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. 

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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.

5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

5 Best Outbound Marketing Tools for Manufacturers

With the rise of the digital world and inbound marketing, outbound marketing can get a bad rap. While it’s no longer the only way to reach potential customers, it’s still an important part of any marketing and growth strategy, alongside inbound marketing practices. This outbound marketing shouldn’t be limited to traditional media like radio and newspaper ads, though, but should instead incorporate modern outbound tools. Here are 5 of the best outbound marketing tools for manufacturers and B2Bs.

#1 Social Media

You might think that social media is irrelevant to manufacturers, that it’s just kids sending pictures to each other, rich people hawking fad diets and scam music festivals, and your out-of-touch aunt leaving odd comments on status updates.

But that’s not entirely the case. Social media has huge potential for manufacturers’ outbound marketing efforts.

All social media platforms have some form of advertising, and most have multiple: boosted posts, banner ads, native ads, even direct messaging ads. Not only do they offer all of these kinds of ads, they provide some of the best targeting options for running your ad campaigns.

This is because of the nature of social media profiles—users indicate their demographics, location, and interests in their profiles, likes, and other platform activity. All of that activity can be used to target the audiences who are your desired market.

You might still be thinking that as a manufacturer, you’re marketing to businesses, not people.

But, if you’ve been doing any inbound marketing, you know that even to market to businesses, you have to market to people. There are certain people at your ideal client company that are key decision-makers with regard to your product, whether that is a product designer, a sourcing specialist, or a purchasing associate. You can absolutely market to those people with social media.

For manufacturers or other B2Bs, we find that LinkedIn is one of the best outbound marketing tools available. LinkedIn has very specific targeting options for ad campaigns, down to the specific companies and job titles at those companies that you want to target.

If you want to know more about LinkedIn’s outbound marketing potential, we’ve written about it, a lot. Check out The Definitive LinkedIn Guide for B2Bs and LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing to get started.

#2 Google

If you know anything about the internet, you know that getting people to your site means showing up on Google. While appearing in the organic search results for the keywords you want to rank for requires a certain amount of inbound marketing savvy—lots of good content, SEO optimization, keyword research, and so on—Google is also an outbound marketing tool.

Like social media platforms, Google has advertisements. And like social media, Google is ubiquitous. If you run Google ads, they’re going to be seen. Plus, Google Ads also have great targeting options by keywords, location, and even audience behavior.

Google Ads include two distinct types of ads: search ads and display network ads. Search ads are native ads (i.e., ads that look like regular search results but are actually ads) that appear at the top of the results page on searches for specific keywords you select.

If you look at the first two or three results the next time you search on Google, you’ll see that they are actually ads, and are designated as such.

Display network ads are banner and sidebar ads that appear on Google sites and sites they partner with, like local news sites, weather.com, and a host of other national and local organizations’ websites. These too can be highly targeted.

#3 Inbound Marketing Software

Does this seem like a contradiction? Probably. But the thing is, inbound and outbound strategies should always be working together, and not only can your inbound and outbound strategies support each other, but your inbound marketing software can also help you with outbound marketing efforts.

How? There are a few key ways. All of the tools incorporated in your inbound marketing software such as lead management systems, prospect reports, and analytics can be used by your sales department to make sales calls and direct mail campaigns more effective. These tools can also help you see which of your marketing content is most effective and with whom it’s effective, so your outbound marketing efforts can be more targeted.

#4 Email

Again, this might seem like double-dipping, since email marketing is generally considered an inbound marketing practice. But, again, it can be both. You send emails out rather than waiting for them to come in, and in our book, that’s outbound marketing. Click To Tweet

This isn’t just an email newsletter—that’s staunchly an inbound marketing practice. We’re talking about targeted email campaigns that nurture leads and bring them into the sales cycle. Using a targeted email campaign, you can push your brand, product, or service to a specific audience that has a genuine need and use for what you’re offering.

Creating valuable and targeted messages for intuitively segmented leads can yield huge results, especially when your campaigns provide the right information at the right time, without spamming or overwhelming your leads. Using email marketing effectively can transform it from just an inbound technique to a cornerstone of your outbound strategy.

