Shorter is Not Always Better…At Least When it Comes to Video Lengths in 2020.

by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician With being stuck inside for the past year, 2020 became the year of videos, making some businesses embrace a digital approach and adopt new methods of marketing. From this, we can look at the key shifts for video that happened last year. The latest report from Vidyard looks at 2020 video completion rates and other benchmarks. Here are the key findings: The average length of business-related videos increased from 4 minutes in 2019 to just over 6 minutes in 2020. That said, the majority (60%) of videos produced for business purposes (such as to support sales, marketing and communication efforts) are 2 minutes or less, with 37.3% being up to one minute long and another 23% being 1-2 minutes long. Vidyard reports that with the cancellations of a majority of in-person events, videos over 20 minutes long saw an increase of 66% over 2019. It also pointed out that videos between 2 and 10 minutes have also increased, presumably “leaning on the trend of frictionless, self-service buying experiences to provide educational content to prospective customers upfront.” With video content increasing, we need to keep in mind people’s attention spans. If you’re producing long-form videos, consider making simple cuts to keep your audience engaged or trim the video down. Video is a powerful medium and adds value to your business. Did video length for your company’s videos increase last year?read more >

Considering a Digital Asset Management (DAM) Solution for Your Company?

by Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect Businesses can no longer manage their expanding content libraries with siloed repositories or simple tools like spreadsheets. So, if you’re exploring a DAM technology for your company, this report from Forrester is a must read.  Forrester covers the 14 DAM providers that matter most and how they stack up against each other. Vendors are evaluated against 28 criteria, which are grouped into three high-level categories: Current Offering Library services Work-in-progress assets Video and emerging content support Marketing support Usability and user interface Enterprise platform integrations Strategy Product vision Past performance Market approach Supporting product and services Delivery model Market Presence Product revenue Average deal size   If you are already using a DAM, I’m curious which one do you use and what has your experience been? For more commentary on DAM, read: Warehouse Your Marketing Too  read more >

5 Types of Video to Add to Your Social Media Marketing

by Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard, PR Foreman By now most everyone knows that video is where it's at. If you want to grab attention on social media, in your e-newsletter or in a press release–make sure it contains a video! Video is a powerful communication tool that provides a more personal feel to your message. You will be far more likely to connect on an emotional level with your audience if you use video versus another content type. And, when it comes to social media marketing, video is a great way to engage with your audience. But there are different types of video, some more appropriate and effective than others depending on what your  marketing goals are. Joe Forte recently broke down the types of video in his recent post for Content Marketing Institute, “5 Types of Video to Add to Your Social Media Marketing.” Live Video - Best for when your brand has a significant following, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and other streaming services make it easy to connect with your audience. Livestreaming allows you to talk with your followers and are most effective for announcements, behind-the-scenes looks, and product information videos. Tutorial Videos - Among the most frequently shared on social media, tutorial videos have mass appeal by relating to your products and services. Or, they can be broader topics that relate to your audience and industry. Tutorial videos need to be clear, educational and entertaining. They need to be long enough to show every step and short enough to be engaging. Informational Videos - Informational videos can cover any topic. Build your content archive with videos on a variety of relevant topics. Make them unique, clever or insightful. When adding video to your social media, concentrate on content likely to be shared, something valuable to make it worth the viewer’s…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 make 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 get by visiting the site. A landing page is ideal for a next step in the lead process. A good landing page will target a particular audience using a unique page that allows visitors to download the appropriate content (you wouldn’t have the same offer for say a tradesman and for a design engineer). They also help you track and monitor activity by offers so you know what works and what doesn’t. Landing pages help segment markets, capture leads and make it possible to monitor advertising effectiveness. By directing them to a specific page with an offer and the appropriate form to fill out, it makes it more likely that they will complete the form and convert to a lead. If your visitors decide to download your offer, why not invite them to share your content? Lead nurturing is a very important part of the process. 50% of those who respond aren’t ready to buy just yet. 78% of sales that start with a web inquiry get won by the first company that responds. By sending a follow-up thank you to those that downloaded material, you have the opportunity to offer them additional info and downloads, as well as asking them to share it with others via social media. If you like this post, you might want to read: Are You Using Landing Pages to Help Qualify Leads? Tips on Making Your…read more >

