The internet has changed the way consumers, both business and individual, look for information, and how they expect to receive it. We are accustomed to typing a query in a search bar, pressing enter and getting answers. We expect companies to have at least a user friendly website, and trust them more when we can connect with them via whatever social media channels are important to us. We expect to build relationships with them, and we want to be able to do it online.
This is why companies look to inbound marketing. And content is the lifeblood of inbound marketing. A few interesting stats:
- Those B2B companies that blog generate an average of 67% more leads each month than their non-blogging counterparts.
- Research conducted by the Custom Content Council in 2011 found that 90% of consumer respondents found custom content useful. Even more impressive, 78% saw it as a sign that companies wanted to build positive relationships with them.
- Companies that include a blog on their website get 97% more inbound links than the folks that don’t. And those blogs result in 55% more visitors.
- Social media, you ask? 6 out of 10 people on Facebook or Twitter are more likely to recommend a brand they follow.
You have plenty of content – just think of all those leaflets and pamphlets you hand out at tradeshows. While a physical piece of paper might be a good way to connect with someone initially, it fails to deliver when someone wants more information. Companies, manufacturing and otherwise, take their leads online because they can offer so much more information there than on that one piece of paper.
What Falls Under Content?
For inbound marketing, basically any piece you use to communicate online. A few of these include:
- Product spec sheets
- Text and video testimonials
- Calls-to-action and Landing pages
Why is Content so Important?
- Generates Leads. Content captures leads and moves them down the sales funnel.
- Works Hard for Less. The great thing about the internet: it never sleeps. Online content does what outbound marketing methods (such as tradeshows and direct mail) cannot, and at lower cost to boot. You write and publish it. It works for you day and night, attracting and converting leads 24/7. Word-of-mouth marketing is achieved via socially shareable content and a solid social media presence.
- Builds Awareness. You want people to know you exist. The internet is an audience of billions of people. Targeted content attracts the right people from that audience to build awareness of your brand.
Content Development Considerations
Make it Consumer-centric
The most important thing to remember with content creation: content is consumer-centric. Before posting that product spec sheet or blog article ask yourself, “How is this helping the customer? What are they getting out of it?” If I’m browsing your blog and all you talk about is how great your company is, I’ll leave the page.
Create high-quality content. A bad blog post or poorly formatted product sheet does not inspire repeat visits. If your content doesn’t give the reader information in an easily-digestible format, they won’t return. Prioritize your content development schedule. Start small and build a solid foundation of helpful content before moving on to larger tasks.
Have Something for Everyone
For manufacturing companies, it’s important to reach out to a few set of people, namely:
- Those at different stages in the buying cycle
- The end consumer
Your site visitors are not all in the same stage of the buying cycle. You’ll want to develop top, middle, and bottom of the funnel content. This means general industry information, information specific to your company and steps in between.
You also want to connect with your demand generators – those end consumers that can become valuable brand enthusiasts for your product. Create content that speaks to their needs and problems and reach out to them via social media channels they frequent.
SEO and Share
You do still have to ensure your content can be found. Apply appropriate search engine optimization techniques and share on social media to effectively reach your audience.
About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.