The internet’s power and ubiquity means that industrial and technical buyers are relying on it as their most important research tool.
Industrial suppliers must therefore place the utmost importance in web marketing and must focus on those tactics that will make them most successful online.
Sales lead generation
Gone are the days when brand-building alone was the essential measure of marketing success. Thanks to the direct and dynamic nature of the internet, sales lead generation has become the single most important strategic marketing commodity.
The internet offers a number of avenues to generate sales leads. These can include your own website, blogs, social media and buying communities. Generating leads is just one part of the picture; as it’s up to you how efficiently and professionally you follow them up in order to ultimately win the sale.
The sourcing process for business and industrial products is rigorous due to the important nature of that which is being procured. It is therefore vital to constantly inform and educate your target market with information that establishes your company as a thought leader in your industry.
The effort exerted into developing your company’s credibility in this way will provide an advantage over competitors. Content which establishes your company as a thought leader can include: product reviews, feature articles, case studies, white papers and news releases. Buying communities that exist on sites are effective avenues for distributing such content, but it’s up to you to ensure the information you produce is insightful and informative.
Brand positioning has traditionally been a goal that only larger companies could aspire to. However in many ways the internet has levelled the playing field and this is no longer the case. Using online channels such as websites that pull together company and product listings, smaller brands are finding themselves in an ideal position to compete for brand awareness online.
This represents an exciting brand-building opportunity for innovative up-and-coming companies. By associating and promoting your brand online within a targeted community that your target market uses and trusts, your brand is positioned for online success.
Search engine exposure
Search engines such as Google and Yahoo are powerful tools and there are two main ways to tap into them to support your online marketing presence:
(1) SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – Choose keywords and phrases that are important to you and run pay-per-click campaigns driving traffic to your website.
(2) SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – Optimise your companies’ website or other online content, such as your ‘IndustrySearch Storefront’ to display in the natural search results. These results typically get more clicks so this is seen as the first prize in search engine activity.
Once upon a time the only way to demonstrate a product was face to face, however online videos are changing that. They are becoming increasingly popular and are now seen as a great way to demonstrate your wares to buyers online.
Inexpensive cameras can provide web-ready videos to put in front of your prospects. All you need to do is put some thought into it, point and shoot, and then publish straight to the web. It’s that easy.
Measuring return on investment (ROI)
Businesses must always quantify their spending, and marketing investments are no different. One of the most important benefits of online marketing especially when compared to traditional marketing, is its measurement and accountability possibilities.
Some of the performance metrics your company should measure online include: sales leads, website traffic, article views and brand exposure.
So take control of your online marketing and don’t let the technology scare you. All the tools you need are out there and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just keep focused on your most important online tactics: sales lead generation, thought leadership, brand positioning, search engines and video demos. Then measure and track how these are performing against your marketing investment and you’re all set for online marketing success!