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 >

Manufacturers: Why Are You Using Content Marketing?

I just saw a stat this week that over 90 percent of B-to-B companies are now using content marketing. I wonder if you asked them why, what the answer would be. Hopefully it's not because everyone else is using it! If you're using content, you know how much time it takes you and your team to develop and place good content.read more >

Digital Media: Are You Using to Reach Your Industrial Customer?

As marketers in the industrial B-to-B space, I think we all recognize that our potential customers have several options beyond the traditional ones we've used for years. The challenge for us is to identify where they are getting their info and to make sure we're there when they start looking.read more >

Are You Going To Do Things Differently in 2014 With Your Blog?

When was the last time you reviewed your blog's progress? What, you don't have anything to review it against you say? If you're going to take the time to blog, then let's make sure your time and talents are being put to best use. Well, let's put a list of things together for you to evaluate:read more >

How Sales and Marketing Can Get the Best out of Their Content Marketing

Although sales and marketing are getting better at working together, there is always room for improvement. Together they can make sure they deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.read more >

Ready, Fire, Aim – What’s Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Everyone is so focused on how to tell a story or where it needs to be instead of backing up and asking some real important questions. So for 2014, let's slow down a bit and get back to some basics.read more >

Customer Loyalty: What Are You Doing ?

All too often we focus so much on getting new customers that we forget about who’s supporting us now! I believe the rule of thumb is it takes 5 times as much effort to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing oneread more >

When Was the Last Time You Actually Talked to Your Customers?

I get so frustrated sometimes, both internally and externally, with emails going back and forth a million times to answer questions or get the proper information that I could scream!read more >

Plan, Plan, Plan

From Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer For most of us, a new year is a lot like a blank slate. New goals are set at the beginning of each year and new initiatives are undertaken. To have a successful year, it’s important to do more than just set goals. You don’t just jump in the car to go to a new location for the first time, you look at how to get there, how long the trip will take or at least put the destination into your GPS. That’s planning. Planning is crucial no matter how big of a project you’re going to start. Whether you’re initiating a rebranding campaign or creating a 30-second video, you have to plan, plan, plan. To map out your journey to your goal, decide: Who will be involved. Make sure you know who will be in charge of each aspect of your project and if you’ll need outside help. What outline the strategy and tactics of your plan. Sometimes this is a simple statement of intent and the steps the “who” of your plan will take. Other times this is a large document that will guide your team in your new effort. Where you will focus. In the example of a 30-second video, the where is not only your filming location but where the video will go next. If it’s a product advertising campaign, will you use print, digital, broadcast or other types of ads? When will your project start, end and when are your check-in points. A large year-end goal is great, but plan for pit stops along the way to see how you’re progressing and rework that plan. How will your project get done and how much will it cost. Make sure you know what time, talent and equipment resources you need and…read more >

What Are You Doing to Grow Your LinkedIn Connections?

From a B-to-B perspective, LinkedIn is one of the better networking tools. I like it because it's strictly for business. You can also join groups that focus on various industries or topics. As you build your network, it's important to know the do's and don'ts.read more >

Are you Having Trouble Getting the Staff on Board Supporting Social Media?

I think most marketers realize that social isn't going away and they need to plan to incorporate it into their overall marketing strategy. Marketers also know that adding social means more work for their existing staffs. One of the biggest issues is push back from others within the organization. read more >

Podcast: Link Building is Dead – Long Live Link Building

Sage is the author of the #1 bestselling book on Amazon - Link Building is Dead. Long Live Link Building, and we’re going to pick his brain today about the book. Sage highlights why people who are focused on search engine results should read this book. read more >

A Picture is Worth…

We’re deep into mapping out marketing plans for 2014. When meeting with an editor to talk about their content needs in the next year, one comment stood out to me the most, “We found that pictures are the most popular.”read more >

6 Ways to Make Your Marketing to Tradesmen More Effective

Today we have so many options to reach our targeted audiences. While I'm a proponent of trying new things, we must not lose sight of who we're trying to reach. More importantly, we need to identify the preferred way they like to be communicated with. I wrote this post in 2009 and it still holds true today.read more >

Tradesmen Are People Too – Put the Cool Factor Into Your B2T Branding

Most B-to-B companies don't take connecting with their customers on an emotional level as a serious tactic in their branding strategy. They contend that customers base decisions on facts, not opinions or not on silly things like emotion.read more >

What Are You Doing to Improve Your Content Marketing Performance?

