent expert not using a business blog to attract and engage with its target audience.

I use this blog to reach a wider audience than before, drive more traffic to my industrial marketing company’s Website and establish my expertise in this niche.

But are industrial and engineering companies getting the message about B2B blogging?

GlobalSpec recently conducted a Social Media Survey of engineering, technical, manufacturing and industrial professionals and found that only 24% of these companies have a business blog.

In an earlier post, I had written about three industrial companies that were using business blogs very successfully. Those are well-known companies and their success stories in using content for inbound marketing are well documented. What about other manufacturers and engineering companies?

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Why Your Sales Funnel May Run Dry Without a Business Blog

Happy New Year!

Are you leaving additional sales leads and revenues on the table?

Industrial marketers who don’t use a business blog are missing a key component of feeding the top of their sales funnels. By not using every opportunity to generate high-quality leads, they may be leaving money on the table.

You can find lots of online articles about the advantages of using a business blog for building thought leadership, communities and humanizing your company. A business blog will help you do all that but what about finding new leads and more sales opportunities?

The answer is a resounding yes. A business blog is a powerful online marketing tool for inbound lead generation. A continuous stream of high-quality leads to feed the sales funnel and keep it humming is the lifeblood of industrial marketing.

To prove my point about business blogging for lead generation, here is an eye-opening statistic – marketers with blogs generate 67% more leads. The chart below shows the difference between B2C and B2B companies.

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3 Business Blogs with Proven ROI from Industrial Companies

A business blog is an important and integral component of inbound marketing. While there are plenty of business blogs from B2B marketing consultants (including this one), industry portals and vertical search engines, there aren’t too many from manufacturers and industrial companies.

Manufacturing marketers do understand the value of a business blog for thought leadership, search engine optimization (SEO), lead generation and community building but proving its ROI has been a challenge. As a result, many of them either ignore blogging as a marketing strategy or wait until their competition launches one.

It is easy for us marketing consultants to extol the virtues of a business blog but clients want to see actual examples before accepting our recommendations on blind faith. They need to see verifiable results and not just screen shots in our online portfolios.

I found three industrial blogs that have produced measurable ROI in terms of lead generation and sales – key performance metrics that resonate with the C-suite.

Here’s proof that business blogging is an effective inbound marketing strategy for manufacturers, engineering and industrial companies. Read more

How to Use a B2B Blog to Win Customers and Influence Prospects

I admit my headline is a play on Dale Carnegie’s bestseller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This timeless classic, one of the first bestselling self-help books published in 1937 and sold over 15 million copies globally is still relevant today.

As a B2B marketer, we want to reach our ideal prospects and communicate with customers to maintain top-of-mind awareness throughout their buying cycle. A B2B blog is the perfect online tool to accomplish that.

If you are still not sure about the benefits of using a business blog, head over to HubSpot and read these articles:

Assuming you are now convinced and have your own B2B blog, here are six basic steps for making it the hub of your online presence to win customers and influence prospects. Read more