Do your potential customers often struggle to get to grips with the technical aspects of your products? Leaving you with the challenge of how to convey product knowledge in a compelling way..
One of the major sales barriers for engineering products is their prospect customer’s lack of in-depth knowledge of how the products work.
Creating valuable product information content, as part of your marketing strategy, can improve your offering in a way that will boost not only customer satisfaction, but your bottom line as well.
Why understanding sells
You may have developed a better performing product, your engineers know the product inside out and they’ve optimized it perfectly.
However, your customers do not know the product like your engineers do. Even if they happen to be engineers in the same field, it’s unlikely that they will understand your product without some form of guidance.
Without this understanding, you’re peddling a magic bullet. In a highly competitive market, lack of understanding amongst potential customers coupled with baseless claims can lead to skepticism, and skepticism does not sell.
The Inbound Marketing Approach
This is where inbound marketing will help you shine. Engineering often involves complicated ideas and heavy jargon. Using a content led-strategy, you can teach your audience complicated concepts and use this content to guide them through the buying process.
However, creating and putting content out there alone will not effectively increase product knowledge and lead to sales. To help your business to really connect with their audience, the key is to use content as part of your overall inbound marketing strategy.
Know your audience, develop buyer personas and use them to shape your content.
SEO optimize your content. Make it easy for your potential audience to increase their understanding.
Use a call-to-action to provide downloadable content that can directly solve customer problems and further aid understanding.
Nurture your leads. Use this as an opportunity to aid understanding of the more technical aspects of your product.
Going the extra mile to help customers understand your product will yield massive returns and help you stand out in your industry.
What you can do to build understanding
Now that you’re sold on the idea of providing value your potential customers to stand out from the crowd, how can you help potential customers to understand your product without being overly promotional?
Some of the types of content you could create include:
The approach to solving the issue of how to improve product knowledge can vary depending on what stage your potential customer is at. If they are at the awareness stage your approach to building understanding will be different to how you would approach a lead much further down the sales funnel.
In the early stages?
At this point, a potential customer is likely to be looking for an answer to more general questions and this is golden opportunity to guide them in your direction. It’s also worth bearing in mind the varying degrees of technical knowledge your potential customers may have, tailoring your approach and making complex engineering concepts simple is key. When addressing the question of how to improve product knowledge, you can solve this issue by creating content that:
Addresses industry trends
Provides solutions to common challenges your target audience encounters
Presents a ‘how to’
Explains the features of new and fascinating technologies across your industry
This is the stage where you want to show that you are trustworthy and knowledgeable, so create your content frequently and make sure you are up to date on the latest engineering trends and news.
Further down the sales funnel?
Engineering sales cycles are often a long process and information at the consideration stage highly influences the decision to purchase.
Customers buy things that fulfill a need or desire. If you can’t demonstrate how your product’s advantages translate into savings, or better quality images, or an experience they’ll enjoy, then they won’t buy it.
The more information you can give your customers during these stages of purchasing, the better. To create this level of understanding some examples of content you could create include:
Detailed data sheets
Quick comparison charts or extra data when choosing a product
Product demonstrations videos
As a rule, there should be a full explanation to aid the acceptance of the product, understanding of how it works and how the product solves the problem that the customer has. Even if it does claim to solve their problems, customers – especially discerning, well-informed engineering ones – want at least a big picture understanding of how.
Once they’ve decided to buy from you, ensure you provide as much information as possible on how to use their purchase. Are there hidden or obscure features some users might not notice?
The more value they can get out of your product, the more likely they are to buy again.
In conclusion, going the extra mile to help customers understand your product has many advantages. Creating content that helps potential customers to understand your product properly, and answers important questions at each stage of the buyer’s journey, means they will make decisions they’re comfortable with, have a more fulfilling experience, and trust your brand. However, when producing your content, it is essential that you consider how your approach fits in with your wider inbound marketing strategy and follows best practice, doing this will help you get the most from your approach.
Amazon is without a doubt the most important and influential retailer in the western world.
In 2015, it became the fastest company ever to reach $100 billion in annual sales. It has changed the face of new tech and retail as we know it, disrupting an entire industry with a minimum of fuss. Having done that however, Amazon started on its own products. And through its marketing, made them game-changers too. So what’s their secret?
The best place to fail in the world
Amazon states that it is particularly distinctive in its attitude to failure. CEO Jeff Bezos described Amazon as “the best place in the world to fail.” He elaborated on how this ties into their creativity, stating, “To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.”
Most companies love the idea of invention and innovation, but they’re not willing to fail to get there. Amazon is willing to embrace that risk. They take big chances on wild ideas with the expectation that one of those successes will pay off, and it will pay back far more than the original investment. Bezos wants the company to be an ‘invention machine’.
