Does Your Lead Nurturing Deliver Strong Results?

October 7, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

First of all, do you have a lead nurturing program? If the answer is no, you may want to consider one and here’s why.

In a recent article in, there were some interesting findings in a study done by Demand Gen Report (DGR) in July of 2015

  • Over 50% of U.S. B-to-B marketers said nurturing programs outperformed their counterparts from 10-30%.
  • These leads outperformed others in moving through the sales funnel, and respondents reported a 10-30% increase in sales opportunities.

Types of Lead Nurturing Campaigns Currently Used by US* B2B Marketers, July 2015 (% of respondents)

The key in lead nurturing is being able to define specific markets and subsequent messaging. You need to be relevant. Email was the most widely used tactic with over 94% using it.

Another interesting stat is that 42% of consumers will delete an email if it isn’t mobile friendly, so keep that in mind.

So do some of these stats resonate with what you’re doing?

If you like this post you may want to read:

Lead Nurturing: What Industrial Marketers Need to Know.

For Your Lead Nurturing Program-Where do you Find Good Content?

What’s the Difference Between Lead Nurturing and Follow-up Calls?

Does Your Company Have the Patience for Content Marketing?

October 6, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

We live in a society that expects immediate gratification. This spills over into our business lives, and companies expect an immediate ROI on almost everything today — Content Marketing is no exception.

Some companies are putting more eggs in the content marketing basket and are expecting big results in a short period of time. The problem is, to build a loyal audience, it takes time. They need to get to know, like and trust you and that doesn’t happen overnight.

If you want immediate results, use traditional outbound tactics like direct mail to generate short-term activity.

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute found in interviewing a number of entrepreneurs for his new book, Content Inc., that it took at least 15 months to grow a loyal audience.

This is no surprise for those of us who have been doing this for some time. For those that are trying to get a content program going they need to do some ground work to let management what to expect and when to expect it.

Joe offers some suggestions on getting in the game while you try to build a case for the BIG push.

  • Do a pilot program  choose a market category and put metrics like increases search engine ranking or number of leads that will demonstrate to the bean counters that it’s working.
  • Fear Factor – analyze your competition and make the case that your company is losing web visibility.
  • Find a sugar daddy – identify solutions to key pain points for your sales leaders and you may find that they not only will become your advocate, but may find funds short term to fund your efforts.

The bottom line is that it takes time, so be patient!

Reaching Professional Tradesman: Why Content Marketing Works When Advertising Might Not

September 30, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

Contractors and professional tradesman often don’t have time to read the latest trade publication or look at the magazines’ website on a regular basis and might miss your message. Chances are, unless you only make one product, their interest at any given time may be on another product.

When they do go looking for things, the first place most go to is the internet, and the chances are that they are looking for a solution just as much as they are looking for a specific product. That’s why search is so important in the big scheme of things, and what makes you go up in search – good meaningful content!

Heidi Cohen had an interesting article regarding advertising vs. content driven messages that had some good points for the B-to-B market.

B-to-B lags behind the consumer counterpart in doing research before they contact a manufacturer or distribution point. But even at 57%, you’d better have some skin in the game from a search perspective or you’re going to be left at the curb.

Best Lead Generation Tips

Razorfish found that:

  • 50% of U.S. consumers will do anything to avoid ads
  • 75+% of U.S. consumers hate hearing or seeing ads multiple times
  • 65% of U.S. consumers use a DVR to skip ads

Those are some scary numbers, and even though they are consumer driven, remember that those same consumers may be buying your products at their workplace. So what’s the alternative?

  • 86% of U.S. consumers value brands that are useful over those that have interesting advertising.

Translation: give your customers the info they need when they need it. Here are some tips:

  1. Leverage the social media platforms where your customers hang out.
  2. Supply product info for potentials to seek out.
  3. Tap into sources your customers trust, like trade associations.
  4. Make sure the info you give prospects enhances the product value.
  5. Skip the promotion and show them best practices when using your products.
  6. Re-promote your content. Once is not enough.

So the question is, how much effort are you using to create great content?

How to Get More out of your B-to-B Strategies to Reach the Professional Tradesman

September 29, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

When developing content, manufacturers may be concentrating on the wrong types, making the results less than desirable. Many focus on product brochures and slide presentations as they are easily available.

These may be low hanging fruit for development, but they’re also not delivering the results they want. According to a recent survey by the CMO Council, NetLine and Content ROI Center, brochures only delivered 9% great leads and slide presentations only 15%.

A recent article talks about ways to improve performance on developing content.

Content Types that Deliver Great Leads According to B2B Marketers in North America, Q2 2015 (% of respondents)

Content pieces that weren’t “salesy” drew much better numbers. It’s not surprising that white papers, industry reports, videos and webcasts scored better.

This should serve as a wake-up call for all those manufacturers that are trying to make an impact on contractors and professional tradesmen. Get away from selling and start helping them solve their problems.

If you want to get noticed and build up your credibility, this is the way to do it. Chances are you already have many of the assets needed to do most of these tasks, from how-to videos to webinars talking about a specific topic. I know you’ve got the brain trusts inside your company to either create the white papers or do the videos; why not capitalize on their expertise?