When you go to all the work to create great content, don't miss out on opportunities to share it. We're all guilty of getting into a routine when creating content and rarely deviate from it, whether it be because of time constraints or just laziness. The point is, we need to shake it up a bit sometimes.read more >

Ways to Maintain a Better Relationship With Tradesmen

The cost of acquiring a new customer can be up to five times greater than keeping an existing one. That holds true when it comes to the trades. They have long memories, and if you let them down with either poor product performance, technical assistance or customer service, they will be hesitant to keep using you. They can be your best friend or your worst enemy. read more >

10 Steps to Ensure a Successful Interview or Podcast for Your Blog

I have found that interviewing industry leaders, either in a Q/A format, or better yet, interviewing them for a podcast, has proven to be very beneficial and useful for our audience. Here are some steps that I use that might be helpful.read more >

Is Your B2B Blog Your Top Marketing Tool?

B2B prospects tend to be well on their way through the buying process before they even identify a company. Don't you want to be one of those they contact? In the 3 years that I've been doing a blog, I've seen more and more interest and yes, business that has originated because of what folks read on my blog. In many cases, by the time they identified themselves, we're already talking strategy and have won the business. It's a nice position to be in. read more >

Is it Time for a Marketing Check-up?

As we start planning for 2014 ask yourself this question: When was the last time you took a hard look at where your marketing budget is going? B-to-B budgets, while on the mend from the last few years, are not growing at the same rate as the tasks we are being asked to do. We all are creatures of habit and tend to go and support things that we've used in the past and have been successful. read more >

Business Cards Still Matter in a Digital World

Today we have a post from PR Engineer Rachel Kerstetter sharing some thoughts on business cards. When I first started at Sonnhalter, the day that I was issued my own business cards was a good day. It was exciting to have new cards with my shiny new title, but a comment made by a fellow PR professional lead me to wonder if business cards still matter. Last fall, I was volunteering at an event for students and was placed at a table with another PR professional. At the end of the lunch, I gave the students my card and encouraged them to connect with me on LinkedIn. The other professional said, “I never bring cards anywhere with me since anyone can just find me on LinkedIn anyway.” Her comments got me thinking about my business cards and wondering if they were still valuable. My observations and experiences over the past year have brought me to the conclusion that business cards are still relevant. Business cards: Enforce your branding, with your logo, corporate colors, tagline and job title. Make you easy to find by spelling out your contact information, and in my case, my long last name. Stick around. Often your card will find its way into someone’s pocket, and at the end of the day your card will end up being added to their existing business card collection. Get shared. How many times have you been asked for another card because someone gave away the only one you had given them? How many times has a friend or colleague handed you someone’s card and recommended you check them out? One small piece of cardstock can go pretty far in beginning professional relationships.read more >

Do You Have a Mobile App? Are You Promoting It?

I think everyone realizes by now that mobile is the fastest growing segment of the business. While the biggest impact is on the retail markets, B-to-B usage continues to grow. So should you have an app? The answer to that is, will your app give value and help your targeted user with practical things? If yes, then you'd better get rolling.read more >

Are You Optimizing Your Landing Pages?

