For many new elements of digital marketing, the supply chain and logistics world can appear mature in comparison. Nowadays, new marketing tools and strategies must be paired with an industry that has been around for a long time. The market is oversaturated with more and more companies looking for a logistics solution. In this industry, it is vital to stand out from the crowd.
The New B2B Landscape
Over the past decade or so, the landscape of B2B marketing has changed considerably. Lead cycles are now longer. The flow of information is at one’s fingertips on a keyboard, and people use this to their advantage. Just as you might read customer reviews and do your own research before buying a product, B2B customers are actively doing the same before they even consider getting in touch with you and your company.
According to the 2017 B2B Buyer’s Survey from DemandGenReport, “89% stated [of respondents surveyed] that winning vendors ‘provided content that made it easier to show ROI and/or build a business case for the purchase.’”
DemandGenReport also reports that compared with 2016, “63% of buyers said the vendor’s ability to demonstrate experience and knowledge within their industry was very important.” This is because B2B buyers are taking the time to research and evaluate potential companies before they reach out. If you’re able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and know-how in your industry to get the job done correctly and efficiently, you’ll stay at the forefront of those B2B buyers’ minds.
A content marketing plan, a blog, and an up-to-date website are crucial elements of your digital marketing program. Displaying your awesome content that answers all of the questions your potential buyers might have will make them think that you can read minds.
Of course, it’s important to realize that content marketing won’t magically accelerate your B2B marketing. Some wish (and expect) that content marketing would speed up the time a lead converts to a sale, but that just isn’t the case. Sales personnel will also always play a large role in the arena of content marketing. In addition, utilizing more traditional (and digital) methods of advertising are a good supplement to content. As for content marketing, supplying a newsletter that details the goings on of your company alongside industry updates and other content is a good step toward lead development. Step by step, content marketing contributes to slowly yet surely nurturing your leads toward a sale.
Content Marketing in the Supply Chain
Dealing with this new longer B2B buying cycle means that you’ll want to leave a lasting impression. In order to do that, you need to know who your target audience is. Who are you trying to reach? One way of uncovering who you’d like to target in your market is by researching competitors, and speaking with your current customers. In addition, utilizing Google to your advantage by researching competitors’ keywords is a great way to uncover what type of content you should be producing. Figure out what your competitors are offering their own customers, and you’ll be able to uncover what you should be advertising, posting on social media, what kind of content you provide, and more.
Content marketing is a great way to stand out among others in the industry—you can position yourself as a thought leader. Post blog posts that cite common issues and solutions in the industry, post thought-provoking content on social media, and utilize your website to your advantage by creating landing pages that answer questions that customers might have. According to DemandGenReport, “75% said it was very important that the site presented relevant content that spoke directly to their company.”
In order to figure out what your unique offerings are, ask yourself some questions about your stance within the logistics industry. Do you offer fulfillment? Are your goods transported domestically or globally? What unique types of technology do you offer your customers?
It’s crucial that you show up in search results—how else will your customers find you?
A marketing strategy in the supply chain and logistics industry must move beyond solely using trade publications as a means of marketing. The B2B industry has shifted dramatically over the past years, as content marketing becomes more prevalent. When you devise your content marketing strategy, keep in mind that you’re telling your potential buyers what they want to hear—you’re getting in their head. Think of the potential questions ahead of time, and answer them. When you supply the information that your potential leads are looking for in an effective, clear, and comprehensive way, you might be surprised at the response.
If you haven’t gotten started with your content strategy, don’t worry. There’s plenty of opportunity for creating content, and it’s likely you’ll find there is more creative material out there related to supply chain and logistics than you’d think. You’ll be entering an arena with highly valuable information that will put you in front of customers once you begin adding to the industry with your own content.
For starters, a blog is necessary and one of the best tools for getting in front of customers. Make sure that the blog is accessible from your website, and remains part of your domain name. In order to post frequently and provide valuable content (all the time), you’ll want to create a long list of potential topics and plan ahead. Look at your competitors to see what they are doing. Be diligent about keeping up with industry publications and the latest news, and incorporate that into your writing.
While you don’t want to keyword stuff, or produce content unrelated to supply chain and logistics, you do need to pay attention to SEO. You’ll want to optimize your blog posts for SEO by utilizing keywords relevant to your business, and produce high quality writing to complement your optimization. You’ll also want to create backlinks, which can improve your rankings in Google.
The creation of backlinks, or links pointing back to your website, can be most beneficially produced through guest posts. Seek out potential websites by using keywords relating to supply chain and logistics (think “logistics guest posts,” etc.), as well as guest posts. Reach out to as many websites as you can, and remember that the worst they can say is no.
Many blog owners are willing to accept high-quality organic content in exchange for a link pointing back to your site. Some blog owners find it hard to say no to high quality content that is provided for free.
Digital marketing in the B2B world has shifted, and so has the implementation of content in the supply chain and logistics world. Logistics companies must accommodate this change by providing content for potential customers who are seeking answers to important questions. By providing high quality content that contributes to an industry that is ever shifting with new developments, digital marketers in the supply chain and logistics field can position themselves as thought leaders.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can slay your digital marketing in the supply chain and logistics world, click here for a free eBook.
Guest Blogger – Leslie Sullivan
Leslie Sullivan is a digital marketer currently working as Marketing Coordinator for Evans Distribution Systems, a third-party logistics company. Her writing experience spans across B2B and B2C industries, having written about supply chain and logistics, health and wellness, addiction recovery, and more.
Header photo: zaozaa19/shutterstock.com