Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of mouth marketing has been a subject of discussion in inbound marketing circles for quite some time. It’s a particularly challenging subject for B2Bs, who function in niche industries like manufacturing. Many B2Bs feel that word of mouth marketing is the only, best way to get leads. And while we certainly won’t disagree that word of mouth marketing is powerful, we do have some thoughts (and some stats to back them up), about why traditional word of mouth marketing is out, and why modern word of mouth marketing can’t stand on its own if you’re trying to grow your company. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about what word of mouth marketing is, in both the traditional and the modern sense, and we’re going to talk about when you need it, and when you don’t. 

Word of mouth marketing (or WOMM for short) is a big component of many marketing strategies, but we’re here to tell you why it shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy. Let’s start by taking a look at what WOMM is: 

Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing

Traditional word of mouth marketing is exactly what it sounds like. Before the internet exploded in popularity, companies built brand awareness and grew their business primarily from having their customers talk about them to other industry members. 

In B2B applications, especially in the manufacturing industry, this was a major driver of business because the industries are so niche. The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation. When you had that, you could rely on WOMM to get you both the leads that you wanted and the ones you needed. 

Unfortunately, following the internet boom, WOMM has seen a slow decline in success, even for those B2B manufacturers who have relied on it as their primary form of marketing for decades. So why isn’t traditional WOMM working anymore?

Why Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing Doesn’t Cut it Anymore 

The number one answer to that question is the internet. When the internet blew up, it became easy for anyone to find the products, services, and solutions they needed, right from their own computer or smartphone. No need to pick up a phone or talk to a friend — the necessary information was directly at the consumer’s fingertips. 

For B2Bs, and particularly B2B manufacturers, this change happened slowly. These industries are niche, and many manufacturers feel that they know the key players without heading to the web. 

Today, though, as many incoming engineers and manufacturing sales professionals are tech natives, used to finding solutions and products online, manufacturers are realizing the importance of having a web presence and a dedicated marketing team. 

In all honesty, if you’re still relying on traditional WOMM to bring in leads, you’re not going to see the same growth as your competition. 

To continue to grow and be successful as a company, in any industry, a legitimate digital presence is a required qualification. 

Why? Well, that’s where modern word of mouth marketing comes in.

Modern Word of Mouth Marketing

If I had a dime for every time a prospective client said, “oh we get 90% of our leads through referrals. We’re not sure if digital marketing will really move the needle.” I probably wouldn’t be writing these blogs anymore. 

Guess what? They’re almost always wrong. Why?

Because while traditional marketing methods did bring in a whole bunch of leads for a number of B2Bs in the past, in today’s digital world, the internet has flipped the switch. 

Enter modern word of mouth marketing.

What is Modern Word of Mouth Marketing?

Also known as amplified word of mouth marketing, this new, modern version of WOMM takes advantage of all the new technology that has erupted in the past decade or so, like Facebook, Linkedin, and Google. All of these platforms encourage what is essentially a digital form of word of mouth marketing with reviews that can be published and shared

For many companies, this amplified or modern WOMM has taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. But it’s better. 

With traditional marketing, you could get referral leads, but usually only from people in your area, who you knew or had talked to at a conference or trade show. 

How Does Modern Word of Mouth Marketing Work?

Modern WOMM eliminates the need for any of that proximity. You get all of the benefits of traditional marketing — the company goodwill, the great reputation, and the warm leads — without the constraints.

Anyone can go online, read your reviews, and make a decision about your company and product. They don’t have to be from the same town or even the same country! 

Studies have shown that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much, or more than personal recommendations. 

According to PowerReviews, 97% of consumers consult product reviews.

You already knew that WOMM was important. These facts just drive home the point that digital reviews have taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. 

What’s more, this digital strategy works much harder for you than traditional word of mouth marketing. Take a look:

  • Reviews can be shared, posted, and boosted with social media ad spend
  • Digital reviews make it easier for you to connect with your clients and customers. Easily see who’s left a review, and what they’ve said.
  • Build visible trust. The more positive reviews and comments your company gets, the more trust you’ll have with people just learning about your brand. 
  • The ROI is outstanding. According to IMPACT, word of mouth marketing generates 2x more sales than paid ads. And it doesn’t cost you much if anything at all. 

Why Any Form of WOMM  Alone Won’t Get You Leads

Alright, so modern word of mouth marketing is awesome. I hope we’ve made that clear. At no point would we ever say that word of mouth marketing wasn’t worthwhile, for any company in any industry. 

