How to Get the Most Out of Promoting Through an Industry-Specific Portal
When many of us marketers think of industry-specific portals or online trade publications, we immediately think of company directories we can browse by category or keyword and filter by a number of other relevant criteria. While getting your company and its product/service offering to appear in a directory is still a part of advertising through an industry-specific portal, it is in reality only the tip of the iceberg of what you can achieve by marketing through these types of sites.
The truly great thing about industry-specific portals is their ability to give B2B marketers easy access to multiple channels. These websites go well beyond a directory listing by allowing you to take advantage of pretty much any marketing channel under the sun, including the hottest ones out there: social media campaigns, display ads, email marketing to fresh distribution lists, as well as content marketing in all its forms (blog posts & articles, white papers, company news, videos, webinars…you name it), not to mention the boost in SEO your company will get when certain pages hosted on the portal manage to patch up the shortcomings of pages on your own website that may be failing to rank highly.
Some industry-specific websites allow you to run campaigns on a per-channel basis, while nearly all will bundle all the channels together into one comprehensive package, the primary goal of which is to generate leads for your business using whatever channel or channels prove most successful.
As with any marketing endeavor, businesses that are most involved are the ones most likely to get superior results. So once you’ve decided to take the leap and sign up with an industry-specific portal, what exactly does it take to get great ROI?
Here are a few tips:
Make sure your most recent content is published – While forming a hub for your online presence, your company profile and product/service catalogs are unlikely to get the job done alone. You also need to reach out to the portal’s audience by publishing fresh content in the form of news stories, blog posts, technical articles, white papers, videos & case studies. Once you have a schedule in place for publishing periodic content, make sure the portal receives these immediately, ideally by email or RSS feed.
Make sure the portal is distributing your content – Once you’ve solved the first step, you need to find out what channels the portal uses to deliver your content to your potential customers. Do they distribute your content via newsletters, social media, RSS…? Don’t assume and don’t let your content lie dormant on the site. Make sure the portal distributes it in such a way that it will get your prospects’ attention.
Follow up on your leads – Effective portals will allow you to easily segment leads by type of interaction so that you can follow up with them in the most appropriate way and increase the chances of a conversion. For example, you may want to call prospects who have requested info within one business day, send a follow-up email to prospects who have downloaded a brochure within three business days, and so on. You need to make sure leads generated through the portal make their way into your lead nurturing program and get followed up in the appropriate manner.
Calculate the value of the results – If you don’t know the value of the most important actions prospects take (sending an RFI, downloading a brochure, viewing a video, etc.), you need to calculate that first and foremost. Once you have those figures in place and assuming the portal segments your leads properly, it’s easy to calculate the value you’re generating through the industry-specific portal.
Get help optimizing your content – It’s in every industry-specific portal’s best interest to do what it takes to generate the right leads for you. The best portals will optimize your company profile and product catalog entries for SEO to ensure this happens. Get involved in this process. Ask questions and learn from them. At the same time you increase your chances of success by polishing up your company profile on the portal, you may pick up a pointer or two for what SEO strategies to employ on your own website.
Find out if the portal cares about your time – Again, it’s in the portal’s best interest to generate the right leads for your business, but you surely don’t want to spend all day figuring out their content management system, assuming they have one available for you, and updating content. While the availability of a CMS is great for the occasional edit you may want to make, it’s quite daunting to have to update your entire product catalog when the time comes. Ask the portal if they can help you publish the right content on their site. The best portals will happily do this as they know this saves you time and ultimately increases the ROI of your campaign.
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