Do you Participate in LinkedIn Groups? Why not?

LinkedIn certainly is the most popular social site for professionals with over 347 million people participating. Certainly there must be someone in that mix you'd like to talk to. It's a great resource for product and industry knowledge, especially if you identify, join and participate in groups that share your same interests.read more >

Why Distribution Needs to Charge for Their Expertise

Distributors in general are their own worst enemies when it comes to the value they bring to the table and charging customers for it. As their customers are asking for more and are willing to pay less, the distributor's margins are being reduced and they don't know how to change the momentum.read more >

How Many Ways Are You Using Content to Reach Tradesmen?

We all want to get our message in front of contractors. In order to get more out of your content, you need to tie it to your strategy.read more >

Do Less, But Do It Better

I don't know why folks think that more is better. Better than what? Why do you have to focus on the latest and greatest new thing that comes out? From a marketing perspective, I think we'd be better off if we focus on some key initiatives and do them extremely well.read more >

Are You Making the Most of Your Content Curation?

One of the biggest challenges we all face is getting more out of our marketing budgets. Most of us, when thinking of developing content, think of it as a new task that we have to start with a clean sheet of paper.read more >

Lead Nurturing: What Industrial Marketers Need to Know

Industrial marketers who are targeting design engineers need to practice the virtue of patience when communicating with them. I know Sales wants low hanging fruit to sell now, and the C suite is looking for results sooner than later.read more >

What’s the Future of Small Independent Industrial Distributors?

Long before Grainger, Fastenal, Home Depot and the thing they call the Internet, the local industrial distributor was the backbone to local manufacturers and businesses. My, how things have changed over the past several decades.read more >

Are Your Print Ads Effective? Here’s How You Can Find Out.

If your company currently has a print advertising program in the trade publications, did you know that many of these publications offer ad readership studies at no additional cost to the advertiser? These studies are usually completed once or twice a year, on ads half-page or larger in size.read more >

Content Marketing: Who has the Advantage – Big Brands or Small Ones?

I always like stories of the little guys who take on the 800-lb. gorilla and win the battle. One of the benefits of social media and content marketing is you don’t have to be an 800-lb. gorilla to succeed. read more >

The Challenges of Being Seen, Heard and Read

Everyone is getting better at resisting all the interruption-driven ads and promotions. Your customers are taking control of what they want to read or look at.read more >

Is Your Brand Humanized?

If you're using social media, your objective is to connect with your target audience. In order to do that, you need to talk in non-business terms instead of connecting on a human level.read more >

Do You Use Relationship Marketing When Trying to Reach Contractors?

I've always been a big believer in relationship selling. After all, we usually buy stuff from people we know, like and trust. Agree? So why not take that to another step in the selling process by using the same principles to your marketing efforts?read more >

Listen…Please

Think about the people you care about and like both in your personal life as well as your professional one. I bet one of the reasons you like them is because they take the time to listen.read more >

Positioning: Have You Found Your Focus?

Last fall, Sonnhalter was recognized by HubSpot as an agency that "gets" positioning and has found its focus. It's no secret that we're known for our B2T marketing communication niche and that we really dig in and get our hands dirty. But the question we often get is: "Does B2T limit you?"read more >

Are Your Employees Brand Ambassadors? Why Not?

Do your employees know where your products are used? Do they know the applications the parts they make make possible? Are they aware of the history and critical nature of your company? There are many simple, cost effective ways to increase productivity and morale by implementing a program that lets them know.read more >

Tips on Building a Good Contractor Email List

Let’s face it, we’re all in this for the same reason. To talk with people who share the same interest. We must always be tweaking and improving what we deliver.read more >

12 Tips for Effective Tradesman Videos

Well tradesmen are the same way, so don’t expect them to actively seek out a 5-minute commercial on YouTube. All the search terms in the world won’t make people sit through a video that does nothing more than pat yourself on the back for making such a great product.read more >

New Project Meetings – Tips on How to Make the Most of Them

Project meetings are so important for all who will be working on them, so let's make sure we make the most out of them. We usually start out with a creative brief initiated by the lead person for the project. This sets the tone and objectives for the project, so when the team does get together, they have a clearer picture of what needs to be done. read more >

Do You Know How Tradesmen Make Their Purchasing Decisions?

