Email Marketing – Is this the best way to reach the professional tradesman?

August 20, 2014

With all the marketing trends and new things over the last several years, email still seems to be the “workhorse”  for most people’s marketing efforts. Recent research from Gigaom reports that over 75% of smart phone users check their emails on their phones. What I find remarkable, if you look at the chart below, 5 years ago paid search, SEO and digital ads would have been at the top of the list. Oh, how the more things change, the more they remain the same.

When you’re on the job site, how many times have your conversations been interrupted when a contractor has to take a call or his email dings?

Email is considered in this research as the most effective in reaching their goals – awareness, acquisition conversion and retention. Pretty powerful stuff!

It’s not surprising then that most marketers are planning on spending more time and money on email marketing. The key is what are you doing? Here are a few things to think about and they aren’t costly to implement.

  • make sure your email is mobile optimized – most services like Emma and Constant Contact have that option
  • make an editorial calendar of email topics and schedule them on a regular basis
  • make sure you test and review results to make sure you’re getting the most out of them
  • give them a link to something of value that will help them do their job better

The key is to use email as an effective marketing tool to get your message across.

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

Why Email Marketing is so Important in Lead Nurturing to the Professional Tradesman

5 Tips on Improving Your Email Marketing to the Professional Tradesman


Manufacturers: Do You Have a Responsive Website? You Should.

August 19, 2014

SON-416_Responsive_mockup

How many times have you seen an ad or read an article with a link, that when you clicked on it, it went to a page that was designed to be read on a full-size screen? Chances are you didn’t go any farther and clicked out of it.

Many B-to-B companies don’t realize that smart phone and tablets are increasing in usage as the primary source of getting on the web. Of smart phone users, over 25% use them as their primary device to connect to the internet. Tablet users show a higher conversion rate than desktop users. You should monitor your analytics to see how much activity is coming from these devices and act accordingly.

All your hard work of gathering valuable content won’t be read because it wasn’t optimized for the device it’s being read on. What a shame!

Bottom line is, deliver content to potentials in the way they use to access it. Responsive sites do that in that they recognize what kind of devices are trying to connect to them and react accordingly.


B-to-B Marketing: Is There Room for Humor?

August 13, 2014

Everyone knows that B-to-B  marketing is serious stuff. Maybe sometimes too serious! We need to write white papers and do microsites that talk about all the features and benefits. All good and necessary stuff, but is it memorable to a prospect looking at your brand? Now I agree that not all things may be appropriate for a humorous take, but most are and there are plenty of companies reaching out and taking the leap.

The president of our agency earlier this summer attended the annual BMA Conference in Chicago where one of the presenters was Tim Washer with Cisco. His topic was humor and why it’s important  to use it.

Here’s an example from Tim Washer on how Cisco used humor introducing a new router .

Another example is Kinaxis who used the idea of a dating scenario to bring home the points on supply chain management.

Here’s an example of how Kinaxis puts humor into the use.

The challenge to all you conservative folks out there is to keep an open mind. I’m not suggesting you drop all the traditional stuff, absolutely not. But it’s not bad to show folks you’re human.

  • These don’t have to be Hollywood productions.
  • The key is delivering a key message using humorous situations.
  • Keep it focused and under two minutes.
  • Take a risk and dare to be different.

Let’s face it, we’re all humans here, and with all the things going on in the world, everyone enjoys a laugh. Make your brand stand out from the rest.


Do’s and Don’ts of Content Marketing

August 6, 2014

So everyone knows what content marketing is. But do we know how to get the best results out of it? I know I’ve been doing this for over three years now and have hardly touched the potential of what is available. I’ve been to webinars, seminars and summits on the subject and continue to learn new ways to capitalize on content marketing.

