Imagine you’re a musician about to give a great concert. Your venue holds 30,000, but you’ve only sold 300 tickets to people who already know about your band. You could have filled the arena, but you didn’t make an effort to promote it to others who didn’t know about your awesome show. Lots of potential fans missed out.
Now, translate that to marketing: You’re an industrial company with a great product or service line, and some people out there know about it. Yet more out there could become customers but simply aren’t aware of your brand.
There are many platforms you can use in your marketing strategy; the ones you utilize most will depend on where your buyers are. Advertising is a great way to educate customers, but it is just one slice of the marketing pie.
This is where multichannel marketing can yield better results. Simply put, multichannel content marketing is a carefully orchestrated strategy of messaging executed across various marketing platforms that are all interconnected and reinforce one another.
Here’s how industrial companies can grab their audience’s attention and increase brand recognition by putting those interconnected messages in different places to create the complete multichannel approach.
A multichannel marketing strategy connects your efforts across multiple channels and prompts audiences to take the next step. To begin, determine which channels are right for your industrial audience in relation to the goal you want to achieve with your multichannel marketing efforts. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, you want to get your name out in places your buyers will see it.
The best way to do this is to interview those in the industry, whether they are engineers, product purchasers or managers, or another relevant role. Learn from them what resources they trust and turn to for industry information. Do they have a go-to industry publication they consult? Is there an annual conference or trade show they attend each year to learn about the latest happenings in the industry? Where are they looking online? Here are the most prominent places for industrial marketing, rated by those in the industry:
In the industrial space, your target audience is typically tech-savvy and familiar with various platforms, so this can be both a benefit and a challenge. While finding places for your messages might be easy, it might be trickier to craft messages that intrigue this crowd who crave innovation.
To determine what content is relevant to your industrial audience, learn what’s important to them in their workday and what challenges they face. Go a step further and find out what piques their interest in their spare time. Learn about their hobbies and other interests, and look for ways to create content around those topics. You never know what an engineer may be searching for in their off hours that could lead them to your content. Delve into innovative topics knowing that your target audience craves the latest technology.
ABB is at the forefront of developing robotics, as is apparent in this video:
Taking an educational approach rather than a straight-sell approach not only positions your company as one that wants to be a resource for common technical issues, but as a company that genuinely cares about client knowledge and understanding in your product or service and how it will impact their overall projects. Keep in mind that while marketers think of a product in terms of its features and benefits, engineers see things in terms of problems and solutions.
Another important item you must consider when creating content is the SEO factor. Your potential customers are out there, searching online right now for answers you probably have. Consult keyword tools like SEMRush to generate topics based on what’s commonly being searched in your industry.
In this example, the keyword “Industrial Robots” has a high search volume, but a low keyword difficulty score.
People are searching for this term, so if it’s relevant to your industry, be sure to get on their radar by using it.
Once you’ve determined which channels you’re going to use and created and curated your content for the channels where it will be delivered, it’s time to execute the multichannel strategy. The key is to keep messages consistent in every channel. Channels can’t exist in silos; you must communicate between all team members collaborating to ensure consistent messaging and a tailored customer experience. Be sure anyone creating messaging—your content writer, social media specialist, your video producer and anyone providing overall strategy—are all informed of promotions, timing and other details.
Inbound marketing is a great strategy to pursue, but an effective industrial content marketing strategy also should include traditional, outbound methods. When you use outbound to complement your inbound efforts, you give your audience a way to take the next step.
Here's how this might apply to an industrial company attending a trade show:
First, your team would meet to determine how to effectively promote this event. Social media makes it fast and simple to spread the word to your fans, so create posts to let your followers know when you will be there. Conferences usually provide a hashtag you can use when promoting your presence at an event, as another way for audiences to see others who will be there. The Automation Technology conference in New York City has its official conference hashtag listed at the bottom of its website:
At the trade show, make your presence known and continue your efforts by generating interest from passersby. At the event, ask someone from the company to Tweet or use Facebook Live using the event hashtag to start a conversation with those outside of the event.
Magazine Machine Design went live during a recent trade show, showcasing Rethink Robotics and how easily their robot can be deployed in manufacturing. The video got more than 1,000 views, 22 likes and 12 shares—a high level of engagement. On the same day, Rethink Robotics released a blog post revealing the robot they were showcasing at the trade show, Sawyer, Intera 5. Those not aware the company would be at the trade show would still be able to learn about the fastest-to-deploy robot. To take things a step further, Rethink could retarget anyone who viewed this post to nurture them as a lead with online advertising.
If you opt not to use Facebook Live or similar social media, another strategy to use during the conference or trade show is to play a video at your booth telling your audience what you do and what makes your company different. Create a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of the video prompting viewers to visit your website, where there are several places to convert. Talk to those who come to your booth about the topic you are promoting, and encourage them to go to your website to check out the free resources you have to offer on that topic. Then, use a tablet with a landing page and a form to collect email addresses, as utilized by Avadyne Health, and send a thank you message to the email addresses you collect that prompts them to read your blog for more information on the topic you discussed.
Once you’ve made connections at the trade show, you want to maintain those relationships. Test a variety of channels, and if one channel isn’t doing well, don’t scrap it immediately. Test out other options, make adjustments and see if that yields better results. Remember, although you’ve done your homework, it still requires research and development over time. Like any marketing technique, it’s all about continual advancement in the effort to become stronger and more efficient.
Use results to help you determine future content pieces, once you understand where buyers are looking and what they are looking at. The key to multichannel marketing is to be where your customers are—online, by mail and anywhere in between.
To learn more about how you can tailor your messaging and the channels you use to communicate it, download our free eBook, Digital Marketing for Today’s Manufacturing Marketers.
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