Industrial Inbound Marketing: Why Quitting Isn’t an Option

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 by Kerry O'Malley

inbound won't workIndustrial inbound marketing is an integrated, ongoing process that allows you to communicate with customers and prospects, helps to position your company as a leader in your field, and gives you higher scores with search engines when they are ranking search results. It’s about sharing content designed to attract customers and keep them coming back for more – whether to your website or social media pages. It’s about connecting with more qualified prospects and driving those prospects to your website. Unfortunately, many industrial companies launch an inbound marketing program with the attitude that it is an experiment, and when unrealistic expectations aren’t met, abandon the program.

ANY type of marketing should be viewed as an ongoing process and cost of doing business; but there are real and specific consequences to starting and then stopping an inbound marketing program after a year or two. Want to know what happens if you abandon your inbound marketing campaign? Let us see.

Stay active and engaged unless you want to fall completely off Google’s radar.

If you suddenly stop updating your webpages, (posting blogs, news, etc.) search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo literally assume your site is dead and will stop ranking your pages. This is problematic as 44 percent of customers start their buying journey with a simple search engine query. Customers are not as susceptible or receptive to traditional outbound marketing techniques. They do not start their buying process until a need arises. Remember that 44 percent? Well, 75 percent of those customers never scroll past the first page of search results. A well-organized website is essential for a higher ranking. This is why keeping your search engine rankings high is so crucial to success. If search engines stop ranking you on the first page, you have just lost … who knows how many new business opportunities?  Abandoning your webpages sends a strong message to search engines that you are no longer worth presenting to THEIR customers – the people who are searching.

True story: we recently worked with a client that had a robust inbound marketing program for about 2 years. Despite realizing a significant ROI, the client decided to pull the plug on the inbound program. Almost 6 months later: they have seen a drop of over 50% in traffic to their website. At least half the keyword phrases they wanted to rank highly for have dropped off the first page of Google results. And those are just numbers … there are consequences they are probably not even aware of.

A dead blog sends negative signals to search engines AND potential customers.

What about your blog? Companies that blog regularly will be rewarded with 97 percent more customers than companies that do not have a blog. The reason? Blogging reaches out to customers and prospects and gives them the reasons why they should be doing business with your company. When you blog, you are helping to answer their questions and solve problems. When a person initiates a search query, Google is able to deduce what a searcher is looking for just by how they ask the question. If you want Google to rank you higher in search results, you need to have the relevant content available for your customer base to find you.

Blogging frequency makes an impact on your business. Almost half the population reads a blog, with most reading up to ten different blogs daily. People have favorites they follow, and often sign up to receive the blog through email (this is what an RSS feed is for.) If you stop updating your blog, you send a message to both your followers and to search engines that you are either no longer in business or something is being neglected or mismanaged.

Think about this.  When you go to a website and see a Blog or News page that that hasn’t been updated in over a year, what do you think? You certainly wouldn’t think that this is a company that cares much about image, credibility, or communication. How does that translate to the rest of their business?  In a subtle way, your perception of that company just went down a notch.  In this regard, it would have been better if they had never blogged at all – or removed the News or Blog page from their website.

 If you think social media doesn’t matter: think again.

Social media confounds many industrial companies – hard to get right, easy to let fall by the wayside. We wrote in an earlier post that social media is the vehicle that drives your company’s message home. Social media is the face of your brand. It is the medium where you can directly interact with customers and prospects and engage them on the platforms they visit the most.

Compared to outbound marketing, social media has a 100 percent lead-to-close rate with 43 percent of B2B companies acquiring customers just through Facebook. Not surprisingly, 80 percent of social network users prefer to connect with companies using Facebook. And it is not just Facebook! There are 750 million Twitter users and 67 percent of them buy from companies they follow on the micro-blogging platform. Almost half of consumers use Twitter to learn about services and products offered by companies. Those are some powerful numbers! If you stop engaging customers on social media, you are losing the ability to connect with large masses of people.

There are very few companies today who do not have a LinkedIn company page. The first thing many people do when meeting someone in business is go their LinkedIn personal profile and their company page. If you stop posting on your LinkedIn pages, you’re susceptible to the same perception people have when they visit your website and see a Blog that was abandoned long ago. They may subconsciously think: Can I depend on this company? Do they follow through? Are they managed well?

Not everyone will also check your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages; but if you stop with your social media marketing efforts, I advise you to take the icons off of your website.  It’s another huge negative signal when someone clicks on your company’s Facebook or Twitter icon, only to be taken to a page that was last updated 6 months ago.

On top of this, Google uses your social media presence as a factor in your website ranking. So, if you have stopped updating your social media pages, Google will penalize you quite heavily when delivering search results.  One more instance where starting – then stopping – will affect the traffic being driven to your website.

Abandonment issues

As you can see, abandoning your online presence will negatively impact your business. Starting and stopping sends the wrong messages to current and potential customers – and search engines – that something has gone terribly wrong within your company.

Today, business relationships begin online with 80 percent of decision makers getting their information from online content (blogs, articles, white papers, webinars, etc.) rather than from advertisements, direct mail, or other outbound marketing methods. Ditching your inbound marketing strategy means not connecting with decision makers and losing what could be a considerable amount of business along the way.

How to ensure you don’t fall into the industrial inbound marketing abandonment trap?

This could be the topic for an article all its own; but put simply:

  • Before launching, get buy-in from top executives.
  • Educate shareholders about inbound marketing and continue that process over time.
  • Set realistic expectations that will be used to gauge success – and make sure the C-Suite understands them.
  • Don’t just wing it: develop an inbound marketing strategy and plan, and commit to it.
  • Make sure you have the resources to execute your plan – if not internally, find a good outsourced partner.
  • Gauge results on a regular basis, and if your plan needs adjustment, do so.
  • Document and communicate results regularly with all shareholders, especially success stories.
  • Don’t EVER give the impression that inbound marketing is an experiment.

 

The fact of the matter is that it would be better to never start a campaign than start and stop one. The other fact? If you are not practicing inbound marketing, you are missing out on attracting customers to your website and building the desired image you want for your company. You can start it, overhaul it, tweak it, re-launch it, and overhaul it again; but never quit it. Quitting is not an option when it comes to inbound marketing.

Author: Kerry O'Malley

omalley@marketectsinc.com

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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