Basic shapes represent different content in marketing plans

Put simply, no one company has the same needs as another company. We’re an industrial marketing agency, meaning we work exclusively with B2B industrial companies. Around 85% of our active clients describe themselves as manufacturers, distributors, industrial service providers or contractors. They’re all hardworking B2B companies in the industrial space. And yet, despite being in the same niche, their businesses are incredibly different from an operational perspective, business development perspective, market share perspective and just about every other perspective you could have.

These are unique businesses, and their marketing plans need to stem from specific business goals.

Addressing business needs by asking questions

We don’t sell one-off projects. Instead, we maintain clients on a retainer basis, meaning our work is ongoing and evolving. Each quarter we meet with clients to discuss their specific business needs. We ask clients to think about the following questions before each meeting to generate fruitful discussion:

  • What are your business goals for the next quarter? What about the next six months?
  • What educational information is your audience going to be searching for online?
  • What markets do you want to pursue?
  • Are there capabilities or products you want to market aggressively?
  • Are there pressing website updates you need done in the next three months?
  • Are you attending trade shows or conferences that could be supported by inbound or digital marketing assets?
  • What’s going on at your company that’s newsworthy?

Of course, we don’t come to these meetings empty-handed. Based on the marketing data we collect we have suggestions on how to push results further. Looking through client web analytics, we ask ourselves some of the following questions:

  • What marketing channels are driving the most leads?
  • What keywords are we currently ranking for in Google?
  • What keywords can we realistically start to rank for over time?
  • What pages drive the most traffic, and how can we modify those pages to convert more leads?
  • Why are visitors leaving the site, and how can we compel them to stay?
  • What conversion opportunities (white papers, comparison guides, brochures, etc.) can we create to generate more leads from our existing traffic?
  • How can we replicate success competitors are having online?
  • What marketing channels haven’t we explored that could drive results?
  • How can we improve user experience (UX) to increase website engagement?
  • What types of conversion opportunities are missing from the site?
  • What content could we create that would go viral on industry trade journals?

The exact questions we choose vary, but our goal remains the same: How can we generate more qualified leads for the client through our online marketing efforts? We’ve found that focusing on results, rather than the quantity of agency deliverables, leads to more qualified prospects for our clients.

A tale of two marketing plans 

Let’s look at two common online marketing problems industrial companies face: low traffic and low traffic-to-conversion rates. In other words, not a lot of people are visiting your site, and not a lot of website visitors are turning into leads. These are two unique problems that require very different solutions.

We’ve documented a traffic generation case study for a coatings manufacturer here, and a lead generation case study for a construction company here. I’ll paraphrase the case studies below:

In the case of US Coatings, there wasn’t enough existing traffic to generate a large quantity of qualified leads each month. US Coatings is a small company, and a lot of the big players weren’t paying attention to niche keywords online. We created a stockpile of educational, keyword-targeted content with the intent of ranking in Google for various terms. By creating content around niche topics, we were able to rank for a ton of valuable keywords that drive consistent traffic each month. As of writing this piece, US Coatings gets around 100 leads a month from their website. When we started with them, the website drove around 15 leads a month.

In the case of The Korte Company, traffic was strong already. We’d already built up a stockpile of educational content, but visitors weren’t converting into contacts at our target rate. To remedy this problem, we created a ton of white papers and guides for visitors to download in exchange for contact info. We focused on creating downloadable guides specifically for their most popular pages. Then we improved the user experience on those pages and updated the navigation to funnel visitors towards our conversion opportunities.

The results? A 600% increase in monthly contacts generated from the website after two years.

The consequences of templating marketing plans                   

New clients typically have some reservations about not buying tangible deliverables.

“Another agency is offering 48 blog posts over a year at the same price point, but you’re not planning out specific deliverables past Q2. What gives?”  

The problem with promising 48 blog posts a year is your marketing agency isn’t using data in real time to make decisions. When the right systems are in place, traffic, lead and sales data are readily available, and the best marketers use that data to guide marketing plans. Conversely, we’ve seen that inflexible contracts hurt overall results. When the focus of your marketing is churning out blog posts, white papers or guest blogs, results suffer.

Say you have $5000/month to spend on a marketing agency. The agency writes up a contract for 48 blog posts for the year, because you’ve collectively decided heavy blogging will increase your chances of ranking in Google and drive more traffic. Fast-forward eight months, and you haven’t seen any substantial increase in traffic or leads. Now would be a good time to shift gears, but the contract isn’t flexible, and your budget is tapped. Both parties end the agreement frustrated.

We avoid this problem by not templating our marketing plans. Instead, we put together customized solutions each quarter based on your business goals and the marketing opportunities we’ve found. Holding your agency accountable to specific results helps your business stay focused on what matters: drumming up new business opportunities for your sales team.

We stand by this approach, because at the end of the contract, what do you want? 48 blog posts collecting virtual dust or 48 paying customers?

If you’re interested in the latter, download our tactical guide to industrial marketing or reach out for a consultation with Gorilla co-founder, Joe Sullivan. Both can steer you in the right direction and help set you up for inbound marketing success.