Blogging Tips to Increase Marketing Efforts to the Professional Tradesmen

September 17, 2014

For those who follow me on a regular basis, you know I’m a big supporter of blogs. It seems that most companies now are at least considering doing a blog.

Here are a few good reasons you should consider a blog for your company:

  • Websites are mostly static - Once a contractor has been to your website, why does he need to go back? He knows who you are and what you do. If you don’t get him to follow you on an RSS feed or fill out a form to be on a mailing list, you basically have lost most visitors.
  • Thought leadership - One of the main objectives of a blog is to set you and your company apart. What better way to increase your brand awareness and generate new leads?
  • Keep your customers/prospects coming back - When you publish new content on a regular basis, customers and prospects keep coming back. It also allows for interactions with both categories.
  • Re-purpose content - You can take a current post and use it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to gain additional exposure.
  • Blogs can provide additional in-links - Once you establish yourself as a thought leader in a category, others will begin to link back to you and this will alert search engines that you must be saying something important.

Blogging is a collaborative process. You need and want to interact with your audience.

Here a few tips on writing a good posts:

  • You need a catchy title - Like anything else, if you can’t spark an interest, folks won’t click on to read your words of wisdom.
  • Know your audience - Know what issues are affecting them on a regular basis.
  • Have an opinion - People follow you because you give them a unique insight. Set yourself apart.
  • Be yourself - Let your personality shine through. Write like you talk. Inject some humor when appropriate.
  • Engage your readers - Ask for opinions, or if the subject matter is somewhat controversial, ask for a counter viewpoint.

Blogs are a lot of work, but if done properly, can set yourself apart in your market and ultimately get you new customers.

 


Is Brand Advocacy Part of Your Marketing Strategy to Reach Tradesmen?

August 26, 2014

Let’s face it, in an ideal world we’d all want our customers to love us! We all know that’s not going to happen, but I’ll bet you might have more advocates for your brand than you think.

Why are brand advocates important? Studies show that people rely on peer recommendations and reviews before purchasing goods. Contractors are no different, especially if you’re introducing a new product or application they haven’t used or seen before. They certainly don’t want to be the first to try something.

Brand advocates are more than loyal customers. They are your ambassadors in the trades. I’ve seen contractors with tattoos of company logos. That to me is the ultimate.

Some brand advocates will surface on their own by commenting on your blog or website several times or talking you up on an online forum.  Others might offer positive comments on a survey or warranty card. Don’t forget to ask your sales staff in the field who are calling on contractors, as well as your customer service department. They certainly should be able to identify a few. Hopefully a few will be high-profile folks within some associations that you are a part of.

One of our clients in the plumbing market was able to identify and nurture several advocates over the years. Once they brought the top 10 contributors into the main office and treated them like royalty for 2 days and then sent them home. They got a plant tour, a look at what was coming down the line as new products and met with customer service and technical people that they interface with on a regular basis on the phone or with emails. You wouldn’t believe the results of that effort. They became ambassadors on steroids!

Once you’ve found them, then what? You should set up a brand advocacy program that will give them ways to help you grow the brand. Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask them to write testimonials or reviews on new products. Then ask them to share them.
  • See if they would be willing to do a case history for you.
  • If timing permits and you can meet them at an association meeting or trade show, see if they would let you  interview them both for a podcast and testimonial video.
  • Ask them for referrals.
  • Have them test and evaluate new products before they are brought to market.
  • Have them identify potential new products.

This needs to be an ongoing effort so you’re always adding new advocates to keep the message current and fresh.

Don’t miss a golden opportunity for your customers to help sell your brand.


Market Overview: HVAC Market for 2013

June 19, 2013

GoingUp

Sonnhalter is deeply involved with the professional tradesmen. We recently updated our overview of the HVAC market. The purpose of the document is to give the reader a quick snapshot of the industry and its players for 2013.

Highlights include association and buying group contacts, training firms/certification organizations, franchisee organizations and consolidators, online resources, trade shows/meetings and media publications.

A free copy for download is available. Click here to sign up.


What’s Your Mobile Media Strategy for 2012?

February 7, 2012

Moving forward in 2012, is mobile media going to be part of your overall marketing strategy?

