Apr 12 2018
The energy industry has seen some tough times. Now that a recovery appears to be upon us, many upstream oil and gas companies are trying to redefine themselves in a new marketing era. Although it’s only been a couple of years since many companies reserved respectable portions of budget for marketing, the marketing landscape has changed – and keeps changing.
Although conferences and trade shows still dominate oil and gas marketing budgets (somewhere around 30%-40%), many enterprising operators are redirecting sizable chunks of budget that was previously dedicated to print, brochures, collateral, and traditional media. Consumer media consumption has changed significantly over the last 10 years, which is especially true for B2B buyers. Your buyers don’t take off their business hats when they switch to their own personal consumption, and now that they’ve adapted to digital media guess where they spend all of their time doing professional research?
Digital marketing for upstream oil & gas doesn’t have to be complicated. Think of it like raising awareness about your company, establishing your brand, and driving buyers to your door. By using your website and social media to connect with B2B buyers, you can share your story and deliver technical information to the people who want it most. Below are 5 digital marketing methods that upstream oil and gas companies can develop an online marketing strategy.
- Improve Your Website
By now you know how important your website is to the sales process. Your website is the first comprehensive experience potential buyers will have with your company. Over 80% of people look up a company online before contacting the business or deciding to buy. This applies to the energy industry, too. No matter if you’re selling miles of rebar or barrels of crude, your business must be explained in a compelling way that engages the visitor from the moment they arrive at your site.
If you’ve had the same website for a couple of years, it’s time for an update, especially to implement a mobile responsive design. People in the oil and gas industry understand that mobile is crucial to growth and they’re investing in it heavily: $8 billion was projected to be spent on mobile oil and gas apps in 2015, and according to Oil & Gas IQ, 71% of workers use mobile devices for work purposes, especially those in field operations, technical roles, and senior decision makers. As you can see, the emphasis on mobile technology is strong and will continue to grow as more industry professionals start using their smartphones and tablets in the field. If you want your site to be accessed by your ideal clients, make sure that it’s designed to adapt to their usage and provides the info they’re seeking. It should be designed to tell your company’s story and provide meaningful ungated content (aka: freely available reading material) so that your visitor doesn’t immediately bounce from the page. If you make it easy for buyers to view your site no matter the device, and find helpful information, they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone and contact you with questions.
- Invest In SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, it’s the act of making your website perform better to bring higher quality traffic to your site from search engines. It is pretty well established that engineers and C-level executives read tons of research and market news. Regardless if they read online periodicals or search for information using Google or Bing, your company must claim top ranking at every stop along the way.
As an owner of an oil and gas company, you’re trying to position yourself as a leader in your field. In the spirit of leadership, you can reach your clients when they seek to answer questions online. To optimize your site’s SEO, your goal is to identify the most likely keywords and long-tail search terms your buyers use to seek out products and services like yours. Using these keywords, your marketing partners can create blog posts, white papers, or articles that bring these engineers and executives to your site. It’s not enough to just optimize on your website, your off-site SEO activities must inspire your buyers to explore your site further.
- Bid For PPC
Pay-per-click (PPC) represents an effective shift in the way B2B companies handle advertising. Instead of pumping tons of money into print advertising, you can now compete for who sees your ads once they’ve searched for terms that are relevant to your industry. This represents a more efficient model to conserve your budget, potentially, since you only pay for the interest you’ve generated from your ads, i.e., the number of people who click your ad.
For example, if someone searches for “remote monitoring for oil and gas”, you can present an ad that highlights your company’s SCADA solutions for integrating dispersed assets across the oilfield. Once clicked, you can direct the visitor directly to the landing page on your website to lead them further into the funnel. Because PPC allows you to specify which keywords will prompt your ad to show, it won’t show up when someone searches for something like, “remote baby monitor.”
- Capture More Leads With Gated Content
Gated content is highly-valuable data or information for which a visitor to your website is willing to trade their contact information. Putting it simply, in order for the visitor to gain access to this materials they have to pass through a “gate,” such as a contact form, where they provide their name, email, number, and company information. This allows you to capture information about who is visiting your site and generates leads for your sales team to field. Additionally, the gated content sets you up as a thought leader in your industry. The better your gated content, the more likely your ideal client will put their trust and faith in you.
Gated content, like whitepapers and survey results, is an ideal way to collect info on potential leads. But, before you start requiring all site visitors to fill out a form, grow their trust and appreciation. You can do this by giving away high-quality content that is NOT gated, such as industry-oriented blogs, useful market news, or even special announcements about your company. If your followers see that you offer quality free content they will be more willing to provide their personal details in order to get your gated content.
