Happy Holidays from Sonnhalter

December 18, 2014

The Sonnhalter team will be taking some time off over the holidays. We hope that you enjoy this holiday season and time with your family and friends!

Holiday PoemWe’ll see you in January!


What are you doing to build your “Proprietary Audience?

December 17, 2014

I had the chance to hear Jeffrey Rohrs speak at a WTWH Media event recently and subsequently read his new book, Audience.

Jeff’s take on social media and content marketing revolves around one thing – THE AUDIENCE.

Companies need audiences to survive – before they are customers they first have to be part of an audience. As we all are focusing on creating content, it won’t mean much if you don’t have someone to read and react to it.

And that’s his point, to build what he calls the “Proprietary Audience.” He defines it as ” a comprehensive, collaborative and cross-channel effort to build audiences that your company alone can access.”

He shows you how to build your database using paid, owned and earned media to identify your audience. He also shows you how to identify and communicate with Seekers (those that are looking for info), Amplifiers (those who have audiences that can share your info) and Joiners (those that are buyers).

The book is an easy read and I would recommend your marketing teams look at Audience as a new marketing discipline.


Manufacturers: What are you doing to improve the customer experience?

December 16, 2014

Today more than ever, customers are expecting, and in some cases demanding, a better customer experience. These types of experiences have to start in the C suite and trickle down. The customer service department may be on the front line, but they can only mirror what management has in mind.

Do your top-level folks really understand the needs of your customers? If not, they certainly can’t help formulate or lead an initiative for a great customer experience if they don’t know what that is! I was surprised from a recent article in eMarketer that showed over 33% of senior managers weren’t aligned with the customer experience.

I think we can all agree that everyone needs to be on board to truly make the customer experience meaningful and real. For any of you who have flown Southwest or shopped in an Apple store, you know what I mean about customer service. The culture starts at the top and both of those brands know that other choices exist for their product and services.

The two takeaways I’d like to leave you with are:

  1. Listen to your customers - Find out what they want and how they want to get it.
  2. Under promise and over deliver - give them more than they ask for and make the mundane a memorable experience.

If you liked this post, you might want to read:

Customer service: What are you doing to retain customers?

Customer service: Is your company obsessed with it?


From MAGNET: How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Innovative Company

December 11, 2014

Each month we be feature a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org.

How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Innovative Company

If you haven’t adopted LinkedIn as a means for promoting your company, now is definitely the time to do it. As of this week, LinkedIn has modified the format of company pages and this may prove to be especially beneficial for manufacturing companies. The change LinkedIn unveiled is the removal of the “Products & Services” tab of your company page in order to make way for showcase pages.

Showcase pages allow you to extend your company page presence by creating a dedicated page for your most innovative products and services. On these pages, you can share content just as you would with company page status updates. The new format helps your company build long-term relationships with LinkedIn members who want to follow specific areas of your business that interest them most. In addition, it can help you attract the hard-to-reach younger workforce by presenting your company as an innovative and lively company. As many manufacturing companies have a complex and vast array of products and services, each with different audiences, showcase pages allow you to address different markets with customized content. Whether on purpose or not, LinkedIn’s showcase pages provide the ability to segment your audience and these people can choose to subscribe to any of your pages in order to receive content that’s tailored to what they’re interested in. 

Keys to Showcase Page Success 

Showcase pages have a lot of potential and provide an opportunity to highlight what makes your company stand out. The key to getting the most out of this feature is to regularly post relevant and interesting information to each showcase page. There are many different types of content or information you can post, and here are just a few options:

  • Updates or revisions to products or services
  • Little known facts about each area of your business
  • Answers to some of the most common questions asked
  • Awards or recognition
  • Interesting applications of products
  • Industry news from authoritative sources
  • Trade show appearances, including where you’ll be and what you’ll be presenting

Part of being an innovative, leading-edge company is embracing change. And the most recent change to LinkedIn offers you an opportunity to deliver relevant content to prospective customers, partners or employees about the areas of your business that interest them most. Take advantage of this marketing tool to develop deeper relationships with your audience and “showcase” what makes your company innovative.

Click Here to read the original post.


8 Tips on Generating High Quality B-to-B Leads

December 10, 2014

Let’s face it, in your world, qualified leads are or should be the holy grail of marketing. According to a report by Marketing Sherpa, 78% of B2B marketers biggest challenge is generating qualified leads.