#5 An Outbound Marketing Agency

A tool is anything you use to achieve a desired end state or goal. When it comes to outbound marketing, a full-service marketing agency with years of experience is going to be the best outbound marketing tool at your disposal. Especially as a manufacturing company that may not have a dedicated marketing department or any existing marketing efforts that fall outside the umbrella of sales, a marketing agency can help you reach the growth goals you care about most.

Manufacturers can seriously benefit from outbound marketing tools, especially as more and more of your target buyers trend online. For help developing an outbound marketing strategy that actually works, talk to Evenbound.

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PPC for B2B Manufacturers: Everything You Need to Know

PPC for B2B Manufacturers: Everything You Need to Know

PPC advertisement is one of the quickest, most efficient, and most effective methods of getting your company name in front of prospective customers, driving traffic to your website, and converting leads. If you’re marketing your B2B in the digital space, you need to have a PPC strategy. Here’s what you need to know about PPC for B2Bs.

First of All, What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click advertising, which is pretty straightforward: it is digital advertising for which you’re charged every time someone clicks on your ad. Most of the ads you see online every day are PPC ads. There are three major kinds of PPC ads: search network (a.k.a. paid search) ads, digital network ads, and social media (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn) ads. Click To Tweet

How Do PPC Ads Work?

Paid search ads make your site a top result when people search for your chosen keywords—these are the sponsored links you’ve undoubtedly seen before when searching for something on Google. You select the keywords for which you want to be a top search result and the area in which you want to be the top result (local, regional, national, etc.), and your link is in the top results for people using those search terms, which drives clients to your site or landing pages. (New to paid search? Freshen up on the basics in our Complete Guide to Outbound Marketing.)

Display network ads are text and image ads purchased through a specific network (like Google) and are displayed on affiliate sites, garnering lots of relevant views. These affiliates can include local news sites, mobile apps, or other popular sites.

Social media ads are effectively targeted ads, as native advertisements or sidebar ads, on a specific social media platform. Because the users of social media platforms provide so much demographic information, you can easily target your ads to your ideal client type.

For B2B manufacturers, LinkedIn ads are one of the most effective types of PPC ads. LinkedIn a) has tons of users, b) allows you to target users by industry, company, job title, and job function so you can specifically target your ideal customers, and c) provides stats on who clicked on your ads so you can determine whether your ads are effective. (Read more on LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing here.)

How Can I Use PPC Ads Effectively for My B2B Manufacturing Company?

First, know that you should be using PPC ads. Then, develop a keyword strategy. You need to determine the keywords that are relevant to your business and industry, the search terms your potential customers use when looking for your products or services, and the keywords that your competitors are using.

You can use that information to create ad campaigns that take advantage of certain keywords strategically, and to deploy PPC campaigns for those strategic keywords across relevant platforms.

For more manufacturing PPC tips, be sure to check out 5 Easy Ways to Maximize your B2B’s PPC Budget, which has lots of useful information on how to bid on brand, optimize deployment, and otherwise get the most bang for your PPC-ad-spend-buck.

If PPC for B2Bs is too many acronyms for you, HA Digital Marketing can help. We create and deploy optimized PPC campaigns that will generate leads for your B2B manufacturing company and increase your marketing ROI — that’s an acronym we know you love. If you’re ready to expand your digital marketing strategy to include PPC advertising, get in touch.

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Manufacturers: How to Leverage Employee Experts for Quality Content

Manufacturers: How to Leverage Employee Experts for Quality Content

If you’re in a manufacturing enterprise that’s particularly technical in terms of the product or service offerings, you’ll need to get some of your information for content from subject matter experts within your organization. Your company probably has a lot of engineers who are experts at what they do and your company does, and some of their ideas could make for informative manufacturing content that your potential clients will love. But engineers aren’t writers and they have other stuff to do. So here’s how to get that content from them:

Enlist a Technical Writer

Technical writers, the people who write procedures, work instructions, and manuals, have experience both with writing and with technical terminology; it’s part of their skill set to translate technical jargon into words that lay people can understand. Also, they have a lot of experience working with engineers, so they can be helpful in gleaning content from them.

