We had a chance to speak with Rob Bohn, CEO of Nema Enclosures, about content marketing and it’s application in an industrial business.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hey guys, welcome back to show, Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com is the Web site. Get your calls in 844-814-8144 is our 24 hour call in line. Get your calls in and we’re going to get the questions answered. We’re talking about content marketing today and this is something that if everybody as a business, if you’re not doing it, you need to do it. And it absolutely does not matter what your industry is in. And we have a perfect example of that right now. I’m your host Matt Register, here as always with Jay Curry. Jay talk to me.
Jay Curry: Absolutely right, content. If you’re not into it, you need to get into it. It’s the wave of the future. It’s how you really leverage. And if you can take a old style business and apply this, there’s no end to what you can do with it. This is going to be interesting.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt. We have Rob Bohn, the President of Nema Enclosures, here in the studio with us. Rob welcome to the show.
Rob Bohn: Good morning.
Matt Register: Nema Enclosures, what do you do? Who do you do it to?
Rob Bohn: We make custom electrical enclosures. Primarily for the oil and gas market. For us, it’s mostly the big, big oil field service companies like Weatherford and Halliburton and Schlumberger or systems integrators for them. So were…
Matt Register: So, sheet metal.
Rob Bohn: Sheet metal, yeah.
Matt Register: Sheet, sheet metal shop, custom sheet metal shop and you guys are content marketing. Tell me a little bit about your thought process when it comes to marketing your business. Because it is vastly different then every manufacturing company I know and it’s exactly where it should be. Talk to me about that.
Rob Bohn: So, if you think about when you go on the web today, what do you, what do you want to do? You’re going to do one of two things, you’re going to search to buy something or search to learn something. So my thought process a few years ago was, let’s put all the technical information we can related to electrical enclosures. That can include stuff about ratings, that could be differences in materials. It could be anything about certifications or just applications in general.
Matt Register: Well, this is something that a lot of people are very, very hesitant to do. In different industries I have watched the resistance to, understanding that information is a commodity. And if you’re on the side, you’re on the wrong side of history if you are trying to choke down the flow of information, down to the end user. And you just went ahead and opened a book. You just said “Here you go, here’s all the information.” As not only a means of informing consumers. Right? But as a means of also drawing traffic into you. Because somebody is going to educate them, might as well be you. Right?
Rob Bohn: Exactly. And the whole idea is to have us represented as the technical expert…
Jay Curry: Right.
Rob Bohn: For enclosures. And to make it free and anonymous. If you think about today, you go out to a Web site and you have to register. You have to give your name, your e-mail address, a phone number.
Matt Register: Sure.
Rob Bohn: 90 percent of the time, you’re going to click through that and go “I’m going to go somewhere else. I don’t want people to know who I am.
Matt Register: Sure.
Rob Bohn: I’m here anonymously to find out what I need to know. And I, my thought process behind that was, we’ll let people qualify us ahead of time. And the way to do that is to present ourselves as technical experts on enclosures. So, by doing that, what we can do is provide you with drawings for free, technical information for free. All kinds of resources that are out there. So, we look like and are the technical expert, when you go on the web to find out about electrical enclosures.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt. So, you’re not only giving them that information but talk to me a little bit about DesignABox. Because this is some custom web applications that you developed.
Rob Bohn: That’s correct.
Matt Register: That not only allow, Well, actually allows for the online designing of the enclosures that you produce but streamlining your manufacturing process.
Rob Bohn: Yes. So, a few years ago, we looked through our production facility and we’re like, we’re making a lot of the same kinds of things but with different patterns, different cutouts. So, why not, instead of every time creating a unique design or have the customer try to figure out what they want. Let’s put a drawing out there and give them a tool to customize it, online. And to do that, we had to do a couple of things. First of all, we had to have all of our drawings out there and then, the other tool we had to do, is make sure you didn’t have to have a seat of like, SolidWorks to do it. So we…
Matt Register: Sure.
Rob Bohn: We wrote some custom programs. You pick the parts that you want. You click a button that says configure, it takes you back to our server and from there you start to add the customization features you want. Wither it be holes or half couplings or gland plates. And then the next part of our secret sauce is, you can buy it or you can just save your drawing and save your work and buy it later.
Matt Register: Yeah. And that’s the part that’s, that’s certainly hard to get right. And you don’t see a lot of custom manufacturing job shop type shops, that are doing e-commerce at any measurable level. Right? And you guys certainly are. I mean this is, this has changed the face of your business.
