Not long ago, distributors were saying: “Why do we need a webstore?” Today, they’re saying, why do we need to create content? These suppliers risk once again falling behind. Just listing products without educational, informative content about them will make you a dinosaur headed toward extinction. You do more than ship boxes, right? Position yourself as a subject matter expert with a unique offering. Amazon can’t compete with the knowledge-base and subject matter expertise of the industrial/electrical supply chain community.
Take, for example, Grainger’s extensive INFOLibrary and Resource Center, which contains procedures and training to help your workplace run effectively and efficiently. There are hundreds of articles and the library continues growing. Why would Grainger do this? Because customers are not just looking to buy products; They are searching for solutions. That’s what search engines want to deliver us and that’s what Grainger articulates. The first page of Google has only 10 positions. Content and links to your products influence your position because search engines love fresh content! If supplier e-commerce sites contain the same catalog numbers and product attributes, what differentiates you? What’s new? Google gets bored fast these days. Data alone can be a commodity.
You’re probably thinking blah, blah, blah. “I don’t have the time or resources.” That’s because so much attention is paid to your website that you’ve forgotten about the rest of the net. Your site is a hub. The rest of the internet are the spokes. What are you doing to send inbound traffic from the spokes to your hub? Gates was right: Start publishing.
Data and Content: Like Peanut Butter & Jelly
My company, Electrical Marketing — a provider of e-commerce and content management for electrical and industrial suppliers — has introduced a combined Data and Content offering. The service integrates rich product data with unique content. Suppliers can leverage unique educational product content to complement their product catalogs and increase visibility and sell when their customers are ready to buy. Catalog data and educational content go together like peanut butter and jelly.
We go beyond product catalog data. Organizations selling online are competing with the same or similar product listings (data, attributes) and trying to compete on price. This won’t differentiate you. We are not an ad agency. We don’t work with plumbing one day and toys or healthcare the next. Electrical Marketing’s focus is on electrical, power distribution/transmission, automation and MRO supply. This includes related services like equipment maintenance, repair and replacement parts.
Bill Gates’ 1996 Prediction Becomes Reality
“If you want some insights into where the content marketing industry is headed, it will help to take a look at where it’s been,” says Joe Pullizi of the Content Marketing Institute.
Bill Gates said it best back in 1996: “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the internet just as it was in broadcasting”.
Are You a Knowledge-Based Supplier?
Our clients become knowledge-based suppliers. We know they can do more than ship boxes. They can demonstrate their subject matter expertise. Our service partners have first-hand industry knowledge having worked on staff with industrial and electrical organizations.
Organizations tend to give a disproportionate focus on their parent site’s catalog and forget attracting inbound traffic that rich content attracts. Data and rich Content complement one another.
Greg Carter is V.P. of Electrical Marketing content and data services. Carter is an educational speaker at industry conferences and meetings. He can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org or direct 856.381.7834.