January 22, 2014
I get so frustrated sometimes, both internally and externally, with emails going back and forth a million times to answer questions or get the proper information that I could scream!
PICK UP THE PHONE! Sometimes we get so caught up in things that we forgot about some of the basics in selling and communicating techniques. Emails are great for getting info and normal communications, but it’s difficult to build a relationship with them. Same holds true for texting.
Those of you that are older than 40 can remember back in the day when you actually talked to customers on the phone and even went and saw them face-to-face sometimes and maybe even had lunch with them. Now I know times have changed, and I’m not trying to downplay the importance of tools like email, but don’t you agree that it’s nice now and again to actually talk to another human?
Here’s a suggestion. Take your top 10 customers and try to have a conversation with them a few times a year. Here’s a novel approach, call them up and thank them for their business and for the long-standing relationship you’ve had over the years. Ask about what keeps them up at night and if you can help resolve some of their business issues.
Don’t you think that might get more mileage than sending them an email? If nothing else, I’ll bet you’ll feel better after talking with them.
There are studies out there and I’ve seen it first hand that the under-30 crowd would rather text than talk. What happened to interpersonal relationships? How are they going to make it in the business world?
We need to keep the basic communication tools as we move down that super internet highway.
January 16, 2014
From Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer
For most of us, a new year is a lot like a blank slate. New goals are set at the beginning of each year and new initiatives are undertaken.
To have a successful year, it’s important to do more than just set goals. You don’t just jump in the car to go to a new location for the first time, you look at how to get there, how long the trip will take or at least put the destination into your GPS. That’s planning.
Planning is crucial no matter how big of a project you’re going to start. Whether you’re initiating a rebranding campaign or creating a 30-second video, you have to plan, plan, plan.
To map out your journey to your goal, decide:
- Who will be involved. Make sure you know who will be in charge of each aspect of your project and if you’ll need outside help.
- What outline the strategy and tactics of your plan. Sometimes this is a simple statement of intent and the steps the “who” of your plan will take. Other times this is a large document that will guide your team in your new effort.
- Where you will focus. In the example of a 30-second video, the where is not only your filming location but where the video will go next. If it’s a product advertising campaign, will you use print, digital, broadcast or other types of ads?
- When will your project start, end and when are your check-in points. A large year-end goal is great, but plan for pit stops along the way to see how you’re progressing and rework that plan.
- How will your project get done and how much will it cost. Make sure you know what time, talent and equipment resources you need and how much you can spend to complete your project.
Your plan is your road map to completing a project. You can’t always plan for everything, but having a plan in place gives you guidance along the way and can help you navigate whatever detours you encounter.
January 7, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Marketing Insights. Today, we’re talking with Sage Lewis, President of SageRock, a search marketing agency here in the Midwest.
Sage is the author of the #1 bestselling book on Amazon - Link Building is Dead. Long Live Link Building, and we’re going to pick his brain today about the book.
Sage highlights why people who are focused on search engine results should read this book. It’s an easy read even for someone like me, and it costs less than a Starbucks coffee for a digital copy.
Click here to listen to podcast.
December 4, 2013
Most B-to-B companies don’t take connecting with their customers on an emotional level as a serious tactic in their branding strategy. They contend that customers base decisions on facts, not opinions or not on silly things like emotion.
Yes, it’s important to talk about quality and the features and benefits that set you apart from the competition. But contractors and tradesmen as a whole are also influenced by other outside influences, both in making personal as well as business decisions.
You need to set yourself apart from your competitors and have customers not only remember you, but want to buy from you.
Let’s take an example of buying a motorcycle. If you went on the facts about performance, you’d probably buy a BMW; if it was reliability, you’d buy a Honda, and if you wanted to be cool (emotion), you’d buy a Harley.
Harley’s brand is built on emotion, and those contractors buy that Harley because emotions play an important part in the decision-making process.
Manufacturers who realize this have built a brand that includes using emotion as part of their overall strategy. Emotional branding is a business imperative because emotions are inevitability part of the decision-making process.
So when planning your next marketing effort, what will you be riding?
December 3, 2013
When you go to all the work to create great content, don’t miss out on opportunities to share it. We’re all guilty of getting into a routine when creating content and rarely deviate from it, whether it be because of time constraints or just laziness. The point is, we need to shake it up a bit sometimes.
According to 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends, there are over two dozen tactics that you could use. Here are some that I think are important in going after the professional tradesman:
- Offer useful info on your website - Make sure to include topics that help folks through your selling cycle.
- Industry newsletters - As you collect email addresses, send out a regular newsletter quarterly or monthly. If you are selling to several different audiences, segment the newsletters so they will be more meaningful for those who read them. A plumber probably isn’t interested in something a HVAC guy would be. Don’t be concerned about the size of the lit, but the quality of it. I’d rather be regularly communicating with 500 key prospects than 5,000 unqualified ones.
- Case Studies - By market or application are in high demand by your target audience. Tradesmen like to see what their peers are doing and the results. Post on your website, use it as an e-blast to your targets and have them reprinted so your sales force has something to hand out.
- Videos - How to and feature and benefit videos are an easy way for you to get your point across. Put it on your website, and put it on YouTube (create your own channel) with the appropriate search terms.
- Online Presentations – Take those PowerPoints you do everyday on why you’re better than the other guys and put it on your website, along with putting it on SlideShare with appropriate key words.
- Podcasts - Even if you don’t have a blog, you can utilize this tactic. Interview an industry leader on the issues of the day or what’s coming down the line that might impact your reader. You can use it again on your website and do e-blasts to targeted audiences.
Those are some highlights from my point of view. Whether it’s utilizing these tactics or others, step outside the box and try other things. You’ll be glad you did.