Brands are on the brain for B2B right now and digital marketing is primed to bring brand recognition and differentiation to the B2B realm, including for building materials manufacturers, dealers and distributors.
“Roughly half of B2B marketers report that ‘increasing brand awareness’ is their number one goal in 2022,” according to integrated CRM platform Hubspot. “This goal surpasses increasing engagement, advertising products, lead generation and even closing deals.”
Because brand awareness must be in place to foster trust and build enduring loyalty, many B2B marketers understand why it’s a foundational centerpiece of long-term success. Building material manufacturers, dealers and distributors who question how their brand, business or company fits into the digital marketing + awareness equation may want to re-visit the basics through their specific lens.
Let’s take a look together.
Content is important. Seriously, it’s important.
You might think a nicely designed website is enough digital marketing for building materials. But if you’re not blogging or adding new information on a regular basis, you’re missing out—and so are your customers.
It’s a two-fold issue. Useful and relevant content helps to improve your search engine ranking and it’s an invaluable way to educate your customers on the items you manufacture.
Ideally, you should post one to two new pieces of content on your website and social media profiles per week. Given the choices building materials manufacturers have currently, this can be a creative way to engage your customers and prospects. B2B marketers report they plan to increase the following to meet their content goals:
- Case studies, which are an effective way for customers to see a start-to-finish scenario in which you addressed or solved a problem using your specialty. It could something as simple as how you beat slow lead times during the pandemic, or a logistical problem you solved with a trade show glitch. If your readers can see the scope of the issue, understand its content and see themselves within the scenario some way, you’ve created golden content. Don’t limit yourself to case studies only in text. Images are powerful content, as is video. Think about how a case study could be brought to life for your audience on YouTube or (if it’s short) TikTok.
- E-books and white papers are also a way to educate and inform your customers and prospects about your brand, but in a meaningful and useful way. An e-book could be a natural outgrowth of your case studies. Think about what you know and what you’ve learned from your spot in the building materials industry. There’s a story there that could resonate with customers, increase brand awareness and build recognition and trust for your distinctive offerings.
Think about how you’d like to engage or learn professionally. Maybe it’s via an instructional video, an image gallery, or contractor interview and spotlight. Get creative and continually add new content to build confidence with customers and stay connected with your audience.
Social Media Remains a Sustainable B2B Marketing Option
If you’ve faithfully posted to your social media profiles and haven’t seen much of a return on your investment, consider varying the post format, change up your cadence and tap the brakes on always pushing your products. Also know that social may not be where you converts leads, but it’s an excellent place for customers to start their journey with you.
According to HubSpot, 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media when making a purchase, but “many B2B companies struggle with social media marketing because it can be harder to use social media to connect with business customers, especially because there’s typically a lengthier sales cycle and longer chain of command.”
Although social media is still a viable marketing option for building materials manufacturers, you must really dial into where and how your target market is most receptive. Social media, particularly video, helps businesses to connect more personally with fellow industry professionals and increases website traffic, which can convert more leads.
And always consider what your target gets from engaging with you on social.
(If you’re curious about what your audience should get from you, if it’s not product promotion, perhaps it’s time to re-visit your brand voice in terms of your target. If you don’t have social media personas associated with each of your profiles, let’s talk about how to make that happen and increase the effectiveness of your outreach.)
Those who solely engage in B2B sales should look at platforms, such as LinkedIn, to connect with contractors, service professionals, and retail buyers. And think video.
“Roughly half (49%) of marketers say LinkedIn is the best platform for posting their video content — followed by 28% who marked TikTok as the optimal platform,” according to HubSpot.
To further investigate how best to use video on LinkedIn, or any social platform, call us to talk, or visit HubSpot’s guide LinkedIn Video Specs and Best Practices: a Comprehensive Overview.
Manufacturers, dealers and distributors who sell directly to consumers can consider other options, including Facebook, Instagram, Houzz, and Pinterest.
Posting relevant, well-curated content on social media has helped to establish manufacturers as in-touch industry leaders. This content also offers glimpses into a company’s culture, which both millennial and Gen Z social media users value—and they’re moving into purchaser and other decision-making positions. Know your target audience and where on social they find useful tips and information.
