If you attended NAPE Summit 2017 in Houston, Texas last week you saw a plethora of tactics for marketing in the oilfield.
Jesse Hejny from Purple Land Management had a fishbowl overflowing with business cards thanks to the irresistible allure of in-booth back massages. Drillinginfo hosted talks throughout the day on subjects ranging from oil prices to operator benchmarking and oilfield investing. They collected contact information from attendees and have already sent out the decks from every presentation.
Not to be outdone, outsourced accounting consultant Lisa Hanz had a straight-up hula hoop performer in her booth. Hey, whatever gets your attention, right?
But whether you got business cards with back massages, technical presentations, or hula hoops what do you do now? The obvious answer is to follow-up, but how? What can you do to turn your NAPE Summit 2017 leads into deals?
We’re going to answer all of these questions, but before we get into the follow-up we have to lay the groundwork. By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to execute the best post-NAPE marketing in the oilfield.
Segment Your Leads
The biggest mistake you can make after an oilfield expo is to pour out the fishbowl and start blasting everyone with the exact same message. As we will find out, the more personalized you can make your follow-up the better.
Generally speaking, the contacts in your stack of business cards fall into one of three categories:
Current Customers: People who already buy your products and services.
New Prospects: People who haven’t bought from you, but are prospects for what you sell.
Hot Leads: Prospects you are actively working to acquire as customers.
Separate the contacts you have into three different lists accordingly. These lists determine the language we will use in our follow-up messages. Those messages will be much more effective if they correspond to the contact’s “buyer persona”.
Content that Serves
I often say:
Content that serves + Tactics that rank = Prospects who buy. (Click Here to Tweet This)
Please don’t be the company who sends out the “Thank you for visiting our booth!” email with a couple links to your website. It doesn’t work. It adds no value to your prospect’s lives and does nothing to advance your sales.
Instead of sending a bland blanket message that’s all about you, create one piece of content for each of your three buyer personas. If you are new to inbound marketing, “create content” can sound like vague advice. Not to worry, the Godfather of Content Marketing, Joe Pulizzi, is here to help:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Blog posts, eBooks, podcasts, videos, infographics; these are all pieces of content for marketing in the oilfield. People buy emotionally and justify logically. Our goal in creating one piece of content for each of buyer persona to connect with them emotionally.
No, we don’t want to make them break down in tears. We want them to see us as valuable partners in their business success. To quote Jay Baer, we want to create “…content that’s so valuable people would pay for it.”
We work in the oil business. The best marketing in the oilfield takes many shapes and forms, but let’s be honest. The kids in this industry love white papers. Create a white paper for each of your buyer personas. If you sell completions services, this could look like:
Well Site Turnkey: How to Lower Breakeven Costs and Maximize Operational Efficiency with End-to-End Wellsite Services
The fastest way to grow revenue isn’t to acquire new clients. It’s to grow the accounts you already have. A piece of content like this gives you an opportunity to expose current customers to your full suite of products and services.
Since they are already customers, you have much more freedom with this audience. While your content should never cross the line into all-out “Call us today, operators are standing by!” commercials, you can get away with a much more open sales approach here.
Enhanced Oil Recovery 101: How to Maximize Rate of Return by Choosing the Right Proppants & Fluids for Reservoir Stimulation
New prospects need to get to know you. You need to show them you are the unmatched experts in your field. A white paper like this gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise while “undercover selling” with results you have achieved in the past.
Fill the white paper with case studies where your proppants, natural frac sands, and fluids have produced real results. Again, don’t turn it into a commercial. Teach and add value while using your results to back up your recommendations.
Maximizing Shareholder Value: How to Drive Operational Efficiency, Increase Rate of Return, and Maximize Investor Returns
Whatever you sell, you have a “champion” within the organization. This is the person that is most responsible for selling your product or service into their company. With completions services, it’s probably a Drilling Operations Director. He might control the budget for your services, but more often than not there are several people involved in the decision.
Whenever you need to sell at multiple levels of an organization, it’s always best to start at the top. It’s one thing to get a Director to recommend your products and services. It’s a whole other story when the CEO walks your deal into the Director’s office and tells him to make it happen.
With this white paper, you give the Drilling Operations Director a killer sales tool to use internally. You are speaking directly to the C-Level executive he has to convince to choose you. Notice we are telling the same story around operational efficiency and rate of return, but we’re telling it with language that speaks to the CEO’s problem; maximizing shareholder value.
Landing Pages that Convert
We covered landing pages back when we discussed oil and gas web design, but let’s recap.
For new prospects and hot leads, balance the promise of your white paper to the left against your contact form fields to the right. You might be tempted to ask for far too much information on your landing pages. But the more fields you add, the less they will convert.
Name, email, job title, phone, and company name will get the job done. If your prices are tied to the number of employees involved, you might also ask for company size. If you sell to multi-national companies, you could also include a drop-down for their country.
Since you have three different audiences and three different pieces of content, create three separate landing pages. Customize the language on each page to speak to the promise you fulfill with each white paper.
Side-note: You already have current customers in your database, so you don’t need to get their information again. Just give them a “Download” button to get the best results.
Marketing in the Oilfield: Closing Tactics
Now that you have strong content and solid landing pages, it’s time to start following up. We need eyeballs. As many as possible as quickly as possible. Post-trade show marketing in the oilfield has to be timely.
You have a small window of opportunity to capitalize on your contact’s attention from the show. There are myriad ways to capture that attention. Let’s look at three.
This is the most obvious way to follow-up. It’s also the hardest way to stand-out in the crowd. If you’re anything like me, your inbox is filled with emails after oilfield trade shows. And if you’re anything like me, you delete most of those emails before you even look at them.
We’ve already done the grunt work to try to overcome that issue. We segmented our leads into three different lists, created custom content for each list, and wrote landing pages that speak to where each lead falls in our sales process.
Email list segmentation is one tactic you can use to get better results. But the most important tactic that determines email marketing success is your subject line. Again, please, please, pleeeease avoid the lame “Good seeing you at NAPE!” subject line.
Working with our completions services example, here are a few ideas to work with:
Subject: Maximizing Shareholder Value: How to Drive Operational Efficiency, Increase Rate of Return, and Maximize Investor Returns
Here we’re simply using the white paper title as the subject line. It’s a compelling statement, so it’s worth testing.
Subject: NAPE Summit Recap: Increased Rate of Return Lessons Learned
To create a white paper that fulfills the promise of this subject, you have to do your homework. Attend technical presentation, talk to operators about the success they’re having in the field, and spy on competitors to see what they’re up to. Then compile that data into a white paper that summarizes what you observed at the show.
Subject: Got Completions?
The mantra for marketing in the oilfield is “Test Everything!”
Get creative. Ask questions. Catch your readers off guard. Peak their curiosity. Most importantly, monitor your results. Split-test different subject lines with smaller portions of each list to see which ones get the best results. Once you see a trend in the data, use the winning subject line structure across each list.
Finally, feed the leads who open your emails and download your white papers to your sales team so they can move them through the sales process and close them.
If you have ever been to a website and then started seeing that website everywhere, you have been re-marketed. Going this route allows you to side-step the post-trade show email inbox overload issue. While it requires an additional investment, if you do it right it’s an extremely cost-effective way to give your target customers the feeling of “Wow. They’re everywhere!”
This also gives you the chance to get in front of your audience more than once. With Google’s Display Network and Facebook’s Power Editor, you can take the emails you just collected and serve ads directly to those contacts across the internet.
Direct Sales Emails
To make a sale, you first need to start a conversation. With this approach, we are going to scrap email blast tactics and go for a much more personalized approach. Our goal here isn’t to drive prospects to landing pages, but to get them talking.
Divide your leads up among the sales team and use a marketing automation system like Infusionsoft or HubSpot to deliver emails to each lead on behalf of the seller. Don’t send long emails filled with fancy design. Send a short message that asks a question and starts a conversation.
Subject: How’d y’all do at NAPE?
Body: Hey Bill, forgive me for being brief, but I’m still recovering from NAPE. Those blasted free open bars! How did the show work out for y’all?
From here, we go back and forth with the prospect a few times. Once they are engaged in the conversation, we hit them one of the white papers we prepared and set-up a meeting to advance the sale.
The Michael Jordan of Marketing in the Oilfield
Michael Jordan once famously said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
There is no silver bullet for marketing in the oilfield, but one thing is certain. If you do nothing with the leads you just created, nothing will happen. Even worse than sending “Thanks for stopping by our booth!” emails is not following-up at all.
You have leads and you now have tactics, take action. Execute as quickly as possible. Memories of NAPE Summit 2017 are fading into the rearview. Get your follow-up out the door and get those prospects to sign on the line which is dotted!