Are You Missing out on Mobile Marketing Opportunities to the Professional Tradesman?

October 2, 2013

We’ve talked many times about the importance of having a mobile strategy when wanting to reach the professional contractors. Their office is a jobsite and they need to be and stay connected. Mobile is changing the way we reach these important people.

A recent article by Bob Oord in marketingprofs outlines the explosion in this market and ways we can maximize our efforts there. An amazing stat is that their usage has doubled in just 1 year! The integration of mobile apps with CRM and business intelligence has changed user expectations.


  • Responsive website – so it can be read on any device
  • Mobile-friendly campaigns - optimize landing pages.
  • Mobile advertising - can be tailored by location, time and device so take advantage of them.
  • Mobile email - make sure your HTML can be read properly on these devices.
  • Mobile apps - apps let you secure a prominent presence on your customer’s device.

Please note that a recent report by Forrester, “Don’t Confuse Tablet And Mobile Marketing,” a B2B marketer needs to differentiate between smart phones and tablets. Smart phones have a much smaller screen for content experiences and is used “on the go,” while tablets are used more at home and in the office offering rich content opportunities.

If you liked this article, you might want to read:

Mobile Marketing to the Professional Tradesman: What are you Doing?

Why Mobile Marketing is Important for the Professional Tradesman.

Free Resources You May Not Know About (for Tradespeople)

June 20, 2013

Today we have a guest blog post by Sandy Bucher, Media Engineer at Sonnhalter, sharing a little-known tip on an easy way to keep up with news in your industry.

If you are interested in finding out what’s happening in your trade, there are many trade publications available at no charge to tradespeople of all kinds, if you qualify. If you want to learn about the latest industry trends, read about upcoming trade shows or industry events or see new products available, all you need to do is request a subscription from these trade publications.

As long as you qualify for those magazine’s specifications, you should be able to receive your own copy of that magazine. Depending on your market, most of the qualification questions asked when requesting a subscription are the type of organization you work for, your job title or function, types of work your company does and do you buy or specify certain products/services. Sometimes they also ask for number of employees at your location, what types of construction fields is your firm engaged in or would you like a print or digital version.

Most subscriptions can be requested online from a publication’s website, or if you’ve been given a copy of a publication, most have tear-off cards that can be filled out and placed in the mail. It’s a pretty easy process. Take a few minutes and sign up for those publications that would benefit you in your work.

Social Media, How Can Tradesmen Connect?

May 30, 2013

Mile Free, Director of Industry Research and Technology for the Precision Machined Products Association, is posting today with advice for connecting on social media. Miles blogs regularly on PMPA’s blog, Speaking of Precision.

As tradesmen, advertising used to be pretty easy to figure out. A yellow pages ad in the local phone book, small display advertisements in the newspaper and maybe some classified advertisements in the weekly as well. Near a big city? Maybe you would have bit the bullet for a display ad in their yellow pages too. As a customer, in the old days, that’s how I would have found you…

So who uses a phone book these days?

Who still has a land line phone?

How many folks with smartphones walk around carrying a phone book?

My latest phone book is still on the front porch

My latest phone book is still on the front porch

That’s a trick question. While no one is carrying a phone book, the fact is that when they need to find something, they go search for it. On their smart phone or web device. How easy are you to find on search? For what kind of things are you on Google’s page one?

I’m not suggesting that you need to pay for advertisements on Google to get to page one, but if you use  social media tools correctly, you can be found on Google for the services that you provide, and that your customers want.

While I am a staff director for a trade association of precision machining companies, the lessons I learned about how to increase visibility in online search are just as applicable to tradesmen to build your credibility, and thus your visibility online.

Here are 5 steps to increasing your online visibility:

  1. Make sure that your website covers the products and services that you provide. Having an up-to-date website with photos is key to engaging your potential customers and audience. Think of it as your online showroom. Make it look like a showroom, a place where people would like to shop. Nice photos on your website and in your blog get you found on Google too.
  2. Create a blog to share your expertise. It will only take an hour or two a week to create some modest posts about your specialty, or show pictures and discuss a job you just completed, or why you should use a professional to do ____. Share it on both your business and personal Facebook pages.
  3. Use LinkedIn Groups and Facebook to increase your credibility in Google and other search engines. LinkedIn Groups are where you can post your blog posts as news items to get wider viewership. As Google finds your content on places other than your blog and website, it boosts your trust factor and credibility. Find them for your trade, your customers and your locale. Facebook provides a great way to have a conversation with your “natural market”- the folks you already know- and gives them material to help generate word of mouth. Even Twitter can have a role in your tradesman marketing.
  4. Repurpose what you already have. If you already have a sales brochure, repost sections of it as stand-alone blog content. Take photos from your jobs completed book, repost them telling a bit about the back story- How by doing it with your approach, you saved the owner $XXX in time or dollars. Or why these materials instead of XYZ…
  5. Share your expertise. Keeping your expertise hidden doesn’t help anyone. “3 things that can go wrong when you pour Liquid Fire ™ down your toilets instead of getting professional help” may just save someone’s eyesight, as well as help people think about what is really important when trying to solve their problem.

