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:
Goals - what were yours… thought leadership, lead generation, social media support?
What content drew the most attention - look at your top posts for the year and write more around those topics.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 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?
Today we have so many options to reach our targeted audiences. While I’m a proponent of trying new things, we must not lose sight of who we’re trying to reach. More importantly, we need to identify the preferred way they like to be communicated with.
I wrote this post in 2009 and it still holds true today.
Below are six ways you can make your marketing to tradesmen more effective:
1. Focus On What You Can Control
You can’t control what’s going on in Washington, the economy or most other market factors. However, you do have control over your marketing. Recognize where the demand is and go after it. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
2. Re-Evaluate Your Marketing Goals
Based on what’s happening with the economy, are your company’s marketing goals achievable? It may be time to re-state and re-prioritize your goals.
3. You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure
Take a hard look at the performance of your marketing plan. I know something like ad awareness is costly and hard to measure. But things like trade show leads, direct mail and online programs are measurable. Look hard and, if needed, reallocate and optimize your budget. You can’t afford underperforming programs.
4. Fish Where The Fish Are
You know who your customers and potential customers are. Make the most of your marketing investment and increase your visibility through targeted vehicles where your prospects will see your message and take action.
5. Integrated Marketing
We’ve always been advocates of tying your messages to various touch points for your customers. This synergistic method allows you a better bang for the buck! And don’t forget to bring the sales team up-to-speed as to what you’re doing. They’re an extension of your marketing efforts.
6. Focus On Quality
More is not necessarily better. The quality of your sales leads is far more important. If you adhere to the previous five suggestions, you will deliver better-quality leads, which will improve your bottom line and make everybody happy.
What are you doing to reach your targeted audiences?
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Welcome to my blog, Tradesmen Insights. I'm the master of one trade, founder of a B-to-B marketing communications firm to companies that target tradesmen in construction, industrial and MRO markets.
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