Manufacturers: Help Your Contractors Have Online Success

Many contractors have trouble navigating the digital scene. Here are tips that you can share with them to help them get noticed and sell more of your stuff!   Contractor's Online Success Strategy: Get Listed on These Four Websites For service-providing businesses, like contracting companies, greater online visibility can almost immediately bring more business. People’s primary way of finding somebody to do a job for them is by doing quick online research. In order to increase your chance of being found online, one of the simplest things you can do is get listed on websites for contractor services. Here are some websites worth considering. HomeAdvisor HomeAdvisor.com With over 487,000 likes on Facebook, 26,200 followers on Instagram and more than 40,400 followers on Twitter, HomeAdvisor is one of the most popular websites for home service professionals. HomeAdvisor’s web platform is extremely user-friendly. There is a very wide array of home improvement categories to choose from. Homeowners pick one, describe their needs and they get matched with up to four professionals. They can also read reviews of a particular contractor’s services. HomeAdvisor offers contractors a robust, user-friendly system that lets you categorize and organize your leads, keep track of communications, and connect with prospects via phone or email with the touch of a button. Its mobile app lets you take these tools on the road to help you stay on top of your pipeline. CraftJack CraftJack.com CraftJack is a very versatile web tool which allows you to do a lot more than just get listed in a search directory. CraftJack works much like a social network but one geared exclusively towards contractors. Each contractor has a unique profile page, which they can use to promote their business. You can use it to showcase your finished work by posting photos and videos. Plus, the page…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. Here’s a list of tools that will help you schedule and post your content at the best time:  SocialOomph – Provides scheduled social posting services for individuals and teams. Has been around since 2008. HootSuite – Allows you to manage up to 50 social media profiles, schedule your content and report your analytics. Sendible – Allows you to efficiently craft tailored posts for each social media platform and collaborate with your clients and teams. AgoraPulse – An easy-to use-social media management software that allows you to drive engagement and build authentic relationships on one platform. Buffer – Helps you manage multiple social media accounts at once and easily schedule content. ManageFlitter – Tools that help to optimize your Twitter account and identify your Twitter accounts’ prime time. Facebook Insights – Provides information about your Facebook audience and how they are interacting with your page. Later – Founded as the first-to-market Instagram scheduler in 2014, Later (formerly Latergramme) has grown from a simple Instagram tool to the number one visual marketing platform for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The following infographic by Zenesys will give you a ballpark of the best and worst times to post on various social media platforms.  read more >

Are You Considered a “Trusted Authority” in Contractors’ Minds?

By John Sonnhalter, Founder, Sonnhalter We all want to be recognized as leaders in our respective fields and in today’s world the current mantra is to be that “Trusted Authority.” To be a recognized leader in your field is not an overnight sensation. It takes time and you need to deliver more than just bells and whistles. Mark Buckshon from Construction Marketing Ideas discusses this very topic. He uses the example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s role in leading architecture to a new level in his day. Wright truly was considered a trusted authority, and if you wanted a second opinion, you’d just have to ask him. Not everyone agreed with him, but they respected him.     Time is one thing we have little of, yet it’s what it takes to position yourself and your company as the industry expert. Wisdom comes from experience and experience is gained over time. Much of your credentialing may come from the school of hard knocks. But that’s OK. We should learn from our failures and missteps. Learn to share your expertise and solve problems instead of trying to sell contractors stuff. With social media, we no longer control the message or where or when it will be delivered. You need to learn to share your experiences via storytelling as opposed to a sales pitch. Show your expertise by telling contractors how you helped others solve a problem or gave them a better way of doing a job that resulted in them making more money. To become a true authority, you need to deliver results beyond the ordinary. If you do this, you’ll be able to grow your business through referrals and repeat business. Contractors are very loyal, and they talk among themselves, so let’s make sure what they are saying about your company is good. It’s a never-ending battle. You need to…read more >

