Let’s face it, selling and marketing industrial services can be a marathon. Potentially lengthy sales cycles, boardroom presentations, bid lists and intense competition — it takes perseverance and a heavy dose of critical thinking to succeed. Fundamentally, providing industrial services has always been about listening to customers and helping them solve problems with value-added insights. Today, industrial services marketing is following suit, with value-added insights baked into the core of marketing strategies.
We’re in the midst of a shift from self-promotional outbound marketing to educational Inbound marketing. Today’s customers have all the information at their disposal online. No longer reliant on sales teams to reveal basic information, the way they discover service providers has fundamentally and forever changed. To stand out, you’ll need a customer centric marketing program — one that meets them on their terms and earns their trust through thought leadership and informative content.
1. Know your customers
Start your marketing efforts with an accurate understanding of your customers and their challenges. Then, you can tailor your message and marketing efforts.
At Gorilla 76, our strategic marketing programs begin and end with the customer. Specifically, we create detailed buyer personas to help define who our marketing efforts are speaking to — these personas include characteristics such as:
- Customer pain points and challenges
- What they value about service providers
- Where they go for information on solutions
- Their company and professional roles
- How they impact the purchasing process
- And other key elements
The process of creating personas typically involves interviews with sales staff and possibly customers.
2. Go where your customers are — online
They say the best way to catch the fish is to go where they’re at. Increasingly, purchasers are researching their decisions online. There’s even significant traffic for niche services, as purchasers now complete more than two thirds of their research online before contacting a sales team.
It’s for this reason we recommend most b2b industrial companies invest in a website that uses proper search engine optimization to draw traffic. While we don’t recommend a website redesign for the sake of having a shiny, new site, investing in a strong website is often a first step in a modern b2b marketing strategy.
3. Give them a taste of your secret sauce to earn their trust and bring them to you
Marketing efforts should strengthen your position as a consultative solutions provider, getting your foot in the door to start conversations in-person or over the phone. In today’s world, that means publishing useful information online. Use your unique expertise to add value, much like you would if a customer sought you out for a consultation and value-added solutions. Publish articles and web pages that answer your customer’s commonly asked questions and help them solve problems.
As you become their source of objective information, you’ll become their trusted advisor — exactly what you want as a service provider. It just may be the difference between having a customer for a day versus having a customer for a lifetime.
Once prospects visit your website, you can generate leads with proper conversion optimization on your website. Over time, you’ll be able to create a steady pipeline of qualified leads coming to you and save money otherwise spent on expensive trade show marketing or ads.
4. Your sales cycle can be long — make your marketing go the distance
Industrial services aren’t like consumer products. It often takes time to establish rapport with your prospects, and making contact is sometimes just the first step in guiding them through a long purchasing process. Your industrial services marketing should go the distance with content that serves customers throughout their purchasing cycle — as they become aware of and study their challenges, consider potential solutions and evaluate solutions providers. We recommend coordinating email lead nurturing and marketing automation with your ongoing, in-person sales efforts. Then, you can provide your prospects useful information at the right time, staying top of mind as they move toward making a purchase.
We’ve seen firsthand how a smart lead nurturing campaign can help close a major deal.
5. Demonstrate results for clients
As prospects move closer to making a purchasing decision, they’ll narrow their possible industrial service providers to a short list. A strong marketing plan will qualify you with latter-stage prospects by demonstrating the results you can deliver. For this purpose, nothing beats a strong library of case studies or an exceptional project portfolio on your website. In addition to qualifying you on the web, these resources can be adapted as sales collateral for in-person meetings.
6. Pick your battles
In the competitive space of web marketing, it takes a focused strategy to achieve results. You’ll need to select a specific topic and keywords core to your business — and you’ll need to own them. At Gorilla 76, we help you hone in on the specific strategies you can use to rank in Google search, draw traffic and generate leads. Learn more in our tried and true Growth Gorilla program.
7. Measure results
No industrial services marketing plan is complete without measuring results. We’ve published a thorough but easy-to-read guide that shows you step-by-step how to measure online Marketing ROI — and prove your strategies work. Click here to download the guide.