Category : Marketing Advice

Target your most profitable customers.

9Jul
target-with-people-620x350-539x350Grow Smart With Targeted “A” List Marketing

Grow Smart With Targeted “A” List Marketing

At some point in their growth cycle, most companies learn through trial and error that not every paying customer will generate a positive impact on their business. Growth in the wrong direction can cause any business to stall or even regress. Smart, sustainable business development requires targeted marketing aimed at your most profitable customers in order to attract more of them. This is called finding and marketing to your “A List”, which involves strategically crafting services and messaging around the specific needs of your most ideal clients.

How to Identify Your A List 

Start by mining your existing customer list for the types of businesses that make the most profitable purchases or have the potential to make them. For a manufacturer, that could be a repeat customer that puts in the most lucrative product orders with the most reasonable turnaround demands. For a B2B service-oriented business, that would likely be the type of customer that signs up for a continuous program or contract. While we hope your most profitable clients are the ones spending the most with you, that may not always be the case. There are instances where your biggest customer may strain your resources, leaving you with a razor thin profit margin, in which case you don’t actually want more customers with similar orders. Even if you you consider yourself a “one-stop-shop” for a variety of industries and applications, identify customers who purchase the products and services with the highest profit margins.

Those customers are your A List. The rest of your customer list may still provide some business, and there’s nothing wrong with continuing to serve their needs when those less ideal customers find you, but your marketing resources should be primarily devoted to campaigns aimed at the top tier. The idea of targeted marketing isn’t to shrink business, it’s to grow in the most profitable areas with the most cost-effective strategy.

Use Targeted Marketing to Grow Your A List

When we retool messaging, recalibrate your Adwords strategy, or venture into new digital spaces in ways designed to reach your most profitable customers, not only do you keep those existing high-value customers engaged, more of the same tier will start to find you. By contrast, a business that directs resources towards less desirable customers will become swamped by their least-profitable customers and stunted in their ability to provide exceptional services to the customers they want the most of. That strategy not only drains business resources, it can damage your brand in the eyes of your A List.

A successful A List marketing strategy focuses on connecting and reconnecting with those specific businesses. Potential tactics could be as simple as sending your A List a targeted email campaign pertaining to the specific products or services they want, or offering them a referral discount. This is the easiest, least exclusionary way to market to your A List. Other tactics may involve retooling the aesthetics of your website and social media presence to reach your ideal customer. If your A List is a bulk-buying budget conscious customer, a minimalist, no-nonsense website makeover could be more appealing to them. When your A List is comprised of individuals with advanced degrees, taking an elevated tone to your messaging will likely give you more credibility in their eyes. These types of tweaks may not be appealing to D and C List customers, but it’s ok to allow your targeted marketing to filter out those who won’t benefit the long-term growth and viability of your business. As a matter of fact, that’s the point.

For more information on how to reach your A List and letting go of the customers you don’t need, connect with our team of marketing experts via the Contact page.

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8Jun
analyticsDo You Know How Well Your Website Is Performing?

Do You Know How Well Your Website Is Performing?

In today’s high-tech world, there are so many ways to capture, track, and analyze hundreds of varying pieces of data, so where do you even begin? Luckily, there are analytical tools available to ease the headache that big data can leave you with. As an added bonus, many of them are free! In this article, we will be focusing on the power of Google Analytics.

Why spend a ton of money on focus groups and market research to understand your customers? There is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips and it’s 100% free – your website. Your website not only provides your customers with information about your business, it also provides you with a wealth of analytical knowledge. With the help of Google Analytics, you can turn all of this knowledge into higher customer retention, more conversions, and overall success for your business.

I Have A Website, But How Do I Know If It’s Working?

First thing’s first. Before you can start tracking you will need to implement the Google Analytics code into your website’s backend, so that the program actually knows what to track. Once all of that is done, the real fun can begin!

There are a lot of pieces of information that Google Analytics will pull from your website, so the easiest thing to start with is measuring traffic. As a side note, do keep in mind that it will take at least a week or so for the program to pull any useful data after you first implement the code. To start taking a look at who’s visiting your site, how often, through what channel, etc. you will need to navigate to Behavior → Overview. This will give you a very high level overview of how your visitors are interacting with your site.

The information on this page, and every sub-category underneath the “Behavior” menu option, will explain how many new and returning visitors you have, how they are accessing your site, how long they stay on your site (and each page), which pages they visit, and so on.