With that in mind, it is important, especially for my B2Bs out there to remember that modern WOMM isn’t going to help your company grow on its own. To explain why, let’s go back to a statement I made about traditional word of mouth marketing earlier.

“The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation.”

That’s still true of modern word of mouth marketing. 

In today’s world, you can’t have a quality reputation without a quality digital presence. 

Anyone who hears about an awesome company, whether you manufacture parts for automobiles or you develop excellent machine test technology, is going to head to the company’s website first. 

If your website is shitty and from 2001, that lead won’t stick around. 

For the sake of example, let’s say you have an awesome new website. That lead is interested in your company. 

But, when they start clicking through your website, they can’t figure out how your products are priced. There’s no pricing sheet for them to download, or even a content offer explaining to them the differences between your products and product models. Or worse, maybe they can’t figure out how to contact you. 

You’ve lost that lead again. 

WOMM is Best Used in Conjunction with a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

There are a lot more examples I could use, but I think you’ve probably gotten the point. In today’s digital era, WOMM on its own isn’t going to help your company grow. 

While modern WOMM — with reviews and comments that can be shared, liked, and interacted with — is a useful and proven tool, it should not be the only way you expect to generate leads

If you’re a manufacturing company that’s lived off of word of mouth referrals for decades, it’s important to realize that the times are changing. Even with excellent referrals, you’re not going to see the growth you could be capitalizing on if you don’t invest in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Things like:

  1. A website optimized for search engines
  2. Calls to action
  3. Unique landing pages that capture leads
  4. Well-ranking content that puts you ahead of the competition
  5. A professional presence on social media platforms

All of these are factors that will help boost your modern word of mouth marketing potential, and help your company grow as a whole. 

Digital marketing works best when it is applied in a comprehensive fashion. 

Just one or two strategies aren’t going to help your company grow. 

While word of mouth marketing is important for your B2B company, it’s important to realize that there are so many other strategies out there that could be helping you get more word of mouth leads, and just more leads in general. 

If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, or if you’re convinced that digital marketing isn’t going to put you that much farther ahead than the referrals you’re already getting, I invite you to check out the case study below. 

In it, we’ve outlined with clarity how a comprehensive digital marketing strategy has put this cleanroom manufacturer ahead of the competition and helped them grow significantly throughout our partnership. 

New call-to-action
hbspt.cta.load(1553625, '5af25414-8849-4ade-89cc-522960266ab8', {});

And if you’ve got more questions about word of mouth marketing for B2Bs, or if you’re interested to see how a full digital marketing strategy could put you ahead of those manufacturers who still rely solely on word of mouth, please get in touch. We’re here and we’re more than happy to help.

Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers

Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers

Industrial manufacturers are vastly underserved when it comes to marketing resources. But just like all other businesses, you have something to sell, and in order to sell it, you need interested buyers to know about your business and your offerings. Marketing is the way to raise this awareness, especially with the increasing primacy of the internet in researching and making purchases over good ol’ word-of-mouth. Here’s what you need to know about inbound marketing as an industrial manufacturer.

Were You Even Marketing in the First Place?

For a lot of industrial manufacturers, the answer to this question is no. For another big segment, it’s “we go to trade shows”—so, not really. It doesn’t seem like marketing is really necessary or relevant when you’re an industrial manufacturer, after all, you’re not marketing to consumers, but to other businesses, most of whom need your product to make their product or perform their service. Additionally, industrial products aren’t exactly high appeal; they’re useful and utilitarian, but they aren’t going to bring the boys to the yard.

via GIPHY

But, you still have a product to sell, and you still want to reach new customers. Your industrial manufacturing marketing strategy needs to be different than B2Cs, but it shouldn’t be no strategy at all. Click To Tweet

Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers

So, you know you shouldn’t be running TV ads with celebrities endorsing your spring for garage door openers or hubcap bolt covers, but what should you be doing to attract potential buyers? Inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is kind of what it sounds like: rather than going out to your customers with interruptive ads or cold sales calls, you bring interested customers to you. (Learn more about the methodology in our complete guide to inbound marketing.) You do that by creating targeted digital content and ads that will appeal to your ideal customer and the person in the role responsible for sourcing and purchasing your products.

SEO and Digital Content

If you don’t already know this, you need a website and a digital presence. It’s 2018 (almost 2019!). But you don’t just need a website—if yours looks the same as it did in 1998 or even 2008, that’s not good—you need compelling digital content that will appeal to potential customers and make your site easy for search engines to find and categorize. This is SEO, Search Engine Optimization (find out more about SEO for manufacturers here). The content on your site should provide customers with all the information they need about your product, whether they’re just discovering that your product exists or they’re trying to decide on a new supplier, as well as the keywords for which you want your website to show up in the search engine results.

