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Role of a website versus a blog in Industrial Content Marketing

We were recently posed the question, In Industrial Content Marketing what’s the role of the website versus that of the blog?

Let’s start by framing the question in today’s world of industrial marketing and sales.

We need to define the 3 elements in the question, then their roles.

Why an Industrial Website?

In today’s B2B sales cycle, buyers aren’t returning sales peoples’ phone calls. They’re simply going online, using a search engine to find what they want, doing their own research on features and prices and some of the time making their purchases. If they do talk to a sales person they are often 80% or more through the process. For your products to be in contention they need to be found during customers and prospects research. Therefore to make industrial B2B sales today, you need a website presenting various types of content.Grainger Product Page

Why Industrial Content Marketing?

Of course that website needs to be found, then deliver the needs of visitors at all stages of their B2B buying process. It’s your marketing, specifically your content marketing, and associated search engine optimization (SEO) that gets your website, products and blog found! We’ve used this analogy before, “,If your marketing is a car your website is the engine and your content is the fuel.” Your content marketing should also extend to other websites that distribute your content in a variety of ways to ensure your products are in contention. For the latest reseach see Can’t Miss Highlights of New Manufacturing Market Research.If your marketing is a car your website is the engine and your content is the fuel

Why Industrial Blogs?

Blogging is one type of content so it’s a component of ‘content marketing’. Often it’s a very important cornerstone right at the ‘top of the funnel’ where its purpose is to attract visitors, prove a company’s credibility as an expert in its niche and hence build trust in your brand. Blogging done well doesn’t focus on sales or even conversion of visitors to leads – that’s for other types of content to do later in the funnel! You don’t sell B2B products on a blog. If you try, you’re likely to find that a ‘salesy’ blog repels rather than attracts readers! Your blog is to establish and maintain your authority and credibility.CDS Blog - ORIGINAL CONTENT ON INDUSTRIAL B2B ECOMMERCE AND DIGITAL MARKETING: QUESTIONS, TRENDS, RESEARCH, INSIDER EXPERTISE AND NEWS

Blogs need to be widely promoted to fulfill their role of attracting visitors. For example by fueling your search and social media efforts through SEO, SEM ads, announcement tweets, LinkedIn updates, etc. to bring people to your website.

With those 3 defined, we’re ready to answer the question:

In Industrial Content Marketing what’s the role of the website versus that of the blog?

Your website is the key component of your sales funnel and the main medium for your content marketing. In simple terms the funnel has a ‘top’ that attracts visitors, a ‘middle’ that engages them and generates leads and a ‘bottom’ that converts leads to sales.

  • Top: Various content types (eg blogs, email marketing, ‘how to’ videos, infographics) attract visitors looking for advice or solutions to their problems. Some, especially the blog, build credibility and authority too. Some move visitors to the consideration stage in the middle of the funnel by promoting ‘lead magnet’ types of content. This is content that is valuable in the eyes of the visitor and downloadable in exchange for some data like their name and email address. In the industrial space another example is product configurators that let visitors specify their needs and see photo-realistic, augmented reality or even virtual reality versions of the product. The online configurators can also offer downloadable 3D CAD models of the resulting configured products for inclusion directly into the users CAD design system.
  • Middle: Examples of ‘lead magnet’ types of content include white papers, 3D CAD models, newsletters, webinars, etc.. Through these types of content you want to capture email addresses, and perhaps, other data. Downloads like 3D CAD models of your products also alert you to potential new design projects starting at particular companies. The middle is also where you nurture prospects not yet ready to buy until they are ready to make a purchase. Often nurturing is done by email to gradually foster a relationship while supplying useful content applicable to their needs.
  • Bottom: This is where you earn the prospect’s business with very convincing content—the kind that definitely sells your product.

Hopefully that answers the question but please note that the customer journey is often more complicated than that so the above is a major simplification. For more info start with this post but there is also post-funnel content marketing – to follow-up after the initial sale, encourage repeat sales, retain customers, up-sell, encourage referrals, reviews, address support, service and user experience issues.

Conclusion

Both a website and a blog are essential to successful modern industrial marketing but they have different specific roles to play in your content marketing. Bottom line: Make sure you get both roles right for the greatest impact on your marketing and sales!

A last thought – once upon a time, we used to reverse the order and say ‘sales and marketing’. Perhaps ‘marketing’ should always have come before ‘sales’, but today it’s really obvious that it does! Online, your marketing effort applies before your sales effort. We’re not saying marketing is more important than sales – both are essential as we detailed in this post (see item 3 ‘eCommerce has Changed Customer Preferences and Behavior’).

Whether you agree or disagree with us, or a bit of both, please join the discussion and let us know your thoughts as comments below. As always, if you’d like our opinion on your industrial website or blog, call us or click either button below:

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