Thousands of vocational programs, many ways to connect

By Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard, PR Foreman, Sonnhalter We're in the midst of back-to-school season--which prompted us to update our vocational education database. And with the ongoing concern about our nation’s skills gap, the option for choosing an education to pursue a vocational career is certainly an attractive one. With plentiful skilled labor jobs to fill, trade jobs pay very well (sometimes better than four-year college degrees) and don’t saddle students with hefty student loans. We originally released our extensive vocational education database in 2015 after conducting extensive research on thousands of vo-ed programs across the country. When we updated the list in 2017, we added about 1,000 new programs, separating them out by state tabs and standardizing the descriptions to make it even easier to search, sort and use. Our most recent update features nearly 980 schools across the country, not including satellite or branch locations of each. There are almost 4,700 programs, offering different types of degrees or certifications. The types of programs include construction, electrician, robotics, welding, HVAC, plumbing, machine tool technology, among others. A separate tab for national programs and resources is also included. Why would a marketing communications firm take the time to create and update such a resource? We hope our tool helps to bridge the gap between manufacturers and educational programs. The database serves as a useful tool for companies looking to implement more grassroots campaigns to recruit the next generation of professional tradesmen. There are numerous ways to take advantage of a tool like our database. Here are a few suggestions of how to make our work, work for you. 14840read more >

Marketing Minute: Using an Integrated Marketing Campaign

Running a successful marketing campaign requires a number of different tactics, not just one "silver bullet." Join Matt Sonnhalter for a Marketing Minute and learn how your company can get the most results out of your marketing efforts by using an integrated campaign.   To view other videos from Sonnhalter, visit our YouTube channel here and let us know if there’s a B2T marketing topic you’d like us to cover.read more >

Podcasting: Another Effective Tool to Reach Contractors

by Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect 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 words. Alisa Meredith wrote a piece on HubSpot on why marketers should be using podcasting and shows you that getting started is relatively painless. Jay Baer, in an episode on Social Media Examiner, said, “There’s something about bringing somebody inside your head through your ear holes that ties you to that person in a way that reading a blog post or reading a book or anything else just doesn’t.”   Using podcasts is a way of building brand awareness as well as loyalty. Podcasting gives busy contractors another way to get information (let’s face it, we all only have so much time to read), and with the auto industry’s smart dashboards, it is making it easier to listen to. You can also upload your podcasts onto iTunes, which can give you access to more potential customers who are searching for info on key subjects by key words or phrases. Don’t be obsessed with the number of people who listen to your podcast, but instead, be more concerned on the quality of them.     There are several ways that you can use podcasts to get to the professional tradesmen. Here are a few to consider: You initiate them. You can talk about issues affecting the tradesmen and possible solutions they could consider. You can interview industry experts or association leaders that can talk about everything from legislative issues that might relate to your business in the future, or talk about things you can do now to improve your business. Be a guest on someone else’s podcast. There are bloggers out there that target the same types of audiences you do. Follow them for a while, and…read more >

Content is All About Repurposing

By Chris Ilcin Everyone (and especially marketing communications firms) creates an aura that content marketing is some huge, time consuming mystery. But the real secret is that it’s all about having a clear, consistent message and then placing the right part of that message into the right format. To demonstrate that, we’ve created the following infographic that shows how we repurposed the content from a single, 45-minute interview with our client’s product engineer, into numerous pieces of content across multiple platforms, where the messaging received thousands of views. Check out our infographic, “A White Paper Life Cycle.”                                                       How are you repurposing content?   SaveSave SaveSaveSaveSaveread more >