For a major new purchase, do you think a contractor or tradesman just walks into a distributor and asks what's new, and then just buys it? Of course not. The point is, the contractor has done lots of research long before they identify themselves to you as a potential sale.read more >

When is Enough Content Enough?

As marketers, we're all trying to do more with less which begs the question, when is enough enough? Or should the question be quality vs. quantity? I'm of the opinion that good content is better than more content and that we should be focusing on where it's being targeted.read more >

Are you using SlideShare to Generate Leads from Tradesman?

SlideShare is probably the most overlooked social media tool. Close to 70 million visitors a month second only to YouTube is nothing to sneeze at. SlideShare was purchased by LinkedIn a few years ago which allows both platforms to work seamlessly together which is good news for you.read more >

Are you Using Mobile to Share Your Content with Tradesman and Contractors?

What I find especially interesting is mobile is last on the list and social media is second. Do they think contractors are checking their Facebook or Twitter accounts during the work day to see what kind of info a manufacturer is promoting that day? I wonder if those content marketers really understand how and what might be useful to a contractor on a job site.read more >

Why Should You Use Short Videos to Attract Professional Tradesman?

As a manufacturer, are you capitalizing on this powerful tool to disperse your message? You don’t need a “Hollywood” production. As a matter of a fact, the ones done on a mobile phone would do just fine. We’ve done “man on the street” interviews with contractors at will-call counters and on job sites asking their opinions on tools and other products.read more >

For Your Lead Nurturing Programs – Where do you Find Good Content?

One of the biggest challenges B-to-B marketers face is developing/identifying content that can be used in e-newsletters, e-blasts or just plain emails as part of a nurturing program. I think a major stumbling block is that some think they need to produce all-original content themselves or have control of all the messaging. The whole point of a nurturing program is to engage potentials with RELEVANT and INTERESTING content.read more >

LinkedIn Still the Top Performer for B-to-B

I don't know about you, but LinkedIn continues to be a top performer for me and my blog posts. The top referrer is search engines, but LinkedIn is a strong second and Twitter is third for getting the right eyes on my blog.read more >

Email Marketing: Still a top performer

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?read more >

Why PR Should be a Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Everyone today is so focused on Content Marketing that they may overlook an old standby, PR, that could help in getting that all-important content out there. Content marketing drives long-term thought leadership goals. PR can help you short-term to meeting these objectives.read more >

Are You Getting Your Fair Share of Customer Testimonials?

I have found that there's no better way to position yourself as a credible source than by having a third party sing your praises. Most companies, if pleased with what you did or supplied, would be happy to not only give you a recommendation, but in some cases, a testimonial.read more >

Landing Page Tips

Hopefully, as part of your strategy to move prospects along the selling cycle, you are using landing pages in order to deliver on what you promised. It’s also a great way to track responses. It could also be a way of losing a potential customer.read more >

New Years Resolution: Get back to the basics

It's a new year, and before we start doing the same old thing, we should take a minute to make sure what we're doing is getting us the results we want. Makes sense, doesn't it? We do it in our personal lives this time of year.read more >

What are you doing to build your “Proprietary Audience?

Companies need audiences to survive before they are customers. They first have to be part of an audience. As we all are focusing on creating content, it won't mean much if you don't have someone to read and react to it. read more >

Manufacturers: What are you doing to improve the customer experience?

Today more than ever, customers are expecting, and in some cases demanding, a better customer experience. These type of experiences have to start in the C suite and trickle down. The Customer service department may be on the front line, but they can only mirror what management has in mind.read more >

8 Tips on Generating High Quality B-to-B Leads

Let's face it, in your world qualified leads are or should be the holy grail of marketing. According to a report by Marketing Sherpa 78% of B2B marketers biggest challenge is generating qualified leadsread more >

What part of selling is the “Human Factor?”

I know everyone is so focused on social media and content creation, but that's only the beginning of the sales cycle. When people identify themselves, who makes the sale - the internet or a person? I'd say unless you're selling a commodity or selling on price, there needs to be interaction with a person(s) along the way. In other words, the Human Factor takes over.read more >

Are You Still Pitching or Are You Starting a Conversation?

I'm still amazed by the number of folks who are still trying to sell me something instead of trying to solve my problem. I think it's because they are struggling with their story and finding the right voice to tell it on. The old school model of glad handling and feature benefit selling has gone by the wayside for the most part.read more >

How Are You Utilizing Training?