Hopefully we all are using landing pages to both identify and segment new business leads. But are we just dumping content or are we using creative ways to cross sell, up sell to convert leads into sales? ioninteractive.com has a white paper that gives creative ways to maximize the use of landing pages to distribute your content marketing gems.read more >

Get Your Targeted Message Noticed

Today we have a guest blog post by Sandy Bucher, Media Engineer at Sonnhalter, sharing advice on how to reach the key people for your message. If you are a manufacturer and want to reach a certain job title in a particular industry, in a particular market you want to focus on, targeted demographic inserts are another option to the standard print ad and are offered by most publications. Inserts can be one sheet, two-sided and are printed on heavier stock than the publication uses, but can also be a postcard or even a multi-page brochure. The inserts can be bound into, or glued into the publication, depending on the publication’s specifications. Why inserts? The purpose of using a targeted demographic insert is that a company can select just those readers they want the message to reach, and the publication will send it only to those selected, rather than sending it to the entire circulation. For an example, if you only want to reach the engineers or the plant operations people, you select just those titles. The cost for placing a targeted demographic insert is generally less than placing a full-run advertisement because you’re reaching fewer people. But you also have to consider the cost of printing the insert. If you’re using a one-page, two-sided insert, remember it’s like placing two ads (you get two pages, more real estate), so that may validate the expense of doing an insert. Get noticed. A targeted insert will get noticed. The paper stock is usually different than the paper stock the publication uses, so when flipping through the magazine, the magazine will naturally open to the insert, making the reader stop to see why the magazine keeps opening to that particular section of the magazine. A client of ours that uses the demographic…read more >

What are you Doing to Maintain Customer Relationships?

Lets face it, new business is hard to develop and you've got a lot invested in both time, talent and promotional dollars to bring the new customer through the doors. Don't you want to keep them?read more >

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

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.read more >

Customer Service: What Are You Doing to Retain Customers?

Do you know what a customer is worth to you? Think beyond this quarter or even this year. Think about the last 5 years. How much stuff have you sold them? More importantly, if you come out with something new, where are your best chances of selling it - to someone new or to someone who knows, likes and trusts you?read more >

Content Marketing: Have a Strategy and Be Relevant

Today we have a guest blog post from Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman at Sonnhalter, discussing content marketing. Content marketing should be part of all B2B [and B2T] business’s overall marketing strategy. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend a fabulous week of learning and motivation when I attended the 2013 Content Marketing World Summit at the Cleveland Convention Center.read more >

What’s the Proper Way of Developing an Internal Mailing List?

When you start to develop an internal email database for marketing purposes, what are the protocols you should follow? Beyond your existing customer lists, you normally get addresses from trade shows, ad leads or possible contests you are running. Should you just assemble them and start emailing?read more >

When Just OK Isn’t Good Enough

I don't know if it's just me, but I'm finding dealing with people, both personally or in business, is that they just don't seem to care about the "customer experience." Unless you have a one-of-a-kind product or service, there are other options, whether it be for dining, dry cleaning or buying a new contractor tool storage box.read more >

Are You Training Your “Non-Selling” Sales People?

When we think about sales training we all think about teaching our sales crew about the latest and greatest product we have and seeing how many we can sell. But these folks who we send out into the trenches each day aren't are only salespeople. What about your non-selling sales people?read more >

Are your Email Campaigns Successful?

Email is still a preferred marketing tool, especially in the B-to-B space. The key to success is having a plan to build relationships with your audience, whether they are existing customers or potentials.read more >

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

The professional trades are no different from normal consumers when it comes to using mobile. There have been a few recent articles about both time spent on mobile devices and what's being used to open and read emails. Both are significant when it comes to reaching contractors with your messages.read more >

As a B-to-B Marketer, Are You Missing Opportunities at Your Next Event?

When planning events, you must not lose sight that your brand needs to shine brightly. This is especially true when you're doing an annual event. We all have our checklists of what was done last year and you repeat it again this year. While details and checklists are important, the how, when and where can make a difference on how the event is perceived. The unexpected can work too in your favor. You don't have to reinvent the event, just add an unexpected sizzle to it.read more >

What’s the Difference Between Lead Nurturing and Follow-Up Calls?

In my mind, not much. I think they both work together to move prospects through the sales funnel. Using a nurturing system, you can start to identify their needs. The key is to do follow-up in some manner. read more >

Why Are Marketers Getting Social Media Wrong?

I guess we haven't talked about this for some time, but I'm seeing more and marketers reverting back to selling on social media platforms and complaining that social isn't working for them. Should that surprise them?read more >

Direct Mail or E-blast – Which One Works Best for You in the B-to-B Space?

