Certain basic marketing principles apply to any service business, from tax preparation to bulldozing. But in some cases, services need a different approach, and this is definitely the case in the area of marketing industrial services.
Let’s review some useful techniques, some familiar, some new.
You’re an expert on your industry, and as such you know a great deal about the problems your prospects face. You know where they are losing time and money, what processes they struggle to improve, etc. You probably even know the specific ways that outdated solutions (or suboptimal services from your competitors) are letting them down.
Every time you create a new piece of marketing content, ask “What pain point does our offering deal with, and how can we discuss it here?”
Author and marketing expert Michael Katz has described the optimal voice for service professionals to adopt as “a likeable expert.” The professional who “shows up” on a regular basis via an email newsletter or social media and offers expertise potential clients can use will stand out and build trust and authority. Plus, they’ll stand out in a crowd.
This works well even if your offering is somewhat unique. True, you may offer a technology or technique that makes you better than your competitors. But only a fraction of potential prospects for any service are ready to sign on at any given time; the rest must be nurtured until the timing is right or they’ve received enough marketing “touches” to feel confident in your brand. Nurturing prospects with likeable expert content puts you a head above your competitors in the area of trust, making it much more likely they’ll call on you when it’s time to sign on a dotted line.
As we mentioned above, being an expert in your industry gives you insight into the issues your prospects face. If you were asked to write down ten questions that are on their minds, you could do so easily.
So why not answer those questions? When developing content for a newsletter, blogs, or trade articles where you act as a likeable expert, start by answering those top questions. In fact, when possible, you should incorporate the exact wording of the question you’re answering in the title or text of the piece. Making use of a keyword research tool that focuses on search strings phrased as a question, such as Answering the Public, can give you even more customer questions.
One added benefit of this approach: More and more users are searching verbally with their phones or with digital assistants (such as Alexa and Siri) instead of typing in keywords. These users tend to phrase these searches as a question, and search engine algorithms will tend to focus on exact or close matches to these queries.
Showing prospects “the proof in the pudding” is a good idea for any offering. It’s absolutely essential in the area of industrial services. Your prospects may be making a sizable financial commitment and one that may involve a significant time commitment. They need to have confidence that they are stepping out on very solid ground.
To inspire that confidence, be sure to make use of case studies/success stories and customer testimonials. When you create marketing content where text needs to be limited (such as display advertising, social media posts, etc.) focus in on a specific benefit that can be expressed in a concrete way. It’s even better if you can have an outside authority as the backup for this information. “Less waste” is good; “Produces 25% less waste according to an EPA study” is fantastic.
In the industrial arena, sales cycles are long. Be sure you create ways to keep showing up as a likeable expert and stick with them. In the end, this work will show up with more sales, greater trust, and customers who will go the distance with you for years to come.
Not every company has experienced digital marketers in house or the time to create regular content. We follow the most up-to-date practices and achieve the metrics that matter. Get in touch with Cain & Company for thoughtful, strategic marketing that boosts your bottom line.