When it comes to new tech, throw out ideas
Just as it tries different things with products and new tech – remember the ill-fated Amazon Fire smartphone? – Amazon has brought the same approach to their marketing. The company isn’t afraid to throw ideas out there and see what sticks.
Its marketing of Alexa and the Amazon Echo is a prime example. The two came hand in hand, with Alexa the virtual assistant software that controlled the hands-free Echo speaker.
Alexa’s conversational capabilities were already the result of extensive development and testing. They cut latency, or response time, to half the industry average. As well as trialing countless reply styles to see what people preferred. For its adverts, Amazon tried as many different versions as possible to maximise their chances of success.
Early testing has already told them that music was going to be the entry point, but Amazon was determined that the Echo became much more than just a speaker. So it listened to customers and built on what they were using Alexa for.
From this, Amazon created over 100 different 10 second clips highlighting potential uses of Alexa. From parents getting information on dangerous plants their child had picked, to putting a ‘butterfly birthday’ in their calendar as they watch a chrysalis.
The ridiculous nature of many of these scenarios was a strategic move by Amazon. Not only did the humour encourage viewers to share or discuss them, but the campaign felt like a customer-focused strategy. When in fact, it was product-focused. While they portrayed specific users in very specific situations, the far-fetched nature of each one led viewers to infer that Alexa had plenty of normal utility as well.
Agile marketing for quick success
Once they’d hit a winner with an advert, they picked it up and ran with it, a classic example of agile marketing in action: taking a high-value idea and devoting time to make it successfully quickly. Tech firms should take note of both this and another way Amazon has launched Echo and Alexa to such acclaim: integration.
Alexa was always planned to be high-enough quality that other firms would want it. Samsung and Ford are among the names to have adopted it. Amazon also made it compatible with successful players in the niche, rather than trying to compete.
Giving Alexa the capabilities to order an Uber, instead of some proprietary Amazon lift service, meant that Uber’s popularity benefited Amazon too. By marketing the Echo as a facilitator to other big names, Amazon was able to piggyback on the success of other companies.
Amazon’s 5 principles for tech marketing
So how can we replicate this success? Amazon’s strategy utilises 5 principles we can take into our own marketing efforts:
Experiment. In product development and advertising, you never know what concepts will resonate with an audience.
Listen to customers. People will happily talk about things they like and this is often the best way to identify your strengths.
Know your focus. Whether you’re building a buzz with a wide-reaching product-based campaign or targeting a specific demographic, know your aims and don’t be afraid to mix and match!
Be agile. As soon as you’ve got a high-value idea, sprint to get it completed and reap the rewards.
Join forces. Be aware of opportunities to partner up for more reach, whether it’s with a local sports team, a recent film release, or a global lift service.
Running a business in a highly digitised era requires businesses to create websites that can really optimise new leads.
Is your website attracting the right potential leads for your business? Realistic leads that your sales people can close in on?
Having a visually appealing and stunning website isn’t enough to drive vital leads, which is also why many B2B companies have a tough time creating a bespoke online lead generation strategy.
What is a Lead?
A lead is a potential customer who is interested in buying what you are offering (products or services). How are leads identified? Quite simple, these are people who not only visit your site, but willingly subscribe to a newsletter or provide personal information by filling out contact forms or call you. Therefore, leads consist of people that want to buy your product or service in the near future.
Even though businesses know they need leads – great leads, and a lot of them, they fail to know where and how to begin. Let’s take a look at how you can optimise your website for B2B leads.
Let’s go through some actionable steps to improve conversion:
1. Work out what conversion means to you
First and foremost, you need to have a clear understanding of what you expect from potential conversions. To work it out, you need to first define what conversion is for your website – If you have an e-commerce site, it’s sales on the site. If you don’t have an e-commerce site, you need to define what converting them into the sales funnel is – This could be, subscribing to your e-mail newsletter or them clicking submit on the contact form. Whatever it is that puts people into your sales funnel, that’s your measure of conversion.
2. Put a value to that conversion
Once you have determined the measure, it is now time to add value to that conversion. You need to identify which of the potential conversions will result in actual cash sales. First, you need to work how many of those conversions result in cash sales. So, if out of 100 e-mail subscribers, you get 7 sales of £175 each (after e-mail marketing), the value is £12.25 per conversion.
If you have an e-commerce site, this is a little easier, you can use your revenue as the conversion value. Though you may want to think about the lifetime value of a customer, I’ll explore this in another blog.
Remember, see above on how to work out the value of each conversion. Once you’ve set it up, wait a few weeks.
4. Discover what drives conversion
Then go to ‘Acquisition’ and look at the value of type of acquisition to see which is the most profitable.
In here, look to see what is driving conversion and most importantly, the most valuable conversion – Is it that viral tweet you sent, the guest blog post you wrote or when you attended that networking event?
5. Do more of it!
I don’t need to explain the rest do? – Do more of what works for you!