I have this running conversation with clients about which is better, a traditional direct mail program or an e-blast. It's a tough question to answer and I'm not too sure there is only one answer.There are challenges for using both methods and we have seen it become more and more difficult to get emails delivered even if we use opt-in lists from trade publications and have them send it out under their name. read more >

B-to-B Lead Generation: Let’s Not Forget the Basics

B-to B marketers are always trying to identify more/better qualified leads. Does it surprise anyone that social media ranked very low in this category? The traditional methods of telemarketing, event marketing, webinars, trade shows, email marketing and yes, even direct mail pull better results according to a Survey from InsideSales.com.read more >

Marketing 101 for Manufacturers

I recently had the privilege of co-presenting a “Marketing 101 for Manufacturers” seminar for MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network) with a colleague of mine, Sage Lewis, president of SageRock. You can see the full presentation here, but I want to focus on one of the closing slides of this presentation, “10 Key Factors for Successful Marketing Programs.”read more >

How Are You Putting Relevant Content in Front of Your Customers?

As marketers, we have two challenges: one to create great content and two to deliver it. Recent studies have indicated that email still ranked among the top outreach channels to reach buyers no matter what stage they are in the buying cycle. Studies also show that emails should be integrated into other marketing tactics as well.read more >

Social Media Studies for 2013 That Are Worth Reading

Today we have a guest post, courtesy of Kimberley Laws and Media Shower. You’ve got hundreds of Facebook friends, an ever-expanding Google+ circle, and an eye-catching collection of Pinterest boards. Yes, you are a masterful user of social media, but how much do you really know about the tools that you devote so much time to using?read more >

Why Videos are Such an Important Way to Reach the Professional Tradesman

If you're not utilizing this tool to reach the contractor and professional tradesman, you're missing a great opportunity. Some recent studies show that videos are on the rise in the B-to-B world. B-to-B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budget and Trends North America found that video had the largest increase of any market content in 2012. read more >

Are you Using Influence Marketing to Connect with your Target Audience?

In today's world where social media has become an integral part of our overall marketing plans, we can't rely solely on the old standby of the Four P's - Product, Price, Promotion and Place. We now have to learn how to manage and measure the brand influencers in social media marketing.read more >

What’s a #Hashtag? And 5 Ways to Use Them in Marketing

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer, answering one of the questions she’s frequently asked and sharing some tips on how to use hashtags. The basic mechanics of making a hashtag include putting a pound sign (#) in front of a word, phrase, acronym or combination of characters (but not punctuation). But beyond calling attention to the words in a tweet, post or whatever, hashtags allow you to join into a more broad conversation. Hashtags have become a standard part of online conversation and stretch across many social platforms. Hashtags originated on Twitter and very recently Facebook added hashtag capabilities to the platform, but you can also use hashtags on: Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and newcomer Vine. There are many ways to use hashtags, but they all boil down to participating in public conversation. Here are some common ways to use hashtags in marketing communications: Promote engagement during events. Whether your event is online or offline, it will have a presence. When you create your own hashtag (and publically identify it) you can then monitor and interact with the conversation around your event. Most conferences, trade shows, webinars and other events announce the “official” hashtag, put it on publicity materials and have a designated person using it. Mostly this happens on Twitter but permeates into other social media use. Host or take part in a Twitter chat. Twitter chats are a simple way to have a conversation with multiple people on the same topic. Chats are traditionally an hour and have a prescribed hashtag. Most chats happen weekly at the same time and center around a prepared set of questions, due to their growing popularity services have been created to help you participate more easily, for example Tweetchat is a Twitter application to organized the…read more >

Are You Using Storytelling to Connect With the Professional Tradesman?

Have you ever met a contractor that hasn't tried to talk your leg off? Most are talkers and mean no harm; they just want to connect. So what better audience to connect with if you make something that can help them do their job better?read more >

Things to Consider When Using Mobile to Reach the Professional Tradesman

Mobile is probably one of the fastest segements right now from a consumer's point of view, and it's only a matter of time before it impacts manufacturers and their distributor partners on how they will be conversing with their customers. read more >

How Do You Write Good Content to Reach the Professional Tradesmen?

