Buyers’ Online Event Fatigue

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect In 2020, companies and businesses turned to online events as an alternative to in-person events due to COVID-19. With those who previously held face-to-face events, 4 in 5 or 78% of people converted to online. Although online events were successful, people are starting to feel burnt out from them. According to Activate Marketing Services in partnership with MarketingCharts, 9 in 10 or 90% of Demand Gen marketers agree that buyers are becoming fatigued with online events. We all had to pivot last year to replace in-person events (tradeshows, association and industry meetings) … and most of us tried to fill the gap by replacing them with some sort of online/virtual event. With buyers becoming fatigued, and that will only be growing, companies are starting to redirect their focus. Instead, high-quality lead programs have risen up the ranks when respondents were asked to choose their top 3 options. That being said, companies are starting to focus more on content and engagement with their audience. This doesn’t mean virtual events are going away anytime soon. Although I don’t know about you, but most of the online events I attended were pretty much busts. What does your company have planned for the remainder of the year? Any in-person events? I know I’m scheduled to attend at least half a dozen trade shows between now and the end of the year and I can’t wait to continue to see people “live” and in person!read more >

Top Deal Killers for B2B Buyers

by Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect Virtual selling will continue to be around after COVID-19. Over the past year, there has been a shift of moving things to be done virtually or remote. In a recent report, State of Sales, LinkedIn looked at the top deal killers for B2B buyers. When looking at the report, some of these concepts seem so obvious, but if they made the list, then they must be happening out there. Here are the Top 3 B2B seller behavior deal killers for buyers:  Delivering misleading information about a product, its price, etc. – taking the top spot at 48%, I guess my question is why 52% of B2B buyers would buy from a vendor that gives them inaccurate info about the product and its price! Tell the truth; representing a trusted brand can make outreach more successful and gain you customers.  Not understanding my company and its needs – this seems like “Sales 101,” but it’s amazing how many salespeople are too focused on their own product/service and not the customer. A sales professional needs to be focused on the consumer’s need rather than pushing a product. Not understanding their own product or service – with the amount of information on the internet and the amount of time buyers spend researching prior to reaching out to the company, shouldn’t be a surprise they sometimes know more than the salesperson. Sales professionals are taking note of these deal killers and trying to improve. Knowing and identifying deal killers is important when targeting your audience, so you can adjust your outreach and effectively build trust. Looking into the future, how will you change as a sales professional?read more >

Here’s What Types of B2B Content Works at Each Stage of the Funnel…

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect  After 2020, we can see a change in what types of content are most effective. In a recent report from Activate Marketing Services, they surveyed 72% of B2B tech marketers and demand gen decision-makers for a report on effective content. In this blog, we will look at each tunnel tier and each type of content. Top of the Funnel: At the top of the funnel, we have blog posts that are considered most effective. Whereas next we have 66% of people who consider infographics the most effective. Lastly, at the top of the funnel we have videos. Blogs, infographics and videos are great sources of content as buyers are engaging with more digital content especially after the pandemic. When crafting content for your company, keep your audience in mind to optimize business. Mid-Funnel: In the mid-funnel, we can see virtual events and webcasts were most effective. Last year, we saw an increase of virtual events and webinars due to COVID-19 and the cancellation of in-person events. Online events are great to expand your audience and let anyone listen from anywhere. Bottom of the Funnel: In our final tier, we have data-driven content. For example, this type of content consists of white papers, e-books and case studies, with white papers at 41% effective, e-books at 9% and case studies at 16%. And while this study focused on B2B tech marketers, these content pieces would work for the general B2B marketers. What’s been your most effective content type at each stage of the funnel?read more >

How to Build a Manufacturer Representative Business Plan That Really Works

by Doug Walker, guest blogger Having a business plan is important for the success of any business. A business plan will help you to evaluate your goals and determine how you will set about achieving them. It will help you recognize where things are not going according to plan and help you take corrective action. A good business plan can also help you to attract much-needed funding.  Setting up in business as a manufacturer representative is no exception, and a well-constructed business plan can mean the difference between failure and success. Here we take a look at how you can create a business plan that really works for a manufacturer representative. Nature of Your Business — One of the first things you should do is define what the nature of your business is. This is partly for the benefit of any potential investors who might be considering making an investment in your company. Before they are willing to part with any money, they will first need to know what your company is all about and how it will make a profit. Defining the nature of your business is also beneficial to you when it comes to running your company. It can be all too easy otherwise for somebody to get side-tracked and lose focus on their objectives. Capital Requirements — How much money do you need to get started? How much will it cost to register your company? What do you need to pay to get business premises of your own? What about utilities, IT, desks, and other furniture and equipment? All of these things will need to be taken into consideration to make sure you have what you need; otherwise, you will struggle to function. It is also a good idea to try and account for unexpected expenses. If…read more >

How to Improve Your Company’s Blog

’by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician In the manufacturing arena where competition is fierce, some companies have turned to blogs as a way to increase brand awareness, become a thought leader in their space, increase their web traffic and generate leads. In a recent post from ThomasNet called, “16 Ways to Improve Your Manufacturing Blog,” it helps businesses to recognize ways to improve within blog platforms. Here are the key highlights: Write With Your Buyer Personas In Mind - When creating blog content, remember who your audience is. By establishing your audience, you can make customized content towards them. Use Images & Visual Elements - Enhance your story by using pictures to help break up text and keep readers engaged. Images can play an important part in increasing the reading time on your blog. Link To External Sources, And Your Own Content! - Help your readers through the story by providing credibility. This helps with your brand’s trust and can drive readers to conversion pages, which can boost SEO. Establish A Frequency To Posting Your Blogs - Make sure you’re committing to the blog by frequently posting. One way to keep up with posting is to create a content calendar and lay out all the blogs you’re doing in a month. Ensure Your Blogs Have A Strong Word Count - Posts under 300 words are not recommended for SEO, and when your SEO isn’t strong, consumers can’t find you online. At the same time, don’t post a blog with 2,500 words of “awful” as people will not read it. Blogs can help to achieve your business goals and build trust between you and the consumer. Follow the rules above and check out the rest in their article to learn how to improve your blog. How will you improve your blog posts?read more >

Kylie Stanley Joins Sonnhalter as New Public Relations Technician

CLEVELAND – June 2021 – Sonnhalter, a marketing communications firm to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, names Kylie Stanley the new public relations technician. In this role, Stanley will develop content for social media, write copy and represent Sonnhalter and its clients. Stanley attended The University of Akron, where she studied Public Relations and Media Studies. While in school, Stanley produced the university’s web-series, "Class Cancelled," that showcased activities students could do in the Akron area. From her video experience, she was awarded a Lower Great Lakes Emmy in the Arts and Entertainment college category. Along with her video experience, Stanley has worked with social media and was a media relations intern at a Columbus marketing agency. “We are excited to have Kylie join the Sonnhalter team,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter. “Kylie is a talented young professional and we look forward to seeing her grow here.” Stanley is currently a member of the central Ohio chapter of PRSA. About Sonnhalter Established in 1976, Sonnhalter is the leading B2T marketing communications firm to companies that target professional tradesmen in construction, industrial and MRO markets. Sonnhalter is located in the historic Brownell Building in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Sonnhalter’s brand identity highlights its expertise in marketing to the professional tradesmen. Its tagline, “Not Afraid To Get Our Hands Dirty,” promotes the employees’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into clients’ businesses, also, it refers to the market it targets: the tradesmen who work with – and dirty – their hands every day. Sonnhalter developed the acronym “B2T,” which stands for “business-to-tradesmen” to capture the essence of its specialty. For more information, visit the company website at Sonnhalter.com. #    #    #read more >

How Public Relations Can Benefit Your Business

by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician Are you looking for new customers or want to increase business? Well-developed public relations can be an effective tool to boost your business and help reach your desired audience. You will be able to establish an emotional connection to your audience through your brand's marketing. There are many ways that public relations can benefit you, but today we will be focusing on four methods. Michelle Garrett analyzed these four methods in a post she wrote for Thomas, “Why Public Relations Matters to Manufacturers.” Educates – Public relations helps to teach your audience about who you are and why your company should matter to them. It also provides the information to your market about your products and services. Image and Reputation – Public relations can aid in building trust and to establish your brand in the industry. By creating a strong reputation, it can lead to credibility and provide you with lifelong customers. If your customers know what your brand stands for, they will be more likely to engage with your business. Awareness and Visibility – Potential customers will know that your brand exists, and campaigns can spread awareness of the work that your company is doing. With awareness efforts, you can change public opinions and promote your brand's value. Interest – From awareness we can create interest for your brand and products. Interest helps to pull customers in and make them want to learn more about your brand or be involved. No matter how big or small a story is, it can help to elevate your brand and increase business. Let’s take some notes by looking at some examples of past public relations stories that have created visibility. Associated General Contractors Associated General Contractors of California partnered up with BuildOUT California, the world’s first…read more >

