B2B Digital Marketing Checkup: A Comprehensive Industrial Website Checklist
Industrial B2B digital marketing is both an art and a science, and all roads lead back to your website. Effective industrial marketing requires not only a great website that positions you well to both technical audiences and the C-suite, but also a deep understanding of your niche audience and the multiple personas who weigh in on any buying decision.
B2B industrial products and services can be complex to explain, to buy and to sell. Unfortunately, what we see in the marketplace is a sea of outdated, ineffective B2B marketing. In this landscape, you can reap huge benefits by staying ahead of the curve. This article serves as a multipoint checklist to assess how your marketing is performing today and where you could make improvements. Within each section, you’ll find quick strategies and practical tips to elevate your website and your industrial digital marketing game—improving the quality and quantity of leads, doing more with less, and promoting growth within your industry.
- I. Industrial Website Optimization: Laying the Foundation
- II. Industrial Content Marketing: Crafting the Digital Arsenal
- III. Email Marketing in the Industrial Realm: Targeted Excellence
- IV. Paid Advertising Strategies: Industrial Digital Marketing ROI Amplified
- V. Compliance and Legal Considerations: Navigating the Industrial Landscape
I. Industrial Website Optimization: Laying the Foundation
A high-performing industrial website needs to be more than just an (outdated) brochure—it’s the hub of your marketing engine, and it needs to quickly and succinctly communicate what you offer, while also creating an experience that correlates with the quality of your offerings. Your website is where potential clients form their first impressions, and it must be optimized to meet their specific needs. Most industrial or technical companies have multiple types of people involved in research and buying decisions. This means differing (but overlapping) sets of needs for different audiences. Below are a few basic, but crucial, elements of website optimization.
A. Creating a User-Centric Layout for Industrial and Technical Professionals
- Content Hierarchy: Is your information grouped intuitively, using language that your audience will understand? (It’s important to note that this may well be different from your internal product catalog or org chart.) The goal is to organize content so that it’s easy to get a quick overview, and no one has to wonder where to click to find deeper, more detailed or technical information.
- Intuitive Navigation: Do users wonder where to find things? Your navigation should mirror the content hierarchy and give people the ability to quickly scan to see an overview of your offerings, while effortlessly dialing in deeper to specific content areas.
- User Experience (UX) Design: Does the user experience of your website align with the quality of your offerings and the expectations of industrial and technical visitors? Don’t let animations and “marketing fluff” get in the way of information, specs and details. On the other hand, also avoid creating a dense “wall of text” website. Use a “skim and dive” approach to give people overview information, with the ability to dive deeper where their interests lie.
- Imagery and Visuals: Do the images and illustrations on your website convey useful information? To generate trust and resonate with the industrial audience, evaluate your visuals first for their authenticity and accuracy, second for style. It’s better to use a low-quality image that conveys your offerings accurately than a slick stock image that doesn’t.
B. Mobile Responsiveness: Crucial for Seamless Industrial User Experience
- Responsive Design: Is your site responsive? Responsive design ensures that your website adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes. While most B2B industrial and technical website visitors still come from desktop and laptop computers, Google ranks websites based on their performance on mobile, and you want yours to perform just as well on smaller devices. It’s assumed, at this point, that any business website will be mobile responsive, but we still see old websites out there that don’t meet this requirement. Any new website that we’ve built for at least the last 10 years has been mobile responsive.
- Testing Across Devices: Have you tested your website recently? Use a tool like Browserstack to test it across various devices and browsers to guarantee a consistent experience.
C. Igniting the Speed Engine: Page Speed Optimization for Faster Access
- Speed Matters: Have you tested your website using Google’s PageSpeed tool? Engineers and other industrial professionals value efficiency. A fast-loading website is paramount to their experience, as well as being a factor in how well your website ranks in search engines.