Rob Bohn: Right. So for the e-commerce side, we’ve done since we started that, a little over half a million dollars in business. Some of it at one time purchases, it’s a university or something like that or a government entity.
Matt Register: Sure.
Rob Bohn: It needs a one time buy, pay by credit card. But we’ve also gotten a lot of OEM customers that have actually bought our product online. And we don’t even know it. But it can be a first article prototype that they’ll review our work and go “hey, can we buy with a purchase order? And oh, by the way, can we buy 10, instead of one? Oh and can you customize this for us?” Absolutely.
Matt Register: Well, yes we can. Right?
Jay Curry: Looks to me, one of the beauties of this is you’ve taken that work and put it on them, instead of them saying “I need something like this”. Then you do all the work. You show it to them, “no, a little bit more like this.” You’ve just put that on them. If you’re willing to do the work, we, we can build it for you.
Rob Bohn: Absolutely. Yes.
Jay Curry: Beautiful.
Matt Register: Well, not only the, the technical data, now is online. I mean, you know, we, we were talking earlier in the show about how, you know, content marketing is having multiple fishing lines in the water. Right? I mean you’re casting a big wide net with, with, with this but you’re also developing thought leadership in, in some of your writing as well. Cause, because you are one of the leading published found authors as it comes to some of the technical stuff in your field. Right?
Rob Bohn: Correct. Yes. So, what we’ve done is, as people call into our company, as questions come up and we look for themes. One of the simpler ones started with, what’s the difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel. Oh, OK. There’s all kinds of data out there. So I just took all the information I could find, wrote it in common language.
Matt Register: Sure.
Rob Bohn: And showed examples of, hey in a marine application, especially here along the Gulf Coast, you want 316 stainless steel, you want that extra molly in it for that extra corrosion resistance. And that gives us credibility. And that also is driving a lot of organic traffic to our web site.
Matt Register: Sure. Tens of thousands of people are now finding themselves on your web site because of things like that. You then multiply that by, you know, regularly posting content out. Right?
Rob Bohn: Yes. So, certain things can come up from time to time. For instance, a lot of people have questions about hazardous locations and what type of enclosure that you should buy. We don’t make explosion proof enclosures but there’s a lot of ways to use a less expensive design to go in that market.
Matt Register: Sure.
Rob Bohn: So what we’ll do is we will say “All right, here’s a difference between Class 1 Division 2, Class 1 Division 1. Here’s the instances. And, oh, by the way, here are all the standards that apply to those requirements and why.”… again it goes back to giving us that technical expertise and that credibility.
Matt Register: Well and you’re going to be able to keep a client or potential client from overbuying. Right? Buying something that isn’t necessary for what they are. Information is never bad to get all the way down to the user level.
Rob Bohn: Sometimes it can be really simple. The first year we were at OTC. We actually published a map in a blog format, that said “Hey, we’re going to be at booths so and so, come visit us”. We had 3,000 unique visitors that downloaded the map to OTC from our site. I mean, you just never know where traffic can come from.
Jay Curry: And all of this is stuff Google likes, that expertise, that level of detail, the clarity. I mean that’s what they’re all about.
Rob Bohn: Yes. Right. Exactly.
Matt Register: Well, I’ll tell you what, the one thing I find remarkable about this, is this is a very nonstandard industry to use this in. Right? I mean, cause a lot of these guys are not doing this and certainly should. And this is something that over the next few years even, as this gets rolling and more and more and more, you’re going to see more and more results. I mean, you know, traffic patterns on, on Google with things like this is an exponential curve. Right? The further you get down the line, it goes up very, very rapidly once you start getting some traction.
Rob Bohn: So, with us, what, we, we went from four years ago to about 2,000 organic visitors a month to our site to over 25,000. The next step we did about a year and a half ago, was we made our site mobile friendly. So, when you pull our website up on your phone or tablet, it’s formatted now, to look appropriate for that particular device.
Matt Register: Well you have to. You’re going to have traffic from a variety of different sources. Rob Bohn, President of Nema Enclosures. Rob what’s the easiest way for somebody to get in touch with you quickly.
Rob Bohn: Just Rob@Nemaenclosures.com or you can…
Matt Register: All right. Nemaenclosures.com. We’re going to have a link there from Texas business radio. We are out of time. We got to go pay a couple of bills. We’ll see you guys on the other side of the break. Don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.