- Social Media
Nothing confuses oil and gas companies quite like social media. Social media is the place where relationships happen. A research paper by International Data Corporation stated that 84% of B2B C-level and VP-level buyers use social media for purchasing. And, overall, 75% of B2B buyers consult social media when making purchasing decisions. The key to using social media for upstream oil and gas is to choose the right platform. If you’re the CEO, you might use LinkedIn to post a job opening for a rig engineer or share news about your newest drilling rigs. LinkedIn is also a great place to connect with other professionals in the industry to share your knowledge. By joining LinkedIn’s Groups, you can answer questions about the upstream market and establish yourself, and your company, as a thought leader.
Facebook, on the other hand, is a good platform for providing insight into how your company operates, sharing news about your company culture, job openings, announcing recent hires or photos/videos of your product. Beyond updates about your company, Facebook also makes it easy to share interesting articles about the upstream industry or to re-share posts from your clients, partners, and vendors. Finally, Facebook’s advertising platform is as robust as Google’s pay-per-click Adwords. The vast amount of user data and advanced ads manager make it easy to directly target your potential buyers and decision makers using well-crafted ads and messaging.
Putting It All Together
The Upstream Oil & Gas industry is competitive and fast-moving. To grow your business and gain new buyers, your marketing strategy has got to put you at the forefront of the industry. A comprehensive digital marketing strategy will not only grow your brand online, it will also help you target the right people at a time when they’re looking to be informed, educated and entertained.
We speak “Engineer” here and would welcome the opportunity to launch your digital marketing strategy. Our client roster includes numerous B2B companies, from engineer to tech, and we’ve helped each one develop a unique plan for implementing and optimizing their marketing efforts. Next time you’re making a long drive out to a drilling rig, we invite you to take a few minutes and give us a call.
Feb 20 2018
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, it’s the act of making your website and its content to perform better and drive higher quality traffic to your site in greater quantities. When someone uses a search engine to search for a keyword, a results page pops up with a list of sites. The order in which a site is listed is based on the site’s SEO. As a result, sites with better SEO rank higher. If you want your site to be listed first, you can improve your site’s SEO in two ways:
- Onsite: By regularly using your website to publish fresh, original content on a specific topic, you’ll rank higher. If you own an oil and gas drilling company, for example, you can start to establish your site as an online authority by publishing regular blog posts on rig maintenance tips or critical issues facing drilling activity.
- Offsite: You make search engines happy when other websites link back to your site. When other websites link to your blogs, or when people share your posts on social media, you have a better chance of moving up the ranks in search results.
The role of SEO in Oil & Gas
As an owner of an oil and gas company, you’re trying to position yourself as a leader in your field. In the spirit of leadership, you can reach your clients when they seek to answer questions online. The terms they type into a search engine are called, “keywords.” To optimize your site’s SEO, your goal is to identify these keywords and use them to create blog posts, white papers, or articles. Engineers and leaders in technical industries are most likely to conduct their research online. If you know the answers to their questions, you can use this knowledge to create SEO-friendly and compelling content that markets your services.
The ultimate tip for winning at SEO is knowing how your potential clients search for information. Learn the unique specifics about your target market and your ideal customer, and then use a marketing SEO tool, like Google Keywords Planner, Google Trends, Moz, Keyword Tool.io, etc., to research the keywords they search. Let’s say you’re a tech company with a remote monitoring system for rigs and you’re targeting oil fields in Texas. You may want to include keywords such as “remote rig monitoring in Texas for oil & gas engineers”. With this search string have the product + location + the industry target. These “longtail” keywords are specific and speak directly to people with unique problems you can solve.
Another strategy is to use a marketing tool, like SEMrush, to research the keywords being used by your competitors. These tools offer you the ability see which keywords are used the most, which in turn allows you to improve your own site’s SEO performance and move above your competitors in search results.
Armed with the most popular search keywords, you can start writing blogs, social media content, and more using the language of your oil & gas clients. Remember to tell stories with your content and include images and videos. Content with visuals is a powerful way to educate your client and connect with different generational audiences.
Plan to spend around 20% – 30% of your marketing budget on digital marketing efforts. Use different social media platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest – to build your brand, share your content, connect with clients and engage curious browsers. With SEO optimized content, your digital audience will be more likely to repost this information on different networks or share your blogs with decision makers that their company. By meeting oil & gas clients at the “search step,” you’ll establish yourself as a reliable leader in the field and quickly pull clients into your sales funnel.