Do You Know How Tradesman Make Their Purchasing Decisions?

March 25, 2015

For a major new purchase, do you think a contractor or tradesman just walks into a distributor and asks what’s new, and then just buys it? Of course not.

They hear or read about a new or better solution to help them do their job better and more efficient. They research what other tradesman think about the idea, either on forums or in person. They research it online and download information to help them. It’s at this point they may contact their local distributor or manufacturer to get more questions answered or ask for a product demo.

2015 B2B Buyer Journey

The point is, the contractor has done lots of research long before they identify themselves to you as a potential sale.

Marketing’s role is to make sure that the right information is in the right place for contractors, whether it’s in trade publication ads, testimonials, product reviews, customer ratings, PR or social media. The fact is, B2B customers are 60-90% the way through a purchasing decision before they contact you! Yikes.

Heidi Cohen recently posted an article on how the 2015 B-to-B purchasing decision process has changed.

Here are some and points to consider:

  • 5% of website visitors provide an email address
  • 20% of marketing emails are opened
  • 1% of leads are nurtured

These types of challenges require some sort of marketing automation tools to help you better reach and engage prospects. You need to determine what content they want, put it where they want it and understand the next steps in their process.

What are your biggest challenges?


When is Enough Content Enough?

March 17, 2015

As marketers, we’re all trying to do more with less which begs the question, when is enough enough? Or should the question be quality vs. quantity? I’m of the opinion that good content is better than more content and that we should be focusing on where it’s being targeted. The rule of thumb is your target audience needs to see your message at least 7 times before they believe it. That means you must have it on different venues to make sure you’re included. Heidi Cohen in a recent post talked about quality vs. quantity and how it’s affecting us all. 2015_B2B_Research-Content Effectiveness-CMI These stats that only 38% marketers rate their content to be effective or very effective are disturbing. Especially for all the time and effort that you’re putting into it. Here are some more sobering facts from 2014 regarding more is less:

  • Brand-generated content by channel increased by 78%
  • Interactions per post per followers decreased by 60%

This might be a case of too much communications. We can’t stop, but we need to be more focused. It’s getting back to basics of:

  • Knowing your customer
  • Target content to meet your audience’s specific needs
  • Deliver it where they are looking

What kind of problems are you running into? Are these points resonating with what you’re experiencing?


Are you using SlideShare to Generate Leads from Tradesman?

March 11, 2015

SlideShare is probably the most overlooked social media tool.

Close to 70 million visitors a month second only to YouTube is nothing to sneeze at. SlideShare was purchased by LinkedIn a few years ago which allows both platforms to work seamlessly together which is good news for you.

Why should you consider using it?  It’s a great way to market your business, showcase your expertise as an industry leader. Not only can you put up Power Point presentations and white papers, you can upload videos by using SlideSharepro  and have a way to repurpose your webinars or online training options.

If you’re worried about sharing your information with the world, you can upload content that you can make available to select audiences (by invitation only).

The most important reason for using SlideShare is to generate leads. Peg Fitzpatrick recently wrote a great post on Social Media Examiner on ways to capitalize on getting leads.

She focuses on ways to collect emails from viewers, how to use links in slides, why you should add visual calls to action and lastly, why the description. It’s a good quick read.

Heidi Cohen outlines 10 actionable marketing tactics to get the most out of leads.

Don’t miss out on this valuable tool that will help you not only become a thought leader, but generate leads at the same time.


Are you Using Mobile to Share Your Content with Tradesman and Contractors?

March 10, 2015

The professional trades are no different from normal consumers when it comes to using mobile. There have been a few recent articles in eMarketing.com about both time spent on mobile devices and what’s being used to open and read emails. The most recent eMarketing article has to do with B-to-B content marketers not using the mobile platform to spread their message.

What I find especially interesting is mobile is last on the list and social media is second. Do they think contractors are checking their Facebook or Twitter accounts during the work day to see what kind of info a manufacturer is promoting that day? I wonder if those content marketers really understand how and what might be useful to a contractor on a job site.

Besides the content they want to deliver, they need to consider apps and mobile tactics. Here are a few.

