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One Last Blue Ocean in Content Marketing: SEO for Industrial Companies

May 5th, 2015 No comments

Sure, SEO is old hat (and it’s all very white-hat now) and digital marketing these days is focused on mobile adaptation, social media and maybe even the impending Internet of things.* But there are some of us who still love creating informative content that challenges our creativity and imagination I still point out to people, once in a long time, that I once wrote a page about tweezers (just checked that page to see if it’s still alive. It is… sort of.)  It’s still possible to write web content with substance that goes beyond 140 characters and how many likes you get on your latest status update or how many Pins you can get. You can do that if you are an expert in your area, and Google will love you. And you can do that if you are willing to write about things that no one else is willing to write about, writing straight-talking web content with substance and value, in a big money business sphere. That sphere is industry.

Remember those days when no-one else was doing SEO?

Ah, the days when hardly anyone else was doing SEO.

Industrial products are as boring and dull as it comes. Not many budding writers dream of writing about lathes… or collets…  or tool presetters. No one wants to write about crossover tool boxes or total stations. What even are these things? Well, for one thing, they’re just a few of thousands upon thousands of industrial tools, parts, and equipment that people are looking for online and that –often – have very large profit margins.  For the record, a tool presetter is important in the tool and die industry and can fetch anywhere from $3K to $4500 depending on the specifications. A collet is a holding device for a lathes, and costs in the range of $25 but these regularly break down and need to be stocked.  Total stations are construction and grading lasers that reduce workload of a regular construction laser and also cost in the range of several thousand dollars. These are just a few of the big ticket items that are bought and sold online. And very few of these products is well-competed for in terms of SEO and digital marketing, as opposed to, say, phones or other tech gear or <insert your red ocean product>.**

This is still some pretty low hanging fruit that doesn’t require a big team of link builders, exceptional creativity or guerilla tactics. For those in the SEO content marketing industry, the creative block you have to overcome is actually creating a page full of content.

Leaders like Neil Patel and Moz on SEO for industrial companies and such

Some great articles closely related to this idea have been written lately; these are worth revisiting.

Neil Patel wrote some ideas about this in 2013 in a post called “How to Use Content Marketing For a ‘Boring’ Industry.” His first point, like mine, is that “you don’t see too many people in those [boring] spaces using content marketing.” Some of his advice includes fairly standard stuff, such as guest blogging, infographics and the importance of relevance over volume in links, but he makes one really great point worth repeating: solve your customers’ problems. In any industry, your customers have a bevy of day-to-day problems and they ought to always be willing to listen to advice. Know what they are and tell them some solutions. At the very least you will establish fellow-feeling and understanding of your clients and they will remember it: solve the problems of the actual purchaser.

A second excellent post comes from the geniuses over at moz.com. Ronell Smith does a superb job throughout this article (and in the comment replies) of dealing with the issues. Again, a subtext of the article and comments is that there are very few examples of boring-industry content done really well. It’s a challenge few people rise to. His argument is summarised as saying: set goals, be clear and work on amplification.

This last point means getting people to market for you: reimagine who you are writing for. It’s the title of the post: create content that important influencers will share. It’s important to think of a variety of important influencers, including everything from influential experts in the industry to newspapers and magazines looking for a soundbite or filler.

And another obstacle you might face is apathy from people who (really!) still think that the web is “not really the way we work” or something like that.

So what? Anticipate that and other objections, as follows when approaching clients.

Get to Know Your Industry… and Know Industry

Go to trade shows and pass out your card. Introduce yourself as an expert in your industry just as they are experts in their industry.

Contact the sites directly. Let them know that there is still time for them to get ahead of their competition.

Finally, a word of advice: If you get clients, be aware that people in industries like construction and industry and trades live in world where results are seen. These are people who want to see progress. When a building is going up you can see it progressing from the foundation upward, even if it’s behind schedule. You can’t always see immediate results in website development or online marketing. It’s a different world from the one they are working in.

You can rephrase this argument yourself when you deal with clients but you need to be aware of this and you need to know how to deal with people in industry. You also need to remember that they are often used to pushing things aggressively and live in a world where aggression and foul language are part and parcel of how to get things done and even how to conduct business. I’ve heard an electrician client openly threat his current developer. That’s a little extreme, of course, but just be aware that you may have to thicken your skin.

*Apparently KW is set to dominate the IoT.

**For the uninitiated, Blue Ocean Strategy was a best seller a few years ago that explained blue oceans as “competitor-free markets that innovative companies can navigate,” as red oceans, competition-saturated markets where the water is red with the blood of those who could not compete.

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Videos for Marketing

January 27th, 2014 1 comment

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The following is by Ness Garcia. I don’t have a lot of time to blog myself so I fill in the blanks with guest posts like this one. It keeps  things moving forward. – Jim

Why You Should Use Videos for Marketing

Video marketing has become extremely popular over the last few years. If you are considering  using videos in your marketing campaign, then you may want to understand some of the benefits that come with using them.

Here are 5 important reasons why you should start using videos.

Higher Conversion Rates

Since people would rather watch a video than read a blog post, you can easily appeal to them and convince them to buy your products or sign up with your website. Whatever your goal is, it can be easily met by using videos to convert your visitors. You just need to do some planning on what strategies would be the most effective on your target demographic. Once you have posted a few videos and see their reactions, you will get a better feel for what they are into and what they are not.