- Image Compression: Are you compressing images on your website? While your website will be lighting-fast when it’s launched, it’s important to keep it that way. Be mindful of the size of images, PDFs and other content that you upload. Use an online tool or image editing tool to optimize images to reduce page load times.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN): Do you have a CDN? Choosing an optimal hosting environment is key; consider using a CDN to distribute content efficiently.
D. Crafting Industry-Relevant Content for Your Audience
- Understanding Your Audience: When was the last time you conducted persona interviews? It’s a good practice to conduct ongoing, yearly audience research or persona interviews to continuously understand the pain points, challenges and interests of the engineers and industrial professionals that represent your target audience and future potential best customers.
- Addressing Industrial Pain Points: Does your website include ways to browse not just by product or service, but also by pain point or client need? One simple, frequently overlooked way to do this is to title your case studies or project stories around the problem that was solved, not the customer name. This allows visitors to easily find relevant content and gain an understanding of how you’ve solved similar problems in the past.
- Educational Resources: Are you educating prospects with your website content? Create content that isn’t sales-y, and provide relevant educational resources, such as industry reports and whitepapers, to establish authority. By generating this type of content, you’re positioning yourself as the expert in the eye of the prospect, so that when they’re ready to buy, you’ve already established credibility. In terms of existing customers, content such as how-to videos, technical support content and documentation supports them in understanding and using products already in the field, helping you retain those customers.
E. SEO Best Practices to Boost Industrial Website Visibility
- Keyword Research: Do you have a list of top-priority, high-value keywords for which you measure progress? Keep in mind that the highest-value keywords for your business are often not the shortest, the most general or highest volume terms, but the ones that most closely match your positioning (i.e., what you want to sell) and what your best prospects are actively calling the solution (i.e., what they type into a Google search field). Long tail, specific keywords are usually the biggest opportunities here.
- Competitor Analysis: Are you measuring progress against the competition? Use tools like SpyFu or SEMRush to study the websites of competitors within your industry to identify keyword and/or content generation opportunities.
- Keyword Mapping: Do you have a comprehensive keyword map? This will help guide your content and SEO optimization strategy across your website.
- Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Are your title tags and meta descriptions optimized throughout your site? These are the pieces of content that appear on the search engine results page, so it’s paramount to not just include keywords, but to craft compelling, informative titles and meta descriptions that entice industrial professionals to click.
- Header Tags (H1, H2, H3): Are you structuring your content with heading tags? Headings break up content, improve readability and bolster SEO. To keep the hierarchy clear, for readers and for search engines, be sure that you don’t use more than one H1 per page.
- Image Optimization: Do your images have descriptive alt text and file names? In addition to optimizing images for loading time, it’s important to optimize images for search engines (as well as accessibility).
- Schema Markup: Are you taking advantage of schema markup? Schema markup, also commonly referred to as structured data, is code that helps search engines better understand the information on your page. When search engines recognize the schema markup on your page, they serve rich results, or rich snippets. This may apply for FAQ content, location content, how-to content, video, events or other specific types of content on your website.
For more detailed information on website search engine optimization, check out Windmill Strategy’s comprehensive guide on SEO for industrial companies.
F. The Ever-Watchful Eye: Industrial SEO Audits and Monitoring
- Regular Audits: Are you in the habit of performing regular SEO audits to identify and address issues? A website needs ongoing maintenance and attention to de-index or remove irrelevant content, improve content that’s already performing well but not appearing on the first page of results, and monitor your top performing pages to identify needed improvements.
- Monitoring Tools: Are you using monitoring tools like SEMRush to track keyword rankings, traffic and backlinks?
For more in-depth insights into industrial SEO, explore Windmill Strategy’s expertise in industrial SEO tactics.
II. Industrial Content Marketing: Crafting the Digital Arsenal
In the digital world, content is currency. This section goes further into the nuances of crafting and distributing content that resonates with industrial audiences.
