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Indium Corp. blogs to keep customers engaged

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Indium Corp. is an ISO 9001-registered developer, manufacturer and supplier of specialty alloys and solders for the computing industry, among other vertical markets. Its customers have extremely specific needs, so Rick Short, the company's marcom director, can't send out a single e-mail to everyone in its marketing database.

“Obviously, the number of people who are interested in no-flow underfill polymers for semiconductor assemblies isn't going to be huge,” he said. “It's one of the reasons we don't send out regular e-mails. When you have a newsletter, it makes you want to fill it up, and sometimes that means you're going to put out fluff. We don't want to do that to our customers.”

Still, the company relies on great content to help it sell products, Short said, so it needed a way to find content to keep customers engaged. His strategy: blogging and interviews with industry experts.

The blogging program was introduced during summer 2009. It uses 12 authors—company employees—who write a total of 73 different blogs, each one based on a specific topic such as nanofoil, solder alloy and flux cleaning.

“They are all keyword blogs, and the authors are generally focused on those topics but can speak to what they want,” Short said. Prospects and customers can subscribe either to a topic or an author. The blog content is utilized in the e-mail marketing that does go out, as well as in other marketing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Short said the program is part of an overall strategy to speak to its customers and prospects from a “bona fide place of integrity,” where they are disseminating information that includes original content from outside sources. “Once we become trusted, then and only then will the customer contact us; and that's what we want— highly qualified, self-qualified and urgent prospects,” he said. “Our customers are engineers who love talking to engineers, so that's what we're giving them.”

Short makes sure the content is sent out several times a day, often duplicating tweets since “we don't assume everyone is a rabid fan watching us 24/7. We assume people will miss some of the things we send out.”

The strategy has helped the company increase its inbound contact rate by 600%, Short said, adding that the salespeople are very pleased with the quality of those leads. “The head of sales just told me that when they get these leads in, they go right to the top [of the pile]. It makes sense. We're giving people the information that they need,” Short said. “Here's an analogy I use a lot: If you have a used Ford, you wouldn't hesitate to bring it to Sears if you had a problem. But if you had a 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S, you wouldn't bring it to Sears. You'd have ‘a guy.' We want to be that ‘guy' for our customers—the company that knows the most about what they are looking for and can communicate it to them.”

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