Keep People’s attention

If you have your own site, you probably know how hard it is to have people pay attention to the content we post on it. So it’s important to do everything possible to get them to pay as much attention as possible. Videos have been proven to work and will continue to be one of the best ways to appeal to your visitors and have them digest the information.

Delivering Information Much Faster

A video is able to provide much more information than a regular text post would and your audience would actually be listening to what your video is saying. Most of the time if you post something, people will just skim through it and not really try and fully comprehend your message. You won’t need to worry about that happening with videos because they are much easier to listen to and people will actually want to watch. A 2 minute video could go over all of the information a 800 word post would, but the 800 word post would take much longer to get through.

Get Your Viewers Emotional

With videos, you can get more personal with your audience, allowing you to use their emotions to help convert them. The more personally connected they feel to your videos, the more effective the videos are. You can check out plenty of examples of how other companies and people use personal stories, sad images, or comedy sketches to attract viewers and convert them.

Looks More Professional

Having videos will make your marketing efforts look much more legitimate and will be able to show your audience what you can do. Anyone can just write blog posts or make a podcast, but creating a video takes some talent. You don’t need to hire a bunch of people to act, shoot, and edit the videos, but you should try and make it as best as you can. There are also services that are available to help with marketing videos and can provide you with some basic videos that let you customize them so that you are able to send your message to the audience.

Overall, there are so many different reasons why you should start using videos to market, but these 5 should give you an idea.

About the author

Over the last 5 years, Ness has been hired by many different clients to write about subjects of all types. She previously majored in English and during her time in school, she decided to start writing about useful information for a living. She is currently a top writer for Problogger.net and has had much success with her audiences. Keeping her audiences engaged and happy is her main goal, while at the same time maintaining her credibility by always providing facts that are true. She is very experienced and fulfilled by her writing career.

Kitchener-Waterloo and Digital Marketing

November 2nd, 2012 1 comment

Digital marketing by Kitchener-Waterloo Companies is as, um… lacking as it is anywhere. While it’s true that an experienced digital marketer looking at any website or company can see areas where there is room for improvement, I’m a bit surprised that many websites in KW don’t have some essential aspects of SEO. KW is supposedly a technology mecca; we’re supposed to be way ahead of the game. It’s a fact, though, that most companies in the Waterloo Region are software-oriented and online marketing is all about creating meaningful content on your website and establishing worthwhile relationships with customers and potential customers, no matter if you are in B2B or B2C.

There are many examples of what I’m talking about. Some may have a reason to feel exempt, notably the most notable company in this region, Research in Motion. A company as big as RIM does not really need to worry about SEO such as being found for keywords like “smartphone” and they can easily create a vast social network through their customers. However, even Blackberry has missed opportunities such as the way a site like BBGeeks.com (run by some people I know well) filled in as a Blackberry applications support site. RIM may not have cared at one time – but at this point, it looks like they should have. By showing all along that they care about every aspect of the Blackberry world, they could have leveraged this good faith when things went sideways. They missed an opportunity and now, things like that look like complacency. And you cannot be complacent in marketing of any kind.

Digital marketing basics missed by many companies in KW

Other companies that I have looked at in this region don’t even seem to know what a title tag is for. This is the essence of marketing and branding online and you need to know what to tell people about your site though your titles. Most companies (not just in Kitchener-Waterloo… okay) are still telling people that their site is about themselves. To put it in marketing language they tell people what’s in it for me instead of telling potential customers what’s in it for them. This is classic poor marketing, whether we are talking about online presence or not.

I’m currently looking at recruitment sites in this area (consulting as I do was always only a temporary idea). Some local recruitment sites are savvy but many still miss opportunities. At least one website looks like it has not been updated in ten years or so. Kitchener-Waterloo SEO is still a very lacking thing, after all these years, for everything from FOB startups to retirement homes in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Out of the box SEO is never true SEO

Many local design companies claim to offer some SEO services.  There is a significant difference between search engine friendly website development and true digital marketing (or inbound marketing or internet marketing, whatever you call it where you are). Digital marketing, which ought to be a solid mix of search engine optimization, paid advertising and social media marketing goes well beyond an SEO design. I’ve spoken to many design companies in Kitchener-Waterloo lately and they do not do SEO. Companies in KW can see the results for themselves, though, when they launch a new site (that they probably paid thousands of dollars for) and they only get nominal search traffic.

What do you have to do to reach a broad online market? You have to have content: content provided by people who are aware of the market, aware of the latest changes at Google and aware of the best strategy that will last into the future. Content has to include heavy written content as well as graphics, video and more. You have to engage people with social media, listen to questions they have and answer them. You have to create your own online community. It’s expensive, it’s difficult to keep up, but you have to do it in today’s world. Everything is online and online is everything.

There are other things wrong here in Kitchener-Waterloo that I haven’t even touched on. A short list includes: startup companies that feel they do not need marketing (“We’ll just go viral!” Do people still say that?); sites that raise security issues due to their being client-focused (and thus marketing-deprived); small businesses that are satisified with their word of mouth business and are always in danger of suffering for their own complacency (maybe they’ve been burned by online marketing in the past. Tough, the world is still changing).

So here’s the pitch. Check out my long history of helping people succeed online.