Sonnhalter and One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning Honored with Silver Davey Award for Integrated Campaign

Marketing communications firm and One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning received a Silver Davey Award in the business-to-business integrated campaign category. CLEVELAND – March 2019 – Sonnhalter, a communications firm marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, received a Silver Davey Award in the 14th Annual International Davey Awards competition. Sonnhalter accepted the award in the business-to-business integrated campaign category for the “Shouldn’t We Be Talking?” personalized road trip campaign it developed with One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. Sonnhalter worked with One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning to create a personalized, integrated campaign to connect with business owners to discuss the potential benefits that they would gain from joining the One Hour franchise. With the objectives of gaining interest among prospects and softening the idea of becoming a franchisee, Sonnhalter used the simple concept of sitting down over a cup of coffee to broach a difficult topic with the theme, “Shouldn’t We Be Talking?” The theme was intertwined throughout all the touch points of the campaign and culminated in the salesperson bringing a thermos of hot coffee to the meeting. The campaign consisted of several touch points that were personalized to communicate local market knowledge and insights and secure an in-person meeting. Communication tactics for the campaign included phone calls, emails, postcards, 3D mailings of coffee mugs and social media. “Converting a business into a franchise of a national brand can be a hard and stressful decision, so the campaign’s goal was to make that experience feel more honest and conversational,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter. “Both Sonnhalter and One Hour are very pleased with the rise in opportunities that stemmed from this campaign and are honored to be awarded for our efforts.” The Davey Awards honor the finest creative work from…read more >

Updated Construction Market Overview Now Available

Information on construction market trends, key trade shows, industry associations, buying groups, training providers, top distributors, industry publications, blogs, online forums and more.   At Sonnhalter, we pride ourselves on working only in the B2T, or Business-to-Tradesmen industry. And that means not only being up to date on what our clients are doing, but with their industries as well. To that end, we have developed comprehensive Market Overviews for relevant industries, and continually update them. Our latest update is for the Construction Market. Please feel free to download, review and share, and if you have any questions, contact us.   Sign up for our updated Sonnhalter Construction Market Overview here.  read more >

2014 Report on B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing in North America

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs recently released their fourth annual report on the content marketing practices of business-to-business (B2B) marketers working in the manufacturing industry. In this report you’ll find answers to questions such as: What percentage of manufacturing marketers have adopted content marketing? What tactics are they using? How does their approach to content marketing differ from that taken by other B2B marketers? This report also looks at how manufacturing marketers approach content marketing when compared with a wider group of B2B North American marketers representing a range of industry segments. Here are some key highlights from this most recent study on manufacturing marketers and their content marketing efforts: 86% have adopted content marketing Only 30% say they are effective at content marketing Use the same number of tactics (13) as other B2B marketers 81% use YouTube to distribute content and rate it as the most effective social media platform Cite different goals for content marketing when compared with other B2B marketers Top challenges faced for their content marketing programs: 1. Lack of time, 2. Producing the kind of content that engages and 3. Producing enough content 46% plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months Click here to read more details and download the full report.read more >

Webcast: Mobile Marketing

Our vision architect, Matt Sonnhalter, will be presenting on CFE Media’s webcast, “Mobile Marketing: What Impression Are You Making and How Will You Measure It?” Matt, along with Kim Dushinski author of The Mobile Marketing Handbook, will discuss how B2B marketers can make a good mobile impression. Whether you’re ready for mobile, or not, it’s here. If you have a website, you’re already being viewed on mobile devices. Join Matt on Tuesday, June 19 at 2 PM EST for this free, informative presentation. You can register here.read more >

B-to-B Marketers: Have you forgotten the basics?

The last two years for most of us in the B-to-B space hasn't been much fun. Budgets cut, every move or project had to be justified seven different ways. When leads came in, ALL were followed.We ran a tight ship. Today, business is beginning to improve, budgets are increasing, new products are being launched and for some of us, social media has been introduced which needs our attention.read more >

B-to-B Marketers: When Should You Outsource Social Media?

