B-to-B Email Marketing – Still the Best for ROI

February 23, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

I keep harping on building your own internal customer database. One of the reasons is that if you’re selling online, that list could be gold for you. 90% of the marketers surveyed by Accenture and the Blackstone Group said email marketing was what they used to promote their commerce activities.

Another interesting stat is that of these marketing executives, 23% said that email marketing drove at least 25% of overall revenues. Some say that email marketing accounts for more sales than all other digital advertising.

If you want accountability, consider this:

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.

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

Email Marketing-Still a Top Performer.

Email Marketing-Is this the Best Way to Reach Professional Tradesman?


Don’t Miss the Marketing Summit for Building Material Manufacturers

February 16, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

I’ll be one of the guest speakers at the Whizard Summit in Boulder, Colorado in April. Mark Mitchell, CEO of Whizard Strategy, has put together a jam-packed, 2-day conference for manufacturers of building materials on ways to address issues with architects, builders and contractors.

WhizardEvent

Here is a taste of what you’ll learn step-by-step in this two-day event packed with insights and strategies you can use immediately to generate sales:

  • Find out what builders REALLY want along with 3 simple ways to make sure you give it to them.
  • The #1 reason architects keep ignoring you – and a simple shift you can make to get specified.
  • The biggest challenge facing most contractors and a proven strategy that will make them WANT to do business with you.
  • The secret to selling Commercial Building Facilities Managers and Design Build Contractors – an often-missed step that stops the sales process dead in its tracks.
  • A growth blueprint you can share with lumber and specialty dealers that will make you a welcome visitor any time.
  • How to take the intimidation out of “Big Box” selling and finally get your products and services the respect they deserve.

Guest speakers include building materials experts in market research, SEO, online content and video, marketing automation, builder and contractor sales.

To register, visit http://seethewhizard.com/summit/. You’ll receive an additional $200 discount if you use the code “Sonnhalterclient” before March 1st.


Why Story Telling is So Important When Dealing with Contractors

February 10, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

I recently read a post by John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing, People Buy Stories Before They Buy Stuff, that reminded me how true that statement was, especially when talking with contractors.

Tell me, do you know a contractor that won’t talk your leg off? If you do, it’s a rarity. Contractors learn by telling and listening to stories. Whether it’s about how they developed a short cut in their process to save them money, to a funny story about one of the new hires screwing up a job royally until they stepped in and saved the day.

I think we all agree that stories are an important part of the selling process. For you, it starts with how you write an email or blog post, to your interaction when face to face with a contractor. They need to feel comfortable with you.

Yes, they know you want to sell them something, but most want to do a little talking first (consider it foreplay). There is a right way to use stories as a way to guide contractors to that perfect journey.

John outlines several keys to building a better framework for storytelling:

  1. The ideal contractor persona – you need to know what drives them, what they believe and what they fear. Your local distributor should be able to help fill in the back story on each contractor. It’s about establishing yourself as the right person to help them.
  2. Make them the hero – the main character must be your ideal customer persona. You’re there to help them understand the real problem and that you can help them solve it.
  3. Help them understand their problem – and give them practical and proven methods of fixing it.

Understanding contractor’s goals and questions during every phase of the buying process gives you, the manufacturer, a chance to create content and campaigns aimed at satisfying their needs.

Do you really know your ideal customer’s persona?


Are Your Sales and Marketing Departments on the Same Page?

January 20, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

As we start 2016, it may be time to reflect on ways we can do better moving forward. I have found one of the biggest issues and one of the easiest ones to correct is communications between sales and marketing. Here’s a post I did last year that might give you some starting points.

Sales and marketing must work together to define the ideal client and determine how and what to get in front of them. Social media and the internet in general has changed the way people buy. Today, research is done online long before the potential customer identifies themselves to a prospective vendor. So what can you do to ensure that when the buyer is ready, you’re on the list to talk to?

This is an issue that continues to frustrate marketers and sales across the board. Both disciplines have insights to offer and neither should be working in a vacuum.I read an interesting article recently by John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing that addresses this very problem.

He states: “My take is that for organizations to take full advantage of the dramatic shift in the way people and organizations buy today they must intentionally blend inbound marketing, outbound marketing and inbound selling a way that mirrors today’s customer journey.”

