The digital marketing strategies used in B2B for the industrial sector are completely different from the strategies used in other industries because the audience is unique. According to the 2018 buyer survey report, 31% of buyers said that their buying cycles are longer when compared to 2017. Of them, 76% of buyers desired content that speaks to their company needs. And 65% of them followed peer recommendations and online reviews. That’s why manufacturers need digital marketing because each touch point is critical.
I will explain it step by step on how to create a digital marketing strategy that you need to apply in order to get relevant traffic and to increase your ROI.
B2B industrial manufacturers digital marketing tips:
Collect important information from the client
It is very important to collect the following information from the client:
- List of products or services that provide higher ROI
- Keywords or topics that they consider relevant
- Target market
- The location where the client can deliver products or services
- New products/services
- Industries they serve
- Complementary services/products
This information will give me a starting point about the topics I need to start mapping out for my keyword research. I focus on the topics- keywords that provide higher ROI to my clients and in the main products or services. Feedback from clients about competitors, keywords, and target market are extremely useful.
I know I have tools to find this information but it is always good to get the insights from the source. Many software provides competitors and keywords based on the website’s content. Furthermore, think for one moment that it is possible that your client is not ranking or does not have the right content yet on his/her website. Then the tool will not provide you the right competitors.
After getting the information above, I do an exhaustive keyword research and competitor analysis with at least three competitors. It is preferred to use tools, such as SEMrush and Ahrefs for these tasks. Having a project in SEMrush and tracking keywords in Ahrefs, provides useful information every month about how my project is doing. It’s easy to create reports and to find the low hanging fruits. I later add these findings to the content strategy.
Learning about my client’s new products/services as well as the industries they service gives an opportunity to plan keyword rich content in the forms of blog posts, infographics, and videos.
In addition to content creation, using industry knowledge about complementary products/services is a powerful backlinking strategy.
For example, my client provides metal stamping services for a variety of different metals. I would create a blog post titled “Choosing the right metal for your metal stamping projects” to live on the client site. And also create a sharable infographic ad that would be perfect for other metal suppliers to share on their websites or social platforms.
On-page SEO is powerful
First, I run a website audit using Screaming Frog. With the results, I can find the bottlenecks which would need improvements through the on-page SEO strategy such as:
- Rewrite short meta descriptions
- Write titles
- Write meta descriptions
- Add keywords in titles
- Shorten long titles
- Add alt tags
- Fix broken links (redirections)
- Add title tags (h2,h3)
It’s never advisable to work on a messy website, so you really need to get this done in the beginning. If the on-page SEO is really off and involves a major project, divide the project into different tasks in order to get it done. I know the power of on-page SEO and I do not want to lose my opportunities here.
Among my practices are rewritten URLs following SEO best practices:
- Short and clear
- Avoiding stop words
- Using on-page keywords
After I have created new URLs I use the 301 redirects.
I also revamp old content from static pages to add better keywords such as long tail or user intent. A study shows that 50% of queries are four words or longer.
Use long tail keywords to get rankings
Long tail keywords help increase your traffic. The best way to optimize on-page is by using about 50% of long tail keywords. Seventy percent, 70% of searches are long tail keywords. That’s why they are an important part of my SEO strategy. I have a client that offers Metal Stamping services. Metal stamping had 4400 monthly searches and 699 million results. With a high competitive keyword, it’s better to use a long tail keyword such as “what is metal stamping?”. I actually ranked number one on Google SERPs for one of my clients with this keyword, within days and without backlinks. You can check out my case study about it.
Take your time to learn about the industry
While working with several clients at the same time can be overwhelming. It is not easy to become an expert in many different types of businesses within the industrial and manufacturing sector. I have overcome this challenge by taking time to read about the products or services pages of my clients’ websites so that I get a general idea of what they do (this is a challenge because many products are designed and used for engineers). Nevertheless, this is a crucial part because I am in charge of the content strategy. You could even watch a video about the main product or services to reinforce your previous readings and research.
How I do B2B industrial SEO for my clients
There are many opportunities for B2B websites in the industrial sector. Many businesses in this sector have old websites and they do not have a digital marketing strategy. While doing my research for content ideas, I have found out that there is no content available for many keywords regarding topics on industrial, manufacturing, and engineering. The lack of online results opens a huge door of opportunities for industrial businesses. I have taken advantage of the opportunity and created informative content that covers the topic. As a result, I have earned top positions in search results and leads for my clients.
The buyer journey in the B2B industrial market is different from the other industries. Focus on the personas browsing in B2B industrial websites. Most of the time, the people that are gathering the information to find suppliers are engineers, managers, and CEOs. Make sure you are creating content that speaks to them and make good use of their jargon in the content strategy.
Some content ideas that work well are:
- Products technical data
- Case studies
- A process to create a product
- Products applications
- Terms and conditions of purchase
- Policies of purchase
These are important topics the person is looking for which the supplier needs to find in an industrial website.
B2B industrial content strategy
I create a pillar page (a pillar page is usually a long-form content, around 2500 words). I also create the cluster pages (cluster pages are related to subtitles of the pillar page) or related content that internally links to the pillar page. Here one of my client’s pillar page that ranks position one on Google SERP for “what is metal stamping?”