I recently read Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content Marketing. As usual, Joe does a great job explaining how to use and integrate into overall marketing plan.

epiccontentmarketing-pulizzi

This is a good book for the beginner or for those already engaged to reinforce the right way of doing things. It’s easy to read, has lots of examples, from defining your strategy to developing and managing content to marketing your stories, and I’m sure you’ll get tons of useful tips on how to get more out of your content marketing.


Do You Repurpose Your Content?

August 5, 2014

We all work hard on developing content for your blog, but what happens after it’s posted? Yes, you optimize it for search and you use various social sites to promote it, but is that all?

Repurposing is taking an existing piece of content and communicating your ideas in different ways using different media (i.e. SlideShare, infographic, podcasts) to deliver the same message from several different angles. Not all content should be repurposed though. You should stick to your core message that’s not time sensitive.

I recently read a post by Darren Rowse, How to Repurpose Your Content and Why You Should Do It that gave great insights on not only Why but How to do it effectively.

Here are some of his key takeaways on doing it correctly:

  • Choose your content carefully - make sure it’s central to your key messaging and is not time sensitive.
  • Think carefully about the medium - some people like to read, others would prefer a podcast and yet others are drawn to infographics.
  • Use a different angle - while the subject matter would be the same, there are several ways you can approach the subject.

Some other suggestions from Darren are:

  • Spread out the repurposed content over a period of time to give the reader time to absorb it.
  • Repurpose as you write original content.
  • Utilize your archives. Check out what has had good response in the past and work with that.
  • Keep it visual.
  • Make sure to cross link back to original content.

 


Are You Asking Contractors for Feedback?

July 30, 2014

We’re all focusing on the next greatest product or making sales numbers for the month, but often overlook the very source of those sales.

Consistent contractor feedback is a key in establishing a long-term partnership. Let’s face it, we all have competition and contractors have choices. I think we’re missing opportunities to cement relationships and differentiate our brands. When was the last time you talked to a contractor that didn’t have an opinion?

It doesn’t have to be a complex program and your field sales guys can certainly help in this regard. Here are a few questions they should ask:

  • What’s working - Find out what you’re doing right. Are they getting the tech support they need? Is customer service taking care of them in a timely manner? It’s a great way of finding out their level of satisfaction with you.
  • What’s not - Here’s your opportunity for you to find out ways of things that need to be improved. After talking with several contractors, you will find out rather quickly if a pattern is emerging.
  • What can we do to improve our relationship - Show them that you are proactive. It might surprise you. Together you may identify new opportunities.

Of course, the info you collect will be worthless unless sales and marketing compile a spreadsheet of all answers to review. Action items and process improvements. If you’re not ready and open to making changes, don’t waste your time or the contractors. When talking with tradesmen, there’s not a one of them that would love the opportunity to share insights. Wouldn’t you rather they share them with you instead of your competitors?

 


Content Marketing: What Are Your Competitors Doing?

July 29, 2014

We hear a lot today about content marketing and how we all need to start producing more meaningful content to share. I’m OK with that, but most of us have the cart before the horse.

Instead of starting to develop content, we first do a content strategy. Lots of us do this by taking a look internally to see what content might already exist and identify topics and resources for future development.

But here’s where most of us stop—we don’t take a look at your competitors and see what they are doing. Doesn’t this make sense? If we were going to launch a new product, don’t we do our homework to see what’s already out there so we can figure out what to develop that will give us a competitive advantage?

I recently read a post by Danielle Terreri, Competitor Content Audits: Why & How to Vet Other Players in Your Industry that outlines steps you should take before finalizing your content strategy. Here are some highlights:

  • Content - what are they doing, do they have a blog, how are they talking about themselves and the industry?
  • Setup - what does it look like, how are they promoting it?
  • Blog - does it have a consistent theme, how often are they posting, what kind of topics are they writing about?
  • Evaluation - are they solving problems for their audience, where do you see opportunities for your company?

So bottom line is to avoid the ready, fire, aim strategy, vet your competitors and identify things you can do that would add value to your  target audience.


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