For some engineers, component specifications and technical details are all they need to make a buying decision. But as purchases become more complex and the risk associated with making the wrong decision increases, a greater number of decision makers, recommenders and influencers get involved. Technical content on its own is no longer enough to sway buyers. You have to articulate benefits and demonstrate value.
Here are five ways you can build the bridge from technical content to business value in your marketing:
1. Group features under benefit headings —Take all the key features of your products and map them to a core set of benefits. For example, “Increased safety” or “lower cost of ownership” might be benefits associated with your products. Which features prove those benefits out? You can create headings that announce and describe the benefit and/or value and then list the features that support the benefit claim.
2. Discuss benefits one step at a time —A staple of industrial marketing content is the step-by-step tutorial that demonstrates how to use a product or explains a highly-technical process. You might find that each step along the way has associated benefits. Why not mention it with each step as a way to reinforce your value-propositions?
3. Answer the question: So what? — If you’re only talking about the marvelous technology that goes into your products, busy skeptics will wonder “So what?” Your product’s benefits and value will help you answer.
4. Spin a story —Every good story has a hero—why not make it your customer? The hero faces a problem which is costing money and time, and you step in with the solution to save the day. Corny? Not really. Customer testimonials and case studies are sought after by prospects and highly effective in helping make technical concepts relatable and win business.
5. Use visuals —Use charts, graphs and infographics to display quantitative data, explain technical ideas and support your marketing claims. These types of visuals can be quickly understood by your audience and make great additions to white papers, web pages and marketing collateral.
6. Make it move and talk —Video is an important medium for educating your customers and prospects, and many busy engineers and executives prefer to watch a short video over reading text. Video is ideal for showing a technical product in action, animating complex processes or ideas, or showing customer testimonials.
7. Choose a classic pattern of development —When writing white papers or technical articles, choose a pattern of content development that is proven to work for making technical content easier to understand. Step-by-step is one example, as mentioned above. The problem-and-solution approach works well for case studies. Cause-and-effect can help persuade readers, for example, why using old products or technology can be detrimental, or to help readers understand the effect of increased water flow on pump performance. In this case you are describing a situation that has a cause (increased water flow) and an effect (pump performance).
8. Create content for three types of buyers —Some industrial marketers create content only for the technical buyer—the engineer whose primary focus is whether a product meets their specification requirements. There are two other types of buyers: the analytical buyer and the economic buyer. Analytical buyers want to know they will be able to solve a problem using your products or technology. Economic buyers want to know the financial impact in terms of return on investment. Be sure to create marketing messages and content that speaks to all three types of buyers.