I don’t think any manufacturer out there would argue the importance of training. What manufacturer wouldn’t want to ensure their customers are trained properly on how to use their products or informed on their latest product offerings. Plus, training offers manufacturers a way to further differentiate themselves from competitors as well as continue to build their brand with their customersread more >

Email Lists: What are you doing to grow yours?

There are so many sources for gathering data from trade shows, PR and leads from advertising. We need to formulate a plan to separate them by market, industry or other criteria so specific targeted messages can be sent with a strong call to action. read more >

UPS B2B Purchasing Insights Very Enlightening

Industrial distribution was once dominated by family owned companies built on personal relationships. Things are changing and now suppliers (whether they are distributors or manufacturers) need to be not only aware of, but be a part of the online movement.read more >

What’s a Customer’s Lifetime Value To You?

For all of us in sales, it's all about now. Making this month's/quarter's numbers. While there's nothing wrong with this, we all need to step back and look at the total value of a customer. We need to realize, that even though we got this sale, it doesn't guarantee the next one.read more >

Are You Using Automation Tools to Help in Social Media?

We're all trying to do more with less. When it comes to social media it's no different. We should be focused on content and use automated tools to help spread the word on social platforms. Every industry is different but following are some automation tools you should consider and an infographic on the best times to post.read more >

Manufacturers: Do You Have a Loyalty Program?

We all want to capture more business, and the best source of that is from existing customers. If you were a retailer, it would be much simpler to develop a program. But if you're a manufacturer who sells through distribution channels, your challenge is where do you put your efforts ... at the distributor or end user? You're between a rock and a hard place.read more >

6 Things You Need to Know About Printing

By Robin Heike, Production Engineer, Sonnhalter Printing may only be “ink on paper” in a general sense, but when you’re printing collateral and other materials, you need quality printing. Here are a few things you need to know about printing for a quality final product: Good design requires good art Good print requires good art Good print requires good paper Good print requires good printers Good printers stay on my vendor list Good printers have a wealth of knowledge – use it Ink on paper produces print. Print with these things in mind products amazing!read more >

Manufacturers: Content Overload. What Are You Doing About It?

Content Overload! It's not just in the everyday workload of getting stuff done, but in all the new options of delivering your great content that needs to be reviewed to see if it's appropriate for your audiences.read more >

What we can learn from kids going back to school

My grandkids went back to school last month, and after having a very active summer, I asked them if they were looking forward to going back to school. They both agreed that they were, and when I asked why, some of the answers surprised me.read more >

Social Media For Manufacturers

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Awhile back, we presented a webinar on social media for industrial manufacturers. Many in our clients' industries wonder if social media is worth their time, and we typically say yes. Social media is a broad and sometimes intimidating part of marketing. To simplify it just a little, we focus on the four areas where we see manufacturers receiving the greatest value: YouTube SlideShare LinkedIn Blogs To get the scoop, you can watch the webcast on YouTube and follow along on the slides below.   Webinar: Social Media In Manufacturingread more >

What Are You Doing With All Those Email Leads You’re Getting?

We all have a list of customers' emails in some assemblage of order. What are you doing with them? Let's not assume just because someone is currently buying from you that they will continue to do so. You need to continue to reinforce why they should do business with you and it doesn't have to be a sell piece. Give them something of value that they can use in their business. A quick installation tip. A calculator link to help them figure out how much product they need. Besides the emails you already have from current, past and future customers, what are you doing with all the leads you're getting from digital sources? Digital media is a great way to build on to your existing database list and start nurturing them along your selling cycle. By using an email marketing tool, you can build silos by market or by where they are in the buying cycle so you can tailor messaging to each. Here are a few tips in developing your lists: Get their permission - send them an email that you'd like to keep them on a list to send out valuable info on a regular basis that would help them. Ask questions - when sending out the initial request, give them options of things that might interest them, i.e., markets, product or applications that they would find useful. Get them engaged - invite them to a webinar or send them a how-to video or an e-book if you have one. Stay on topic - focus on what you do. You're trying to build brand awareness and credibility. Respect their time - experts say you shouldn't send more than 2-3 emails a month. My recommendation is start with 1. Monitor who's reading them - by using an email marketing tool, you can see who opened…read more >

Manufacturers: What Are You Doing to Maximize Your Brand?

