In this white board video, we explore why content marketing makes so much sense for manufacturers who sell complex, customized products or solutions. We’ll take a look at the industrial buyer’s journey and what types of content will appeal to the engineers, plant managers, procurement folks and CEOs along that path to making a purchasing decision.

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Video transcript

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Sullivan, a co-founder of industrial marketing agency Gorilla 76. And today, we’re gonna be talking about a topic that really needs to be core to any online industrial marketing strategy.

That’s content marketing. So we found in the industrial sector that content marketing works best not for companies that sell widgets, but companies that sell highly customized, and often fairly complex solutions, and often their people’s expertise and experience really are just as valuable to the buyer as the product or service itself. A lot of times these types of companies also deal with long sales processes that may play out over months or even longer, and on the buyer’s end there are quite a few people involved in a lot of situations including design engineers, plant managers, procurement managers, CEOs and presidents. So you might ask why these companies? Why does content marketing make sense for these companies versus others?

And really the answer is kind of simple. It’s that these industrial companies are making complex buying decisions. They need to make the right choice because they don’t want to have to backtrack, they don’t want to lose money by having to backtrack. And if you think about, you know, in your personal life, you wouldn’t walk into a car dealership, ask to talk to a car salesman for five minutes, and walk out 20 minutes later with a new car. There’s a process to this, right? That involves researching, evaluating, comparing your options.

So let’s say you’re a contract manufacturer that specializes in the aerospace industry, and a prospect finds you through a Google search for something like “aerospace injection molding.” It would probably be unrealistic to think that this prospect is going to find you in the Google search, navigate to your website, look for the contact us button immediately, pick up the phone and ask to be sold to, right?

Just not realistic. So, you know, you kind of need to put yourself in that buyer’s shoes, and think about how you’d behave when you’re looking for a solution. So, you know, whether you discover a solution provider through a Google search, or looking through an industry directory, or even through a referral from somebody that you know and trust, you’re still gonna vet that solution provider.

This is really where content marketing comes into play. Right here is a simplification of the industrial buyer’s journey, and over on the right is the buying stage of that journey, which really only represents a very small portion of this entire process. According to Google, 96% of your website visitors are not ready to buy anything, yet a majority of manufacturers’ websites use this tiny little contact us button as the only opportunity to generate a real lead. And this is designed for people who are ready for a conversation.

We know that most people are not ready for a conversation. 96% of your visitors are not ready to buy. So doesn’t it make more sense that we focus here, and here, and here, and here, when we’re trying to generate leads online?

And the big question really is how do we go about making this happen? So if you’re that aerospace contract manufacturer, how do you compel that prospect who Google searched you and landed on your website, but isn’t ready to buy anything to actually become a real lead? And so let’s illustrate that. Let’s use that exact example of a Google search for “aerospace injection molding.”

Let’s say that you had written a piece of content titled “Injection molding versus thermoforming for aerospace component manufacturing”, and this is the page that came up in that Google search. So absolutely somewhere on this page, we wanna have a place to compel this visitor, in case they are ready for that conversation, to request a bid, request a consultation, whatever that might be. But knowing that this is a small percentage of people who are gonna do that right now, we need to give them another opportunity to become a real lead. And this is where offering something like a buyer’s guide, a white paper, something that they can download, and in exchange for that download, because you’re offering them some value in their buying process, you’re gonna ask for their name and their email address, and their phone number. And now you can proactively step in and take control of that buying process.

So there are so many ways that you can do this. There are so many types of content that you can use. Going back to the buyer’s journey for a second, prospects who are in this research stage of the buying process, types of content that tend to work really well for them are things like educational articles, white papers, e-books, tutorial videos like what you’re watching right now. For prospects who are in more of the evaluation stage of their buying process, you’re gonna want to publish things like case studies, or maybe design an ROI calculator, or write cost comparison articles, or product comparison articles, things that are gonna help them make their decision.

The most important thing is that you take into consideration your buyers, what they care about, the problems they’re trying to solve, the questions that they’re trying to answer. Write great content. Create good resources for them that help them in that buying process. And by doing this you’re giving a taste of your solution. You’re not giving away your secret sauce. Just a taste of it. Enough to earn their attention and trust, help them take the next step forward in the buying process, and prompt them to take some kind of lead generating action.

So that’s really it, in the page notes I’m gonna put some resources – links for some resources around content marketing, I will also put an article that specifically addresses the industrial buyers journey and the role of content there that we recently published, and I would encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter because once or twice a month you’ll get content like this in your inbox.

So thanks for watching.

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