The industrial distribution business is about building and maintaining relationships. In the past, distributors would rely heavily on tactics like cold calling and setting appointments for face-to-face meetings for generating new leads and increased sales. However, as the times change, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, distributors have realized that industrial buyers are no longer engaging with their salespeople like they used to. Rather, developing a solid marketing plan will be key for distributors to support their sales team moving forward. Below, we outlined a three-part marketing strategy to help distributors drive more revenue.
1. Create Engaging, Optimized Content to Attract Customers
Business-to-business (B2B) audiences are increasingly relying on search engines to find and consume content. In fact, a study by Clutch found that some of the top reasons B2B audiences read content online are to either make a purchase decision or research products and services.
For industrial distributors, this means you will need to create engaging and optimized content materials to attract visitors to your website. When current and prospective customers go online to look for products, they may be looking for photos, videos, or in-depth information that goes beyond the basic summary they might normally get. Optimizing for those keywords, or search terms, can allow your website to rank organically in search engines.
Here are some content marketing ideas for distributors:
- Ensure product photos on your website have relevant keywords describing the image in the alt text. This can allow the images to show up in a Google Image search for those keywords, which can then lead viewers to your site.
- Write content, like blog posts and articles, that answer questions your customers may have had in the past, like how to determine the cut length on a hose. Chances are if customers are asking you these questions, others may be asking those same questions online, too.
- Create videos to better engage with your audience across platforms. Consider demonstrating how a product may be used or highlighting a glowing testimonial from one of your valued customers.
2. Generate Leads with Pay-Per-Click Advertising
In a competitive marketplace, it’s important for distributors to find ways to stand out. While content marketing is a great tactic to gain visibility in search engines, it’s a tactic that may take some time before you start to see results.
Per-pay-click (PPC) advertising, is a modern advertising method that involves bidding on keywords to gain placement on search engine results pages. PPC ads contain just a sentence or two of copy with a link to your website, and, as the name suggests, you only pay for the ad when it’s clicked, not when it’s viewed.
PPC ads can yield very high returns on investment for distributors. Perhaps the biggest benefit is how instantaneous results can be. As soon as your ads are live, you can start driving qualified traffic to your website. These landing pages on your website should be optimized to convert visitors into leads by making it easy for them to contact you and/or enabling you to collect their information.
3. Use Email and Marketing Automation to Nurture Leads and Stay in Front of Customers
Now that you’ve begun to generate leads from digital advertising, content, or other avenues, it’s important to have a plan in place for what happens next. Essentially, you’ll need to ask yourself: where will those leads go?
Some leads may be ready to talk to your sales team and get a quote for, say, a hydraulic hose assembly right away. Others, however, will likely need to be nurtured before they’re ready to have that conversation. Funneling those leads into an email nurture campaign can be a great way to stay in front of those prospects and educate them about your products and services over time.
Additionally, email and marketing automation can also be used to maintain relationships with your current customers. Use email to showcase new products, highlight some of your value-add services, or even remind them when it’s time to reorder. This will help you stay top-of-mind, while also potentially driving more revenue from your existing customer base.
Put It All Together
Keep in mind, marketing is not a replacement of your sales team. The best results often come from using a good mix of marketing, sales tactics, and having the right software systems in place.
Tribute, Inc. is a provider of ERP business management software for fluid power and motion control, hose, pump, and automation distributors. From quoting and purchase processing to managing inventory and vendor performance, our TrulinX software is specifically designed to help distributors effectively run their business. For more information on TrulinX, contact us today.