Here are some tips on how you can improve your process:

  1. Create a plan - that will include message, method of delivery, when to hand lead to sales and measuring ROI.
  2. Define your USP - What is your unique selling proposition? What makes you or your offer different from the competition?
  3. Offer them something of value for free - If you want them to start an engagement, you need to show some good faith and give them a tool they can use everyday (conversation chart, smart phone button, competitive parts interchange).
  4. Match the offer to the audience - Not all messages are for all audiences. A concrete tool offer to a HVAC contractor probably won’t get much return.
  5. Capture and nurture leads - Once you get a lead, there has to be some qualifications done before sending it to sales. We’re not trying to overload the sales department with leads, rather we want to give them qualified leads that they are excited about calling on.
  6. Handing off the lead to sales - Depending on the criteria that you’ve developed, you need to forward the lead and what you know about it (in the sales funnel) so when sales calls on them, they know what to talk about, i.e., initial evaluation stages, engineering comparison questions or ready-to-buy type of questions.
  7. Close the loop on the lead - Did they buy? If not, why? This should be documented in a CRM system so we know why you’re gaining or losing sales.
  8. Review performance - Repeat what’s working and stop what isn’t.

What part of selling is the “Human Factor?”

December 9, 2014

I know everyone is so focused on social media and content creation, but that’s only the beginning of the sales cycle. When people identify themselves, who makes the sale – the internet or a person? I’d say unless you’re selling a commodity or selling on price, there needs to be interaction with a person(s) along the way. In other words, the Human Factor takes over.

I’ve been in the sales game for over 40 years and I’m here to tell you times have changed and if you don’t adapt, you’re going to be working harder, not smarter. More importantly, we all need to try to improve ourselves and those around us.

ToSellIsHuman

I just finished a great book by Daniel H. Pink titled To Sell is Human. It goes into who is selling now, how they should approach it and great tips on being more effective.

Here are some highlights that I got out of it:

  • The A,B,C’s of selling no longer apply - You can’t be always closing because folks will turn you off. You need honesty, fairness and transparency. No longer is it a buyer’s beware, instead it’s a seller’s beware landscape.
  • 25% of our waking hours are spent listening – That’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth. We need to learn how to ask better questions and then listen.
  • We spend 41% of our time trying to persuade someone to do something we want - that pretty much makes us all salesmen of one sort or another.
  • Non-selling is the key to success - instead of trying to upsell someone, try upserving them and see what happens. It will transform the mundane into something memorable, and guess who they are going to buy from?

The key to selling is being able to move others to your way of thinking and times have changed. The book is a good read. Enjoy.


Jerks are going to be jerks: Do’s and Don’ts for dealing with jerks online

December 4, 2014

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter

Sometimes in life you encounter people who are jerks.

Via Mike Licht

Via Mike Licht

As children, we were often told to ignore the jerks. As adults we find ways to cope with the jerks we encounter throughout our days.

It’s a little more difficult for companies to deal with the jerks on social media. Unfortunately social media also provides jerks with a megaphone for their poor attitudes.

You can’t make everyone like you on social media, but you can take the high road when it comes to the social jerks who you encounter.

Don’t fire back at them.

If someone tweets nasty things at your company, don’t tweet nasty things back at them. It makes you look petty and like a jerk yourself.

Do fix legitimate problems.

People often use social media for customer service problems. If someone is having a problem that has them upset, they might come off as a jerk on social media. Publically respond that you would like to do what you can to fix their problem and ask for contact. For example, “We’re sorry to hear you’re having a delivery problem, please direct message us your email or phone number so we can find out more about your problem.” Or “We have been experiencing some issues with x, please call customer service at 800-xxx-xxx for an update.”

Don’t let jerks scare you away from using social media.

Often when we consult with a company who either refuses to join social media or has their channels locked down, it’s because they’re concerned about negativity on their social media channels. People will say what they want, if you let them say it on your channel you can be aware of it, try to fix it, or let your community come to your defense.

Do let the rest of your community support you.

Social media jerks (they are usually called “detractors”) tend to show themselves for who they are. Social community members are great at identifying the jerks out there and will sometimes shut them down for you by responding with their own positive tales. Definitely foster a positive social media community, it can work for your organization.

Don’t be a jerk yourself.

Whether this is on your personal or your company’s social media, do what you can to not be a jerk. If you have a problem with a product or service and choose to try to solve it on social media, do so in a human and respectful manner. It sets a great example for all around you.

Do report abusive users.

It is absolutely okay to report a social media account that is spamming or harassing your company. On a promoted tweet program for a client, one user took their hate for promoted tweets so far as to abuse our client’s account and claimed to report us for spam. (All social media ad programs that we run are in compliance with the platform’s policies and are in no way spam.) So we reported the user back for harassment. Make sure you read the terms before reporting a user so that you aren’t being a jerk. (By the way, if you don’t want to see a promoted tweet or post, click the dismiss button and Twitter won’t show it to you again.)


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