Did Your Website Survive Mobilegeddon?

May 5, 2015

And Did You Know It Happened?

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent at Sonnhalter

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(image courtesy of CNET)

On April 21st, Google changed its search results algorithm.

Sounds boring, right? Well the results of that change may impact your business more than you think. As of that Tuesday, nicknamed Mobilegeddon by various media outlets, the mobile friendliness of a site is now a more important factor in ranking mobile search results. Why the change? Because the way we access the web is changing.

Last year, it was estimated that over half (60% by some estimates) of all online traffic was from mobile devices. Facebook reports that 85% of daily access to its site is from mobile devices, and last holiday season, Amazon stated that 60% of all sales were from, you guessed it, mobile. At the same time, Google’s dominance in mobile has slipped. As more and more mobile search comes from apps rather than true search, so has their share of traffic and revenue. In 2014, they reported 68% of all mobile search revenue. Impressive, but dramatically down from the 82.8% only 2 years earlier.

So What Can You Do?

First and foremost, find out how mobile friendly your website is. Google has a site, here, that will score your site (tradesmeninsights.com scores an “awesome”) Now that you know, there are several steps you can take:

  • Add some elements to your pages to make them more user-friendly:
    • Have text that is readable without tapping or zooming
    • Make sure tap targets are spaced appropriately
    • Avoid unplayable content and horizontal scrolling
  • The update applies to individual pages, not entire websites, so make sure your most critical pages such as product pages, receive mobile makeovers first.
  • Pages being a good search match still trump mobile-friendliness, so make sure you know how people search. Customers probably aren’t searching by product number, so make sure your pages contain common keywords and industry-specific slang.
  • This new criteria only applies to mobile searches, so know how your customers are finding you. It may be that you don’t need a mobile strategy right now. But keep in mind that the biggest name in search has a mobile strategy, so soon you’ll need one too.

Stop and Smell the Roses

March 31, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

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Last week I was reminded of how fragile life really is. I lost a friend who was only 57 and appeared to be in great health and they found him at work in his car. One really doesn’t know when your time is up.

It got me to thinking that in this world where emails are the last thing we check at night and the first thing we check in the morning might not be the most important thing in the big picture. I know I’m guilty of that as much as anyone.

Maybe we should step back on a more frequent basis and appreciate our families and friends more. Oh, by the way you, should tell them! Play hooky some afternoon and take your grandkids out to the zoo. Take your wife on a picnic.

I guess as I get older I don’t want to be remembered as the guy who had a successful career but never took the time to enjoy life. There’s got to be a better balance in life. I know this might be a little late for a New Years resolution, but I think I’m going to stop and smell more of the roses.


PMPA National Technical Conference- Empowering Your Team

March 30, 2015

tradesmeninsights:

great event for manufacturing. Learn and share with peers

Originally posted on Speaking of Precision Blog:

The National Technical Conference is one of PMPA’s most valued deliverables. Produced by members for members, this conference shares how- to‘s across the full range of our industry’s challenges- Operations, Management and Quality. Presenters are people that can (and do!) do the work:.

  • Building an Effective Training Program being presented by Shingo Silver Award winning shop experts Dan Vermeesch of Micron Manufacturing company and Dave Masereau of Boston Centerless.
  • Gary Griffith (our highest ranked presenter) is back with a great workshop on GD&T.
  • Diane Thielfoldt with more about our millennial workforce.

Plus sessions on Troubleshooting,  ISO 9001:2015 , Rapid Improvement Events, Finish Issues, Shop Floor Math, Innovating with CAM and CNC, Print and part review– to name just a few. This conference is truly packed with a host of opportunities for your team to bring back new ideas and  new capabilities to your…

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Are Field Salesmen Dead?

February 18, 2015

I recently read an article in Industrial Distribution Magazine by Justin Roff-Marsh that basically said that the industrial distributor field salesman, as we know it, is DOA.

I don’t know what planet he was born on, but it wasn’t this one! If he was, he would realize that to survive against the big national brands, they must have a unique selling proposition and a strong brand promise.

Granted, if you’re a general line house, your survival rate isn’t good. But most distributors today focus on either a market (Electrical, Plumbing, Construction, etc.) or in specific disciplines like power transmission, cutting tools or industrial hose and fittings. They become experts in that field and customers depend on them for not only product, but advice. This is how they can compete with the Biggies like Grainger and Fastenal.

Speaking of the big boys, who’s going to tell them to stop opening more brick and mortar stores and by all means don’t hire any salesmen!

If this guy did his homework, he’d know that in these models, a lot of their customers come to them. I bet he’d be surprised if he were to walk into a STAFDA, electrical or plumbing wholesaler between 6:30 and 9 any morning, that he’d have a pretty good chance of being run over by customers picking up stuff. And they’re not just picking up an order, they’re talking with counter people on how to solve a particular problem. What’s that worth?

Granted, the role of field salesman has changed over the years, and I don’t expect anyone makes cold calls anymore. But the seasoned field salesman is worth his weight in gold. He’s aware of his surroundings as he walks through a plant or construction site identifying opportunities for new sales. You can’t do that on a phone call or an email.

