Internet marketing strategies for manufacturers and industrial suppliers that want to generate more sales and increase marketing ROI
By Conrad Bailey
If your company sells industrial products or services, one thing is for certain, you should be using the Internet as a marketing tool to reach your target audience. After all, over 87% of engineers and other industrial buyers report using the Internet on a regular basis to find the products, services and solutions they need. The manufacturers and suppliers that know how to effectively reach these ready to buy prospects through effective marketing programs are the ones making the most profit from the Internet.
However, reaching qualified buyers, at the right time, is becoming increasingly difficult as more manufacturers and other industrial suppliers join the on-line marketplace. The competition has become so intense for certain products and services, many companies are beginning to doubt the Internet as being a profitable marketing tool.
Even programs that use to be extremely profitable for a lot of manufacturers, such as pay-per-click, lacks the clout it use to have in the eyes of a lot of industrial suppliers. Most of them blame it on the competition. But that is not really the problem. The real problem is the company's inability to adapt to a constantly changing marketplace. And unquestionably, no marketplace changes faster or more frequently than the Internet.
Increase Your Marketing Channels
Relying on pay-per-click, search engines, banner ads or your Web site is not enough. You have to versify your entire marketing approach in order to compete on the Internet today, as well as in the future. If you expect the major search engines to be your Web site's main source of traffic, you are relying too much on one marketing channel. You must increase those channels to generate traffic from multiple sources all over the Internet. The Web site's that are most versatile in terms of marketing, will develop the strongest competitive advantage possible over their competitors.
Probably the single biggest reason why most manufacturers do not versify their marketing is they prefer to keep things simple. So they invest most of their marketing dollars in one or two programs, and overlook smaller traffic sources that could significantly increase their ROI.
Indeed, keeping it simple is certainly an ideal approach, but it does not mean you have to limit your marketing channels. The key is to find smaller, more flexible search engines, directories or portals that reach your target audience. You can and still should utilize the major search engines to promote your site. Just don't overlook the others just because their too small to work with. Together they can generate much better results than any single source, no matter how big. Moreover, the competition will be a lot less, so the ROI will be significantly improved.
Finding Marketing Channels That Work
Obviously, not all marketing opportunities are equally effective. You want to find marketing plans or programs that are simple to utilize, measurable, and of course profitable. No matter what audience you are trying to reach, there are dozens, perhaps even hundreds of Web site's that are ideal marketing channels to promote your company. Don't make the mistake of ignoring a site just because of its small audience. You need to look at the whole picture and see the real value of these sites.
As I mentioned earlier, most leading manufacturers don't even bother with advertising on Web sites that reaches just a small fraction of their target audience. Yet, these smaller sites offer by far the greatest profit potential. Consider not only the excellent advertising value these sites usually offer, but also the enormous potential they often have to reach even more of your prospects in the near future. After all, as their visitors and audience increases, so will your ROI due to several reasons.
A significant advantage of advertising on smaller Web sites is the relationship factor. Imagine being the original advertiser on a Web site that once had a small audience but now reaches millions of your prospects. There will certainly be perks. I know myself I will not forget the original advertisers of my own site. Their support was vital to my Web site's success and I make sure these companies are rewarded with exclusive advertising benefits.
Internet Advertising and Marketing
Everybody on the Internet today has their own opinion about which advertising or marketing methods are best. Many swear by text link advertising and search engine optimization. Others like pay-per-click or opt-in email. And there are many manufacturers that still prefer banner advertising, most likely for branding purposes. But who cares what works for somebody else? All that really matters is making it work for your company - period.
Different Web sites offer different advertising opportunities. Some sites will only accept banner ads while others will only present text link ads. Then there are directories or search engines that may even accept both. The point is, if the terms are right, then you must be flexible and be willing to advertise in the manner these sites require. Again, all that matters is reaching your target audience while increasing ROI. Whether it be via a banner advertisement, text link, featured listing, or whatever.
Yes, it will take some serious time and effort to find the right marketing channels and advertising opportunities. But the benefits are certainly worth it if you are responsible for marketing or increasing traffic to your company's Web site.
Just look at the whole thing as if your building a chain one link at a time with each link strengthening the entire system the bigger and longer the chain gets. This chain will undeniably result in a flood of ongoing traffic from multiple sources that will consistently increase your site's visibility and competitive advantage on the Internet.
In contrast, your competitors will be limited to the one or two big marketing channels they rely on for 90% or more of their Web site's traffic and perhaps their survival. They will be constantly subjected to price increases, growing competition, and ironically the need to find other marketing channels.
About The Author :
Conrad Bailey is co-founder and vice president of http://www.IndustrialLeaders.com,
an Industrial Supply Trade Portal for engineers and other industrial & technical buyers.