The energy sector in Houston is a bit different from industries typically associated with "branding," like soft drinks or apparel. But that doesn't mean branding isn't important in the oil, gas, and energy industries. B2B inbound marketing can make a substantial difference in business to business relationships in the energy sector, helping establish new relationships while strengthening existing ones. It offers useful information and interaction with potential customers through blogging, content publishing, and social media.
B2B inbound marketing has been shown to be highly effective in the energy industry.
With inbound marketing, Houston energy companies are able to communicate what their brand is about and effectively manage their corporate image while attracting new interest from potential customers. Here are 7 reasons B2B inbound marketing is valuable to the energy industry.
1. Video and 3D Animation Helps You Tell Your Story and Showcase Your Products
Because the energy industry is more technical than many other industries, video and 3D animation can be a tremendous business to business tool for communication. Not only can you use the power of language and sound, you can use images that grab the viewer's attention and draw them into your brand narrative. 3D animation brings oil and gas products to life giving you the ability to show abstract concepts and processes that can't be seen through traditional film or pictures. Video is not as complicated to produce as it used to be, so it can be used repeatedly as part of your B2B brand building strategy.
2. Social Media Is a Platform for Interaction
Some of the biggest brands use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest as platforms for interacting with potential and existing customers. A well-maintained LinkedIn page, for example, can share current news about your company, feature recent job listings, and generally create a positive brand image. It is important, however, that social media be frequently monitored and maintained. Hence, creating a long-term social media strategy up front is critical.
3. A Fresh, Compelling Website Welcomes Potential and Existing Customers
Your company website should use imagery, text, and informative static pages to welcome visitors and compel them to stay and explore. This is particularly true in a niche market like energy. Some great website features that are effective in a B2B strategy include:
- Product demonstrations
- Technical papers for download after entering an email address
- How-to guides
- Product guides
A welcoming website full of informative content is a pillar of inbound marketing.
4. Blogs Get Results
Blogging is an important component of effective B2B inbound marketing, particularly in a niche industry like the Houston energy sector. More than three-quarters of B2B marketers use blogging as part of their overall content marketing strategy, and "best in class" marketers consider blogs to be more effective than efforts like webinars and studies, according to the B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. Like social media, blogs must be regularly monitored and maintained to be effective.
5. Inbound B2B Is Highly Cost Effective
Compared with traditional outbound marketing techniques, inbound marketing with a variety of content converts more high quality sales leads for less money, according to Industrial Marketing Consultancy Tiecas, Inc. Whereas industrial buyers find it easy to "tune out" the deluge of outbound marketing like telemarketing and trade journal ads, inbound B2B marketing generates more sales leads and puts the customer or prospect first.
6. Inbound B2B Marketing Has Lower Cost, Greater Reach
Not only does B2B inbound marketing have lower costs than many outbound marketing techniques, it also confers lower risk. First, companies are able to measure effectiveness of online content and quickly fine tune it to make improvements. And of course, the Internet lets companies reach an audience that is not limited by geographic area or presence on a mailing list. Inbound marketing is inherently customer-centric and draws in visitors who are already predisposed toward your products and services.
7. It Has a Great Return on Investment
Inbound B2B marketing wouldn't mean much if it didn't deliver results. But it does, delivering an exponentially higher number of prospects who partake of your content. Furthermore, the "evergreen" content on your website has an indefinite shelf-life, because it can always be there when the customer needs it. Inbound marketing combined with a smart social media strategy is terrific at delivering more online word-of-mouth referrals than other techniques, according to Tiecas.
Branding is just as important to businesses in a niche market like energy as it is to more commercial sectors. B2B inbound marketing has been shown to make a measurable difference in the brand building efforts of Houston energy companies through social media engagement, compelling content, and websites that put the customer first. Inbound marketing can help your energy company establish new business relationships and solidify existing ones.