Understanding and Adjusting to Email Habits

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter How many email accounts do you have? I have three. I’m not unlike others in my generation (the Millennial Generation) who maintain multiple email accounts. Each email address has a specific purpose and is used strategically. Work. My work email address is just that, work. It’s the @sonnhalter.com email that colleagues, clients, media and partners reach me on. I check this email religiously on my phone and have it open during the work day on my computer. I only give this email address out for professional purposes. Personal. This email address is the one I give to friends, family and anyone I do personal business with. I protect this email and am careful to whom I give the address. I check it most often on my phone and occasionally log into it from my personal laptop. Other. This “other” email address is the one that we’ll dig into today. Most millennials have one of these and many in other generations have also adopted an “Other” email policy. Sometimes we call it our “junk email” or “promotions.” I give this email address out like candy on Halloween. If you ask me for an email address, this is the one I give you. This is the inbox that I check, but don’t regularly search. I almost never send emails from this address and only check it from my phone. This is the inbox where I subscribe to e-newsletters and promotional offers. I was reading an article from Media Post titled “Millennials Love Email, But on Their Dual Inbox Terms,”  12635read more >

The Skills Gap and the Future of Manufacturing

Join Matt Sonnhalter for a Marketing Minute and learn about how the current skills gap affects the future of manufacturing and how Sonnhalter and other organizations are getting involved to help. To view other videos from Sonnhalter, visit our YouTube channel here and let us know if there's a B2T marketing topic you'd like us to cover.read more >

Thousands of vocational programs, many ways to connect

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter More than a year ago, we released an extensive database of thousands of vocational education programs across the country. We recently updated that list, adding about 1,000 new programs, separating them out by state tabs and standardizing the descriptions to make it even easier to search, sort and use. Why would a marketing communications firm make such a resource? We hope the tool will bridge the gap between manufacturers and educational programs. The database serves as a helpful tool for companies looking to implement more grassroots campaigns to recruit the next generation of professional tradesmen. There are a myriad of ways to take advantage of a tool like our database. I'd love to name a thousand ways to use it (given enough time and coffee I probably could too!) but I'll leave you with a few suggestions of how to make our work, work for you. Fill the Talent Pipeline 12075read more >

11 Tips on How to Market to Contractors

Marketing to contractors is different than general marketing. Instead of pitching products, talk about solving problems. Contractors are busy and looking for solutions on how they can do their jobs better and make more money. Our new tip sheet gives you 11 ways to help you get in front of contractors, promote your value proposition and become a trusted authority in the contractor's mind. Sign up to receive 11 Tips on How to Market to Contractors here.  read more >

3 Insights to Make Your Manufacturing CRM More Effective

This is a guest post from Russ Hill, Founder of Ultimate Lead Systems. CRM programs come with big promise. The value proposition reminds me of the film the “Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy sets out with her allies to meet “the Great and Powerful” Wizard, who will surely deliver fulfillment of their greatest wishes. They approach the Wizard with fear and trepidation. When they finally see him behind the curtain, they discover their wizard furiously spinning wheels and pulling switches to bring the Great and Powerful wizard image to life. It is a good metaphor for what companies encounter when implementing CRM and sales lead management programs. Like the Wizard, the promise is great, but have no illusions. Understanding what is required behind the curtain is critical to CRM success. 11168read more >

Are You Maximizing Your B-to-B Blog?

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter If you're a manufacturer and you don't have a blog, you should. Why? Because 4 out of 5 B-to-B marketers use blogs. B-to-B blogs aren't new, but manufacturers are finding out that they are a good way of setting themselves apart from the competition, and according to the Content Marketing Institute, over 50% of marketers expect blogs to be critical in 2017. Challenges of B-to-B Blogs Even though marketers expect blogs to be critical in the coming year, most B-to-B bloggers have some challenges ... here are 3 of them: 10890read more >

Do you have Relevant Content to Support Your Sales Team?

