The energy industry is known for adopting new technologies and constantly evolving to be more efficient and productive. In keeping with this theme, those in the energy industry have been actively adapting to the online world.
According to a recent study done by Bain and Company, “B2B buyers now perform more than two-thirds of their decision-making research online – without speaking to anyone in the sales department.” Your customers are doing 2/3 of their decision-making research about your company online before they reach out.
As mobile devices become more and more powerful, more people are using them to do their decision making research. 20-60% of online searches in the industrial market are being done on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Tablets are being used more and more, as it is more convenient for engineers and field staff when not in the office. Because of this increase in mobile traffic, it has become the industry standard to have a responsive website. Making your website mobile-friendly will ensure that you do not lose visitors simply because they are unable to navigate your website easily.
When doing online research to find a new vendor, people want to find a company that can meet all their needs and that they can trust to do a great job. By providing content on your website that is engaging and valuable, you can build this trust and ensure your prospects have the information they need to make their decision. Anticipate your customers’ questions and provide this information on your website so you can eliminate that barrier and guide them through the buying cycle. Put technical information, testimonials, case studies and blog posts on your website as a way to educate your visitors while showing that you are a trustworthy expert in your field.
In addition to the content on your website, there are other ways to develop a good online reputation. Online reviews have become a trusted source of information for people when deciding which vendor to choose. To set yourself apart from your competition, ask your customers to leave you reviews on third-party websites. New prospects want to know they’re hiring a trusted source, so having reviews from other customers will demonstrate that trust.
All of these things we’ve recommended depend on one thing – prospects being able to find you. If you don’t show up in the search results, it won’t matter how many 5-star reviews you have. There are two ways to make sure you are showing up where people are looking – SEO and PPC. SEO or Search Engine Optimization makes sure your website shows up in the search engines’ organic search results – or unpaid search results. PPC (pay per click) or paid search advertising, ensures that your ads appear at the top of the search results page. These two strategies work hand in hand to get more visitors to click through to your website. Visitors are much more likely to click on a website that appears multiple times on the first page of Google, so by using an integrated online marketing strategy of both organic and paid search, you can drive more visitors to your website and ensure your business succeeds online.
While putting this focus on digital marketing and your online presence, we do want to remind you that the world outside of the internet matters too. Your customers are real people and their offline experience with you and your company is just as important as their online experience. Often in the energy industry, customer service is what can distinguish a company from its competitors. Remember that your customers are most likely requesting quotes from 3-5 vendors, so you need to set yourself apart somehow. Be sure to think of the overall customer experience, including both plugged in and unplugged.
Its official – we are in the information age, and companies that are able to make our decisions easier for us are going to get our business. When developing your digital marketing strategy, consider your customer and work to develop a positive experience for them that allows them to find what they’re looking for, and easily make their decision, trusting you are able to do what they need.
About Michelle Elford
Michelle studied marketing before spending several years working with petroleum geomatics professionals around the world. Michelle interacts with industrial companies on a daily basis to help drive business growth through online marketing technology.