Seven steps to a relevant, customer-focused industrial marketing media schedule.
From the headline of this post you know a checklist is coming as you prepare to create a media schedule. Here it is:
- Survey your customers
- Check out where they hang out
- Place the frequency to match the use
- Use blogging best practices to create content
- Establish a metric to track
- Test new media
- Rinse and repeat
It's easy to survey visitors who request information from your web site. Contrary to giving information away, many industrial sites request contact information for Material Specification Data Sheets and other proprietary information. Those request forms are a perfect place to ask where your customers "hang out." You'll quickly see that one third of your leads come from the dominate industry publication, another third from search engine, whlle the other major industry publications deliver the balance.
There are additional questions you'll want to ask yourself before planning your 2014 campaign.
- What are your goals?
- How do you compare with your competitor's sites?
- How does your PR compare?
- How does your advertising compare?
Normally the goal of an industrial marketing site is to increase traffic and thus gain new customers. The site that a plant manager finds and gets a quote from quickly has a very good chance of getting the order, but it takes a combination of efforts from sales reps, manufacturing and financial approvals. One site we did generates sales from around the world, letters of credit are essential for your protection.
Hubspot's Marketing Grader is a good place to compare your site against others. Maybe you can't have as many indexed pages or links to your site as a multi-national, but you must have a site that loads quickly, has unique content and uses the keywords you want to be found on.
PR is a topic that is coming back. The new inbound marketing concepts are really a throwback to a strong PR program. Good writers can always find a new spin on an industrial product and that's what will get your reader engaged. They'll remember you when they are looking for your product. Take a look at a good list of how to blog and it's practically the same as the PR manuals from a century ago. Also, PR is put in front of traditional advertising for a reason. You must prove your media with PR and only then will the media be worthwhile for paid display advertising.
Finally your display advertising budget needs to go to the publications your customers read, the directories they refer to and the ones that provide sales leads. The old-fashioned bingo card is back in digital from and just as relevant.
Now for dicing up your budget. The 80/20 rule works here as well. So, 80% of your budget should go to the top 20% of your markets. The 20% left can be used for PR. For a small manufacturing firm with say a $100,000 budget for round numbers use $10,000 for industrial directories that will provide about 50% of your web traffic. Your site should produce about 50% of your sales leads. Another $70,000 goes to display advertising that provides a similar 25% of your leads. And the final $20,000 split between adwords and PR which will generate the final 25% of your leads. Typically, your PR is a compelling visual and description appropriate for the media's editorial schedule. As you update your PR also update your site site content. In fact, the PR can be a blog post that's distributed to the media and linked to inside the site.
The process of industrial marketing media changes incrementally and slowly over time. You need to stay in front of you regular customers, but also need to continue to explore new markets. You never know where those will come from, but then again we invented the Internet to solve that problem! So your 70% traditional media marketing goes to your regular customers and 30% goes to keep your name out there in the best industrial directories, search engine ad words and potentially new media and businesses with PR. Thanks to Business2community.com for the McGraw-Hill magazine ad, "I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your company. I don’t know your company’s product. I don’t know what your company stands for. I don’t know your company’s customers. I don’t know your company’s record. I don’t know your company’s reputation. Now…What was it that you wanted to sell me?"
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