November 11, 2014
I know we all know “CONTENT IS KING” and we focus on putting out good stuff. But we should be just as focused on building the list to whom we’ll be sending all this valuable info. There are so many sources for gathering data from trade shows, PR and leads from advertising. We need to formulate a plan to separate them by market, industry or other criteria so specific targeted messages can be sent with a strong call to action.
It’s a fact that if you have an engaged database of subscribers, you have a captive audience, not only for them to read, but to share. I recently read a post on problogger.net by James Penn entitled, 10 Ways to Get More Email Subscribers For Your Blog that I thought brought home some key points.
Among them are:
- Use multiple opt-in forms – have 3-4 in your newsletter template. The more you have, the better the chances of them signing up.
- Offer a freebie for signing up – Give them a report, industry trends or white paper for signing up.
- Use your most popular posts – They will continue to bring in traffic.
- Create special reports on industry issues – Use already existing content to create.
- Ask readers to join your email list – What better way to get people on board.
These are some great tips. What are you doing to increase your email lists?
October 28, 2014
For all of us in sales, it’s all about now. Making this month’s/quarter’s numbers. While there’s nothing wrong with this, we all need to step back and look at the total value of a customer. We need to realize, that even though we got this sale, it doesn’t guarantee the next one.
I know most manufacturers sell through distribution networks and often you don’t know who the actual end users are. But for those of you who offer something other than consumables, there are ways, e.g., warranty cards, that will give you access to the user and related products.
So what are you doing about keeping that lifetime customer? First of all, we need to not take advantage of or assume that all future orders are a lock for you. Remember, they do have other choices.
We need to have the mindset to earn every piece of future business. What can you do to foster and nurture those customer relationships so when the next purchase opportunity comes up, we have the advantage?
Here are some post sale things to think about:
- Follow-up with them to see how they liked the product (first-time buyers) and did it perform like they expected? If not, resolve the problem or take back the product. Ask them to rate the product online.
- Keep in contact with them via email. Touching base on industry issues or giving them a sneak peek at a new product coming out.
- Help them find solutions to make their job easier, even if it doesn’t include your product for that application.
By engaging with the customer, you’re building the three key factors of know, like and trust that will give you the edge next time.
October 21, 2014
We all want to capture more business, and the best source of that is from existing customers. If you were a retailer, it would be much simpler to develop a program. But if you’re a manufacturer who sells through distribution channels, your challenge is where do you put your efforts … at the distributor or end user? You’re between a rock and a hard place.
From a distributor’s perspective, all manufacturers are trying to get more time and attention. If you’re an A or B line item, chances are you’ll get some time. Here are some challenges to consider:
- When you do, what kind of plan are you presenting?
- Is just like everybody else, or does yours stand out from the crowd?
- And what about the cost? You know it’s coming out of your margins, not the distributors.
- Do you incentivize for total sales or for incremental sales once they’ve met last year’s numbers?
- How do you get their sales force excited?
- Do you incentivize the distributor or the salesmen?
- Tracking program – make it simple so you’re not spending all your time figuring out who gets what.
End users aren’t as loyal as they once were. Most will change brands at the drop of a hat or for 5 cents.
There are some iconic brands out there that have worked very hard to build that trust and loyalty over many years, and for the rest of us, we are envious. But even these brands have to fight for incremental sales outside their core “loyalists.”
The younger tradesmen, for the most part, have little brand loyalty unless they were brought up through an apprenticeship program or trade school where your products were used.
So if you’re considering doing an end-user promo, here are some things to think about:
- What’s your objective? Is it brand building or product related?
- Are you developing an end-user database? If so, what do you plan on doing with it?
- What’s the offer? Is it memorable? Can you tie it into other branding activities?
- Are you involving distribution to help create the buzz?
Manufacturers, you do have your challenges. I’d like you to share programs you’ve seen that have been effective.
October 16, 2014
By Robin Heike, Production Engineer, Sonnhalter
via Marta on Flickr
Printing may only be “ink on paper” in a general sense, but when you’re printing collateral and other materials, you need quality printing.
Here are a few things you need to know about printing for a quality final product:
- Good design requires good art
- Good print requires good art
- Good print requires good paper
- Good print requires good printers
- Good printers stay on my vendor list
- Good printers have a wealth of knowledge – use it
Ink on paper produces print.
Print with these things in mind products amazing!