• 3 Steps to Good B2B Gated Content

    Technical B2B companies can use gated content to capture leads on their websites. Whether it’s a white paper, survey report or another technical document, follow our three tips below to ensure that you’re consistently adding fuel to your sales engine:

    Select the right topic

    Choosing the right information to share is the most important step in the gated content process. Take time to catalog the questions that clients repeatedly ask you, or listen to your sales team about what concerns they hear most from customers. Do keyword research with Google Search or SEMrush to determine what kind of answers people are seeking. You can also review your website with Google Analytics to see which pages are most popular. Once you’ve decided on a topic, think about what related details you want to share. A good way to do this is by running through a customer use case and creating a list of questions that customers might ask.

    For example, let’s say your traffic engineering firm is consistently asked what should be considered when designing a new master-planned community development. You could compile all of the most popular questions and create a white paper using these FAQs. Some of the questions might include:

    • How much traffic will my development generate?
    • When do I need to add a second lane?
    • When is a roundabout a good idea?
    • How much parking will I need?

    Make it truly useful

    To capture the attention of B2B leaders, you’ll need to produce some high-quality content. These folks are busy with tons of material to read already. What will inspire them to offer their contact information to read your content? It has to be useful and provide some sort of meaningful value. Think about providing more than just surface level information and dig deep to share some nuggets of information that will save them time or solve a persistent headache at their company. You might do this by sharing results from a survey you conducted or by including facts from a research paper.  In our example above, the traffic engineering company could share actual statistics that will help the developer in planning.

    • How much traffic will my development generate?
      • Single Family Houses (per unit): 10 trips per day, 1 per peak hour

      • Apartments/Condos/Townhouses (per unit): 7 trips per day, 0.7 per peak hour

      • Office (per 1000 sq ft): 10 trips per day, 1.5 per peak hour

      • Retail (per 1000 sq ft): 38 trips per day, 4.2 per peak hour

      • Industrial (per 1000 sq ft): 5 trips per day, 0.9 per peak hour

         

    • When do I need to add a second lane?
      • When you have 300 left turning vehicles from that leg of the intersection in the peak hour

    As you can see, these are stats that would be helpful for the developers to know when planning their development. They’re also not facts that are commonplace or would be easily found with a Google search.

    Avoid pitching your product or service, especially as a one-size-fits-all solution

    There’s no better way to lose a B2B reader’s interest than by filling a document with promo pitches. Remember, your gated content is supposed to be useful for the reader and help them solve a problem. They’re reading to find answers, not another way to spend their money. A good way to avoid doing this is by sharing unbiased data and by readily admitting that your product, or service, is not the right fit for everyone.

    Our example traffic engineering company might include the following question and answer:

    • Do I need to do a traffic study for my development?
    • The answer depends! If your development is stirring up conflict with the surrounding neighborhood, a traffic study could be helpful in soothing their concerns for increased congestion. A traffic study will most likely be required when the development goes through an environmental review process. However, if your development is under a certain threshold for traffic (depends on the city), then you might not need a traffic study. If you decide to do a traffic study, we recommend you work with a traffic engineer who is familiar with the Institute of Transportation Engineering’s Transportation Impact Analyses for Site Development.

    The above answer adds credibility to the white paper because it doesn’t promote the firm as the sole – or best – provider of traffic studies. It provides information to help the reader decide and then a tip to ensure that they hire the right people.

    Good Gated Content Isn’t Easy

    In a time when a Google search will yield tons of results, making your content stand out requires a process to ensure that people will read it. Start by carefully choosing a topic, then filling your document with information that is really useful, and then make your document credible by avoiding a salesy tone. Cutting through the noise to reach B2B leaders isn’t impossible, it just requires effort.

  • 5 Digital Marketing Methods to Help Upstream Oil & Gas Companies

    The energy industry has seen some tough times. Now that a recovery appears to be upon us, many upstream oil and gas companies are trying to redefine themselves in a new marketing era. Although it’s only been a couple of years since many companies reserved respectable portions of budget for marketing, the marketing landscape has changed – and keeps changing.

    Although conferences and trade shows still dominate oil and gas marketing budgets (somewhere around 30%-40%), many enterprising operators are redirecting sizable chunks of budget that was previously dedicated to print, brochures, collateral, and traditional media. Consumer media consumption has changed significantly over the last 10 years, which is especially true for B2B buyers. Your buyers don’t take off their business hats when they switch to their own personal consumption, and now that they’ve adapted to digital media guess where they spend all of their time doing professional research?

    Digital marketing for upstream oil & gas doesn’t have to be complicated. Think of it like raising awareness about your company, establishing your brand, and driving buyers to your door. By using your website and social media to connect with B2B buyers, you can share your story and deliver technical information to the people who want it most. Below are 5 digital marketing methods that upstream oil and gas companies can develop an online marketing strategy.

    1. Improve Your Website

    By now you know how important your website is to the sales process. Your website is the first comprehensive experience potential buyers will have with your company. Over 80% of people look up a company online before contacting the business or deciding to buy. This applies to the energy industry, too. No matter if you’re selling miles of rebar or barrels of crude, your business must be explained in a compelling way that engages the visitor from the moment they arrive at your site.

