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By Amy Biemiller
No matter if your company sells commodity products or customized goods, if you are a marketer in the industrial arena, you probably face at least one of the following hurdles on a daily basis:
- A layered buying-decision landscape that results in a long sales cycle
- A need to make technical information easier to understand
- Increased competition that adds pressure to reduce prices
Sound content marketing strategy can help industrial marketers overcome the major hurdles to staying competitive and gaining more market share.
Here are three things you can add to your industrial marketing strategy to overcome those challenges, differentiate your product and compete more effectively in a global marketplace.
1.Take a different marketing approach to long sales cycles.
In the manufacturing arena, a long sales cycle is a given because there are layers of decision makers involved at every phase of the decision-making process. To work within those parameters, your industrial marketing strategy should include a plan to create a steady flow of useful content that can help those decision-makers at every stage in their buying journey.
- Prospects will find FAQs, tip sheets and transaction step-by-step guides supportive.
- Your top distributors and resellers in mind will appreciate customizable materials they can use to better target their regional audiences. When you provide these resources, their communications will be consistent with your brand look, tone and feel.
- Simplify answers to your customer’s complex questions.
Your buyers and prospects have a lot of technical questions about your products and services and they want answers on the double. Develop a library of content that delivers simplified answers and you will make your content far more accessible and useful.
Be sure your marketing mix includes instructional videos and infographics. These not only gain attention but can effectively communicate important information in an engaging way. In addition, use case studies that are crafted in a story-telling style to convey important information.
- Focus content on value and service.
No question about it, as competition grows, so does the pressure to cut prices. Instead of discounting your prices, increase your promotion of value to create competitive advantage.
To do this, you must fully understand the attributes that drive your customers to choose the product or service they do – even if it’s not your product or service. Don’t trust yourself or your team to assume this knowledge. Go find out through surveys and research. Then apply that insight to your marketing communications strategy to promote value and service.
The buying process for B2B industrial products and services is vastly different from the B2C space. That means the marketing focus must be, too. Develop relevant, useful content for every stage of your buyer journey and you can help move your company ahead.
Looking for more insight that will make your content marketing more effective? Let our team make it easier to achieve better results. Contact CrucialContent today.
Proposals weren’t always about carats and cut. The history of the diamond engagement ring is a brand story worth knowing. Learn how clever marketing made diamonds synonymous with love in our newest Brand Bites video.
Learn how today’s instantly recognizable Santa brand came to be – over centuries – in our happy holidays Brand Bites video. May your holiday be bright and your new year especially wonderful, from all of us at CrucialContent.
Patient testimonials in video or written format are excellent ways to create emotional appeal and enhance your hospital’s brand reputation. These testimonials relate a real person’s experience, so they deliver an important degree of authenticity to a marketing campaign. That’s why they should be part of your overall content marketing strategy.
Why should your audiences care about your products or services? By developing personas, you can unearth answers to this question; plus, pinpoint details such as content consumption habits or personal goals. Personas roll everything about your members and potential members into fictional individuals who are realistic and relatable.
Once your credit union documents and integrates personas into daily use, your personas will drive marketing efforts – and assure that each headline, Facebook post or e-book is targeted for a specific audience. Use these four simple but crucial tips to make your personas beneficial to your credit union’s bottom line:
1. Do your research on current members:
Your personas should accurately represent the members or small businesses your organization works with. This requires good research. Ardath Albee, the author of Digital Relevance, outlines persona research and development in this video from the Intelligent Content Conference.
If you can, talk to some of your members or Select Employee Groups (SEGs). Find out what influenced their decision to go with your credit union. Talk to your sales team too. Ask them what kinds of leads they interact with and what kinds of strategies usually get those leads to buy.
While members can provide great anecdotal information, don’t stop there. Mine your sales databases for quantifiable trends on how members find and interact with your credit union. And use social media listening and web analytics to find out what your audiences are searching for, clicking on and sharing.