Conduct Interviews

Rather than asking your subject matter expert to write a blog post or white paper or page content for your website, instead, sit down and have a conversation with the expert in question. Ask them for the information you need rather than having them provide you with what they think you need. You might come up with even more questions through the interview process that will be questions that your ideal buyers have, so that you can tailor your content to tell your potential customers what they need and want to know.

Get Source Recommendations

If you don’t understand a particular process or product that your content strategy needs to address, get the experts in your company to tell you where to get the information you need. When they’re in full crisis mode on the plant floor or swamped dealing with a rush order, the people you need info from might not have time to talk to you. But they can point you in the direction of the information you need, saving them time but ensuring you aren’t stalled either.

Use a Review Panel

When you’ve written something without the prior input of a subject matter expert, to glean more information and fill in the gaps in your knowledge and understanding on the subject, get your engineering team or the experts on the topic to look over what you’ve written. They’ll tell you if you got anything wrong and help you add anything you might have missed.

Developing a content strategy for a B2B or industrial business can be a challenge, but it’s one that’s so important to staying on the bleeding edge and remaining competitive in your industry in the digital space. If you’re ready to amp up your content strategy and boost the ROI of your marketing efforts, it’s time that you get in touch with Evenbound.

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5 Mistakes You’re Making with Your B2B Blog Content

5 Mistakes You’re Making with Your B2B Blog Content

Digital content writing can be tough. Not only do you have to write well and be engaging and compelling, you have to know what your intended audience (a.k.a. potential customers and leads) is searching for, what they want to know, and how to get them motivated to act on what they’ve learned and get in touch with your people. We see B2Bs missing the mark with their content all the time. Here are the five mistakes you’re probably making with your B2B blog content right now:

1. Too much jargon

You are probably an expert on the products or services that your company provides; you probably know all the industry terminology and abbreviations, too, and use them in your daily conversation. But your customers, especially the kind you’re trying to reach—new customers—probably don’t know the industry jargon. Using too much jargon without properly defining it will confuse your readers and potentially cause them to navigate away from your blog to more understandable and accessible content available elsewhere.

2. Missing content for stages of the buyer’s journey

Customers go through a buyer’s journey when making purchase decisions: the awareness stage, where they become aware of their need for a product or service; the consideration stage, where they consider various suppliers/service providers, price points, product/service offerings, etc.; and the decision stage, where they make a purchase. If you don’t have content geared toward leads in each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’ll miss opportunities to reach leads in certain stages, resulting in lost customers.

3. Missing content for some buyer personas

You might have content that is geared toward buyers of your product, but do you have content geared toward all the potential leads who may have interest in your product? Even if the majority of your business comes from one specific market segment, chances are that you have secondary and tertiary audiences for whom your product or service has value as well. If you’re not reaching out to those audiences as well, you’re missing out on conversion opportunities, as well as the opportunity to diversify your customer base to mitigate dependence on volatile industries.

4. No calls to action

You’re writing blog content because you want your reader to do something. In general, that something is to purchase from your company, but each blog post has its own specific and content-related goal. If you have a blog post on “How to find the right supplier of X component,” it should at some point direct readers to learn more about how your company is the right supplier of that component. For content geared toward prospects in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, calls to action should direct them to request a quote or to set up an appointment with a sales contact. This is how you turn your blog readers into actual paying customers.

5. Not making content locally-relevant

For a lot of businesses, even B2Bs, location matters. If your operations are housed in a certain location, and that location is beneficial to your customer base or desired customer base, you should incorporate that into your content. For example, if you’re a Tier I or Tier II automotive supplier and you’re located in Michigan, that’s something you should absolutely be using to your advantage, as the Big Three are headquartered in Michigan and many of their warehousing and manufacturing facilities are in Michigan and surrounding Midwestern, Rust Belt states.

If you’re ready to enhance your digital presence and step up your contact game, it’s time to get in touch. Evenbound has expertise on the content strategies that will increase visitors, conversions, and leads from your digital content and boost your digital marketing ROI. Don’t believe us? Check out the case study below:

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