You are an expert. You don’t have to tell anyone why you use 1-1/4” fasteners instead of the 1” ones …but what’s the harm in pointing out that as a professional you use the right fastener for the job, as opposed to just buying the cheapest ones down at the depot store? And then showing them a photo of a job you had to fix because the other guy didn’t use the right fastener?

As you share more and more of your wisdom and experience online, if you tag it properly, you will soon discover that Google has put you on page one for some of products and services in your area that you offer. Because you blogged about them with credibility. And it happened without an ad buy- because to Google, you have become the credible expert in your area.

Is Your Website Mobile Ready for the Professional Tradesmen?

March 5, 2013


Manufacturers are trying different ways to get and stay in front of the professional tradesman, and your website is probably one of the first places they will look for info. Is it mobile friendly?

I recently read a post by one of my mentors, Michael Gass, on ways to test your site that I thought I’d share with you. Good info.

In preparation for new business opportunities, it is important that your company’s website be mobile ready.

The number of smartphones in use worldwide has now broken the 1 billion mark, according to Strategy Analytics. Only 15% of companies have a mobile optimized site even though Google estimates that there will be more Web traffic via mobile, than through PCs this year. According to a survey conducted for Compuware, 40% of users have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.

You’ll want prospects to have an easy experience learning about your agency or accessing your agency’s blog content via their mobile device.

Here’s a collection of best practices, white papers and case studies for your review and to help get you started:

There’s nothing like first hand experience so check out your company’s website on your mobile device. Sig Ueland, contributing editor for Practical Ecommerce, pulled together a list of 19 tools for testing your site’s mobile readiness. You can use any of these following 12 for free:

  1. Gomez
  2. MobiReady
  3. W3C mobileOK Checker
  4. GoMoMeter
  5. iPhone Tester
  6. iPad Peek
  7. Screenfly
  8. Mobile Phone Emulator
  9. The Responsinator
  10. Matt Kersley’s Responsive Design Testing
  11. Opera Mini Simulator
  12. iPhoney

You can make your agency’s website mobile ready until you can create the mobilized version of the site.

If you have a WordPress site, you can use plugins like MobilePress and Mippin which will automatically enable mobile users on your website to access a mobile version of it. Until the mobile version of Fuel Lines has been developed, I’m using another WordPress plugin called WPtouch to mobilize this site. There are also a number of online services such as Mobilize Today that will have your website ready for mobile in a matter of minutes.

Click on the following link for Sig’s complete list and description of each: 19 Tools to Test your Site for Mobile Devices

Relax…It’s Labor Day

September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day! We need to take time to say thanks to all the tradesmen that we come into contact with on a regular basis. What would we do without the electricians, plumbers, HVAC professionals? How would our factories run smoothly without all the MRO professionals out there?

Sonnhalter salutes America’s professional tradesmen and laborers on this very special holiday. Our working force built this country. And it’s because of each and every American’s labors that we enjoy the freedoms we have today.

At Sonnhalter, we earn our own living by marketing to professional tradesmen in industries like yours…from construction to industrial to MRO. To show our appreciation for such hard-working individuals, we offer a tip of the hardhat and our sincere thanks.

However you celebrate your Labor Day, enjoy it. You’ve certainly earned it.


Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Professional Tradesmen

July 2, 2012

For those of us who write blogs, we do it with the sole purpose of sharing insights and tips that hopefully make your job easier. Our biggest challenge once the killer content is written is to make sure as many eyes as possible see it. Professional tradesmen are always on the go, and I want to make sure they get what they want in short concise bits of information.

It’s true optimization is usually associated with search, but you can insure that your content performs well on social media platforms. I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen, 11 Tactics to Optimize Your Blog that I found very interesting and wanted to share some of the points she makes:

  • Focus on just a few keyword phrases – prioritize them by the words you want to cover.
  • Create great headlines - you need to catch their attention so they stop and smell the roses.
  • Use good photos/graphics - It’s true a picture is worth a thousand words and it attracts readers.
  • Make your posts easy to read - use headings and bullet points. It also helps search engines.
  • Make content spreadable - RSS feeds, emails or social media.