Search Engine Optimization is More Crucial Than Ever
Ask any digital marketing expert and they’ll flat out tell you that the most important investment you can make is search engine optimization (SEO). It’s one thing to have a robust business website, but it becomes utterly useless if your customers can’t find it while using Google.
Where a lot of building material manufacturers struggle with this process is that SEO can be incredibly time-consuming. If you aren’t skilled at keyword research and both on-page and off-page optimization, it’s probably a good idea to work with an expert.
Email is Effective Marketing for B2B
Email marketing is another area where you can grow your building materials business now. If you haven’t pushed to grow your email list yet, start today.
There’s a good chance you have created a valuable content piece that lives on your website relative to your industry. If you gate this content, by asking visitors to input an email address before they can view it, you can start to increase your contact list while knowing they were interested to learn more information from the start.
Having an email list is also good for keeping your brand name top-of-mind with customers. If they regularly see your company in their inbox, they’re much more likely to make a purchase when they’re in need of the supplies or services you offer. Remember that email frequency does not guarantee engagement. It all circles back to making sure that the content you supply your audience nurtures their interests. This is where developing a more in-depth drip campaign and customized emails to segmented lists can take your email strategy to the next level.
Break your email categories down, so you can better target and use email. One-size-fits all only works with clown suits. Let’s consider some specific email categories that you can use to connect to customers and prospects.
Welcome emails have higher open rates and click-through rates than standard marketing emails. You may have experienced this for yourself. At the start of a new business relationship—or even consumer relationship—you are more attentive to that first impression and contact. Don’t waste that opportunity. What impression do you want to establish about your building materials business? Make it happen here.
Brand story email
This can follow the welcome email, or be part of it. Use a story well-told to illuminate to customers and prospects customers and prospects your history, values and mission. Connect emotionally, even if you don’t think of building materials as emotional. Everyone has a heart and a brand story email can show yours. Perhaps you have something on your “About Us” page, or a video from a plant or warehouse tour. Use that content in an email to highlight your trustworthiness or expertise.
This provides the venue to really show customers and prospects your brand, which can build awareness and loyalty. A consistent message delivered monthly or weekly can keep your name, brand and products in front of your customers and prospects, but with a less buy-now feel and intensity.
Email newsletters allow you to offer your customers various content types within one email, including blog posts, a new discount offer or lead-time announcement, an event recap, or a survey link. It’s also a time-saving way to re-purpose content. You can include links from your newsletter to your website, which keeps viewers joined to your brand and creates a circular connection.
Dedicated call-to-action emails
The opposite of newsletter emails, a dedicated CTA email is designed to drive an action, usually within a short time. A dedicated email has purpose and one message. Once you’re created a template for dedicated emails, all you have to do is drop in the promotion or information and add the CTA and subject line. Dedicated CTA emails are easy to measure results, as a direct action is tied to them within a set time period.
Also, segment your email lists to target specific users who have shared their contact information with you, which allows you to further hone your message based on roles and personas and engage people with personalized content. Humans prefer personalized content, so make the effort and you can gain deeper engagement and commitment.
Paid Advertising is One Successful Way to Market Online
When using paid digital marketing for building materials, you have to choose who your target audience actually is and strategize your campaigns accordingly.
To explain this further, think about how you would write copy for a paid ad being shown to consumers versus contractors. The wording would likely be a bit different and your overall message slightly altered.
Paid advertising for consumers is usually successful on places like Google, Facebook, and Instagram. For B2B clients, you’ll want to stick with platforms such as LinkedIn or those that you can segment your audience by job title or employer.
Set Your Company up for Digital Marketing Success
Growing your building materials business through digital marketing is completely viable today. The key is to have an omnichannel approach encompassing a wide range of the concepts we’ve discussed here. By having a varied strategy, you can make multiple contacts with your target market for a top-of-mind approach. Simply put, they’ll remember you next time they need something in your inventory.
If you want to learn more about growing your building materials company with help from ER Marketing, let’s talk. We are especially skilled at helping put together a marketing plan for building material company owners like you. Feel free to contact us today to learn more.