What Are You Doing to Drive Opted-in Emails?

September 16, 2014

Let’s face it, we’re all in this for the same reason. To talk with people who share the same interest and could possibly be or refer us a new client.

So in order to get them to give up their email, we better come up with some interesting and helpful stuff that will make them want to be in our book for future gems. It’s not only what you have to say, but how you say it. Beyond being potential customers, these contacts can be your best friend by sharing it with their peer group.

I recently read a blog post by Ramsay Taplin in Copyblogger, 5 Subtle Writing Strategies That Drive Email Signups that I thought had value for the B-to-B community. While all may not be applicable to your world, he raises some good tips for us to consider:

  • Use time-sensitive language – people are afraid to miss out on something. An example, for a webinar, space is limited, sign up now.
  • Standing out from the crowd – tell unusual stories to get your point across. This is especially true when talking about more technical or drier topics. Add a personal touch or a little humor. Everyone loves a laugh.
  • Include social proof – demonstrate that they won’t be the first. Put up comments from other subscribers as to what they are getting out of it.
  • Develop and test different landing pages - Yes, you will ultimately end up with the names, but how you might ask for them will bring different results.
  • Write for people and search engines - Yes, your message is ultimately for people, but search engines help spread the word to others looking for similar information.

Oh, by the way, if you want to get more gems from me, sign up here for my monthly newsletter.


Are You Leveraging Social Media Across Your Manufacturing Business?

September 10, 2014

There are all kinds of buzz words out there—integrated marketing, 360 degree marketing, etc. They all have the same goal in mind, and that is to take your marketing message and share it across all methods of communication. Place your customer in the center of your efforts and then deliver your information in various ways so they can get it in the format they prefer.

Heidi Cohen had an interesting post recently, 360 Degree Social Media Marketing, where she shared 37 different tactics that you can use.

Here are some highlights that manufacturers should consider:

  • Be consistent - Develop content on a regular basis so you can start to build a relationship.
  • Selective use of social media - Use the appropriate media to get in front of your prospects. Make sure you use photos and videos in making your points.
  • Utilize customer service - they are talking to customers all the time. Create a FAQ segment to share. Give your customers options on ways to contact you other than on social.
  • Collect customer feedback and input for research purposes. Hear firsthand their compliments and complaints on your products/services.
  • Utilize social in your PR efforts - We all have brand advocates. Work with them to help build your visibility. Start a blog to establish thought leadership.

If you like this subject, you may want to reads:

Are You Getting Your Sales Force Involved in Social Media?

How Does Social Media Impact a B-to-B Purchase?

 


We’ve Always Done it That Way!

September 9, 2014

OutsidetheBox

I cringe when I hear someone say that phrase. Past actions will not ensure future success. Manufacturers who have this mindset are missing out on many opportunities. You literally need to think outside the box.

In today’s market, there are so many other options to consider. Some may not be appropriate for you, but you have to evaluate and pick the ones that might be useful for you. One basic change we all need to make is change how we reach out to potentials. If you’re trying to sell features/benefits to a prospect, you’re going to disappointed.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Take a different approach - Instead of talking about you, help your customer solve a problem. Always answer the question from your customer’s perspective of  “What’s in it for me?”
  • Friendly website - If you count on your website as a way of selling your brand, come at it from a customer’s perspective and make sure that your site is responsive (have different versions for smart phones and tablets). Make it easy to find what they are looking for.
  • Limited social media - Most manufacturers don’t need to utilize all the options that are available to you. You should focus on those areas that will bring you the most bang for the time you have. You already may have existing things like how-to videos (YouTube) or Power Point presentations (SlideShare) on the best way to solve a particular problem. If you’re in specific market segments, join and participate in the conversations (LinkedIn). If you have the resources, starting a blog would be an ideal way of setting you apart from your competitors and putting you out as an industry expert. Places like Facebook and Twitter, for the most part, are not ways to communicate with contractors and professional tradesman.

The key is to do something different, and as I’ve shown you here, in most cases you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You have valuable info and insights on how to solve your customer’s problems. Don’t keep to yourself – share it.


B-to-B Video is on the Rise: Are You Taking Advantage?

