When you’re marketing a business in the industrial space, your audience is usually one that is highly technical and very knowledgeable about their industry.
So you need to reach them with content that is just as specific and detailed.
For example, if your target audience is made up of electrical engineers or luxury car owners, you need to be able to:
- understand the challenges they face on a daily basis, and
- create content that helps them solve those problems.
And challenges aside, you also need to create content that sometimes just satisfies their curiosity about how things work or why something is done a certain way in their industry.
What is industrial content marketing?
Industrial content marketing is simply creating content that appeals to your target industrial audience with the goal of driving sales conversions and revenue.
This could be anything from blog posts and ebooks to infographics and video content.
It’s a way of providing value to them in the form of entertaining, informational or educational content, or while also subtly promoting your brand and products to them.
What’s unique about industrial content marketing?
There are six major differences between industrial content marketing and other types of content marketing:
1. More specific than broad audiences
As I mentioned earlier, industrial audiences are often made up of people who are experts or highly knowledgeable in their field.
This means that they’re looking for content that is much more specific to their situation, their industry, and their needs than the average person.
For example, a Mercedes Benz owner is going to want to know things like what kind of oil to use in their specific car model or how often to get it serviced. Those are very peculiar or specialized questions that require an in-depth understanding of the product.
So when doing industrial content marketing, you need to understand what they want to know and be able to answer those questions in your content.
2. More complex and technical challenges
In the industrial or manufacturing industry, businesses are often selling to other businesses. And when they’re not selling to businesses, they’re often selling to very technically-minded individuals who are looking for solutions to complex problems.
For example, an industrial manufacturer might be selling products to a company that builds electrical substations.
The typical buyer of those products is going to be looking for things like detailed specifications, data sheets, case studies, and application notes that explain how the products can be used to solve their specific problems.
So, when you’re creating content for an industrial audience, you need to be able to understand those complex challenges they’re facing and know how to address them in your content, communicating your ideas in easy-to-understand language.
3. The industrial buyer’s journey is often longer
Usually, because of the amount of research, costs, and decision-making involved in many (if not most) industrial purchases, the buyer’s journey in this space is much longer than other types of purchases.
This means that you need to be in it for the long haul, creating content that will address their needs at every stage of the buyer’s journey — from awareness to decision.
For example, if someone is buying a new SUV, they might go online and do a quick search for “SUVs under $30,000.” They’ll find a few articles, read some reviews, and then maybe go to a dealership to test drive a few different models.
The whole process might take them a month or two or more from start to finish. So you need to be willing to create content like a blog post that will address their needs at every stage of the buying process.
4. Team vs. individual purchase decisions
With industrial products, it’s very rare that a single individual is going to make the decision to purchase.
Instead, it’s usually going to be a team of people from different departments within the company, each with its own specific needs and challenges.
For example, the purchasing department might focus on getting the best price, while the engineering department would focus on finding a product that meets specific technical specifications.
And the inbound marketing team might focus on finding a product that’s going to help them meet their sales goals, while the legal department focuses on making sure that the product meets all the regulatory requirements.
So, when you’re creating content for an industrial audience, you need to be able to address the needs of all those different departments and decision-makers.
5. Distinct sales cycles
In the industrial or manufacturing industry, there are often very distinct sales cycles for different types of products.
For example, some products might have a very short sales cycle, with buyers making decisions within a few weeks or months.
Other products might have a much longer sales cycle, with buyers taking six months or a year or more to make a decision. And other products might have an ongoing sales cycle, with buyers making decisions on a continuous basis.
So, when you’re creating content for an industrial audience, you need to be aware of the different sales cycles so you can know when to expect results — and also know how to create content that’s going to be relevant and helpful at every stage of the sales cycle.
6. Lower keyword search volumes
There aren’t so many SEO opportunities in the industrial space because the products and services that industrial companies offer are often very niche and specific.
For example, if you’re a company that makes or sells fire hoses for fire service departments, there likely aren’t going to be a lot of people searching for that on Google.
How many fire service workers go to search engines when they’re looking for new hoses? Not many. In fact, I looked it up using SEMrush and the term “fire fighting hose” gets only 1000 searches per month — globally. And if you’re selling the products locally, the search volume is a lot smaller.
But since your B2B industrial products are usually relatively expensive, even a few SEO-driven sales can have a big impact on your business. So no matter how small the SEO opportunities seem, they are usually still worth it.
How to create industrial content that drives conversions
The process is simple, and I’ll share it in seven steps:
1. Pinpoint who your best customers are
Just take a look at your sales data and identify the companies that spend the most money with you.
These are usually going to be your best customers — the ones that are the most profitable and have the lowest acquisition costs. Those are usually the companies/customers that are the best fit for your products and services.