The ideal structure of a pillar page
- Subtitles (you can use long tail keywords here, if applicable)
- Short meta
- Bullet points/list format (use html tags)
- Video or infographic
- Image (alt tags)
- External links (reputable sources only)
- Internal links (cluster- subtitles articles)
The intro must be a short paragraph about the whole idea that will be discussed in the article. Use a good hook or nice intro to engage users to keep reading. Then start with the subtitles. Try to use long tail keywords. Consider the (latent semantic indexing) LSI, user intent as a subtitle if possible. This adds more SEO value to the content. Another good approach for subtitles is to think about relevant/related topics and use these as subtitles. Later, write independent articles about subtitles topic-ideas (use these articles for internal links as cluster pages).
A study shows that:
- After subheaders, a paragraph with no more than 42 characters increases the chances to get a feature rich snippet.
- Using bullet points or lists also helps.
I have followed these steps and I have gotten results. I have earned several rich snippets and Google quick answer box sections for my clients. Furthermore, using bullet points or lists helps users to skim the content, and provide a better user experience on mobiles because it provides white space.
I love to create content in different formats in order to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise. That’s why I create videos, infographics, and pdf. Later, I reuse these video or infographics for social media and email marketing campaigns.
We need an alt tag as part of on-page SEO best practices. Infographics can do the job. I use a long tail keyword as an alt tag in my infographics, and I always add the extension “infographic” to let Google know what is my image about. Doing this increases my chances to get ranking in Google image searches. I also use embed codes to my infographics so that it allows others to use them and open my opportunities to get backlinks.
I only use reputable and updated sources to get information from my content and I create external links to them (most of the time I add “nofollow” tag to my external links).
I usually add videos/infographics to the pillar page (upload the video on YouTube to create a backlink). This also is a way to amplify the content beyond the website.
The cluster pages are small articles that support the pillar page. I also add internal and external links (the internal links are always “do follow”).
I add case studies, reviews, data sheets about the product; these work well as clusters (internal links).
To get leads, I create white papers such as ebooks embedded within the content or a landing page with clear CTAs. I recommend creating a goal in Google Analytics to track white paper downloads.
I optimize static pages, product pages and “About Us” pages. The “About Us” page is utmost important in order to build credibility. I recommend you to add a video of the CEO welcoming users and talking about the mission of the company. A short video no more than a minute.
Another good thing to do is to check your on-page and make little changes to add value. I used the SEMrush on-page checker feature to improve my existing pages. This provides great results.
PPC for B2B industrial market
PPC campaign for B2b for the Industrial sector is a little different because the search volume for the keywords is low. I use long tail keywords that include terms such as industrial, manufacture, supplier. For example, industrial pipes. This helps to avoid invalid clicks from users that are looking to buy from the ecommerce or retailer website. My accounts are B2B and my clients only sell big quantities. I use the same approach at the moment when I write the copy.
I regularly optimize the campaigns by adding a negative keywords list that contains words such as:
This avoids wasting my budget with clicks from users that are looking for educational material or to learn a process.
I use the Google AdWords platform to test my ads by using A/B tests. Generally, I run three ads, with the option “do not optimize, rotate ads indefinitely”. I run these tests for a couple of months to see which two performs better. Once I have the data from the two, I’ll continually optimize by testing a new one. The tools I use for keyword research are: Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Keywords Everywhere, and Answer The Public.
PPC goals for B2B industrial websites
The most common goals to set up are:
- Call from ads – This one only works for mobile
- Call from website
- All “Thank you” pages (ebooks download, request a quote, and contact us)
I am recently using the promotion extension, and I have seen that my competitors have followed. My clients don’t offer discounts. Therefore, I have to be creative. I have added lines such as, “100% free consultation”, and “100% free eBook download”. I know that it can sound silly but it works. People are downloading ebooks and my clients are getting leads. The results are what matter.
Email marketing to follow prospect through the sales funnel
I use email marketing to follow up leads that I have obtained with white papers, eBooks, and the other marketing collaterals. I create different campaigns with targeted content depending on the landing page that was collected by the lead. For example, if the visitor downloads an eBook about metal stamping process, I will create a set of emails to follow-up with the person who is interested in the metal stamping products. The email will be customized for his/her interest only for metal stamping products, application, prices, process, etc.
Do not forget mobile and UX
UX is very important to lower the bounce rate. I check my client’s website and the competitors’. Then I suggest changes to be made by the UX/Developer people.
Some ideas I suggest when working with the UX team are:
- Create custom 404 pages
- Test CTAs
- Run A/B test with different home page versions
Seventy-one percent, 71% of B2B researchers start their searches with generic terms (Think with Google) and then get more specific to hone in on more relevant search results. This is a huge opportunity because here we can create pillar pages with CTA and download material to engage with users. Do not forget that B2B for the industrial sector leads takes a little longer to convert than B2C.
Another study shows that organic search is the number one channel that generates traffic to B2B. SEO beats social media’s traffic by more than 300%. We cannot deny that SEO plays an important role in the B2B customer journey. Are we taking advantage of this huge opportunity?
Karina Tama is a contributor for Forbes, Thrive Global and the El Distrito Newspaper. She can be found on Twitter .
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