For those of you who haven't yet dove in to the social media arena, whether it's because of fear of the unknown or the fear of it's going to be too time consuming, I have some friendly advice. I can't force you to try it but I can tell you it won't hurt and you can't break anything. For those who are willing to to give it a try but are worried about the amount of time it will take I have some suggestions for you to consider. read more >

B-to-B Marketers: Tips on How to Optimize Twitter

In our world of B to B and especially the world of manufacturing Twitter of all the social media tools is probably the most misunderstood and therefore the most under utilized.75 million people visited Twitter in January alone, over 23 million were from the US. According to Twitter, over 50 million tweets are sent daily.Twitter is being talked about everywhere. People are drawn to it because of the buzz of its popularity but the majority of people don’t understand its potential.read more >

B-to-B Marketers: 5 “Must Haves” Before Starting Social Media

Unless you live under a rock, everyone knows about social media at least in broad terms. Social media holds a tremendous amount of potential for businesses looking to grow. Many companies, in an effort to get started, jump right in, and while that's not the end of the world, I think if they really want social media to have a positive impact on their business, they should consider the following.read more >

B-to-B Marketers: Use Video on Your Web Site to Increase SEO.

Manufacturers are missing the boat if they are not incorporating videos into their Web sites. According to Forrester Research, videos properly submitted are 53 times more likely to generate first page Google rankings. You heard me right, 53 times more likely. Other advantages are that results appear in days because Google is pushing video to the top. This is a great opportunity for B-to-B marketers.read more >

B-to-B Marketers: How Many Calls Does it Take to Make a Sale?

We're all focused on generating more leads these days, but I find it ironic that most companies don't do much with them once they get them. Simply fulfilling a request is not the answer, but yet many companies do just that. According to a recent survey of people who have requested info suggests that 80% of all sales are made on or after the third contact. The survey conducted by Marketing Best Practices, Inc. polled over 700 respondents with only 8% buying after the first call. read more >

Social Media: Will Be Focus of B-to-B Marketers in 2010

According to a recent study completed by Alterian in their 2009 annual survey, social media will become the focus of marketers in 2010. This should come as no surprise to us in the B-to-B marketplace where budgets are still tight and management is continuing to demand accountability for marketing efforts. The survey covered 1068 marketing professionals. The respondents came from Europe (36%), from North America (62%) and from Asia Pacific (2%). Here are the highlights:read more >

What’s the Best Way of Reaching the Professional Tradesman: Drip or Closed Loop Marketing?

The answer is both depending on how you're developing and nurturing prospects. Today both Drip Marketing and Closed Loop marketing are seen to be online strategies. Truth be known, these have been going on long before we had the use of the Internet tools. Effective marketing programs today should utilize both. We are fortunate to have these tools that help us monitor and measure our activities in infinite ways. Here are some suggestions on how to reach the Professional Tradesman using both Techniques: Drip Marketing - I define this as an ongoing way to communicate and deliver product info and thought leadership to contractors and tradesmen who have identified themselves to us. It can use traditional methods like direct mail with things as simple as a series of postcards or other mailers to touch folks on a regular basis (monthly, weekly or daily). With the advent of the Internet we can add links to our e-mails to landing pages that can expand on content, offer incentives and interact with tradesmen.I'd suggest that to be effective, run and monitor these campaigns using an automated system.These automated systems will help you create and deliver messages and gives you the metrics to monitor open rates,click throughs and opt outs.They will also help reduce spam complaints and increase delivery. Closed Loop Marketing - I define this as a more complex system that involves marketing working closely with sales to work a contractor through the sales process. It utilizes many if not most elements that are in a Drip program but goes beyond just delivering information based on a previous actions and their place in the buying cycle. Marketers literally "close the loop" by working with sales to provide the right info at the right time based on contractors responses. "Close the Loop" marketing provides…read more >

E-mail and Social Media – A Great “One-Two” Punch to Capture the Professional Tradesman

Social media has dominated the news lately and many marketers are considering moving out of traditional e-mail programs and focusing more on social.My advice to them is neither are the answer by themselves especially when it comes to reaching professional tradesman who are slower to jump on the social bandwagon.read more >

B-to-B Marketers Have Opportunities to Build Better Customer Relations Using Social Media

Why should B-to-B companies use Social media? Oliver Young from Forrester Research sums it up, "Marketers who embrace social media will outdistance competition, build community following and boost loyalty." Is there a better time than now to start making that impression? People are still buying things, and with budgets being tight, decisions are often made on relationships.read more >