A. Precision Planning: Industrial Content Calendar
- Consistent Writing and Posting: Are you regularly employing a content calendar and keeping it up to date? If not, get started by making a list of relevant topics that match your positioning, primary products and services, customer pain points and target SEO terms relevant to your industry. Even if you’re starting with just one article per quarter, launch and maintain a regular schedule to keep your audience engaged. As you get into a rhythm, expand beyond articles to include whitepapers, ebooks, webinars, case studies and more. Smartsheet has a good content calendar template that you can adapt and modify.
- Editorial Calendar: Is your content calendar aligned with your industry’s events, seasons and trends?
- Content Roadmap: Do you have a good method for project-managing your internal content-generating activities? In your content calendar, don’t just focus on publish dates. Build out a roadmap for content production, including initial draft dates, SME, writer, editor and additional assets that will need to be generated or gathered.
B. The Art of Industrial Content Distribution
- Social Media Strategy and Content Amplification: Are you using social media to distribute and amplify your content? You can make your content do double duty by re-posting your website content through social channels. High-quality gated content can be a valuable component of a paid social campaign on LinkedIn.
- Email Marketing: Are you using email marketing to distribute content? Your content is an important part of any quality email marketing campaign to nurture industrial leads and maintain engagement over long sales cycles.
- Sales Enablement: Are you generating content that helps the sales team? Work closely with sales to identify common patterns and pain points from customers, so that the content you’re generating is useful to your salespeople and relevant for them to share with prospects throughout the buying cycle.
C. The Social Matrix: Crafting an Industrial-Specific Strategy
- Platform Selection: Are you posting everywhere, or have you honed in on a select few channels? For time spent on social media to contribute to the bottom line, it’s critical to choose platforms that align with your industrial audience. Most often this means LinkedIn (although you won’t find many engineers there) and YouTube. Very visual products may be suitable for other platforms like Instagram and/or Pinterest. Facebook tends to be best for recruiting/culture efforts, but it can also have a place in gated content campaigns aimed at very specific audiences.
- Audience Targeting: If you’re promoting content on LinkedIn, are you using its built-in B2B tools? These allow you to fine-tune your targeting to reach industrial decision makers and influencers in your specific markets.
- Content Scheduling: Do you know your best-performing times to post? Fine-tune your content schedule so that it optimizes posting times for your industrial audience. Often, this means during business hours, but you can experiment with other times as well. Systematically posting at different times of day and tracking engagement will allow you to drill down to a set of “best times” for your content.
Windmill Strategy’s comprehensive guide on industrial social media marketing offers additional insights and strategies.
III. Email Marketing in the Industrial Realm: Targeted Excellence
Email remains a powerful tool in the B2B industrial marketing toolkit. This section explores basic and advanced email strategies tailored to the industrial sector.
A. Industrial Email Lists: Sculpting for Success
- Segmentation: Is your list segmented? In order to ensure that your content is relevant to the recipient, segment your marketing email list into groups based on attributes such as industry, job title, location or product/application of interest.
- List Cleaning: When was the last time your list was scrubbed? Regularly clean your email list to remove inactive or invalid addresses.
- Personalization: Are you using personalization in helpful ways that make your content even more relevant to individual recipients? While personalization is great, resist the temptation to overuse their first name or other specifics that may feel “creepy” or intrusive to the recipient. Your goal is to send content that seems as though it effortlessly fits the recipient’s exact needs.
- Drip Campaigns: Do you have drip campaigns running, and when was the last time you reviewed them? Don’t overwhelm prospects with emails, but do set up automated drip campaigns that nurture leads over time. These can be especially effective for your marketing qualified leads who’ve recently downloaded a high-value piece of gated content, for instance.
B. Industrial Email Content: Tailoring for Relevance and Conversion
- Relevant Industrial Newsletters: Are you focusing your email content on sales messages or on providing valuable insights and updates that help your recipients do their jobs better? New product offerings or updates can be considered valuable information, as long as the focus is on providing helpful content and resources to your audiences.