With all the content marketing and social media options that are out there, where does a manufacturer start to ensure their brand gets noticed? What are you doing to build both your brand and your social media strategy?read more >

Blogging Tips to Increase Marketing Efforts to the Professional Tradesmen

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.read more >

What Are You Doing to Drive Opted-in Emails?

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 do it 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 look for future gems. It's not only what you have to say but how you say it read more >

Are You Leveraging Social Media Across Your Manufacturing Business?

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 you 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.read more >

We’ve Always Done it That Way!

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.read more >

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

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.read more >

What is a USP?

Do you have a USP? Do you know what a USP is? USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition and it is an important part of developing a marketing program. In the first video of Sonnhalter's Marketing Minute series, Matt explains how to develop a good USP for your next marketing program.read more >

Tips on Getting the C-Suite Involved in Blogging

The folks at the top got there, for the most part, because they know the industry and your customer base. Unfortunately, as they move up the corporate ladder, they spend less and less time with the customer and what's really on their mind.read more >

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

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. read more >

Email Marketing – Is this the best way to reach the professional tradesman?

With all the marketing trends and new things over the last several years, email still seems to be the "workhorse" for most people's marketing efforts. Recent research from Gigaom reports that over 75% of smart phone users check their emails on their phones. What I find remarkable, if you look at the chart below, 5 years ago paid search, SEO and digital ads would have been at the top of the list. Oh, how the more things change the more they remain the same.read more >

Manufacturers: Do You Have a Responsive Website? You Should.

How many times have you seen an ad or read an article with a link that when you clicked on it, it went to a page that was designed to be read on a full size screen? Chances are you didn't go any farther and clicked out of it.read more >

B-to-B Marketing: Is There Room for Humor?

Everyone knows that B-to-B marketing is serious stuff. Maybe sometimes too serious! We need to write white papers and do microsites that talk about all the features and benefits. All good and necessary stuff, but is it memorable to a prospect looking at your brand? Now I agree that not all things may be appropriate for a humorous take, but most are and there are plenty of companies reaching out and taking the leap.read more >

Do’s and Don’ts of Content Marketing

So everyone knows what content marketing is. But do we know how to get the best results out of it? I know I've been doing this for over three years now and have hardly touched the potential of what is available. I've been to webinars, seminars and summits on the subject and continue to learn new ways to capitalize on Content Marketing.read more >

Do You Repurpose Your Content?

Repurposing is taking an existing piece of content and communicating your ideas in different ways using different media (i.e. SlideShare, infographic, podcasts) to deliver the same message from several different angles. Not all content should be repurposed though. You should stick to your core message that's not time sensitive. read more >

Are You Asking Contractors for Feedback?

Consistent contractor feedback is a key in establishing a long-term partnership. Let's face it, we all have competition and contractors have choices. I think we're missing opportunities to cement relationships and differentiate our brands. When was the last time you talked to a contractor that didn't have an opinion?read more >

Content Marketing: What Are Your Competitors Doing?

We hear a lot today about content marketing and how we all need to start producing more meaningful content to share. I'm OK with that, but most of us have the cart before the horse. Instead of starting to develop content, we first do a content strategy. Lots of us do this by taking a look internally to see what content might already exist and identify topics and resources for future development. read more >

Considering Starting a Blog?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer John and I presented a webinar awhile back, at the request of a client, about blogs. When it comes to blogs, the most frequent question we get is: Should we start a blog? It's important to analyze the goals of your organization's overall marketing plan to see if a blog fits into it. A company blog, like any other communication initiative, is a commitment. Blogs overall take time and energy to run, but they can provide a great payoff if they're done well. Here are 5 key questions to ask when thinking about starting a blog: Who is my audience? Who else is competing for my audience's attention? What will be the blog's focus? What are the goals for the blog? How will these goals be measured? If you have those answers established and decide that a blog should be a part of your marketing plan, check out the presentation from our webinar below, or watch it on YouTube to get more information on the ins and outs of getting a blog going. And of course, our team is happy to help you get a blog off the ground as well! Webinar: Should a blog be a part of your marketing plan? Slidesread more >

B-to-B Marketers: Are You Utilizing SlideShare?

When we think of utilizing social media in the marketing mix, SlideShare is probably the most overlooked and underutilized tool. There are over 60 million unique visitors a month to SlideShare sites with over 215 million page views. Users are not only looking for good content, but also shared insights and SlideShare give you a platform for both. Plus, you get the added bonus of using the other social media tools to promote your Power Points. read more >

Do B-to-B Buyers Trust Your Website?

