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Once upon a time, consumers flipped through catalogs and the yellow pages for retail purchases. They browsed through stores like Radio Shack and KB Toys for all their shopping needs. Sadly, the days of renting videos at Blockbuster and walking the aisles at Kmart are long gone. Like it or not, most modern consumers – more than 80 percent – search for products and services on the Internet prior to making a purchase. Some consumers still visit a local Best Buy, but many of them have stopped strolling the aisles. Now they log into Amazon to compare pricing.

Unfortunately, many manufacturing companies haven’t stayed up-to-date with consumer buying habits. Outdated marketing mechanisms, such as catalogs, mailers and brochures are much less likely to resonate with present-day consumers. Now, consumers rely on online reviews and ratings to make purchasing decisions. Case in point, in a recent study by Moz.com, 67 percent of respondents indicated online reviews were “fairly, very, or absolutely important” when making online purchasing decisions. That’s a very high percentage of consumers that trust both good and bad reviews. These consumers use online reviews to form an opinion about a company, reach a decision about a purchase, or commit oneself to a service provider.

Devising a marketing strategy

So, how do manufacturers devise a marketing strategy that will resonate with their customers? After all, finding buyers for a lift truck attachment is much different than marketing a new cell phone to millennials. There are tremendous amounts of demographic information on consumers that can help identify customer market segments and consumer profiles. There is much less information on manufacturing niches. Additionally, this information is harder to acquire and usually requires industrial or manufacturing experience to compile. It’s also fairly easy to advertise the latest and greatest cell phone. Advertising a complex piece of machinery is much more difficult. It can often take months or even years for the consumer to make a purchase.

B2B blogging increases lead generation

Even so, one highly successful form of marketing that has taken flight over the past several years is B2B blogging. It has become one of the best ways for manufacturers to build prestige and introduce products to interested buyers. However, just because a company writes and publishes a blog doesn’t mean customers will see or read it. Blogging must be part of an overall marketing strategy. And just as consumer buying behavior is changing, so are trends in blogging. For example:

  • B2B and business blogging is steadily on the rise.
  • Those companies with blogs tend to receive more leads
  • Blogging frequently tends to be more effective
  • Manufacturing blogs have longer ROI than most other marketing efforts
  • B2B blogging is shown to have considerable SEO benefits and attracts higher quality leads. In fact, websites that offer a blog can have as much as 434 percent more indexed pages. Why is that important? In SEO, providing large quantities of content that search engines use to index helps search engines recognize that your site is a great source of information.
  • Besides great content, blogs that utilize visual content, such as graphs and charts or product photos seem to attract greater numbers of return visitors. One source suggests that blogs with images receive 94 percent more views.

Achieve a rise in conversion rates

It’s a little-known fact that B2B businesses are actually more likely to blog than their counterparts: B2C businesses. This is true in part because there seems to be more of an emphasis on lead generation for B2B companies. Another important consideration to think about is that Millennial consumers trust their peers (and peer reviews) over display ads. This is key because blogs set companies up as an authorities in their industries. A well-written blog promotes the brand and builds, and maintains customer relationships. It can set a business apart from the competition, encourage direct customer contact, and disseminate information to a huge number of people. Companies may even ask authoritative bloggers, especially those with a trusting fan base, to feature product reviews on their blogs. Doing so may drive traffic to the company website and secure sales.

One more very important reason for companies to consider implementing a blogging strategy is ‘conversion rates,’. This is the percentage of customers who browse a site or read a blog that convert to paying customers. Conversion rates provide actual results and show how many people visited the website as a direct result of a blog post. These rates can tell which posts generated the most activity, and which lead to sales. But, it’s important to keep in mind that to accurately track conversion rates, companies must give blog posts, promos, or ads enough time to see real results.

How to incorporate blogging into your marketing strategy

Maybe your business doesn’t have the time or personnel needed to write a customer-winning blog successfully, but you know the time is NOW to add a blog into your overall marketing strategy. Tempesta Media, pioneers in performance content and ROI-driven influencer marketing programs, is eager to help brand your manufacturing business with a top-rated blog that engages your customers, cements your stellar reputation, and drives sales.

Michael Marchese is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership and overall business operations across all the company’s segments.

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