Social Media For Manufacturers

September 25, 2014

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer

Awhile back, we presented a webinar on social media for industrial manufacturers. Many in our clients’ industries wonder if social media is worth their time, and we typically say yes.

Social media is a broad and sometimes intimidating part of marketing. To simplify it just a little, we focus on the four areas where we see manufacturers receiving the greatest value:

  • YouTube
  • SlideShare
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogs

To get the scoop, you can watch the webcast on YouTube and follow along on the slides below.

 

Webinar: Social Media In Manufacturing

What Are You Doing With All Those Email Leads You’re Getting?

September 24, 2014

email-marketingWe all have a list of customers’ emails in some assemblage of order. What are you doing with them? Let’s not assume just because someone is currently buying from you that they will continue to do so. You need to continue to reinforce why they should do business with you and it doesn’t have to be a sell piece. Give them something of value that they can use in their business. A quick installation tip. A calculator link to help them figure out how much product they need.

Besides the emails you already have from current, past and future customers, what are you doing with all the leads you’re getting from digital sources?

Digital media is a great way to build on to your existing database list and start nurturing them along your selling cycle. By using an email marketing tool, you can build silos by market or by where they are in the buying cycle so you can tailor messaging to each.

Here are a few tips in developing your lists:

  • Get their permission - send them an email that you’d like to keep them on a list to send out valuable info on a regular basis that would help them.
  • Ask questions - when sending out the initial request, give them options of things that might interest them, i.e., markets, product or applications that they would find useful.
  • Get them engaged – invite them to a webinar or send them a how-to video or an e-book if you have one.
  • Stay on topic - focus on what you do. You’re trying to build brand awareness and credibility.
  • Respect their time - experts say you shouldn’t send more than 2-3 emails a month. My recommendation is start with 1.
  • Monitor who’s reading them - by using an email marketing tool, you can see who opened and read your message. If they’re regulars, you may want to pass them on to the sales force as a soft lead for them to reach out to.

By developing a list and starting communication with them, you’ll be able to see response rates increase and hopefully sales as well.

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

Email Marketing: Is this the Best Way to Reach the Professional Tradesman?

Why Email Marketing is so Important in Nurturing the Professional Tradesman


Manufacturers: What Are You Doing to Maximize Your Brand?

September 23, 2014

With all the content marketing and social media options that are out there, where does a manufacturer start to ensure their brand gets noticed? What are you doing to build both your brand and your social media strategy?

I recently read a good article on Convince and Convert – 10 Company and Product Branding Tips from Microsoft that I found to be interesting, and most are applicable to the B-to-B space as well.

Here are some highlights:

  • Focus on one brand - This is especially true for smaller manufacturers with limited resources. You can’t be promoting both the company and a branded product line. Go with promoting the company. Use the same logo and description in all media channels.
  • Consistent messaging – Keep the message the same across all channels. Stick with the basics – who you are, what’s the product and why should I care?
  • Not all brands are equal - Depending on who you are and the audience you’re trying to reach, you don’t have to cover all the social media options. Cover the ones where your customers frequent the most.
  • Big picture - If you are in a bigger company with multiple people managing different silos, there needs to be someone overseeing the BIG picture.
  • Bigger is not always better - Don’t worry about the number of followers; be more concerned that they are the right ones. If they are, they will share your content with their peers.
  • Manage your content - Watch what engages your audience and give them more of the same.

These are just some of the things that will help you grow your brand.

 


Blogging Tips to Increase Marketing Efforts to the Professional Tradesmen

September 17, 2014

For those who follow me on a regular basis, you know I’m a big supporter of blogs. It seems that most companies now are at least considering doing a blog.

Here are a few good reasons you should consider a blog for your company:

  • Websites are mostly static - Once a contractor has been to your website, why does he need to go back? He knows who you are and what you do. If you don’t get him to follow you on an RSS feed or fill out a form to be on a mailing list, you basically have lost most visitors.
  • Thought leadership - One of the main objectives of a blog is to set you and your company apart. What better way to increase your brand awareness and generate new leads?
  • Keep your customers/prospects coming back - When you publish new content on a regular basis, customers and prospects keep coming back. It also allows for interactions with both categories.
  • Re-purpose content - You can take a current post and use it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to gain additional exposure.
  • Blogs can provide additional in-links - Once you establish yourself as a thought leader in a category, others will begin to link back to you and this will alert search engines that you must be saying something important.

Blogging is a collaborative process. You need and want to interact with your audience.

Here a few tips on writing a good posts:

  • You need a catchy title - Like anything else, if you can’t spark an interest, folks won’t click on to read your words of wisdom.
  • Know your audience - Know what issues are affecting them on a regular basis.
  • Have an opinion - People follow you because you give them a unique insight. Set yourself apart.
  • Be yourself - Let your personality shine through. Write like you talk. Inject some humor when appropriate.
  • Engage your readers - Ask for opinions, or if the subject matter is somewhat controversial, ask for a counter viewpoint.

Blogs are a lot of work, but if done properly, can set yourself apart in your market and ultimately get you new customers.

 


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.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 152 other followers