By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter
The cost of acquiring a new customer can be up to five times greater than keeping an existing one.
Unless you have a unique product that no one else has, you have to compete with someone for the business, and part of that process is building good customer relationships.
Contractors, for the most part, are loyal as long as your product delivers on its promises and you don’t treat them like dirt. Bottom line is, if you treat them right, they’ll be customers for life.
Not only will they continue to be a customer, but they will become an advocate for your brand. Contractors talk to each other and believe me, if your product doesn’t deliver on its promises, word will spread fast.
Here are three ways to cultivate strong relationships with professional tradesmen:
- Stay in touch. E-mail is probably the best and most cost-effective way to this. Make them feel important, even if it’s a quick e-mail to say “thanks for your business” or a follow-up note from customer service after they helped out with a problem. It will pay off long term.
In the traditional sales model, we identify our prospects and then use several tactics to get in front of them, qualify them and ultimately sell them. But, what about all the other potential users of your product or service that you don’t know about? Yes, some of them may find you through a referral or make their way to your website, but there are many more that may not ever know that you exist.
In most cases, especially for manufacturers who are selling more complicated products, there is a sales funnel you need to take prospects through before they are ready to buy. That’s great, but that only works if you’ve identified the potential sale.
Think of social media as your silent salesman. It’s out there bird dogging for you and taking a potential customer through some of the initial stages of the selling cycle.
Social media is a great way to connect with prospective buyers because they will find you based on what they are searching for (what kind of problem they are looking for a solution for) on the web. It allows you not only to connect, but to start a conversation. It allows them to get a better feeling for the company and how you go about helping people. In other words, you start building the “know, like and trust” model that comes with any sale, especially to new potentials.
Social media is a great way to educate prospective buyers because of all the tools you have available: Blogs, Forums, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. All are platforms for you to add value to the conversations by giving them great content, and it starts establishing you as an expert they can count on.
Social media is a great way to collaborate with potential buyers because of the tools like GoToMeeting, WebEx, Zoom and join.me or other technologies that allow you to connect almost immediately to help answer a question or show how to fix a problem. There are even listening platforms, like HooteSuite, Sprout Social and others that will help you monitor conversations around the areas you want to be in, and you can contribute at the appropriate time.
So, don’t just fall into business as usual. Think outside the box and give social media a try in your new business development efforts. You might be surprised as you may eventually identify a potential new customer that was never on your radar screen.
By Angela Ruland, Design Engineer
Your website is a lot like your car.
Sure, it’s your car. But let’s face it; one of the reasons you bought it, is for what it says to other people about you.
»A website is very often your first chance to tell someone who your company is, and it should always be geared towards them and their experience.
And sure, you can buy a car from your sister’s brother-in-law’s cousin. But if you want one that’s reliable, safe and not going to break down on you in the middle of a long trip, it’s best to buy from a reputable place.
»When you go to build a new website, ALWAYS use a professional web designer, but make sure they fundamentally understand your business and customers.
Of course, you can (and should) do some of the regular maintenance yourself, but for the major tune-ups and preventative stuff, it’s best to find a mechanic that knows what they’re doing and how you use the car.
»And that’s what we’d like to examine today.
Your website should never be something that you set up and take for granted until someone decides it’s time for a revamp. Just like your car, your website is being used daily, for short trips, long trips and in all kinds of traffic. Occasionally it may wind up in a sketchy neighborhood, or have someone try and break in. So, just like you work on your car, or have someone do maintenance, you need to check on your website regularly. Here are a few ways to accomplish that:
By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent
There are still some hot days to get through, but Labor Day is fast approaching and most schools are back in session. So make sure you stop for busses, keep an eye out for kids and stop worrying about chasing the latest marketing craze.
This is the perfect time of year to reassess what school your marketing efforts are going to. Are you “Old School,” still utilizing print, convinced social media is just a craze and missing printed catalogs? Or are you “New School,” only marketing to mobile, boiling your message down to 140 characters and laughing at the dinosaurs amongst you?
Guess what: it doesn’t matter.
Because in the end, what will make any and all of those marketing tactics succeed or fail is what you bring to it – a personal touch.