Metrics To Get You Started

As we have mentioned earlier, the number of ways Google Analytics can pull data for you is overwhelming, so we will get you started with just a few of the more common metrics that are extremely useful. Here are also a few ways to use Google Analytics when you’re first getting started:

  • Behavior Flow: You’ll want to know what paths your visitors are taking when they come to your site. What information are they looking for and how can you help?
  • Channels: This will help you see where your site visitors are coming from. You can easily check the search queries to see what people looked for when they decided to click on your site.
  • Meaningful Time Frames: It’s also very helpful to use Google Analytics as a way to inform and measure other marketing efforts. Have you done a direct mail campaign recently that shared your website address or a specific webpage? Set the Google Analytics time frame to reflect when the campaign would have taken effect to see if there were notable differences in the amount of traffic and where those visitors came from. This also works around the time of going to a trade show. There we would expect a larger, more national audience, perhaps.

What Does It All Mean?

Once you get all of these basic metrics under your belt, you are now tasked with making sense of it all. This part of the process is highly dependent upon your unique business goals and what you ultimately want from your customers, however we pulled together some common conclusions based on certain pieces of data to give you an idea for how to get started.

  • Extremely high/low bounce rate: When you notice a bounce rate of 100%, this often means that something is not firing correctly with your GA code, or your website isn’t working properly. Same thing goes for an extremely low bounce rate, as well.
  • Low new user count with high avg. session duration: You might be thinking, “Drat! I have barely any new visitors to my site,” but fear not! Many times this metric is paired with a long average session duration count. You might not have many new visitors, but the ones you are getting are spending time actually looking around your site, possibly finding the answers to their questions.

What Now?

When you’re just getting started with Google Analytics, it is also a good idea to make a list of goals. You can then transfer these right into the program and use those to track if your potential customers are actually doing what you want them to, while also identifying potential problem areas of your site. For example, you can tell people are reading your blog, but then they always leave the site right away afterwards. Are you giving them a strong call-to-action? And what if people are visiting a lot of pages, but not for very long per page? When this is the case, your website might be too difficult to navigate. Use goals and goal conversion to help pinpoint exactly where you need the most website work and make sense out of your data results.

As inbound marketers, our goal is to make sure we are providing you with the knowledge to succeed, whether it’s through analytics or conversion strategy. But know that we are also here to help you because we know all of this takes a lot of time – time that you don’t always have. Let us make your life easier by giving you insights and suggestions for how to make your website work for you. Want to chat more? Visit our Contact Us page and get in touch with one of our experts today!

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2May
recruiting new graduatesMarket to Your Talent Pipeline Year Round

Market to Your Talent Pipeline Year Round

Like many companies, manufacturers often begin workforce development initiatives in the spring, hoping to reach graduating seniors in either high school or college with an interest in engineering, welding, machining, or technical work. If this sounds like your current talent acquisition strategy, there are some other factors you may want to consider. Making recruitment a continuous part of your marketing strategy, rather than an annual event, will yield better results in both quantity and quality.

Why It’s Always the Time For Student Recruitment

The primary reason why you should be working to build your talent pipeline continuously is because both graduating and prospective students are making critical decisions about their futures much earlier, not just before they graduate. Driven, career-minded students are making decisions about their future as early as sophomore year of high school, and regularly take standardized tests that indicate where their aptitudes lie. Students deciding between a four-year college program and an apprenticeship, or a Master’s degree and a few years working in the field will want to know what you have to offer them. By making recruitment a perpetual component of your overall marketing strategy, not only will you connect with more potential candidates, you will be able to inspire much younger students still learning about their passions and show them what the world of manufacturing has to offer.

It’s entirely possible that your business isn’t able to build the talent pipeline it needs because prime candidates don’t even know that you exist during the time when they’d be the most receptive to your recruitment efforts. Recruitment is just another form of targeted marketing, and all marketing ventures sink or swim based on timing.

How to Build a Continuous Talent Acquisition Marketing Program

Many manufacturers don’t view recruitment as an arm of marketing, but we disagree. Instead of marketing your products or services, you are marketing a lifestyle, a work atmosphere, and your company culture. And when looking at the student demographic, it’s often just as important to market to the parents as it is the students. To do this effectively, students need to see the manufacturing jobs you have to offer as realistic alternatives to traditional higher education tracks.

With the heavy burden of national student debt, innovative training strategies in technical fields are becoming increasingly attractive to America’s youth as they plan their futures. If you are able to provide in-house training or some form of certification that allows for continued upward mobility, then make those growth opportunities central to your messaging.