Interesting question isn't it? I think everyone thinks because they built one, everyone will like and trust what you have up there. I recently read an article from the Content Marketing Institute written by Dianna Huff entitled -Why do 55% of potential B2B buyers might not trust your website that highlights some interesting findings. These findings were from a KoMarketing Associates usability report and are worth discussing. The key in a B to B relationship that trust and credibility be established up front. The more transparent you are the better read more >

Why Content Curation is an Important Marketing Tool to Reach the Professional Tradesman

Why is it important to manufacturers who want to reach the Professional Tradesman? Chances are you have lots of bits and pieces of information on your products/services. They are scattered all over from catalog, tech sheets installations sheets, presentations etc. We as marketers are so focused on creating content, and in most cases, your first priority is to consolidate all relevant info on a product or service in one place. Once you see what you have, it will be easier to identify the pieces that are missing and need to be created. read more >

Tips on Making your Landing Pages Better

Hopefully, as part of your strategy to move prospects along the selling cycle, you are using  landing pages in order to deliver on what you promised. It's also a great way to track responses. It could also be a way of losing a potential customer. Here are some tips that might help results: Keep it simple - Deliver on what you promised to get them there in the first place. It's not about you - How can you help them with a problem that got them there in the first place. This is not an ad - They're not looking for a sales pitch, but answers to specific questions. Powerful content - Keep it relevant. Don't focus on key words. Instead, make what you say useful and valuable. All too often folks want to talk about 5 different things and give them additional links. It won't work. Just ask yourself - why did they click on a call-to-action that got them here? Then deliver what you promised. If you want to learn more, you might want to read: Are you Using Landing Pages? Product Landing Pages: Tips on How to Improve Performanceread more >

Distributor Strategy: What’s Yours?

In the B-to-B world that I live in, manufacturers have to balance their time and efforts when dealing with distribution, between the big boys like Grainger ($9.4 billion), Fastenal ($3.3 billion) and MSC ($678 million), and the independently owned small local distributors. Here are a few facts about the independent distributors (ISA) that you might not have known: They collectively represent about $153 billion in sales. read more >

Manufacturers: Help Your Contractors Have Online Success

Many contractors have trouble navigating the digital scene. Here are some tips that can be forwarded on to them to help them get noticed and sell more of your stuff!read more >

Photo Worthy: 6 Steps to Build Your Photo Content

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Pictures are incredibly powerful marketing, PR and social media tools. Every single project that I work on for Sonnhalter’s clients involves some form of visual element… which is also one of my biggest challenges as a public relations professional. Trying to wrangle high-resolution images for a project is tough because sometimes the photo well is just not deep. In our digital age, it doesn’t make sense to not have photographs of basically everything. There is no concern regarding wasted film because everything is digital. Here are my tips on making sure you have an ample supply of good photos to accompany your marketing communications programs: 1. Think that everything your company does is photo-worthy. If you host or attend an event, you should take pictures. That includes: Trade shows, customer events, employee events, seminars, etc. [Tweet This] 2. Take a lot of photos. Not all pictures will turn out great, some will be blurry, someone will have their eyes closed or being making a horrible face. Take several pictures to make sure that you have useable ones. For example, for last year’s Sonnhalter Tool Drive, we took 50 photos and a couple of videos and only used 13 of them in our Facebook album from the event. For events and trade shows, don’t limit your photos to just the pre-event set up. Capture some action, get people in your photos, both candid and posed. After events, people love to go back and see if they were caught on camera. 3. Assign someone to take photos. Chances are there is someone in your organization who is pretty good at taking photos. Find that person and leverage their abilities. If you aren’t sure, ask for a volunteer to run around and capture photos. They don’t have to…read more >

3 Tips to Get More Out of Your Marketing Efforts

Since Marketing is being held more accountable it's important to make sure the tactics you're using are getting you the best bang for your buck.read more >

Content Strategy: Do You Have One?

Your company has a strategy. Your sales force has a strategy. Your marketing department has a strategy. Why doesn't your content have one?read more >

Continuing Education and Training: Why it is Vital for You and Your Business’ Success

Businesses are constantly working to stay ahead of the latest trends, techniques, law changes, regulations and developments. In a world where technology is continuously evolving, there are more and more options for business professionals to stay up-to-date in this ever-changing environment.read more >

B-to-B Marketers: Are you Using Referral Marketing as Part of Your Overall Strategy?

