Manufacturers: Why Are You Using Content Marketing?

February 18, 2014

I just saw a stat this week that over 90 percent of B-to-B companies are now using content marketing. I wonder if you asked them why, what the answer would be. Hopefully it’s not because everyone else is using it! If you’re using content, you know how much time it takes you and your team to develop and place good content.

Whether it’s content marketing or any other tactic, there should be good reasons for using it and a detailed plan of action – what to say, where to use it and how to measure it. I recently read an article by Heidi Cohen, Why Use Content Marketing – 7 Reasons that I thought would help us all in not only reviewing what we’re doing, but more importantly, evaluate and possibly refocus our efforts on those activities that are working.

We all have different reasons and priorities, and from a manufacturer’s point of view, here are three things you may want to consider when using content marketing:

  • Build your brand - this should be true in any type of promotion, but building good content helps set you apart and builds your reputation.
  • Attract new customers - Give customers what they want pre- and post-information that will help them through the sales cycle. Good content will sell itself.
  • Support existing customers - with updated product/installation information, handy apps or other tools that will make doing their job easier. Remember, existing clients are your best repeat customers, so continue to engage them.

Why are you using Content Marketing and what tactics are working best for you?

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

Manufacturers: What Are You Trying to Accomplish with Your Content Marketing?

Smaller Companies are Doing a Better Job with Content Marketing

What are you Doing to Improve your Content Marketing Performance?

Content Marketing: Have a Strategy and Be Relevant.


Are You Going To Do Things Differently in 2014 With Your Blog?

February 11, 2014

When was the last time you reviewed your blog’s progress? What, you don’t have anything to review it against you say? If you’re going to take the time to blog, then let’s make sure your time and talents are being put to the best use. Well, let’s put a list of things together for you to evaluate:

  1. Goals - what were yours… thought leadership, lead generation, social media support?
  2. What content drew the most attention - look at your top posts for the year and write more around those topics.
  3. Are you maximizing your reach - is the content being utilized in all your marketing efforts including social media? Are you participating in forums and doing guest posts?
  4. Metrics – have you compared this year’s results to last year’s? Is one time of the year better or a day of the week pulling more hits?

How Sales and Marketing Can Get the Best out of Their Content Marketing

February 5, 2014

Although sales and marketing are getting better at working together, there is always room for improvement. Together they can make sure they deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.

But in order to accomplish this, they need to work together. Here are some tips to help maximize the results of the collaborative efforts:

  • Know your audience - different people buy for different reasons. By sales and marketing working together, they can define the different personas and identify the prospects’ perspectives and content needs.
  • Have a sales retention plan - We’re all so focused on getting a lead and making a sale that once that’s completed, we forget about them until the next sale. Now that they are a customer, it’s easier to help them. Start a nurturing program and engage them, and with appropriate content, that will help with the next sale.
  • Have a plan - By working together with sales, set objectives to get the right content into the hands of your customers. Realize the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t going to work.

By working together, sales and marketing can determine the right content, whether it’s for leads, brand awareness or thought leadership.


Ready, Fire, Aim – What’s Your Content Marketing Strategy?

February 4, 2014

Everyone is so focused on how to tell a story or where it needs to be instead of backing up and asking some real important questions. So for 2014, let’s slow down a bit and get back to some basics. Let’s focus on:

  • Why - The first question you should ask yourself is why are you doing what you’re doing? Hopefully you have a written plan with strategy and tactics that are woven into your overall marketing plan.
  • Who - What are your targeted audiences by industry or product line?
  • What - What do we want to communicate to these targeted audiences?
  • How - Based on your audiences, how are you going to tell your story? What tactics will you use?
  • Where - Where’s the best place to reach that targeted audience – offline, online or both?

You can’t put the cart before the horse.

Sometimes we need to go back to basics.


Customer Loyalty: What Are You Doing ?

January 29, 2014

All too often we focus so much on getting new customers that we forget about who’s supporting us now! I believe the rule of thumb is it takes 5 times as much effort to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.

Customer satisfaction is the main force in developing loyal customers. Why are Loyal Customers so important?

  • Repeat business.
  • More open to try new products from a reliable source (you).
  • They become Brand Ambassadors.

There are several things you can do. A loyalty program, special incentives on certain products and giving them the first chance on buying a new product line before it hits the street are just a few examples. How about a simple thanks via an email or postcard. When was the last time one of your vendors thanked you for your business? Probably not many, and if they did, you’re sure to remember them.

Have you ever calculated what a customer’s worth is over time? Say you have a 30-year old contractor that usually buys $5,000 worth of your stuff a year. Doesn’t sound like much, but if you keep him happy, you probably will have him for 30 years before he retires. So assuming he doesn’t grow his business or you don’t come out with anything new for him to buy over the next 30 years, he would have spent $150,000 with you. Is he worth keeping? I’d say so. So what are you doing to keep him happy? Unless you’re selling a proprietary product, your competition is knocking on his door every chance they get. Give your customer a reason to stay.

I know many of you who follow me don’t buy shoes online, but I’d bet that if you asked your wife if she’s heard of Zappos, she’d say yes. I picked them as an example and even wrote a post on their book, Does Customer Service Deliver Happiness, where they show that by even selling name branded shoes online, they could, in many cases, outsell the brand itself  in the online arena. The way they did it was with customer service.

So here are some points for you to consider when evaluating your Customer Service department:

  • Try to keep the personal touch (human being) as the initial touch point if you can.
  • Empower your CS people to solve a problem immediately without having to go through 3 levels of supervisors.
  • Reward customers with a loyalty program as a way of saying thanks.
  • Customer surveys are a great way to get feedback, not only on how you’re doing, but for getting ideas for future products.

When Was the Last Time You Actually Talked to Your Customers?

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.


Content Marketing: How Will It Affect You in 2014?

January 21, 2014

Content marketing is becoming more of a focus with all of us, and for it to be effective like any other tool, you need to have a plan and strategy.

Content can be developed in many forms and this can be an overwhelming task, all the more reason to have a plan.

I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen, 2014 Content Marketing Predictions that I thought was interesting and wanted to share some of the highlights of her 7 points:

  • Content Marketing should be part of an integrated program - content needs to be created in different formats as people take in information in various ways and we need to make sure we’re touching them several times.
  • Content Marketing expands to all corporate communications - it’s no longer limited to marketing.
  • Managing Content Marketing assets - track and maintain assets identifying those that need updating  and those that need to be created.
  • Track Results to sales - start by nudging readers to some call-to-action to start an engagement and then follow it through to a sale.

What kinds of actions are you taking in 2014 to improve your content marketing?


What Does 2014 Look Like For You?

January 15, 2014

I know for most of us, 2013 was a positive experience. Most of our clients and the folks I talk to in the industry had good growth this past year and are expecting the same this year.

According to a recent article in eMarketer.com, 80% of small business are forecasting a better 2014.  Here’s what they are saying they will be concentrating on in 2014.

While the small business owners are optimistic about 2014, economic uncertainty and government policies are still on their mind.

So what is your outlook for the new year and where are your challenges? Do any of them match up with what the survey indicates?


Podcast: Link Building is Dead – Long Live Link Building

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.

link building is dead

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.

Enjoy!


So How Did 2013 Turn Out?

December 17, 2013

As we wind down 2013 and look forward to 2014, I’d be interested in how you fared and what your crystal ball looks like for the future.

Would you take a quick poll?


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