In the early stages of the industrial buy cycle, you as the marketer have very little information about the visitor to help you tailor your marketing content to their needs.
In Needs Awareness and Research phases, the first two stages of the industrial buy cycle (see my earlier post Deconstructing the Four Stages of the Industrial Buy Cycle) your prospects and customers use a variety of online content to find solutions to their current problems and needs.
The chart below shows the variety of content used at different stages of the industrial buy cycle (Source: Understanding the Industrial Buy Cycle: How to Align Your Marketing with Your Customers’ Buying Process from GlobalSpec).
In this post, I’m going to focus on content for the early stages of the buy cycle. It is critical that your company be found early and often in the initial phases if you hope to make it to the short list of vendors who are asked to submit a RFQ.
According to the same research study done by GlobalSpec, during the initial Research phase, 42% of buyers evaluate four or more suppliers, but as buyers move closer to Procurement, only 26% get quotes from four or more suppliers. Those that drop off the list are often those who did not provide the right level of information to buyers or did not meet some other perceived or real need in the buyer.
Primary goals of marketing content in the early stages of the buy cycle
There are two main goals that your content needs to achieve in the early stages. They are:
The first goal is usually accomplished by organic or natural search engine optimization (SEO) of your web site and/or business blog. One can dedicate an entire site to SEO because it is such a wide and deep online marketing topic. Instead of taking up more space here, let me direct you to some of my earlier posts about industrial websites and SEO.
Best practices of content tactics in lead generation
After you’ve done the heavy lifting of driving visitors to your site or blog, your content must persuade them to take an action. You would be wasting a lot of time and resources unless and until that happens because passive reading will not move your prospects to the next stage of the buy cycle.
Scoring or qualifying your site visitors is largely dependent on their behavior. You should spend considerable amount of time in planning your strategy for effective lead scoring. Not every action needs to be scored. This is where marketing automation software can be a big help. There are many of them out there to suit every type of marketer, from small industrial companies to large enterprises.
Let’s look at three types of marketing content that have proven to be successful in getting site visitors to take action.
I don’t want to ignore the other forms of marketing content such as emails, e-newsletters, virtual events, case studies and analyst reports. However, these tend to be far more effective in the later stages of the industrial buy cycle.
What forms of marketing content are you using to meet the needs of your customers and prospects through the buy cycle?
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Industrial Marketing Today is an integral part of Tiecas, Inc., a Houston-based industrial marketing agency. We’ve been in business since 1987, serving the marketing needs of manufacturers, distributors, and engineering companies from various industries.