We all face the challenge not only writing good content but getting it consumed. Most of us old time B to B marketers get right to the point, just like Joe Friday a detective in Dragnet the TV series (way back before most of you were born). read more >

Manufacturers: Benefits of Using Social Media

I'm not saying you have to active in every venue, but in the B-to-B world there are certain elements like YouTube, SlideShare, LinkedIn. I'm also not saying that social media will be that silver bullet that will have customers lining up to buy your products. I will say that you probably won't sell anything from being on social media. Then why waste your time?read more >

Manufacturers: What are you Trying to Accomplish With Your Content Marketing?

So you're creating content and are using both traditional as well as social media to get the word out. The key question is, what are you trying to accomplish? Have you set goals and identified the appropriate target market you want to go after?read more >

B2B Marketing: 9 Ideas for Solving Your Biggest Content Challenges

Today we have a guest post from Michele Linn the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute and a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can read the original post here. Last week, when we published findings from our study, B2B Small Business Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budget, and Trends – North America (sponsored by Outbrain), reader Andy Detweiler posed a great question in our comments section: “Any insight on how small B2B companies plan on solving the problems listed? Would be curious to understand what they see as potential solutions versus a larger enterprise.” Andy’s question inspired us to take a closer look at some of the content marketing challenges faced by North American B2B marketers who work at small businesses (companies with 10 – 99 employees), as compared to their peers at enterprise organizations (companies with more than 1,000 employees). We’ll also share some insights on ways content marketers can address these issues — regardless of the size of the organization they work for. 1. Engagement In general, both groups are similarly challenged with producing the kind of content that engages — and it is the top challenge for enterprise companies. In a way, I think it’s encouraging to see this as a top challenge, as it shows that marketers are focusing on the value of quality over quantity. And, there is good reason why engaging content matters: Customers and prospects who engage with content are more likely to reach out or initiate a relationship with your organization. Ideas: Engaging content means different things to different people, so you’ll need to start out by determining your organization’s definition of “engagement” — and what metric(s) you can use to measure it. For instance, as Joe Pulizzi…read more >

Manufacturers: Tips on Getting More of Your Distributors Time

We recently did a survey to marketing/sales folks in the manufacturing sector who sell through either industrial or construction distributors to see what their biggest challenges are. From the manufacturer's point of view their biggest challenge is getting the distributors salespeople to focus on their products. Sound Familiar? read more >

What Are You Doing to Ensure Great Content for Your Marketing Efforts?

Content marketing in not a new phenomena. It used to be called "information" that helped set you apart from your competitors. The name might have changed, but we all know great content can make or break you in the B-to-B world. Unless you have a product/service that no one else has you're going to have to differentiate it from the hoards of competitors who are vying for the same sale. So what do you have to do to set yourself apart? read more >

Free Resources You May Not Know About (for Tradespeople)

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.read more >

Why Manufacturers Should Use Both Email and Social Media to Reach the Professional Tradesman

Over the past several years, marketers have been focusing more of their efforts(both time and money) on social media. Especially in the manufacturing B-to-B space, social certainly has a place to help set you up as an expert in your field of expertise, but it won't replace more traditional ways of communicating like email. read more >

Business Marketing Association’s International Conference Was a Real Winner

I'm just back from one of the most intense 48 hours I've ever spent at a marketing event. The BMA's International Conference, "BLAZE" just ended in Chicago where nearly 800 marketing professionals gathered to talk about and learn ways to deal with the ever-changing challenges facing all of us.read more >

YouTube: An Excellent Way to Reach the Professional Tradesman

Are you looking for ways to get in front of tradesman?If you’re a manufacturer and don’t have anything on YouTube, you’re missing a great opportunity. What better way to show a customer or prospect how to use your product, highlight features and benefits or even have a customer testimonial.read more >

Social Media, How Can Tradesmen Connect?