PPC and Paid search  

PPC, pay-per-click advertisement, and paid search are also crucial components of inbound marketing for industrial manufacturers.If you have a good site and strong content, you need to make sure your desired clients are seeing it. Advertising is how you do that. Click To Tweet Paid search allows you to be featured as a search result at the top of the page in a native ad for search words that you select that your ideal clients will be searching. This puts you in front of your audience when they’re looking for what you sell.

You can also use PPC ads to target your ideal buyers. For industrial manufacturers, LinkedIn ads are the perfect way to do this. Your ideal customers are often buyers or sourcing specialists for a manufacturing company, and they’re professionals who use LinkedIn. Not only is your audience using the platform, their job title and company information is included in their profiles, and LinkedIn uses this information to target ads. You can target ads to people with specific job titles, like “Purchasing Specialist,” “Sourcing Specialist,” etc., as well as by specific company, ensuring that your ads are seen by the people to whom they will be highly relevant, the people you want as customers.

While traditional marketing techniques haven’t always worked for industrial manufacturers, inbound marketing is changing how industrial manufacturers can attract potential customers and edge out their competitors. Click To TweetIf you’re interested in learning more about how inbound marketing can work for your industrial manufacturing enterprise, it’s time to talk with the experts at Evenbound. We have experience marketing in the industrial and B2B space and can increase the ROI of your marketing efforts. Don’t believe us? Check out how we helped one of our industrial clients in this case study.

angstrom-cta

The Definitive LinkedIn Guide for B2Bs

The Definitive LinkedIn Guide for B2Bs

We write a lot about LinkedIn as part of an inbound digital marketing strategy for B2Bs. That’s because it’s an extremely useful and underutilized social media tool, with applications that are particularly suited to industrial manufacturers and other B2Bs. To help you truly take full advantage of this platform, we’ve compiled all our content on LinkedIn in one place for you. Click the header of the section most relevant to you for more in-depth information on using LinkedIn to promote your B2B. 

LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing

LinkedIn Ads are one of the best forms of PPC for B2Bs for numerous reasons, the most important of these being that your audience, business professionals in your industry, is using LinkedIn, and you can target them with a great deal of accuracy, almost down to the exact person you want to sell to. Plus, LinkedIn offers comprehensive metrics to help you improve your campaigns and discover who you’re reaching.

Creating LinkedIn Content

A major benefit of LinkedIn is its publishing platform, which allows you to produce and promote content to your professional network and to others in your industry, boosting your credibility and name recognition. But just because it’s easy to hit the publish button doesn’t mean you should be posting anything. With LinkedIn and other online content platforms, it pays to be intentional with your topics, titles, length, and all other aspects of your writing.

What Are LinkedIn Showcase Pages and How Can They Work For Your B2B?

LinkedIn also has a great way for you to showcase specific products or services with their Showcase Pages. These pages create curated feeds that users can follow, and where you can post and share relevant content. They’re a useful way to organize content as well as segment and target specific customer types with specific interests and needs.

6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

LinkedIn has a ton of features that you can be using to market your business, from the social networking features like sharing content and making connections to advance search and premium accounts. And when we say easy ways, we really mean easy. These features are all just waiting for you to take advantage of, and require little expertise or time to get started.

B2B Manufacturer’s Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Page

Company pages are an excellent tool for marketing with LinkedIn, but you’ve got to be intentional about how you build your page to attract your ideal clients. Our visual guide will help you create the perfect page for your company and enhance your online presence and social impact.

If you’re ready to expand your digital reach and start using LinkedIn to its full potential, Evenbound can help. We have a lot of experience with LinkedIn, content creation, inbound marketing, and PPC advertising, and we can create a digital strategy that gets results. Get in touch and let’s get started.

New call-to-action

Why Inbound Marketers are the Right Choice for B2B Manufacturers

Why Inbound Marketers are the Right Choice for B2B Manufacturers

Inbound marketing is one of the buzzwords in the marketing community, but to B2B manufacturers, who historically haven’t invested much in marketing, it’s unfamiliar. Inbound marketing is the new way to reach customers, and unlike traditional methods of advertising like print ads and TV commercials, it’s not just for B2Cs. Inbound techniques attract buyers who want, need, or are interested in your offerings to you when they want information about your products or services or are ready to make a purchase. Like the way that sounds? Then you need to hire an inbound marketing company.