Or if you don’t have much sales data for any reason, you can build out an ideal customer profile (ICP) to identify the companies that you want to target. An ICP looks something like this:
You’ll likely be making educated guesses to build something like this, but make sure the ICP you end up building answers one important question, “why would this buyer need my product?”
Their industry, revenue numbers, and key challenges should show why they’ll need your product.
For instance, if you’re selling shipping containers, your ideal customer profile should show what industries your potential customers are in, the typical revenue number they need to have to be able to buy your containers, key challenges they’ll need your containers to solve, and so on.
Once you figure all these out, you’ll have a good idea of the types of companies you want to target with your content.
2. Find their pain points
Once you’ve figured out who your target customers are, it’s time to dig a little deeper and find out what their specific pain points are.
What problems do they have that your product might solve? And more importantly, what problems do they have that your product can solve?
The reason you want to find this out before you start creating content is that you want to make sure you’re creating content that helps to solve your target customers’ specific pain points.
You also want to make sure the pain points you’re addressing are ones that your product can actually help with — so while they’re reading or watching your content, they’re also thinking, “Oh, this person gets me and my problem, and they have a solution for me.”
This will help make sure you’re not wasting your time creating content that doesn’t help your target customers or business.
3. Identify their aspirations
Besides problems, your customers also have aspirations. So you need to create content that helps them get closer to their aspirations.
You don’t just want to be creating content targeted at solving problems, like “how to clean a dusty AC vent,” but also content that helps them fulfill their aspirations, such as “how to have an clean AC all the time.”
At this point, you may be wondering why I haven’t gotten to the part where you actually start creating content. We’ll get there in the next point below, but this foundation (steps 1 to 3) is more important than you may think. They help to ensure you’re creating content that actually helps your audience and grows your business, instead of creating content that doesn’t get results.
4. Start creating content based on their pain points/aspirations
Once you have all the steps above covered, you should now have enough topics to write about that’ll help grow your business.
You have two options at this point:
Option 1: Hire a freelance writer or a content agency (hint: like my agency — Premium Content Shop) to produce the content for you.
Option 2: Write the content yourself.
If you’re going to write the content yourself, here are a few tips:
- Write in a conversational tone.
- Write as if you’re speaking to just one person.
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short.
- Use images, infographics, and videos to break up the text.
- And most importantly, focus on giving your readers valuable information on each topic that will help them solve their problems or achieve their goals!
- Don’t be shy to mention your product or services where it’s relevant within your content, but always keep your reader’s best interests at heart.
If you follow the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to creating content that will attract new customers and help you grow your business!
5. Distribute your content
Ideally, you should already know how you’re going to distribute your content before you even start writing it.
This is because different types of content perform better on different channels. So you need to do your content creation in line with where you want to distribute it.
For example, if you want to reach your audience via search engines, then you need to ensure your content is SEO friendly. This means using the right keyword phrases, tagging your images, and making sure your website is set up to be crawled by search engines.
Or if you want to reach your audience through social media posts, then you need to create share-worthy content that’s tailored for each social media platform. This means using the right headlines, image sizes, descriptions, calls to action, etc. for each platform.
The bottom line is that you need to make sure your content is created with distribution in mind. So that once it’s time for distribution, you’re all set to go.
6. Measure results
The results you’re measuring will depend on your goals for each piece of content. But in general, you should be looking at things like traffic, engagement, leads, and sales.
These tools can show you things like how many people are visiting your website, where they’re coming from, what website pages they’re looking at, how long they’re staying on each page, and whether or not they’re taking any desired actions (like subscribing to your newsletter, filling out a contact form, etc.).
This data will give you a good idea of what’s working and what’s not. So that you can adjust your industrial content marketing strategy accordingly.
Top 3 industrial content marketing examples
Here are the top three examples of industrial content marketing that I’ve come across:
1. Fluke Corporation
Fluke Corporation is a company that makes industrial tools and equipment. And they do an excellent job with their content marketing efforts.
Their blog is full of useful articles that teach their audience how to use products, troubleshoot problems, and find solutions to common issues.
3M is another great example of industrial or manufacturing companies that are doing content marketing right.
They have a wide variety of content on their website, ranging from articles to video content that educate their audience on topics like collaboration, product use, and more.
This not only helps them attract new leads but also keeps their existing customers coming back for more.
3M is also super active on social media, sharing its content in a way that’s both informative and engaging.
Harley-Davidson is another company that’s doing an excellent job with content marketing — especially with video marketing.
They have a dedicated YouTube channel with over 300,000 subscribers, where they showcase bikers and their stories, as well as how-to video content and product demonstrations.
This is super effective in both building brand awareness and generating more sales for the company since they’re in the business of selling motorcycles.
Get to work!
Hopefully, this article has given you some inspiration about how your industrial company can start using content marketing to its advantage.
Now it’s time to get to work and start creating some amazing content that will help you achieve your business goals.
If you need a bit more help, I’m here to help and available for hire — feel free to reach out.