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? 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: 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…read more >

Manufacturers: Are You Missing an Opportunity to Build Better Relationships With Your Distributors?

Most of the manufacturers we deal with sell through various distribution channels. The relationships range from true partnerships to a necessary evil. Most manufacturers have missed an opportunity to build relationships by not utilizing an old technique called a distributor council. We recently did a survey to a group of manufacturers who sell through distribution and 85% of them haven't used this marketing tool. read more >

6 Ways to Maximize Your Agency Relationship

Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect at Sonnhalter, is posting today on how to maximize your relationship with your agency. One of the most important questions that marketing communication clients should ask themselves is, “Are we making the most out of our relationship and interactions with our agency?” Merely talking about how to maximize synergies and rapport between client and agency versus actually implementing such strategies is an entirely different story. Here are a few way to get the most out of you client-agency relationships: Be on the same page. Fostering shared meaning and mutual understanding is a vital aspect of successful client-agency relationships. It is important to be on the same page. Setting clear expectations with one another enables clients and agencies to better communicate and forecast unexpected issues or changes. Establishing processes and responsibilities early on with an agency will decrease stress from time-crunching deadlines. Also, be sure to clearly define success with one another and develop a measurable method for evaluation. Understanding how agencies function and subsequently knowing how to utilize them can reduce the likelihood of miscommunication. Be clear. Efficiency is all about clear communication. To reduce confusion, frustrations and delay, have one main contact for the agency. Likewise, an agency should make sure its client knows with whom to communicate. There is nothing more frustrating than having too many cooks in the kitchen. Facilitating consistent, effective communication will aid in strengthening the bond between the client and agency. Companies are more likely to meet project goals by providing their agency with a concise point-of-view. Be accessible. Make sure to invest time in the agency. Frequently engage in face-to-face communication by arranging regular meetings to review and discuss active projects – take a necessary break from the computer and telephone. Being available will create a well-oiled working relationship…read more >

How to Make B-to-B Posts Interesting

One of the challenges we face all the time in helping manufacturers get into the social media space is to ge them to think outside their traditional feature/benefit mentality. Feature based articles on your products aren't going to work in this spaceread more >

Tools of the Trade: How to Handle Negative Reviews

The following is a guest post from Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer and small business owner. She knows firsthand how tough it is to survive in the business world and hopes to use her writing to empower fellow entrepreneurs.read more >

What Are You Doing to Adjust to All the New Changes in Marketing?

If you're an old time marketer like me there's been lots of changes over the past several years as to the alternative ways to reach your targeted audiences.So what do you do so you don't go the way of the dinasaurs? read more >

Spring Clean Your Social Media

Since the social media scene developed many years ago, it’s become cluttered. There are accounts on all social platforms that sit, gathering dust for years. Do any of those accounts belong to you or your company? Today Rachel Kerstetter, our PR Engineer, is sharing some pointers on how you can spring clean your social media. When I entered into the realm of public relations with a broad social landscape, I was a little surprised that much of my social media consulting and instruction wasn’t about getting social programs started or operating them, it was a lot of clean up. It doesn’t take much time to get your social media back on track if you know what to do. 1. Take a look at what you have. How long ago was your last status, tweet, post or picture? Do you have messages or invitations that are waiting to be read? When you look at an old account, try to see where/when things went stale and identify what may have been the cause. Did you have an intern running your social that has since left? Did you “run out” of content or ideas? Do you need help? 2. Check your branding. If anything in your company’s branding has changed, all of your social accounts should reflect that. Get your logos, profile pictures, covers and banners up to date. Make sure that you have a Twitter cover, a LinkedIn banner and a Facebook cover for your company. Use your own company and product names correctly. 3. Is your profile complete? Fill out the boxes with information about your company. Make sure there isn’t a blank spot where an About section should be and make sure that you have links to your website and contact information on there. Here's what the About Section on…read more >

Are Sales and Marketing Missing an Opportunity to Work Together?

