What Are You Doing to Drive Opted-in Emails?

September 16, 2014

Let’s face it, we’re all in this for the same reason. To talk with people who share the same interest and could possibly be or refer us a new client.

So in order to get them to give up their email, we better come up with some interesting and helpful stuff that will make them want to be in our book for future gems. It’s not only what you have to say, but how you say it. Beyond being potential customers, these contacts can be your best friend by sharing it with their peer group.

I recently read a blog post by Ramsay Taplin in Copyblogger, 5 Subtle Writing Strategies That Drive Email Signups that I thought had value for the B-to-B community. While all may not be applicable to your world, he raises some good tips for us to consider:

  • Use time-sensitive language – people are afraid to miss out on something. An example, for a webinar, space is limited, sign up now.
  • Standing out from the crowd – tell unusual stories to get your point across. This is especially true when talking about more technical or drier topics. Add a personal touch or a little humor. Everyone loves a laugh.
  • Include social proof – demonstrate that they won’t be the first. Put up comments from other subscribers as to what they are getting out of it.
  • Develop and test different landing pages - Yes, you will ultimately end up with the names, but how you might ask for them will bring different results.
  • Write for people and search engines - Yes, your message is ultimately for people, but search engines help spread the word to others looking for similar information.

Oh, by the way, if you want to get more gems from me, sign up here for my monthly newsletter.


Highlights from the Fifth Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive Round-Up

September 11, 2014

Thanks to all that supported Sonnhalter’s 5th Annual Tool Drive to benefit Habitat for Humanity.
5thAnnualToolDrive

We recently completed our fifth annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to everyone’s generous support, we received more than $35,000 in tools and building supplies. Since Sonnhalter began its efforts in 2010, it has collected more than $141,000 in donations.

We thought we’d share some highlights.

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Organizing the donations that arrived at our offices to fit in the Habitat for Humanity truck on collection day.

Trade industry participants included Contractor Magazine, Council Tool Company, Gerber Plumbing, KNIPEX Tools LP, Lakeside Supply, Osborn, RIDGID, Samsel Supply, Sutton Industrial Hardware, WD40 Company, Welch Packaging, Wolff Bros. Supply, Woodhill Supply and Work Area Protection Corporation.

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Work Area Protection’s donation of traffic cones.

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Gerber’s donations of plumbing fixtures.

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Loading the RIDGID donation during the round-up.

Community participants included the Berea Recreation Center, Café Ah-Roma, Cuyahoga County Public Library-Berea Branch, Edward Jones Investments, Perk-CUP! Café, St. Mary’s Church of Berea, St. Mary’s of the Falls, Sylvester’s Auto and Light Truck Service, Tony K’s Bar & Grille and many community members.

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Pick up from one of our community drop-off locations at Perk-Cup Café.

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Round-up stop at community drop-off location Berea Branch, Cuyahoga County Library.

It was a huge success and we are very thankful for the generosity of everyone that helped!

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Sonnhalter employees are not afraid to get their hands dirty during the tool round-up.

Click here to read more about the Sonnhalter Fifth Annual Tool Drive.


Are You Leveraging Social Media Across Your Manufacturing Business?

September 10, 2014

There are all kinds of buzz words out there—integrated marketing, 360 degree marketing, etc. They all have the same goal in mind, and that is to take your marketing message and share it across all methods of communication. Place your customer in the center of your efforts and then deliver your information in various ways so they can get it in the format they prefer.

Heidi Cohen had an interesting post recently, 360 Degree Social Media Marketing, where she shared 37 different tactics that you can use.

Here are some highlights that manufacturers should consider:

  • Be consistent - Develop content on a regular basis so you can start to build a relationship.
  • Selective use of social media - Use the appropriate media to get in front of your prospects. Make sure you use photos and videos in making your points.
  • Utilize customer service - they are talking to customers all the time. Create a FAQ segment to share. Give your customers options on ways to contact you other than on social.
  • Collect customer feedback and input for research purposes. Hear firsthand their compliments and complaints on your products/services.
  • Utilize social in your PR efforts - We all have brand advocates. Work with them to help build your visibility. Start a blog to establish thought leadership.