2. Adequately represent your audiences:
If you’re working with a diverse audience, you should not cover all of your members with one persona. At the same time, you don’t want to be too specific.
Think of each persona as representing a common type of member in your audience. If your research suggests that you mainly attract four types of members, then make four different personas. Sure, not everybody will neatly fall under a clear persona, but a message designed for one persona should resonate with almost every member it represents.
3. Use a common set of criteria:
Even though your personas should be diverse enough to represent a broad range of members, be consistent about how you define their characteristics, and make sure these characteristics are relevant to your company.
Here are some example criteria:
- Background: What are some important, relevant details about the persona’s life? For example, what is the persona’s income, financial responsibilities and financial challenges?
- Goals: What does the persona want to do that your organization can help with? For instance, credit unions can provide financial literacy education to members, helping them navigate financial challenges.
- Content/information preferences: How does the persona like to send and receive information? The number of channels available is growing and changing all the time. Are your millennials on Snapchat or Instagram? What publications are your B2C and B2B audiences reading? And remember, more than 80% of 18- to 49-year-olds own smartphones now.
- Challenges: Think of reasons the persona may not choose your product or service. Would income level, geographic region or life stage deter a member from activating a product?
- Brand promise: This is the one- or two-sentence pitch that should explain how your product or service can meet all of the persona’s needs and address their challenges and concerns.
4. Don’t leave your personas faceless:
Personas are supposed to make it easier to know who you’re creating content for, so they’re not much good if they’re not, well, personable. For each persona, use a photo that helps content creators think of it as a real person. You can use stock photos for this. When you read the text of a persona, an image of the person it describes should come to mind. Find the photo that best matches this image and say hello to the person who will keep your content creators focused and your audiences paying attention.
Developing personas is just the start. Once you complete your brand’s personas, use these in every content marketing, advertising and sales channel. From targeted digital marketing campaigns to social media content calendars and sales conversations with prospects, your brand will stay relevant to your audiences with established personas.
Our free e-book includes several complete persona examples. You can download it here.
Expertly crafted content can go to waste if it’s not engaging. Data shows infographics deliver information in an attractive, visual way that resonates with readers. Content with images gets 94 percent more views than content without images. And infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content.
We see infographics work well for our clients, including banks and credit unions that use animated infographics to explain financial topics to customers and members. Health system clients use infographics on landing pages to help readers understand the importance of behavioral changes like smoking cessation. We incorporate infographics into printed publications for universities and colleges to illustrate the programs and achievements of centers of influence.
Engagement is imperative, and when you strive to engage with different buyer personas, an infographic gives you another way to make your content appeal to more readers.
When you create content that is well written and full of informative data and engaging visuals, you’ve cracked the code on the art and science of effective infographic design. Think of infographics as tools in your kit to regularly use in blogs, e-newsletters, social media and all forms of content.
To make your infographics stand out – and even effectively stand alone – try these infographic design trends:
- Interaction: When infographics become interactive, your audience members can explore the data for themselves. For instance, this billionaires’ index from Bloomberg provides layers of information.
- Multipagination: Have a lot to say in a visual format? Long charts or explanations can be shortened with a multipage infographic, such as this vitamin atlas.
- Map: Let geography do the talking for you with a map like this infographic on small businesses in the United States. Create a digital map of your locations and offerings to provide a seamless user experience.
- Scrolling: A scrolling infographic gives the user the control to navigate through the infographic. With a simple scroll or swipe, a viewer can steer through infographics like this savings challenge.
- Animation: Motion drives viewers through the infographic, enhancing engagement and data retention, such as in this solar power animated infographic.
Creating and sharing content, data and analysis all wrapped up in a thoughtfully conceived infographic will go a long way to enhance your content marketing efforts.
Why struggle with creating custom infographics that represent your brand well? We can help.
87% of affluent millennials seek thought leadership through at least one type of social network, Here are more reasons why you need to use social media for your millennial market.