I don't know about you, but referrals are a great source of leads and customers for us. It takes you down the sale funnel much more quickly if someone says something nice about you and recommends they talk with you.read more >

Are You Putting the WHY Before the HOW in Your Marketing Programs?

Traditional marketers are still, for the most part, selling the features and benefits of their products and why they are better than the competition. Look at any trade magazine for example and look at the headlines. I'll bet 80% of them are promoting just that fact. read more >

Manufacturers: Here’s a list of things contractors would like from you

I recently did a series of interviews and podcasts of contractors. The main focus was on what manufacturers could do to better support them in the field. These contractors were electricians, plumbers, HVAC and general contractors.read more >

Is Your B-to-B Content Effective?

I think we all struggle with understanding ways to match content with the sales process to help the prospect through the sales funnel.read more >

Customer Loyalty and Retention: What Are You Doing?

As manufacturers, we have to serve two masters, the distribution network we sell through, and the ultimate end-user. Sometimes we can take these relationships for granted. Remember, they have other options. Here are a few thoughts on how to nurture the relationships:read more >

What are you doing to create demand for your content?

We all are working hard to create content in various forms but what can we do to create the demand for it? If we build it it will come philosophy won't work. In the b to b space where selling cycles can be long with numerous folks involved you need to address several different issues along the way down the sales funnel but do you know what they are? read more >

Closing the Loop on Sales Leads

Don't have a plan to follow or nurture leads? When was the last time you responded to an ad, e-blast or other form of communications about a new product and never heard from the company after they got you what you requested? Or if you did hear from them, it was weeks or months after the original inquiry.read more >

Multi-Channel and Marketing Automation for Manufacturers: Are You Using?

Today we have a guest post from Jason Schultz, Director of Marketing for Great Lakes Integrated, a strategic partner of ours, discussing multi-channel and marketing automation for manufacturers. Multi-channel marketing coupled with marketing automation is a powerful approach for manufacturing companies. Manufacturers have a unique opportunity to create interest and trust for their products by communicating with their customers and prospects through different types of media and employing automated responses to actions they take. read more >

4 Tips on How to Get Your Company the “Right” Kind of Customers

We're in the competitive niche of marketing and have taken the position of not being all things to all people. We have defined our niche as helping manufacturers who want to reach the professional tradesman and promote it appropriately.read more >

A Framework for Writing a Good Post

I've been blogging for over three years and learned from the best, Michael Gass. Michael is a consultant who helps agencies like ours get into social media. And he's very good at what he does. Here's a guest post from him on best practices when you're writing a post. Enjoy!read more >

Have Your Videos Gone Viral?

I guess I take a different approach. I'd rather have hundreds of the right people see my videos and act on them as opposed to millions who may see them and do nothing. The purpose, in my mind, is to get people to notice and then engage with us because of what we said (content). In other words, bigger is not always better.read more >

Trade Shows: Are You Telling a Compelling Story?

I don't know about you, but we go to lots of trade shows during the course of a year, and I sometimes scratch my head as I walk by some of the booths and say, "What were they thinking?"read more >

40% of Salespeople Aren’t Making Their Numbers. Can Marketing Help?

I recently read an article in eMarketer.com that dealt with sales stats in 2013, and that almost 40% of the sales forces weren't making their numbers and it floored me. I sure wouldn't want to be running a company based on sales of XXX and then the sales force under-delivers by that large of a difference-Yikes!read more >

8 Tips for Media Interviews

Do you ever pick up an industry trade journal and wonder why your company’s perspective hasn’t been included? Editors often rely on “round-up” articles, which entail interviewing several manufacturers’ spokespeople to develop an industry trend story.read more >

Do You Have a Strategy for Negative Social Media Posts?

I'm amazed by the stats that more than half of those on social media don't have a plan to respond to negative social media posts. Social media isn't new, isn't going away, and if you've followed or read anything about this space, you know there have been numerous posts about the subject.read more >

Are You Using Influencers in Your New Product Launch to Professional Tradesmen?

When your planning your next new product launch beyond your traditional media lists that you send to, are you utilizing the Influencers in the market you're going after? Most times you don't think about those bloggers out there that have big followings in the markets that you're trying to reach. read more >

Are You Getting Your Sales Force Involved in Social Media?

