A business blog is an important and integral component of inbound marketing. While there are plenty of business blogs from B2B marketing consultants (including this one), industry portals and vertical search engines, there aren’t too many from manufacturers and industrial companies.
Manufacturing marketers do understand the value of a business blog for thought leadership, search engine optimization (SEO), lead generation and community building but proving its ROI has been a challenge. As a result, many of them either ignore blogging as a marketing strategy or wait until their competition launches one.
It is easy for us marketing consultants to extol the virtues of a business blog but clients want to see actual examples before accepting our recommendations on blind faith. They need to see verifiable results and not just screen shots in our online portfolios.
I found three industrial blogs that have produced measurable ROI in terms of lead generation and sales – key performance metrics that resonate with the C-suite.
Here’s proof that business blogging is an effective inbound marketing strategy for manufacturers, engineering and industrial companies.
Exhibit #1: Emerson Process Management Experts
A niche business blog run by Jim Cahill that targets process manufacturing engineers and professionals.
I had the privilege of listening to Jim and Deborah Franke talk about their fascinating journey from blog awareness (2004) to launch (2006) and how they persevered despite resistance and lack of support from upper management.
- Objective: Connect process manufacturing professionals with experts at Emerson Process Management who have valuable industry, application and technology expertise
- Tactics: Write blog posts on topics like “Accessible Wireless Vibration Monitoring” that are of interest to engineers who design and run process control systems; adapted an investigative reporter style for digging up customer-centric stories and writing them from the perspective of the expert who solved the problem; added inline contact information of individual bloggers for instant and more personal connection (lead generation) between an expert and a blog reader; and every blog post is also available as a Podcast, MP3 or iTunes download providing 24/7 access to content whenever, wherever and in whatever format desired (social media and viral marketing)
- Results: About 2,000 daily visitors; 15 to 20 email messages per day, including an invitation to bid on a large, new plant that could total hundreds of millions of dollars; top rankings for Emerson in Google for terms such as “process controls,” “process management” and “compressor surge control” and the winner of Best Corporate Blog by BtoB magazine in 2010.
Exhibit #2: Indium Corporation Blogs
Indium Corporation is a developer, manufacturer, and supplier of specialty alloys, solder products and solder paste. Rick Short, Indium’s Marketing Communications Director and the chief corporate blogging strategist, manages 73 blogs written by 14 in-house bloggers, all engineers.
- Objectives: To own the space as the thought leader, build familiarity and gain trust for a wide variety of topics and technologies that are of interest to specific audiences; generate contacts (customers) that lead to profitable sales; and deliver more sophisticated customers support
- Tactics: 73 blogs that target niches of long-tail phrases; content generated by in-house experts and not written by outside vendors; detailed bio and contact information on each blogger; a big ass button for “Learn More – Email author;” good use of videos from YouTube embedded within the posts and the use of every imaginable social media option
- Results: 25 percent reduction in marketing costs along with major account wins; number 1 ranking in Google for terms like “Dipping Flux,” “Pop Solder Paste” and “Tabbing Ribbon;” increased number of qualified leads and sales and won numerous industry awards
Exhibit #3: Kinaxis Supply Chain Expert Community
Kinaxis is a supply chain management solutions provider based in Ottawa. They have been blogging since 2005 and are now reaping phenomenal results. What Kirsten Watson, Director, Corporate Marketing and her team at Kinaxis have achieved is the quintessential success story of blogging and social marketing by an industrial company.
- Objective: Identify where their target audience hangs out online and build a community around them to increase awareness of the company’s supply-chain management solutions
- Tactics: Their mantra — Learn, Laugh, Share and Connect. Took a leap of faith by investing $70,000 in hiring Forrester to thoroughly research their target audience; implemented every single recommendation for building a community around the audience
- Results: 2.7 times increase in website traffic; 3.2 times increase in conversion; 5.3 times increase in blog traffic; 6.0 times increase in registration of community members; double-digit growth in paid subscriptions for their SaaS product RapidResponse and a BtoB Social Media Awards 2010 winner
NOTE: Don’t miss their hilarious section called “Suitemates,” a satirical look at the practices of big enterprise software companies.
Here’s a one of their videos from YouTube.
[youtube width=”524″ height=”320″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwG94SUIIOI[/youtube]
I am sure there are many more out there that I didn’t find. Do you know of other business blogs from industrial companies? Feel free to add them here.