According to a recent survey by the Association of Strategic Marketing (ASM), 2011 Trends in Mobile Marketing, 58% of respondents indicated that they were not using mobile marketing.

As a matter of fact, mobile seems to rank somewhere in the middle of overall marketing practices behind email (which ironically is number one) and SEO. The 42% that do use mobile in their marketing plans are optimizing their websites and emails and are beginning to use QR codes.

If you like this post you might like:

Is Mobile Marketing the Best Way to Reach the Professional Tradesman?

What Are You Doing to Reach the Young Professional Tradesman?

The Mobile Marketing Trends Study was created to allow marketing folks to see what similar organizations were doing. Some highlights of mobile marketing goals include:

  • Sales/revenue – 33%
  • Product service info – 25%
  • Customer retention – 15%
  • Lead nurturing – 11%
  • Customer opt-in – 10%
  • Alert reminders – 6%

For those of us in the B-to-B space, and especially for those of us trying to reach the professional tradesman, mobile should be a part of your marketing plan.

Not sure where to start? The easiest place to start is to optimize your website for mobile. Secondly, consider sending mobile-optimized emails.

The key is to make a plan and do something, monitor the response and do something else. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe mobile is going away, and there are many opportunities to reach our target audiences.


5 Things An E-Mail Marketer Should Avoid when Targeting the Professional Tradesman

January 27, 2010

Sometimes we take things for granted and can tend to become complacent when using tools like e-mail marketing. We think we know it all since we’ve been doing it for so long, but we may have lost sight of what made e-mail so successful in the past.

A recent post by Curtis Jackson, What are the top 10 e-mail marketing mistakes, got me thinking that we should all evaluate the processes we have in place regarding e-mails. Here are my 5 top things to avoid:

  1. No Strategy - When you first started using e-mails, didn’t you have a written strategy of what you wanted to accomplish and how you were going to measure it? How are you doing?
  2. List updates - When was the last time you updated your list? Have your open rates been increasing or decreasing? How about undeliverables? That brings us to the next point.
  3. Ignoring metrics - If you’re actively doing e-mail marketing, you have to be using some tool like Constant Contact to help you manage your programs. They have metric tools built in to see how successful the actual e-mail was (both in content and delivery).
  4. Missing an opportunity in your top line message - Chances are your message will be viewed in a preview pane. Make sure your top line message includes a link to a web-based version.
  5. Timing - Tuesday at 10 a.m. may not be the most opportune time to reach your audience. Test out different combinations to see what works best for your audience.

Those are my thoughts. What are you doing to ensure you are getting the most out of your e-mail marketing?

Share


Why Online Videos Help Attract Professional Tradesman

December 16, 2009

Manufacturers should not  lose site that videos are a powerful informational tool when it comes to building credibility with contractors. Consider if you will that next to Google Search, the next highest search is YouTube. That alone should tell you something.

From case studies, testimonials and training, to new product info, videos are a unique way of telling your story and add another dimension to the story by engaging the viewer. According to eMarketer.com, rich media ads with video had a higher dwell rate than those without, and almost double the dwell time.

Rich Media Metrics Worldwide: Video vs. No Video, Q4 2008-Q3 2009

This translates into fewer impressions needed for the same results.


So What’s Your Social Media Strategy to Reach Professional Tradesmen?

September 2, 2009

Everyone in the manufacturing sector is feeling the pressure from around them to get in on this social media phenomenon. So you open a LinkedIn account, set up Twitter and even get a Facebook page set up. Wow, that was easy, now all I have to do is to wait until somebody finds me. Unfortunately, this scenario is much truer than one would like to think. Social media is no different than any other marketing program you have. You have to have a strategy in place before you go and start implementing it. You need to determine why you’re on the social media scene before you implement the how. Here are some helpful hints:

  • What’s your point? Do you want to build awareness, build loyalty or generate new leads?
  • What’s your point of differentiation? You have to define a niche or specialty.
  • Do some research into how your target audience uses Social. You may find contractors use Facebook more to try to promote their local business or maybe it’s Twitter. Do you know?
  • How will you determine whether your social program will be successful? You need to determine expectations before starting a program.

Jason Baer wrote a great post recently, Develop a social media strategy in 7 steps, that you might find interesting reading.

Share


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 150 other followers