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter Sales and marketing need to work closer together make the selling process better. Marketing departments that create great content but don't share it with the sales force are missing opportunities. Yes, it's important to get it out on the blog and other social media avenues but your sales force doesn't always have access to or are aware of what's up there. Sales is looking for support in the selling cycle no matter how simple or complicated the sales funnel is. This chart from emarketer.com illustrates that point. Well-produced and -managed marketing content sets up awareness, creates demand and enables sales. Here are some key takeaways on how marketing departments can use content for sales support: 10571read more >

Why You Should Have a Trade/Vocational School Marketing Plan

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter With the shortage of skilled workers today, the trade/vocational schools are making a comeback and there's a great opportunity for you to do some grass-roots marketing to future tradesmen. Many leading brands come to mind (Ridgid and Klein Tools) that have been built by using these schools as a starting point to get their tools in the hands of future users. 10410read more >

What’s your Unique Selling Proposition to the Professional Tradesman?

I recently read an article by Mark Buckshon from Construction Marketing Ideas where he was talking about how contractors need to identify what makes them different from all the rest .It got me to thinking about farther up the food chain ( manufacturers) and how they all have hard time differentiating themselves.How many times have you heard the following:read more >

Manufacturers: Have you Considered a Contractor Council?

May I suggest a contractor council? You all have brand advocates out there, why not get them together a few times a year and get a better sense of what’s happening in their world and what keeps them up at night. You could even pass by new product ideas before putting them into production. If you make the meetings about them and not you, the outcome will be more positive.read more >

Are You Using Brand Advocacy in Reaching Contractors ?

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 >

Contractor Email List – Do You Have One?

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. So in order to get them to give up their email, we better come up with some interesting and helpful stuff that will make them want to read our emails for future gems. It’s not only what you have to say, but how you say it.read more >

How Many Calls Does it Take to Make a Sale?

Why do many businesses have a problem following up with their prospective customers? Mr. Frey explained, “The problem is not that small businesses don’t have the capacity to follow up with prospects, it’s that they don’t have the systems in place to do it well.” In his recent newsletter, “Follow-Up Marketing: How To Win More Sales With Less Effort,” Mr. Frey advised, “A good follow-up marketing system should have three attributes:read more >

8 Tips on How to Connect with Contractors

Building relationships with contractors is no different. It can't be a one-way street when everything you talk about is trying to sell them something. You'd get a lot farther if you were looking out for their best interest and helping them solve problems or do things better so they can make more money.read more >

Emails are in for 2016

A recent study by email on acid reported that email marketing is going to remain a top priority for companies in 2016. Though we could have predicted this was the case, nearly three out of four companies (71.8 percent) say they are planning to spend more time on email production and more than four out of five (86.7 percent) report that they will increase email marketing budgets this year.read more >

Manufacturers – What is your Biggest Concern?

I guess it would be getting new customers and keeping existing ones. An effective customer experience starts with understanding your customer and then delivering good, meaningful content to them. The more positive the experience, the better the sales or so it would seem. This could be a challenge in today's market where sales have turned from relationship-based to transactional-type sales.read more >

Professional Tradesman Email Contacts: The Holy Grail of B-to-B Marketing

As manufacturers we all know how important keeping in contact with our customers is. Email is one of the easiest and most effective way to do that and unfortunately for those of you who sell through a distribution process it's hard to get the ultimate end users name no less try to start a relationship with themread more >

Reaching Professional Tradesman: Why Content Marketing Works When Advertising Might Not

Contractors and professional tradesman often don't have time to read the latest trade publication or look at the magazines' website on a regular basis and might miss your message. Chances are, unless you only make one product, their interest at any given time may be on another product.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 >

Online Video Training Can Make Contractors Be More Productive

From a manufacturing point of view, it's in your best interest to train contractors on the best way to install your product. It eliminates call backs and helps contractors sell more of your stuff. No surprise there, but with sales forces that are stretched thin, now they can only do so much training. Where do they focus their efforts - on the distributor's sales force or on the end user?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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >