If you read oil and gas news, you might think the industry has no use for the internet outside of public relations (PR) or marketing communications (marcom).
You can break down most oil and gas news these days into three categories — press releases, industry advocacy, and shale boom.
All three of those fall under PR and marcom. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those professions. The people who fulfill those roles are an integral part of any strong organization.
The problem is that leaders STILL only see the internet on these terms. Across the industry, the focus is entirely on public outreach with very little thought toward driving maximum targeted traffic and converting as much of that traffic as possible into leads and sales.
The internet has proven to be a cash cow for virtually every other industry. But looking at our industry online you would think Al Gore just invented the internet yesterday. It’s almost enough to make me cry. (If real men cried, that is!)
We are stuck in the late 90’s with our khaki cargo pants and brochure websites. There are literally billions on dollars available for us in the internet pie and we ain’t got no time for that.
This has to stop — NOW.
If you would like to raise your rebel flag and start collecting the revenue that is rightfully yours, read on my friend.
3 Ways Anyone in the Oil Bidness Can Drive Revenue Online
#1 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Traffic comes before revenue, and SEO comes before traffic. – @JamesHahnII (tweet this)
If you publish a site on the internet and it never ranks high enough for people to see it, was it ever published on the internet?
It might exist on page 127 of search results. But that does nothing for your bottom line. If no one ever comes to your site, how can you ever convert them into leads and sales?
I recently went into detail about ways to keyword optimize your site here and here. Those will give you enough information to at least be dangerous. So now that you’re ready to do some real damage let’s talk about how to convert your traffic once it arrives.
#2 Website Optimization
If you turn on television to any station day or night you will quickly come to one conclusion — people don’t like to think. It feels like work, and people don’t like work.
To that end, Steve Krug wrote a book that has become a classic called Don’t Make Me Think. I love that title because it perfectly sums up why people aren’t staying on your website. You make them think too much!
If it’s not the hundreds of tabs that are nearly impossible to navigate, it’s three-hundred word paragraphs in 12 point Times New Roman font. To that, Krug says:
Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left. – Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think (tweet this)
Unfortunately, some in the industry take that advice a little too far.
Then there are sites that look aesthetically pleasing, but are absurdly difficult to navigate.
Derek Halpern has a great phrase that offers the solution to the confusion: One Page, One Goal.
Every page on your site should have one goal, and it should be ridiculously obvious. Do you want me to opt-in to your email list? Should I click to “Learn More”? Is it time to fill out a lead form and take this relationship to the next level?
Whatever it is, you just have to remember: One Page, One Goal. Instill this principle across your site and it can become a lead collection machine!
HubSpot is a great example of a company that knows how its done. I love their site because they keep it super simple. You’ve got two options as soon as you hit their homepage.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling marketing software, widgets, oil investments, or oilfield services. If you simplify your customer’s journey and lead them along an intentional path, you can produce phenomenal results.
#3 Email Marketing
It blows my mind how few companies in this industry understand email marketing.
Go to any number of a thousand oil and gas operator and service company websites and count how many have a strategic email opt-in focus on their site. If you find one, please let me know. I would love to write a case study about them.
The saddest part is the number of companies that think they need 100,000 Facebook followers, but have never once thought about getting 100,000 people on an email list. If you’re one of these companies, you’re building your house on rented land and costing yourself mindshare and money.
The Founder of Copy Blogger, Brian Clark, was recently on Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation podcast. In the interview, Clark said he has over 150,000 Twitter followers and an email list with about 90,000 subscribers. When he sends out a tweet to 150,000 people he might get a couple hundred clicks. But when he sends out an email to 90,000 people he gets thousands and thousands and thousands of clicks.
This is not to say social media is worthless. It has its place in your marketing mix. But when it comes to driving dollars into your business, nothing beats a good ol’ fashioned email.
This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Oil and Gas News
So far we’ve talked about the necessity to drive traffic to your site and convert that traffic either into a lead or an email subscriber.
But how can you apply it in your business? Here are a few examples to help get your ideas flowing:
- Operators that need to attract more capital investment
- Oilfield service companies that need more customers
- Oil and gas attorneys, accountants, etc. who want more clients
- Companies that want to go public and need to create buzz in the industry
People in oil and gas tend to have a very traditional mindset that says, “I need to meet people in person to build relationships and grow my business.” To me that is a lot like saying, “I only take business calls when they are transferred to me by one of those nice young ladies working the cord switchboard.”
To only do business the way it was done decades ago is to do far less business than you are capable of.
The greatest thing about this internet is it gives you leverage. And with the leverage of a solid SEO strategy, a highly optimized website, and an intentional email marketing strategy you can build relationships and do business with thousands of people at once.
So come on Tribe! Let’s BUST this thing wide open and show this industry how it’s done!
Have you had success driving revenue online in the oil industry? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!