If you have a product you believe in, how do you let people know about it? This was the question we asked ourselves in April of 2014.
Historically, in capital equipment sales like CMMs (and B2B in general), the answer has been: Go to trade shows, collect “interested” names and send email blasts about your products after the show.
You may have noticed, as we had, this narrow strategy has been losing it’s effectiveness.
So, we had to figure out a way to increase leads and get more impact for the dollars we were spending on marketing – on all channels including email and trade shows.
To do this, we took a multi-faceted approach that started with figuring out how we could market to current and new customers AND add value, by being a source of industry knowledge.
We began by looking at the analytics from our website traffic to initially target keywords and current web page views.
Just like running a “Before & After” calibration on a CMM it’s important to know where you’re starting from when formulating an web marketing strategy.
A website should focus what your customers want – It is not an online brochure
Our first course of action was to redesign our website with three things in mind, in order of importance:
- Make it more user friendly
- Make relevant content easier to find
- Reinforce the Wenzel brand image
One of the first points we had to figure out was how to capitalize on the strong history of being known as Xspect Solutions here in the United States while making it fully known that we now were Wenzel America (and had been since 2007 became part of the Wenzel Group family.)
So we changed the color scheme and layout to better reflect our new corporate identity. We were able to incorporate the Xspect name within some of the content and also piggyback on the searches still taking place for that name by consolidating the various domains to our WenzelAmerica.com home base.
We then tried to make the main pages require as little scrolling as possible to make information quickly accessible and make the user experience consistent from page to page.
We then revamped Menu and organization of the content on the site. We added traditional metrology equipment segments and product sections plus we created a menu items for and application type to allow visitors to easily find solutions based on their view or experience – not ours.
We also kept a major focus on our pre-owned equipment, as this heritage is important to our customers and to us.
Dipping our toes in the ocean called – “social media”
With our marketing partner, LeDuc Creative and web host partner, NS Group, we decided to try our hand at social media marketing.
Would this work for industrial B2B?
When we started, the social media posts were a bit generic and we didn’t really have a lot content that was very meaningful or helpful to our prospective customers.
Then, in late fall of 2014, we started our metrology newsletter and after some… creative stabs at a title, we introduced Metrology Matters: The Journal of Precision Metrology. From those humble beginnings we’ve built what we think is a pretty successful integrated marketing strategy that we continue to augment as it grows.
Metrology Matters – Building a whole strategy from a solid foundation
The newsletter enabled us to build a comprehensive marketing strategy with a solid foundation at the base. Although, email open rates have shrunk from the heyday it is still the most important channel any company has to communicate to its customers. What’s more, it is a channel you fully own and control and can serve several functions.
Firstly, in order to create a coherent message for each newsletter issue, we needed to sit down and decide what content we would have every month and base all the articles around a theme. Second, it forced us to produce valuable content that added value for our customers — and that we could then repurpose into relevant content on other channels.
We learned from our marketing partners and our own experience, that the subject matter of the newsletter couldn’t just be a regurgitation of product brochures or sales promotions.
We wanted to become a resource for people – for you – to give further insights into the CMM industry and manufacturing in general.
We decided to have four specific content segments in each issue:
- Who is Wenzel? – Specific items about Wenzel.
- Under the Surface – Metrology specific topics.
- Shared Economy -The manufacturing market and economy from our perspective.
- People and Places – Spotlight on specific people and places in the industry.
Your Email Newsletter is just the base – How do you build on it?
Having specific content every month allowed us to re-introduce this content on the various social media channels, our metrology blog and other online channels.
At first, the effort to create this additional content was substantial, but as time has gone on, it’s become easier. The truth is, this is content and guidance mirrors the activities and information we, as salespeople, talk about with our customers and each other in our daily work.
Producing it every month for the newsletter is just an extension of better serving our customers and industry by making our knowledge available to everyone – not just in our one-to-one interactions.
Having the newsletter content as the base has also allowed to begin building our social media platforms organically. Even though the content requirements and audience for each channel varies we can tweak the much of it to meet their specific needs.
For example, the pulse rate for Twitter is much quicker than other channels, requiring multiple posts a day to stay top of mind – this has meant more than 6 posts a day on average. But the content is also lighter because of the 140 character limit. Whereas on LinkedIn, the pace is a bit slower and besides the regular short updates, we can (and do) also publish longer form posts like we do on our own blog. And Facebook has a whole other flavor and speed.
Diving a bit deeper into Twitter, growing a relevant following was a very specific exercise. We initially followed companies that were our customers or companies that we wanted as customers. Not all of those companies follow back, but it is definitely a great place to start. We then continued to identify potential customers, people, companies and industries that we wanted to reach. We had several sessions where we would add lists of companies, then wait and see. Eventually, we trimmed out some of the entities that we followed to try to focus on active Twitter users.
These are our Twitter metrics today:
- Tweets – Over 2500 in 2015
- Followers – 1,475 (averaging 100 new per month)
- Following – 1,663
- Link Clicks – Averaging 3 per day (This is where the rubber meets the road and shows our audience is clicking through to content we share – including our website and this blog.)
You can take a look at all of our channels here. You’ll notice an important component is the consistent branding and corporate identity across all channels.
Wenzel America on Google Plus
What does a marketing strategy based on “adding value” get you?
Today we’re getting a steady stream of sales opportunities via our multi-pronged marketing strategy. Based on the metrics we also think we’re adding value to our current customer base and email subscribers. We are constantly looking to evolve and adapt our message to what our customers and followers need and want and learn new things all the time.
The real test comes from what you think – What do you like about our content?
Is there any type of content you’d like to see more of?
Anything you’d like us to stop doing?
Is there a specific type of info you’d like us to start talking about? Anything we should change?
Let us know.
Our marketing, like everything we do at Wenzel America, is 100% focused on helping you do what you do – only better.