If you like this subject, you may want to reads:

Are You Getting Your Sales Force Involved in Social Media?

How Does Social Media Impact a B-to-B Purchase?

 


We’ve Always Done it That Way!

September 9, 2014

OutsidetheBox

I cringe when I hear someone say that phrase. Past actions will not ensure future success. Manufacturers who have this mindset are missing out on many opportunities. You literally need to think outside the box.

In today’s market, there are so many other options to consider. Some may not be appropriate for you, but you have to evaluate and pick the ones that might be useful for you. One basic change we all need to make is change how we reach out to potentials. If you’re trying to sell features/benefits to a prospect, you’re going to disappointed.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Take a different approach - Instead of talking about you, help your customer solve a problem. Always answer the question from your customer’s perspective of  “What’s in it for me?”
  • Friendly website - If you count on your website as a way of selling your brand, come at it from a customer’s perspective and make sure that your site is responsive (have different versions for smart phones and tablets). Make it easy to find what they are looking for.
  • Limited social media - Most manufacturers don’t need to utilize all the options that are available to you. You should focus on those areas that will bring you the most bang for the time you have. You already may have existing things like how-to videos (YouTube) or Power Point presentations (SlideShare) on the best way to solve a particular problem. If you’re in specific market segments, join and participate in the conversations (LinkedIn). If you have the resources, starting a blog would be an ideal way of setting you apart from your competitors and putting you out as an industry expert. Places like Facebook and Twitter, for the most part, are not ways to communicate with contractors and professional tradesman.

The key is to do something different, and as I’ve shown you here, in most cases you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You have valuable info and insights on how to solve your customer’s problems. Don’t keep to yourself – share it.


From MAGNET: MAGNET Helps SIFCO Streamline And Stay “SMART”

September 4, 2014

Each month we’ll be featuring 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.

MAGNET Helps SIFCO Streamline And Stay “SMART”


SIFCO Forge Group found themselves with longer-than-desired turnaround and delivery times and needed a lean program to help them reduce these times and their costs. In partnering with MAGNET, SIFCO went far beyond a typical lean program and redefined their company culture with the SIFCO SMART program. In this video, you’ll learn more about MAGNET and SIFCO’s development of SMART and how it positively impacted not just SIFCO’s bottom line but every single member of its workforce.

Click here to read the original post.


Attending a September Trade Show in Chicago?

September 3, 2014

SonnhalterChicagoGuide

Are you heading to Chicago this month to attend the IMTS/IANA, ASPE or NECA trade shows? If so, check out our exclusive Insider’s Guide to Chicago! Use this guide to help you get around town during your free time while attending the various trade shows being held in Chicago in September.

- Want to know where the locals like to eat and drink? We have the insider information from our friends in Chicago.

- Need tips on nightlife and sightseeing? We made a list of shouldn’t-miss recommendations.

- Have you ever driven in Chicago? We have you covered with taxi and limo services.

See you at McCormick Place…or at one of the great places in the guide!


B-to-B Video is on the Rise: Are You Taking Advantage?

September 2, 2014

Does your company have a presence on YouTube? If not consider these stats:

  • 1 Billion unique visitors each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video watched each month
  • 100 hours of new videos are uploaded every minute

We’re a visual society and everyone loves to watch videos. Of B-to-B companies who are using videos, 80% of them reported positive results. From a manufacturing perspective, this should be a no-brainer. The key is to have a strategy and create compelling content. How-to videos, troubleshooting, new product launches are just a few that come to mind.

Some of the challenges firms are facing are lack of manpower and budgets being their biggest, followed by creating compelling content. Videos don’t have to be long or be made into a Hollywood production. There are inexpensive cameras out there and editing software that most things can be done in-house. The key is content. Give the viewer something he can use. Keep the message clear, to the point and short.

Here’s an example of one of our Marketing Minutes:

 

According to a recent study by Demand Metric, the most important objectives of videos are:

video objectives

I’m sure that those top 3 objectives fit into yours. So what are you doing about capitalizing videos to enhance your marketing efforts?

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

Have your Videos gone Viral?

Why Videos are an Important Way to Reach the Professional Tradesman

 Are you Taking Advantage of Online Videos?


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