This week’s guest hails all the way from Victoria, British Columbia! Darragh Grove-White has been the Marketing Director at LJ Welding Automation for over two years, and has been deep in the world of online marketing for eight years.
THE COMPANY’S HUMBLE BEGINNINGS BEFORE DIGITAL MARKETING
LJ Welding is an industrial automation manufacturer based out of Edmonton, Alberta. They began largely in the field of oil and gas (and the many sub-industries thereof) forty years ago. Over time, they started to branch out after the economic crash in 2009 to include nuclear power, military contracts, and even companies involved in space exploration.
With so many different industries to reach, LJ Welding’s marketing has to be very persona-specific in order to reach the right people and appeal to them in the right way.
You can’t market to a business owner in the oil and gas industry with the same message that you use for a nuclear plant’s health and safety officer.
When Darragh came on the scene, he knew they needed to transition into digital marketing. But first, he helped LJ Welding to differentiate their target audiences until they had a list of six distinct personas for each industry. Each of these personas has distinct pain points and buying motivations.
Knowing these personas is particularly important because many end-users feel that their jobs are threatened by automation…the very thing that Darragh is trying to market. Because of this, Darragh makes sure to categorize each lead when they come in. He also makes sure his sales team knows what each persona means. That way, they can communicate more effectively with each lead.
But coming up with such a streamlined process took a vast amount of effort.
While the company is over forty years old, it was purchased from Larry John in 2006. At that time, the business was only based in Edmonton in a single garage bay, and marketing consisted of little more than paper flyers and a select few loyal, local customers. Since then, the company has grown exponentially.
That little single-warehouse business grew into two facilities reaching 45 countries, with an annual revenue of $30 Million. And Darragh contributes it all to their transition into digital marketing.
LJ has spent several thousands of dollars on paid ads, from Facebook and LinkedIn to even Reddit. Additionally, the company got a head-start on Google Adwords and gained more targeted traffic for a few years before their competitors even realized what was happening.
RECOGNIZING THE NEED TO TRANSITION INTO DIGITAL MARKETING
After the company originally came under new management, one of the first changes they made was to create a website. However, that site was little more than an online photo album and “glorified mailbox,” according to Darragh.
He came onboard just as the company was deciding to increase its online content. At the time, they were producing a few blogs here and there without any purpose.
They were just posting content for content’s sake. No one was asking customers what they wanted to know or see.
Darragh had just gotten his university degree, and his HubSpot Inbound Certification. To this day he asserts that taking the free online marketing course is one of the best choices he ever could have made. His previous experience in sales prepared him to transition into digital marketing without issue.
To complicate matters even further, LJ was employing an outside marketing agency to manage their PPC at the time. On the surface, that decision was just fine…until Darragh dug deeper.
LJ was getting some leads from their agency’s marketing. However, none of those leads were differentiated, or necessarily even qualified.
As it turned out, the agency was chosen mainly because they were local. And without other agencies to compete against, they were able to charge a high price for what the company now knows was pretty poor paid advertising.
“If you’re using an agency for your PPC and they aren’t asking enough about your customers, that should be a red flag. And the trouble is, they weren’t. And although we were getting a lot of traffic to the website, it was not targeted traffic… They were doing the bare minimum, because they could see LJ was doing great on its own.”
As Darragh dug deeper into the agency’s work, he found that they were blending metrics to make results look better than they actually were. They were taking credit for results that they couldn’t clearly measure as their own.
THE FIRST STEPS INTO DIGITAL MARKETING
As well as phasing out that agency, Darragh started implementing changes for his company. They started to take control of their own transition into digital marketing by using HubSpot for Calls-To-Action and link tracking.
The first and perhaps biggest change was contact forms. Rather than using one “contact us,” form for the entire website, they started creating multiple landing pages for quote requests.