Years ago, I was making a sales call with a salesman who was called into a customer who was having some production problems with cutting tools. I was amazed as this salesman walked onto the shop floor and walked directly to the CNC machine that they were having trouble with (without even being told ) by just listening to the sound of the machine. He suggested a few adjustments to the feeds and speeds and the problem was solved. The point is, they don’t teach that in college or anywhere else. It comes from experience.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is people still like to buy from other people. If you have value and can help them do their job better, you can bet they’ll make time for you. Look at independent buying groups like Affiliated Distributors or NetPlus Alliance. Each year, they post strong sales growth despite the growing competition. I’ll bet field salesman come into that equation somewhere.


Want a Way to Attract Young People? Try a Ride and Decide Job Shadowing Program.

February 11, 2015

For those of you who read my posts on a regular basis, you know I’m concerned about the long-term viability of all the trades because the older tradesmen are retiring at a far greater pace than young folks coming in. I recently read an article in Contractor Magazine that said that out of every 4 people who leave the trades, only one is entering the field.

Gordy Noe, president of Pioneer Heating and Air Conditioning  in Knoxville, Tennessee, has come up with a unique program called, “Ride and Decide” where he hires high school students for summer jobs and puts them to work. It gives them a chance to dip their toe in the water and see what opportunities are out their other than a 4-year degree.

It’s a win-win for everyone. Young folks get paid work for the summer break and get to experience a trade that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to otherwise do. Contractors get to show them firsthand what they do and what the potential earning power is in the trades. Here’s an interesting stat – only about 10% of those that graduate college actually get a job in the field they studied!

This program is a great model that other contractors across the country might want to try. Talk with local high schools and post jobs both in the schools and online via the social media outlets. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Go to your trade associations like the PHCC or NECA. They certainly should have resources that will help you attract the attention of the younger set.

Who knows, you might be able to start growing talent from within. You could hire these young folks, and as part of their training, offer them educational support by paying for classes at a local trade school or community college.

If you liked this post, you might find these of interest:

Education, Recruiting and the Trades – a Small Step Can Make a Big Difference.

Attracting and Retaining manufacturing talent.


Email Marketing: Still a top performer

January 27, 2015

Do you know that the average office worker checks their email 30 times an hour? Can you imagine what the stats are for contractors out in the field?

The point is that emails are very acceptable ways of communicating with each other. The key is to have relevant and timely info for your prospect.

Heidi Cohen gives us several reasons why email trumps social media:

  • Email provides directly measurable ROI – You know immediately how many opened and read your message.
  • Email is content format agnostic  It’s user-friendly and you can use text, images, videos, audio, PDFs.
  • Email can deliver both long and short content – Content can vary from a link to several pages in length.
  • Emails you can control delivery – Whether it’s now or delayed.
  • Emails can be read on anything – Smart phones, tablets, laptops, no apps required.
  • Emails build customer relationships – Once someone allows you to communicate with them, it represents a certain level of trust.

So since you have such a powerful tool, we need to make sure we’re using it correctly to get the best bang for the buck. eMarketer, in a recent article, stated that we all should get ready for more personalized emails and companies plan on spending more money to accomplish this.

These triggered and transactional emails can be part of a nurturing campaign. The key is getting the right message in the hands of the right people at the right time. You need to ask the right questions to see where they are in the sales funnel so you can address that immediate need.

If we use and target emails correctly, whether you’re going after a contractor or a plant manager, the result improves with the more segmenting you can do. So do your homework and take advantage of a great marketing tool.


From MAGNET: Attracting and Retaining Manufacturing Talent

January 8, 2015

Each month we be feature a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org.

Attracting and Retaining Manufacturing Talent

By Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development, MAGNET

Recent surveys of manufacturers consistently identify one of their top three priorities as workforce issues. Companies— regardless of size— recognize that a highly skilled, qualified workforce is critical to their success. Whether manufacturers are seeking to develop new products, enter new markets, or improve overall productivity, their workforce will be key to their ability to remain competitive and achieve their goals.

Companies that are successful in attracting and retaining talented people  realize they must be pro-active and become part of their workforce  solution.

Fewer young people are choosing manufacturing careers. They don’t know  the opportunities or the educational requirements.  Coupling that fact with  smaller numbers of students in high school means a smaller pool of qualified candidates for employment.

To overcome that obstacle, smart manufacturers are actively engaging with educational institutions in their communities, informing students, teachers, guidance counselors and parents about the many stable and well-paying jobs they have available.

Starting with middle school age students, these manufacturers are sending young scientists, engineers, technicians and machine operators to visit local classrooms and talk with students about their work.

Students, teachers and parents are also invited to open houses to see the inside of plants and facilities they likely drive by on a daily basis, but have no idea of what is actually taking place inside. They tour the facility, are introduced to the young professionals in the company and see for themselves what takes place at that facility.

Many manufacturers are also sponsoring teams for the FIRST Robotics or Robobot competitions giving students valuable hands-on experience and also the opportunity to work as team members with engineers, technicians, and scientists to solve technical challenges.

Promising high school students can be provided shadowing opportunities that could lead to summer work-based learning experiences and possibly part-time employment during the school year.  The students learn the company culture, its products, processes and customers and can contribute to the overall company goals.  Many students who start out as part-time workers in high school often progress to achieve consistently higher company positions, becoming supervisors, managers, and executives.

October will once again be celebrated as Manufacturing Month in Ohio. This would be an ideal time for you to start your proactive campaign to build your workforce of the future by sponsoring an event in your local community. If you start planning now, you should be able to hold a successful community event at your facilities this October.

Click here to read the original post.


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