Let's face it, your sales forces are in the trenches every day solving customers problems. Chances are other folks are having similar problems. Why shouldn't you share those solutions with other customers and potential new ones? Don't overlook one of your best resources for great content-your sales force.read more >

Direct Mail – A Targeted Way to Reach Tradesmen

Sometimes we're so focused on the digital and social options out there that we forget about what we used to use before these new ones were available. Direct mail is and has been a tried and true method of generating leads and business from contractors.read more >

Do You Say “Thank You” For A Retweet?

If you're active on Twitter, you probably have received a "thanks for the RT." Saying "thank you" helps build brand loyalty and brings a conversational aspect to your tweets. We all struggle on what's the correct etiquette for thanking someone on Twitter. Do you always have to say thanks? Are there other ways to show your gratitude?read more >

Podcast: What HVACR Contractors Are Looking For From Manufacturers

HVACRBusiness recently released a new research study, Trends in Building Brands with "High Yield" HVACR Contractors, that highlights new trends on their involvement with manufacturers. I did a podcast interview with Terry Tanker, the publisher, to talk about the results of the research. Enjoy. read more >

What Are You Doing to Get the Most Out of Trade Shows?

We've been doing a lot recently with clients for trade shows. There's been a renewed interest it seems in them. Most of you participate in various trade shows from time to time. If you do, you know that they can be very expensive and management is always looking for a ROI. That's why it's important for sales and marketing to work together to make sure they get the best bang for the buck.read more >

Are You Using Landing Pages?

No matter what kind of promotion you’re doing, when going after the professional tradesmen, the bottom line is you want them to ask for more info and ultimately a sale. You can’t do that in an ad (print or digital) by itself. You need those that are interested in whatever it is you’re selling to go somewhere to get more info. Effective landing pages make it clear what the visitor is going to do/get for the site.read more >

Choose Your Words

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter I spend about 90% of my time in the office writing something - news releases, feature articles, testimonial stories, ad copy, social media updates, blog posts, emails, etc. When you’re writing anything from a formal proposal to a memo or a social media posting, the best advice to keep in mind is: Choose Your Words. When choosing your words, make sure that your message is clear and concise. Why would you write 50 words when you could write 5? Keep it short and clear. Make your point and let your busy audience move on.read more >

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

I had some time this week to reflect on almost 40 years in this crazy B-to-B marketing communications business and realized not much has changed. Let me explain. In our business someone wants to sell something so they ask us to help to communicate why they should be talking with them about product X as opposed to one of their competitors. read more >

Mobile Apps: Manufacturers, Are You Using Them to Build Customer Loyalty?

Most folks are familiar with mobile apps, but I think we associate them more with retail/consumer applications instead of the B-to-B world. The key to a good app is no different than any other piece of content you develop. It has to answer and be helpful to your customers.read more >

6 Tips For Using Video to Tell Your Story

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Producing and using video content effectively has been a popular conversation topic around the Sonnhalter office. I had the opportunity to attend a presentation on storytelling with video by Chris Miller, director of the Akron Digital Media Center and editor of the Akronist.com. I asked Chris if he would be willing to share some ways that video helps tell a story or some tips on using video, here’s what he said: Because we live in such a visual culture, video has become a crucial means to communicate a message. Make sure your video is short and to the point - under three minutes is ideal - and be sure to focus on your audience and your message. The more personal you can make your video, the more effectively it will reach your audience. We relate to personal stories about everyday people. Profile a client or end customer - tell their story in their own words. Keep mobile on your mind when creating your video. Many people may watch it using mobile devices. So, again, shorter is better. Also consider posting Vine and Instagram videos with succinct messages. A compelling story is much more important than technical aspects (like special effects). A well-told story will transcend a lack of resources. Use B-roll (supplementary footage that helps alleviate the "talking head" interviews) and plan out your video by listing shots and locations ahead of time. A little planning will save you a lot of time in the editing process. About Chris: Chris Miller is the director of the Akron Digital Media Center and Akronist.com, as well as a community investment officer at Akron Community Foundation. Chris has more than a decade of digital and print journalism experienceread more >

When is Less – More?

We all get caught up with having to do more and more especially when if comes to developing content and deploying it through various media channels. We get pressure from our bosses( clients ) to be on every new thing that comes down the road. I recently read an article by Joe Pulizzi the founder of The Content Marketing Institute that addresses this actual issue- Do less ,not moreread more >
Load