    If you’ve had the same website for a couple of years, it’s time for an update, especially to implement a mobile responsive design. People in the oil and gas industry understand that mobile is crucial to growth and they’re investing in it heavily: $8 billion was projected to be spent on mobile oil and gas apps in 2015, and according to Oil & Gas IQ, 71% of workers use mobile devices for work purposes, especially those in field operations, technical roles, and senior decision makers. As you can see, the emphasis on mobile technology is strong and will continue to grow as more industry professionals start using their smartphones and tablets in the field. If you want your site to be accessed by your ideal clients, make sure that it’s designed to adapt to their usage and provides the info they’re seeking. It should be designed to tell your company’s story and provide meaningful ungated content (aka: freely available reading material) so that your visitor doesn’t immediately bounce from the page. If you make it easy for buyers to view your site no matter the device, and find helpful information, they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone and contact you with questions.

    1. Invest In SEO

    SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, it’s the act of making your website perform better to bring higher quality traffic to your site from search engines. It is pretty well established that engineers and C-level executives read tons of research and market news. Regardless if they read online periodicals or search for information using Google or Bing, your company must claim top ranking at every stop along the way.

    As an owner of an oil and gas company, you’re trying to position yourself as a leader in your field. In the spirit of leadership, you can reach your clients when they seek to answer questions online. To optimize your site’s SEO, your goal is to identify the most likely keywords and long-tail search terms your buyers use to seek out products and services like yours. Using these keywords, your marketing partners can create blog posts, white papers, or articles that bring these engineers and executives to your site. It’s not enough to just optimize on your website, your off-site SEO activities must inspire your buyers to explore your site further.

    1. Bid For PPC

    Pay-per-click (PPC) represents an effective shift in the way B2B companies handle advertising. Instead of pumping tons of money into print advertising, you can now compete for who sees your ads once they’ve searched for terms that are relevant to your industry. This represents a more efficient model to conserve your budget, potentially, since you only pay for the interest you’ve generated from your ads, i.e., the number of people who click your ad.

    For example, if someone searches for “remote monitoring for oil and gas”, you can present an ad that highlights your company’s SCADA solutions for integrating dispersed assets across the oilfield. Once clicked, you can direct the visitor directly to the landing page on your website to lead them further into the funnel. Because PPC allows you to specify which keywords will prompt your ad to show, it won’t show up when someone searches for something like, “remote baby monitor.”

    1. Capture More Leads With Gated Content

    Gated content is highly-valuable data or information for which a visitor to your website is willing to trade their contact information. Putting it simply, in order for the visitor to gain access to this materials they have to pass through a “gate,” such as a contact form, where they provide their name, email, number, and company information. This allows you to capture information about who is visiting your site and generates leads for your sales team to field. Additionally, the gated content sets you up as a thought leader in your industry. The better your gated content, the more likely your ideal client will put their trust and faith in you.

    Gated content, like whitepapers and survey results, is an ideal way to collect info on potential leads. But, before you start requiring all site visitors to fill out a form, grow their trust and appreciation. You can do this by giving away high-quality content that is NOT gated, such as industry-oriented blogs, useful market news, or even special announcements about your company. If your followers see that you offer quality free content they will be more willing to provide their personal details in order to get your gated content.

    1. Social Media

    Nothing confuses oil and gas companies quite like social media. Social media is the place where relationships happen. A research paper by International Data Corporation stated that 84% of B2B C-level and VP-level buyers use social media for purchasing. And, overall, 75% of B2B buyers consult social media when making purchasing decisions. The key to using social media for upstream oil and gas is to choose the right platform. If you’re the CEO, you might use LinkedIn to post a job opening for a rig engineer or share news about your newest drilling rigs. LinkedIn is also a great place to connect with other professionals in the industry to share your knowledge. By joining LinkedIn’s Groups, you can answer questions about the upstream market and establish yourself, and your company, as a thought leader.

    Facebook, on the other hand, is a good platform for providing insight into how your company operates, sharing news about your company culture, job openings, announcing recent hires or photos/videos of your product. Beyond updates about your company, Facebook also makes it easy to share interesting articles about the upstream industry or to re-share posts from your clients, partners, and vendors. Finally, Facebook’s advertising platform is as robust as Google’s pay-per-click Adwords. The vast amount of user data and advanced ads manager make it easy to directly target your potential buyers and decision makers using well-crafted ads and messaging.

    Putting It All Together

    The Upstream Oil & Gas industry is competitive and fast-moving. To grow your business and gain new buyers, your marketing strategy has got to put you at the forefront of the industry. A comprehensive digital marketing strategy will not only grow your brand online, it will also help you target the right people at a time when they’re looking to be informed, educated and entertained.

    We speak “Engineer” here and would welcome the opportunity to launch your digital marketing strategy. Our client roster includes numerous B2B companies, from engineer to tech, and we’ve helped each one develop a unique plan for implementing and optimizing their marketing efforts. Next time you’re making a long drive out to a drilling rig, we invite you to take a few minutes and give us a call.