- Open Rates and Click-Through Rates: Are you monitoring open rates and click-through rates to gauge email engagement across segments and looking for patterns based on date/time of the email send, subject line, topic or formatting?
- Conversion Tracking: How are you tracking conversions? UTM parameters (certain identifying elements of a URL)and other conversion tracking strategies can help measure the impact of email campaigns on lead generation and sales efforts.
- A/B Testing: Are you A/B testing your subject lines? Use the features within your email marketing software to constantly test different email elements, such as subject lines and calls to action, and optimize them based on the most successful industrial email campaigns.
IV. Paid Advertising Strategies: Industrial Digital Marketing ROI Amplified
PPC campaigns and retargeting campaigns with highly specific ad copy are important parts of an industrial B2B digital marketing strategy. A few points to keep in mind:
- Campaign Setup & Strategy: Are you using highly targeted PPC campaigns to complement your overall SEO strategy?
- Keyword Specificity: Are you including very specific long-tail keywords as your primary terms and watching the search terms that your ads show up for? Doing so ensures that your ads are attracting the right audience.
- Ad Copy Optimization: How specific is your ad copy? It’s critical, especially in a B2B setting, that your ad copy is highly specific. Overly general ad copy could garner too many clicks from unqualified prospects and use up your budget quickly on those out-of-target clicks.
- Retargeting Campaigns: Are you using inexpensive retargeting campaigns to re-engage industrial visitors who didn’t convert initially?
V. Compliance and Legal Considerations: Navigating the Industrial Landscape
Navigating compliance and legal considerations is crucial in the digital age, especially in the industrial sector. This section explores advanced strategies for staying compliant.
A. Data Privacy in the Industrial Age: GDPR and Beyond
Data privacy laws, as they apply to your website, can be adhered to in a relatively turnkey fashion by integrating third-party tools, such as Cookiebot, to manage GDPR and CCPA compliance.
- International Compliance: Have you taken steps to understand and adhere to international data privacy regulations, including GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA (if applicable)?
- Data Protection Officer (DPO): Have you appointed a Data Protection Officer or Compliance Officer responsible for data privacy matters?
- Data Retention Policies: Have you developed data retention policies that align with industrial data privacy requirements?
B. CAN-SPAM Act Compliance: The Industrial Email Protocol
If you’re doing any form of email marketing, it’s even more important than ever to ensure that you’re in compliance with best practices:
- Opt-In Practices: Do your email marketing templates follow opt-in practices, allowing recipients to consent to receive emails?
- Unsubscribe Mechanisms: Are there clear and functional unsubscribe mechanisms in your email campaigns?
- Mailing Address Inclusion: Do you always include your physical mailing address in your email communications, as required by CAN-SPAM?
C. Accessibility Standards in Industrial Web Design: A Must
- WCAG Compliance: Do you know how you measure up against WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), to ensure that your industrial website is accessible to all users?
- Testing and Auditing: Do you have a protocol to regularly test and audit your industrial website for accessibility compliance?
- Accessible Content: How are you ensuring that all content, including documents and multimedia, is accessible to users with disabilities?
- Accessibility tools: Have you explored accessibility tools to bolt onto your website? Similar to data privacy, third-party tools like AccessiBe are a great option for achieving compliance and allowing your content to be accessible to all, without a heavy resource allocation.
Have you built a practice of continuous improvement into your department?
This B2B digital marketing checklist for industrial websites is just the surface of the toolkit that we use to help our clients in the industrial sector succeed. The digital landscape is continually evolving, and success requires staying agile, data driven and committed to improvement.
For additional in-depth insights and expertise in industrial digital marketing, explore Windmill Strategy’s comprehensive resources at WindmillStrategy.com/Insights/.
Here’s to your industrial digital marketing success—an ongoing journey of growth and innovation in the ever-changing digital landscape!