We also need ways to measure the effectiveness of these tasks and try to link back leads to actual sales. Landing pages are a great way to start collecting data and nurturing campaigns will help them through the selling cycle.

Let’s face it, we all have limited time and budgets and we need to make the most out of both.

5 Best Practices for Testimonials

September 23, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

I have found that there’s no better way to position yourself as a credible source than by having a third party sing your praises. Most companies, if pleased with what you did or supplied, would be happy to not only give you a recommendation, but in some cases, a testimonial.

Here are five things to consider:

  • Keep the requests to unique applications or markets. This helps you focus on something that sets you apart.
  • Ask when the project is complete – when everything is fresh in everybody’s mind.
  • Get proper clearances upfront – when dealing with bigger companies or unique situations, it’s smart to get an approval upfront and let the customer know what you want to accomplish and assure them that they will have final approval before it’s used. If you have a PR department or agency, they are used to vetting out potential before you waste time and resources.
  • It’s best you control the writing. Most customers are not writers, they’re contractors. Besides, they aren’t aware of the big picture of what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish. Write an outline of what you want to accomplish and then let someone interview the contractor and write the story.
  • Utilize info in multiple places – try to get it featured in a leading trade magazine. Post it on your website. Have a sell sheet made up for your salesmen to use. If you’re on social media, post it there with links back to your website. Here’s a good example of Viega that uses case studies very effectively.

ViegaMercyHealthProfileDon’t miss out on one of the best ways of building credibility using a third party.

Online News and the Press Release

September 22, 2015

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect at Sonnhalter

I’ve been reading the book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator,” by Ryan Holiday at the recommendation of a colleague. It’s full of interesting, and damning, tidbits of information about today’s online publishing world.

Ryan speaks specifically about blogs, but some of his comments are true across many digital outlets, including some of the websites for your favorite printed trade publications. Allow me to stress the word “some.”

The main comment I want to share reinforces a message that we try to send our clients about the relevancy of PR and the basic, age-old PR tool: The press release.

Ryan writes:

“When I first started in PR, all of the leading web gurus were proclaiming the death of the press release. ‘Good riddance,’ I thought. […] Before long, I came to see the truth. Blogs love press releases. Does every part of their job for them.”

He continued to explain why:

  • The material is already written
  • The angle is laid out
  • The subject is newsworthy
  • They can blame someone else if the story turns out to be wrong

In my B2T public relations world, I find that many of the publications that I work with are low on staff and have to produce more content to continuously feed their websites and some have mandated blogs with post frequency requirements.

From a PR perspective, this is good. The editors at these publications have gotten to know me from sending press releases, event invitations and periodic messages offering to help with whatever they need.

Often, those press releases are posted verbatim on their websites within 5 minutes of opening the email. The press releases serve to make those editors’ jobs easier because they know, at least if they receive it from me, that it’s solid writing, confirmed information and packaged in the easiest format for them to use.

For our clients, press releases receive more attention and pickup today than they did even five years ago when I started in this field.

Sure, online coverage isn’t tied to as high of an “ad equivalency rate” because online advertising is cheap, but it gets more impressions because the majority of people are getting their immediate news online, either through visiting their favorite sources or ordering it up in their inbox through e-newsletter subscriptions.

As an added benefit of the modern press release, that is delivered electronically, the media I work with will often post the release and occasionally will follow-up for a more in-depth story or to request comments for another article they’re working on.

Don’t let anyone tell you that press releases are dead, because in this industry, they are alive, kicking and very valuable.

Be the Resource

September 16, 2015

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent at Sonnhalter

“Content Marketing” has been a buzzword for a few years now, and quite frankly, it can be a confusing term to translate to your everyday marketing strategy. But for manufacturers, it all boils down to one simple sentence:

Be a resource.

You have a product, your competitors have a product, but now more than ever, your current and potential customers need information. Just like you, they are dealing with a skill gap. Just like you, they need to establish a way to transfer knowledge and training to a new generation of workers. Be there to help, and sales takes care of themselves.


For generations, John Deere has published The Furrow. Currently, Lincoln Electric has garnered justified publicity and acclaim for taking what was The Stabilizer and updating it as Arc Magazine. And there are more examples.

For all their marketing and CRM uses, the real purpose of both is to be a resource. Both companies have chosen to make best practices, product information and collective knowledge a matter of public knowledge, and in so doing, they have engendered customer loyalty and established themselves as “industry experts.” They have become the resource. They have transcended the marketplace of products and become the leaders in the marketplace of ideas.

The key to an effective program is to make the same essential information accessible in multiple formats and repurpose it as much as possible.

As an example, take a newly developed solution and:

  1. Develop a press release
  2. Write a white paper
  3. Host a webinar based on the white paper
  4. Take the questions from the webinar and develop short videos for posting on social media
  5. Use the video links as the basis of an email campaign
  6. Use responses to the email campaign to feed your lead generation system
  7. Write a success story about a company that implements the solution, showing gains in productivity or cost reductions

So, the same essential information has now been repurposed seven different ways, generating leads and exposure all along the way.

And best of all, when a customer you never even knew about searches for information on that solution, they find you.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 760 other followers