September 2, 2014

Does your company have a presence on YouTube? If not consider these stats:

  • 1 Billion unique visitors each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video watched each month
  • 100 hours of new videos are uploaded every minute

We’re a visual society and everyone loves to watch videos. Of B-to-B companies who are using videos, 80% of them reported positive results. From a manufacturing perspective, this should be a no-brainer. The key is to have a strategy and create compelling content. How-to videos, troubleshooting, new product launches are just a few that come to mind.

Some of the challenges firms are facing are lack of manpower and budgets being their biggest, followed by creating compelling content. Videos don’t have to be long or be made into a Hollywood production. There are inexpensive cameras out there and editing software that most things can be done in-house. The key is content. Give the viewer something he can use. Keep the message clear, to the point and short.

Here’s an example of one of our Marketing Minutes:

 

According to a recent study by Demand Metric, the most important objectives of videos are:

video objectives

I’m sure that those top 3 objectives fit into yours. So what are you doing about capitalizing videos to enhance your marketing efforts?

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

Have your Videos gone Viral?

Why Videos are an Important Way to Reach the Professional Tradesman

 Are you Taking Advantage of Online Videos?


What is a USP?

August 28, 2014

Do you have a USP? Do you know what a USP is?

USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition and it is an important part of developing a marketing program.

In the first video of Sonnhalter’s Marketing Minute series, Matt explains how to develop a good USP for your next marketing program.


Tips on Getting the C-Suite Involved in Blogging

August 27, 2014

The folks at the top got there, for the most part, because they know the industry and your customer base. Unfortunately, as they move up the corporate ladder, they spend less and less time with the customer and what’s really on their mind.

An interesting book Made to Stick  by the Heath brothers talks about the “knowledge curse” of the C-S. Basically, it means that the better we get at generating new insights and solutions, the harder it gets for them to communicate those ideas clearly. In other words, once we know something, it’s hard to imagine everyone already knowing it and when we go on with the thought, we bypass an explanation and go on to make the point, thus losing the audience.

The key with blogging is giving people valuable info that can help them do their job. The challenge for most of us is how do we get that knowledge from between the ears of the big boys and into the hands of the actual user? So what can we do to help get the valuable info out of the C-Suite and yet make it understandable to our target audience? Here are a few tips:

  • Narrow the focus of the article
  • Give them only a few choices to write about
  • Give them a deadline
  • Be prepared to edit out buzz words and what I call corporate speak and put it in terms your audience will understand
  • Edit for readability

So don’t give up on getting valuable info out of the corner office and into the hands of your customers.


Is Brand Advocacy Part of Your Marketing Strategy to Reach Tradesmen?

August 26, 2014

Let’s face it, in an ideal world we’d all want our customers to love us! We all know that’s not going to happen, but I’ll bet you might have more advocates for your brand than you think.

Why are brand advocates important? Studies show that people rely on peer recommendations and reviews before purchasing goods. Contractors are no different, especially if you’re introducing a new product or application they haven’t used or seen before. They certainly don’t want to be the first to try something.

Brand advocates are more than loyal customers. They are your ambassadors in the trades. I’ve seen contractors with tattoos of company logos. That to me is the ultimate.

Some brand advocates will surface on their own by commenting on your blog or website several times or talking you up on an online forum.  Others might offer positive comments on a survey or warranty card. Don’t forget to ask your sales staff in the field who are calling on contractors, as well as your customer service department. They certainly should be able to identify a few. Hopefully a few will be high-profile folks within some associations that you are a part of.

One of our clients in the plumbing market was able to identify and nurture several advocates over the years. Once they brought the top 10 contributors into the main office and treated them like royalty for 2 days and then sent them home. They got a plant tour, a look at what was coming down the line as new products and met with customer service and technical people that they interface with on a regular basis on the phone or with emails. You wouldn’t believe the results of that effort. They became ambassadors on steroids!

Once you’ve found them, then what? You should set up a brand advocacy program that will give them ways to help you grow the brand. Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask them to write testimonials or reviews on new products. Then ask them to share them.
  • See if they would be willing to do a case history for you.
  • If timing permits and you can meet them at an association meeting or trade show, see if they would let you  interview them both for a podcast and testimonial video.
  • Ask them for referrals.
  • Have them test and evaluate new products before they are brought to market.
  • Have them identify potential new products.

This needs to be an ongoing effort so you’re always adding new advocates to keep the message current and fresh.

Don’t miss a golden opportunity for your customers to help sell your brand.


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