He offers some suggestions on how they can work together. Here are some highlights of shared responsibilities:

  • Planning – When marketing is creating a plan, involve sales. They have insights that marketing doesn’t. Their insights are invaluable in helping define the customer journey.
  • Editorial – Even if sales people aren’t great writers, they certainly can identify pain points along the way and possible solutions for marketing to write about.
  • Social – Make sales aware of social opportunities, whether it’s LinkedIn or participating in an industry forum that social is a good networking tool.
  • Engagement – Have sales and marketing make calls together or write a proposal.
  • Measurement – Forget quantity and focus on quality of lead and how you can take them down the sales funnel. Focus on creating a profitable customer.

If you liked this post you might like:
Are You Getting Your Sales Force Involved in Social Media?
How Does Social Media Impact a B-to-B Purchase?


Mobile Marketing Continues to Grow in Workplace

January 19, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

According to a recent post in eMarketer.com, mobile is continuing to grow in the workplace. In 2014, the average non voice time U.S. adults spent on mobile devices surpassed that of desktops and laptops for the first time.

And by 2017, eMarketer.com estimates that mobile usage will increase to more than an hour a day more than desktops or laptops. This should come as no surprise to us. The next time you’re in a meeting, look around the room and see how many mobile devices are there and how many times those individuals check their devices during the course of the meeting.

So what does this mean for manufacturers who are trying to reach the professional tradesman? It means if you don’t currently have a mobile strategy, you better develop one soon! Here some areas you need to focus on:

Mobile Marketing Tactics Used by B2B Marketers Worldwide, May 2015 (% of respondents)

LinkedIn, a leading BtoB social media tool, reports that 55% of all its traffic is coming from mobile in the last part of 2015. Google reported that in the U.S., more than 50% of all searches were made on mobile devices .

Similar estimates for mobile use: Facebook (58%) and Twitter (90%) are forecasted by the end of 2016.

Mobile is here to stay and we need to recognize that these are new challenges for our workforces.


Email Opens on Mobile Increasing: Are You Participating?

January 6, 2016

Desktop opens are still more than mobile, but the trend is closing the gap according to a recent post in emarketer.com.

Mobile click-through rates for U.S. marketing emails sent by Yesmail clients in the later part of 2015 were up close to 14%.

Email Marketing Open Share in North America, by Device and Industry, Q2 2015 (% of total emails sent by Experian Marketing Services clients)

So what does this mean for manufacturers that are trying to reach contractors and tradesman? It means that whatever you’re trying to communicate to them, it needs to be mobile friendly. Contractors check more than emails on job sites, and the more mobile friendly you are, the better results there will be.

Besides the content they want to deliver, they need to consider apps and mobile tactics. Here are a few.

Possible Apps to Consider:

  • Product information
  • Engineering or other calculators
  • Installation and troubleshooting instruction videos
  • Productivity tools
  • Competitive cross-reference charts
  • Ability to check current inventory levels
  • Distributor locator with direct links

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

Are you using mobile to share your content with tradesman and contractors.

2016 Budget: How much are you going to spend on social media and mobile marketing?


Content Marketing: More is Not Necessarily Better

November 22, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

Your potential audience doesn’t want quantity, they want quality. So if you’re trying to generate more content quicker just for the sake of having it, don’t waste your time. You need to accelerate demand, not noise.

I recently read an article by Carlos Hidalgo from Content Marketing Institute on How to Develop a Buyer-Centric Content Marketing Strategy that made several good points.

The best way to connect with your audience is to determine what kind of content they want. In other words, what motivates buyer behavior and how do they get information? If you know these, you can build the correct content architecture.

  • What motivates buyer’s behavior? You need to have a deeper understanding of how a buyer thinks and then what do we need to say to get him over to our side.
  • How do they get their information? What type of content do they prefer and where do they go to get it?
  • Building a content architecture – Once you have an answer to the above questions, then you can map out a plan to get to them with the right info at the right time.

Content Marketing’s main purpose is to drive specific business outcomes. So the buyers are looking for more info, just the right info. He points to a 2014 ANNUITAS survey where less than 3% of those responsible for content marketing activities were happy with their outcomes. Here’s another scary fact from Sirius Decisions — that 70-80% of all content is never used!

These are not good numbers to take to the C-Suite to get more funding. If you can’t achieve positive and measurable results that can be tied to sales revenues, you really don’t have a content strategy at all.


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