What Do Inbound Marketers Do?

The goal of inbound marketing is to bring clients to you, bring them inbound, rather than having to reach out to them with outbound, interruptive marketing like traditional ads. So a large component of what inbound marketers do is create content that will attract clients to you, and most of this is online. First, they determine who your ideal client types are and what needs, questions, and concerns those ideal clients have. Next, they create a variety of types of content that address those needs, from your website page content to downloadable ebooks to blog articles to emails. Then, inbound marketers set to work promoting that content so that those potential customers can find it.

Why Do You Need an Inbound Marketing Company?

Short answer: because you’re experts in what you do, and they’re experts in what they do. Inbound and digital marketing is a complex field that is constantly changing, and if you’re not an expert marketer, there are a lot of ways you can go wrong and a lot of opportunities that you can miss out on. Inbound marketing is all these companies do, and they’re very good at it. They hire skilled content writers, web designers, search experts, and social media strategists who know exactly how to target the buyers and companies you want as customers. Have you seen how engineers write? Do you think prospects will want to read that? Yeah, we don’t either.

How Do You Choose the Right Company?

A good inbound marketing agency is going to practice what they preach and have a good online presence with strong content (*cough* humblebrag *cough*). They’ll have a history of working with B2Bs and industrial manufacturers, so they’ll speak your language, and they’ll also have case studies with hard numbers that prove how effective their marketing strategies are.

If you’re ready to take advantage of inbound marketing and the digital space, you need to contact a digital marketing agency, and we think it should be Evenbound. We’ve successfully helped B2Bs improve their websites, use paid search and PPC ads, increase website traffic, and, most importantly, bring in new leads and prospects. Get in touch to find out how we can do that for your company. Still want to know more about inbound marketing? Check out the case study below to see how inbound marketing and HubSpot helped this manufacturer get ahead of the competition:

New call-to-action

B2B Manufacturers: How to Get More Social Media Followers, and Why You Need ‘Em

B2B Manufacturers: How to Get More Social Media Followers, and Why You Need ‘Em

If you’re not on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn these days, it’s almost like you don’t exist. Nowadays, social media is just as crucial for B2B companies, including industrial manufacturers, as it is for B2C companies. Sure, social media marketing seems more intuitive for B2Cs, but the truth is that nearly everyone is using social media, which means that your customers, and the decision-makers at those companies, are using social media.

And just having a profile for your business isn’t going to cut it. If a page exists on the internet and no one reads it, does your company get more leads? No, it doesn’t. That’s why you need to invest in your social media presence and attract followers on the platforms you use. Your social media presence will create the network where you can share and promote your company and your digital content, attracting and converting leads.

LinkedIn: A Great Place to Start

If you read our blog regularly, you know how we feel about LinkedIn. For B2B manufacturers, it’s the social media platform you should be using to reach your potential clients, for a variety of reasons; most importantly, it’s where your target audience is networking and researching suppliers. Getting more followers on your company LinkedIn page requires that you regularly post relevant, insightful content specific to your industry and your potential customers’ pain points. You can even target each of your different types of client with specially tailored showcase pages (read more about how showcase pages work for B2B marketing here).

On your personal LinkedIn account, you can search for specific people in specific positions at the companies you’re looking to make clients out of, and then connect with those people. Joining discussion groups relevant to your industry and sharing your knowledge and expertise is also a great way to establish your credibility and gain new followers. For more on LinkedIn, read our 6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy.

Social Media Campaigns

Another critical aspect of gaining, retaining, and making leads out of your social media followers is by executing targeted social media campaigns. Just like other advertising campaigns, strategy is necessary to make your efforts successful. Well-planned social media campaigns will help you accomplish goals such as increasing brand awareness and promoting your digital content. To do this, you’ll need to determine the exact type of client you want to attract, and target them specifically with content matching their place in the buyer’s journey and their needs and pain points, through indirect (social sharing) and direct (PPC ad promotion) means.

Don’t fall behind the competition by neglecting your social media presence, either by failing to have one at all or by not investing time into engaging with your followers and working to attract new ones. If you’d like to learn more about social media marketing for B2Bs, or digital marketing in general, you should talk with the team at Evenbound.

Be sure to check out our other posts on how to make social media work for your B2B, such as this one on LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing, as well as the free case study below, that shows how paid search and social worked wonders for one B2B:

New call-to-action