I don't know why but in some companies sales and marketing hardly talk to each no less work together. Don't they realize that they are on the same team?It's a shame because by working together they can identify,qualify and close more sales. The answer is to open a two-way communicationread more >

How Do You Repurpose Your Content?

We all work hard developing content and sometimes forget to spend as much time promoting it.Repackaging and republishing in different ways to drive traffic to your website These are the driving forces on the internet. Our content is relevant around the world and we need to re-share.read more >

How to Use Your Competitors to Boost Your Business

There are several sites out there that help the home owner find qualified tradesmen. We have a guest post today from LocalTraders and although their focus is on the local trades some of their ideas are not bad ones for manufacturers to consider as well. Enjoyread more >

Webinar: Social Media in Manufacturing – Why it Should Matter to You

If you're a manufacturer that either doesn't use or think social media should be a part of your overall marketing plan this webinar is for you.We will discuss why social media is not only relevant but crucial to your overall marketing initiatives.We will show you real examples of what manufacturers are doing right and give you tips on how you can too.read more >

How Do You Approach Tradesmen in the Early Stages of the Buying Process?

When we get a lead in we all assume that they're ready to buy and in most cases that's not true especially when it's an expensive or major initiative. If a contractor is contemplating a major new piece of equipment for his crews or a new piece of software to help him run the company it's going to take some time and investigating first. read more >

Why Do You Use Content Marketing – Do You Think it’s for Branding or for Selling?

You can't turn around today and not hear the words "content marketing." You would have thought that someone had discovered the holy grail! Content marketing isn't anything new, it's just called something else. There can be arguments for both I suppose, but I feel the primary role of content marketing is to position you to have an advantage and sell something!read more >

Is Your Website Mobile Ready for the Professional Tradesmen?

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.read more >

Manufacturers: Keyword Selection Tips to Help SEO

When developing new content whether it's for your blog or website one of youe goals should be to capitalize as much as possible on maximizing your SEO. We all want to grab our fair share and by making a conscience effort to incorporate our key words in everything we do we'll have a better chance.read more >

What’s Your Lead Nurturing Strategy?

In the B to B world most sales are not immediate. The longer selling cylcles for most industrial/contractor purchases involve more than one person and selling cylces can go from months to yearsread more >

Are you Using Database Strategies to Reach the Professional Tradesmen?

One of the biggest challenges for Manufacturers is trying to identify both their customers as well as potentials. It may seem strange to you that most Manufacturers who sell through various distribution channels don't know who their ultimate customers are.read more >

New Business Pitches: Do You Use Corporate Speak or Plain English?

Blah,Blah,Blah. Is this what people hear when you give your 30 second elevator pitch that explains why your firm is different? Recently I had to identify and vet potential web developers for several major projects for a client. After doing so and narrowing the field to four, we lined up a day for them to present themselves so we could evaluate them at the end of the day while everything was fresh in our minds.read more >

Are You Ready to Talk to the Trade Media?

Now that the trades show season is upon us I thought I'd dust off a post from Rosemarie Ascherl on tips on handling the media Your knowledge about your business, your niche and your industry is a great asset to your company and that knowledge is often sought after by industry media. read more >

Customer Loyalty: What Are You Doing?

All too often we focus so much on getting new customers that we forget about who’s supporting us now! I believe the rule of thumb is it takes 5 times as much effort to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.read more >

Book Review: eMarketing Strategies For The Complex Sale

Many manufacturers have capital goods that have long selling cycles. Most I think would welcome ways to pull buyers forward in the sales process via lead nurturing.read more >

How Manufacturers Can Use Social Media to Outsmart Their Competition

Many manufacturers still don't understand the concept of giving things away to potential customers. They think all their info has to be a closely guarded secret.You probably are sitting on some great product information like comparisons with your competition and how you're better. The problem is if you're not sharing that with potential new customers what good is it?read more >

3 Tips to Help Your Social Media Break Through all the Clutter

So you finally got in the social media game and you're trying to make your mark. With all the clutter and noise out there you need to differenciate yourself (branding) and engage your potential customers.Let's work smart and not hard.read more >

Top 10 Tradesmen Insights Post of 2012

Yeah I know I'm a little late out of the gate with these but I think some of theses are worth re reading and some of you might have missed them 1st time around.read more >

What are You Doing to Ensure Your Content is Being Read?