Those are some thoughts. Care to add to the list?

New Survey Shows that Mobile is Important to Professional Tradesmen

June 27, 2012

It should come as no surprise to anyone that smartphones and tablets are changing the way we all communicate and do business. This couldn’t be more true, especially for small businesses like contractors. These guys are “time starved” and are not sitting behind a computer all day. They are out taking care of business.

A recent survey by Cargo and Inc. Magazine in showed the vast majority (915) of U.S. small companies place importance on wireless communications and smartphones for their businesses. Tablets were not far behind at (64%). You can certainly bet that contractors of all kinds are on the top of this list.

Technology that Is Important to Their Business According to US Small-Business Owners, March 2012 (% of respondents)

So, if you’re not considering mobile as a key way to communicate with those professional tradesman, you should be.

Here’s a simple tip to get started: Adapt your mobile web presence for Apple OS-based devices (iPads make up 79% followed by Android devices at 39%).

Reaching Contractors via Mobile. Still Not a Believer? See what Grainger is doing.

June 19, 2012

We’ve talked a lot about mobile and what it means to both manufacturers and distributors when trying to reach the professional tradesmen. For those who are still on the fence about mobile and where it’s going, here is some useful info.

I recently read a few articles in on mobile that brought up several good points. interviewed Geoff Robertson from Grainger on how they are using mobile in their sales process.

Here are some highlights:

  • Over the past 12 months, Grainger has seen a 400% increase in mobile activity.
  • Beyond the location and availability issues, Grainger is trying to help companies streamline their workflow by giving those who are requesting the parts to list them, and then those responsible for purchasing can sign off all using mobile technology.
  • Over 50% of their users feel comfortable ordering over mobile devices.
  • Google has an entirely separate algorithm for mobile device searches.
  • Google reported that 1 in 7 searches are now done on mobile devices.

If you don’t have a mobile strategy in place, it should get on your radar screen soon or you’ll be missing lots of opportunities.

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

Are You Targeting Emails for Your Mobile Marketing?

Why a Mobile Strategy is so Important to Reach the Professional Tradesmen

What’s Your Mobile Media Strategy for 2012?

What Kind of B-to-B Marketing Is Working Best For You – Traditional, Digital or Social?

April 18, 2012

Now that most companies are back on the offensive and are actively spending more money on marketing, I thought I would ask you where are you getting the best results?

I know the big focus and conversations over the last few years have been on social. Have you jumped in yet, and if so, what kind of results are you getting? What about traditional things like print ads in trade journals and direct mail? Is anyone gaining traction with these?

So to answer my own question, we’re finding in our self promotion that both traditional as well as social media are playing important roles in new business development

A few years ago, we added social media to our marketing mix with this blog. It’s been a major commitment by us to do 2-3 posts a week, but our strategy is paying off. We not only have clients following us, but also potentials who are looking at going after the professional tradesmen.

The blog increases our visibility and also visits to our website. We’ve had a run on inquiries over the last 6 months from folks who have been following us and like what we’re saying. From the market overviews to Podcasts with industry leaders, they have recognized that we specialize in a niche market they are trying to reach and have come to us for help. What’s nice about these new business opportunities is that we’re not competing for the business.

All of our new business isn’t coming from social. We’ve had a print campaign going for the last three years in the leading trade journals where we put a false cover on the copies that go to potential advertisers in those markets. This too has brought us several new business opportunities.

So what’s working for you?

What Are You Doing to Grow Your Email List of Professional Tradesmen?

February 22, 2012

I know we all know “CONTENT IS KING” and we focus on putting out good stuff. But we should be just as focused on building the list to whom we’ll be sending all this valuable info.

It’s a fact that if you have an engaged database of subscribers, you have a captive audience not only for them to read, but to share. I recently read a post on by James Penn entitled, 10 Ways to Get More Email Subscribers For Your Blog that I thought brought home some key points.

Among them are:

  • Use multiple opt-in forms – have 3-4 in your newsletter template. The more you have, the better the chances of them signing up.
  • Offer a freebie for signing up - give them a report, industry trends or white paper for signing up.
  • Use your most popular posts – they will continue to bring in traffic.
  • Create special reports on industry issues - use already existing content to create.
  • Ask readers to join your email list – what better way to get people on board

These are some great tips. What are you doing to increase your email lists?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 145 other followers