Possible Apps to Consider:

  • Product information
  • Engineering or other calculators
  • Installation and troubleshooting instruction videos
  • Productivity tools
  • Competitive cross-reference charts
  • Ability to check current inventory levels
  • Distributor locator with direct links

Top Mobile Tactics to Consider:

  • Responsive website – so it can be read on any device.
  • Mobile-friendly campaigns - optimize landing pages.
  • Mobile advertising - can be tailored by location, time and device so take advantage of them.
  • Mobile email - make sure your HTML can be read properly on these devices.
  • Mobile apps - apps let you secure a prominent presence on your customer’s device.

Why Should You Use Short Videos to Attract Professional Tradesman?

March 4, 2015

Short videos are ideal for social media and for you to gain reach and shares.

As a manufacturer, are you capitalizing on this powerful tool to disperse your message? You don’t need a “Hollywood” production. As a matter of a fact, the ones done on a mobile phone would do just fine. We’ve done “man on the street” interviews with contractors at will-call counters and on job sites asking their opinions on tools and other products.

Did you know – Videos convey more info per minute than any other media and 65% of the public like to learn via videos.

In my opinion, you’re better off making a series of very short videos (keep each to one thought or idea). Ideally under 2 minutes is what I tell folks to shoot at.

 

Here are some thoughts on content.

  • Focus on a problem your customer might have from their perspective (what happened if the problem isn’t resolved?)
  • Provide tips to solve it.
  • Utilize the video medium to show examples or illustrate a solution. Here’s your chance to be creative.
  • Make sure they know your company has the solution to solve their problem.

Donna Moritz did a recent post in Social Media Examiner that talks about 6 ways to use short videos in social marketing. Here are some highlights:

  • How to video - solve a problem.
  • Highlight your skills - what better way to get your value proposition out there.
  • Showcase an event - trade show, association event or new product intro.
  • Go behind the scenes - give the viewer some insights of your company that they normally wouldn’t see.

She also outlines 10 tools you can use to create and edit short videos.

The bottom line is, use video in your marketing efforts.


For Your Lead Nurturing Programs – Where do you Find Good Content?

March 3, 2015

One of the biggest challenges B-to-B marketers face is developing/identifying content that can be used in e-newsletters, e-blasts or just plain emails as part of a nurturing program.

I think a major stumbling block is that some think they need to produce all-original content themselves or have control of all the messaging. The whole point of a nurturing program is to engage potentials with RELEVANT and INTERESTING content. Follow a rule that of three things you talk about, make one of them about you and the other two about ways they can improve their jobs.

That doesn’t mean highlighting the news widget in your line. Too many people make the mistake of always trying to sell you something or are always talking about themselves. When was it when you were at a social or business gathering and got stuck with someone who only talked about themselves? Not a very engaging conversation and I’m sure it didn’t last that long.

To the contrary, you need to give the reader something that will help them do their job better (relevant) and you want to get their attention (make it interesting).

What some don’t realize is that there are numerous options out there that are free for the taking if you know where to look, and they might be right under your nose. You need to look at good secondary sources. Here are some:

  • Trade associations - They are always addressing issues that are relevant to your space.
  • Trade publications - Most have archives of great written relevant articles that address applications or processes in your area. They also have articles/views on industry issues that could be shared. Write a small comment and link to their website.
  • Other manufacturers’ sites - Other non-competing manufacturers in the same space you are might be publishing great insights on an application or how-to article that would be a benefit to your audience. Again, write some comments and link to their site.

Not only will you engage more prospects, but you can increase your audience. If people receive things that are valuable, they will share it with others. So a by-product of good content would be an increase in your list size.

What kind of secondary resources are you using?


LinkedIn Still the Top Performer for B-to-B

February 17, 2015

I don’t know about you, but LinkedIn continues to be a top performer for me and my blog posts. The top referrer is search engines, but LinkedIn is a strong second and Twitter is third for getting the right eyes on my blog.

A recent article in eMarketer.com confirms the fact that among top social sites for B-to-B, LinkedIn remains on top for both usage and effectiveness.

I use LinkedIn exclusively to share my posts with not only the folks that linked to me, but to the numerous LinkedIn groups that I belong to. I’ve had clients who have great success in recruiting the right kind of talent using their paid job searches.

Are you using LinkedIn, and if so, are you having similar success?


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