You may have some of the best content in the world, but if no one reads it, what's the point? I recently read a post by HeidI Cohen, 13 ways to maximize content marketing effectiveness that got me to thinking about getting back to the basics and making the effort of writing posts to pay off.read more >

Top 10 Content Marketing Ideas for 2013

Now that the holidays are behind us and we're all getting back to reality, I thought I'd share some thoughts on what we're going to do to create better content this year. I was inspired by an post my friend Joe Pulizzi wrote 42 Content Marketing Ideas for 2013. Thanks Joe for the inspiration!read more >

From a Marketing Perspective, What Keeps You Up at Night?

I know we're all faced with many challenges in our daily grind, but if you had to name just one thing that keeps nagging at you from a marketing angle, what would it be?read more >

Tips on Getting the Most out of SlideShare

SlideShare is gaining traction more annd more and it's not just for slides. SlideShare is averaging over 60 million views a month and that means great traction for your SEO and you can target buyers/influencers via tags and channels (customize content).read more >

Podcast: Manufacturers and Distributors – What Are You Doing to Stay Relevant? New Rules of Engagement

Staying relevant to customers today has become much more complex. Traditional marketing and customer service, based on transactions, isn’t enough anymore. Customers want to pay less for faster, better service. The new rules focus on content, commerce and community building, integrating online platforms with traditional marketing methods.read more >

Are You Using Podcasts to Get to the Professional Tradesmen?

Podcasts are a very popular medium today and rightfully so. Podcasts can add another dimension to your audience as they can hear the voice behind the wordsread more >

Are You Communicating With Clients Effectively?

No matter what business we're in we're all in the communicating business. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the day to day that we forget some simple pointers. read more >

What Are You Doing to Ensure Your Content Marketing is Selling for You?

Content Marketing is developing useful information to various questions a potential customer might have about your product or application. When someone goes to Google and types in a question, hopefully you already have an answer waiting on page 1 of the search results. If not, you'll be missing a big opportunity.read more >

What’s Your Plan for Lead Nurturing?

We spend money generating leads, but most of us do a poor job when it comes to leading them through the sales funnel since not all leads are ready to buy. I think we would all agree that if we had a process, chances are we would increase the number of leads that turn into new business.read more >

Stop Pitching and Start Helping

It's a pretty simple statement. It applies in our personal life as well as our business one. I was thinking about this statement, not only how it might relate to social media, but more importantly to everything we do.read more >

What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for B-to-B Companies?

According to a recent post from B2B online marketing, LinkedIn, Blogging and Facebook are the top 3. This is according to a 2012 social media study of B2B marketers that were asked to choose the most important method they use for social media outreach.read more >

Is Content Marketing the New Branding?

The essence of branding lies in what does it mean. So words play an important part in establishing a brand and what better way to do that than by creating content.read more >

If You Were to Give Your B-to-B Social Media Activities a Grade, What Would it Be?

No matter why you got into it many B to B companies are getting a big F in social media and they can't figure out why.read more >

All the Buzz About Mobile: Streamlining the Flow of Data Between Field and Office

Mobile is a hot topic and I thought that a practical view from someone who is dealing with Contractors on a daily basis would be beneficial. Fred Ode and Foundation Software is the leading accounting software for contractors. Fred has written several articles and is known for his insight into this market. Here are some practical ways contractors should be using mobile. Enjoy.read more >

Branding: When’s the Last Time You Looked at Yours?

Branding is about your whole organization, from the way you answer the phones, to the attitudes of your CSRs. It's about a culture, things that are out of the control of the marketing department. Yes, marketing can control the look and feel of promotional materials, but once we've hooked a prospect, what happens when they contact the company and actually talk to a human being?read more >

Book Review: Content Rules

For those of you who are still getting your feet wet in social media, here's a book that will help you get started. It's called Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.read more >
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