Sep 5, 2017
Many businesses that sell through distributors face the same challenge - how to increase product sales when you have no direct relationship with the end customer?
This week, my guest is Greg Linnemanstons, a Platinum level HubSpot partner and President of The Weidert Group, an inbound marketing agency located in Appleton, Wisconsin. Weidert Group has been a HubSpot partner since 2011 and specializes in B2B clients in the industrial space. In today’s interview, Greg is sharing the details of a campaign that was successful in creating demand amongst restaurateurs and other end customers for a wholesale pizza crust manufacturer.
Check out the complete show notes below to learn more about how Weidert used content to reach both distributors and end customers, and the lessons you can take away from this campaign to improve your own inbound marketing results.
Alive and Kicking (A&K) Pizza Crust has been a client of The Weidert Group for a little over a year and first reached out while in the process of acquiring another company. The founders of A&K started out with a couple of pizzerias in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Their kids got involved in the business and they discovered that they could grow the business dramatically if they focused on just dough and crust. They know how to make pizza and they have a wonderful test kitchen. and their product offering has evolved quite a bit as a result. They recently introduced a wood fired crust and are able to produce those at plant quantities.
A&K's traditional business had involved the production of par-baked crusts for frozen pizza. At the time, they were selling to companies that did contract manufacturing for clients like Walmart, Kroger etc. and inbound marketing wasn’t a great strategy for that business because the potential customer pool was small and competition very limited. Everyone pretty much knew everyone else in the industry.
The acquisition changed all of this. The new business that A&K acquired is a pizza dough company primarily focused on food service, which is a dramatically different marketplace comprised of hundreds of thousands of independent operators as well as small chains, all buying through distributors. It's a very unconcentrated market that is absolutely primed for an inbound marketing approach.
A&K approached Weidert Group looking for a complete website overhaul and a marketing strategy that would attract restaurant operators to the site and build leads that they could take to distributors.
The A&K team had two audiences it wanted to reach:
To better understand the target audience, the Weidert team began by interviewing all of the customer-facing team members in A&K as well as a handful of the company’s customers. Through this process, they learned that restaurant operators function on a shoestring budget and therefore are often scrambling to get answers to pressing questions around menu development, pricing, ingredient choices, etc.
Because many pizzeria operators are not experienced restaurateurs, they rely on distributors for help, however the distributors themselves can’t possibly be experts on everything that an operator needs to know. The Weidert team identified this information gap and quickly concluded that there was an opportunity to be the voice for the restaurant operator - the person who is the expert on how to establish, operate and optimize a pizzeria for growth and profitability.
Although A&K sells through distributors, the objective of the campaign was to attract restaurant operators as primary traffic to the website. As a result, the strategy created by Weidert focused on content that was helpful to restaurant owners and would encourage them to take action.
Prior to launching the campaign, the Weidert team worked closely with A&K to establish clearly defined key performance indicators, including:
While one new customer per month might not sound like a lot, it was a meaningful number for A&K because their business is not at all transactional. Restaurant operators don’t want change. They want their staff to know that the same product is coming in every week, so something has to really go wrong for a new customer to churn. As a result, the lifetime value of a new customer is very high.
This campaign for Weidert marked the first time that A&K had used inbound marketing to generate leads and as a result, the A&K team had no prior experience creating marketing content. Because of the technical nature of the subject matter they were looking to create, The Weidert Group kicked off its engagement with A&K by holding a workshop intended to educate the A&K team on what inbound marketing is, how consumer buying behavior has changed, and how technology can facilitate a different kind of marketing process. Through this process, people who might never have participated in things like content creation or social media began to realize that they have an important role to play in implementing a modern marketing approach.
After completing the initial content workshop, the Weidert and A&K teams worked together to brainstorm topics and from this, built a blog editorial campaign of one post per week. Working closely with the A&K sales team, they identified topics like different crust types, things you can do with leftover pizza dough, improving yields, pizza crust proofing, increasing revenue per box of dough, upcoming trends in “crust technology”, etc. The topics identified were meant to address the different questions and issues facing pizzeria operators.
The top posts (as measured by number of views) created as part of the campaign included:
In addition to creating blogs, Weidert created a number of conversion offers aimed at generating leads. Today, the resource library on the A&K website is incredibly comprehensive and some of the better performing offers include:
A&K’s landing page conversions rate are extremely high because their content is so focused on pizzeria operators and therefore have developed a lot of credibility with that audience. This strong audience focus - as well as the emphasis on creating high quality content - is key. Producing bad content is worse than producing no content at all because trust is fragile.
Although the campaign has only been running for a little over a year, it has already surpassed the objectives that were set.
Today, 75% of A&K’s website traffic is organic, something that the team attributes to the regular publication of high quality, audience-focused content, and strong promotion through industry channels.
What can you learn from The Weidert Group’s experience creating and implementing this campaign for A&K? Greg shared some of his biggest lessons learned as well as takeaways that you can use to improve the results of your own inbound marketing campaigns:
If, like me, you’ve got questions for Greg, you can find him online at www.weidert.com or on LinkedIn. When you reach out to him, be sure to mention that you heard about him on the Inbound Success Podcast!