Old School Personal Touches
Print Ads – Make sure your advertising isn’t just a product catalog and includes a call to action, such as a dedicated phone number or website. This will be your best way to gauge ROI and allow you to make a personal connection with people who respond to your ad.
Catalogs – Be smart with distribution. Don’t just dump them in a distributor’s office or on a table at a trade show. Offer them on your website and free upon request. Just make sure you have a plan to follow up and utilize the customer info you get in return.
Multimedia can seem like another of those “marketing buzzwords.” But when it comes right down to it, the key is to effectively use images to tell your product’s or brand’s story, and it can be incredibly successful and easy.
In our latest Tip Sheet, we’ve laid out 6 tips for integrating multimedia into your marketing efforts, and as always, it’s geared toward manufacturers, distributors and others in the B2T marketplace. You can sign up to download it for free here.
Let us know what challenges you’ve had with integrating multimedia and check out our other tip sheets here.
By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter
Hi Sports Blog Fans, time for the annual Sonnhalter Super Bowl, er I mean “Big Game” ad review. As with past years, it’s not on time or really about the ads, but rather the marketing lessons manufacturers can take from all the hoopla.
This year, let’s look at the three main types of ads, and the pros and cons of each.
1) The Big Build Up
This is the type of ad campaign where there’s a buildup, or teasers dropped across different channels that all build up to a big “event” ad during the game. This year’s best example is the Crocodile Dundee movie campaign that wasn’t. Instead it was all just a build up to a new campaign for Australian Tourism.
Pros – Gives your entire message a framework and direction. Sets the tone and content for everything to come for a good long while.
Cons – It works if you’re a country or a well-defined brand. If you don’t have a clear, concise message (or lots of beaches that aren’t going anywhere) and the intestinal fortitude to stick with it past the fourth quarter, you’re throwing away money.
2) The Big Splash
This is the type of ad that seeks to surprise, jar your expectations, or thumb its nose at traditions. It also only typically works during the game. It’s there to cause a splash and get attention right then and there.
For this example, let’s look at what I think was the worst example. For me that would be the Chris Pratt Michelob Ultra commercial. Sure, the setup is kind of funny, the famous actor thinks he’s landed the role of a lifetime in a beer commercial, only to find out he’s an extra. That part is fine, but the second set of ads, with him in the background, only works then and there. It’s a waste of time and money, kind of like telling the same joke twice.
Pros – If done right (like just about any movie ad, but especially The Cloverfield Paradox), it not only works to create buzz, but builds a cascade effect with retweets, shares and mentions.
Cons – If done wrong (I’m looking at you PuppyBabyMonkey), it just leaves people scratching their heads, and makes you look like you were trying too hard.
3) The Big Launch
Similar to #2, this ad type sets a new direction for a brand. This is a big giant “reset” button that seeks to make a splash, redefine who you are as a company and set the stage moving forward. In my opinion, the best example of this was the “It’s a Tide Ad” series. It’s funny, it’s interruptive, it’s designed to make people laugh. But it also serves to show the brand’s strength. By pointing out that in every other iconic commercial, the actors all wear spotlessly clean clothes, they show the importance of their product.
For a bad example, the less said about the tone-deaf Ram Truck commercial, the better. One other ad I found to be a lesson in not what to do was the Kia campaign. Bad CGI, poor use of a celebrity, and overreaching your brand identity don’t make for an effective ad, and now they’re stuck with an expensive launch that was largely overshadowed, if not outright ridiculed.
Pros – Sets up your brand message for years to come. Serves as a flag in the ground (or hammer in the screen).
Cons – Sets up your brand message for years to come. Serves as a flag in the ground (or a Platinum stake in the heart).
The Big Lesson for Manufacturers
Think of the Super Bowl as your biggest industry tradeshow. Each of these campaign styles is also an effective (or ineffective) trade show strategy.
- The Big Build Up – Use preshow emails to preregister booth visits; just make sure you have a cohesive message.
- The Big Splash – Host a preshow breakfast or a press event; but make sure to prequalify who’s there, have a concise presentation and follow up.
- The Big Launch – Build a new booth and launch new products; but make sure the booth supports your message, the products serve a customer need and that those customers are there.