That’s a lot to convey, and it can’t be done in an interaction that only lasts a few minutes at a job fair. In order to reach new recruits, meet them where they’re at. Younger generations spend more of their time online than any other, which makes a digital marketing strategy essential to reaching the most eligible young candidates. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to dedicate some website space to describing your company culture and some of the benefits your company provides, particularly in additional training opportunities. Some additional methods for leveraging the internet in your recruitment strategy could involve social media advertising, video marketing, content marketing, career-centric podcasts, and online classes or programs geared towards educating high school and college students about manufacturing technology.

Recruitment is a lot more than career fairs and job postings. For more information on how to make the most of your talent acquisition efforts, get in touch with one of our marketing experts via the Contact page.

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12Jan
RoadmapWhat’s Your Marketing Strategy in 2018?

What’s Your Marketing Strategy in 2018?

By now, you already have your fiscal budget in place and have cemented all your major business goals for 2018. You likely have a good idea of how many new employees you’ll need to add to your workforce this year. Major business goals or new equipment investments for the year have been discussed and agreed upon. You have sales and revenue goals. Business leaders spend a lot of time and energy in creating their strategy and goals for the year.

But what is your marketing strategy for 2018?

Let’s Back Up. First, What IS a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy outlines the approach you want to take to achieve marketing goals and reach your target market. Your strategy can focus on customer retention and cross selling, reaching new audiences, or a myriad of other things. Your marketing strategy works hand in hand with your business goals. After all, marketing encourages business growth – your strategy and business goals determine in what ways you want to focus that growth.

Once you have a concrete understanding of the type of strategy that makes the most sense for your business goals, that informs all your marketing activities, so they are all working in harmony towards the same objectives.

It can be tempting to say your business doesn’t need a marketing strategy if you’ve never had one before. After all, you are doing fine – growing even – and your business uses traditional sales staff to meet business goals. And a skilled sales team can certainly grow a business. But if you are growing now, imagine what your business potential could be if you gave your sales team better tools!

Your business goals are a destination, and your marketing strategy is the vehicle for getting there. Sure, without one, you can try to move in the general direction you want to go, but you may not be taking the most efficient route. Twenty years ago, if you were driving to an unfamiliar destination, you needed a roadmap or atlas. Now, nearly everyone uses a GPS or navigation app because they are more effective and efficient predictors of traffic, construction, and other obstacles in the way of getting where you need to go. Roadmaps and atlases still work, but if you want to get to that new destination on time, most people would opt for the option that gives them the greatest advantage.

From Creating a Strategy to Activation

Look at your current situation and goals and assess where your greatest potential lies. Do you often hear from new customers, “I never knew about you guys!” Or do your current customers say, “Oh, I didn’t know you could do that too!” Those are all starting points when deciding where to focus your strategy.

You likely already have an idea of where your company needs to grow, but you may not have the time necessary to create a marketing strategy and implement it. If that’s the case, outsourcing your marketing can be a way to bridge the gap. On the other hand, you may have a clear direction mind, but you lack the manpower to activate your strategy and carry out tactics, 360 Direct has a program for that. We call it our “Hands and Feet” program, where we put your marketing ideas into action.

Other times, a business leader is so entrenched in the company that an outside perspective is useful or even necessary to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your brand’s image. 360 Direct offers a Business Marketing Diagnostic for cases like that — with no obligation to purchase any other services.

No matter where your starting point is on the road to maximizing your brand power, consulting an expert strategist can help point you in the right direction. Make the most of your 2018 by giving your team a clear path to succeed in meeting their goals with a marketing strategy.

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15Nov
Holiday MarketingHow to Market Meaningfully During the Holidays

How to Market Meaningfully During the Holidays

The holidays are busy for just about everyone, including businesses. Between last minute product orders, tight deadlines, and personal obligations, executives in the B2B marketplace are not likely to want to take your calls, open an eblast, or read a lengthy blog on your latest product or service. This is why so many marketers fall back on “fun” and “light” holiday content that doesn’t actually provide meaningful information to their audience, hoping that a heavy dose of holiday cheer will be more readily consumed. Though this type of content might seem more digestible, it tends to be equally useless to both the industry and your brand. Here’s how to create content that is both relevant and eye-catching during a time of the year when your target market doesn’t have much time to stop and listen to you.

Substantive Content Can and Should Relate to the Holidays

It turns out that you don’t have to choose between content that matters and content that’s relevant to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Every business has needs and concerns specific to the holiday season. Almost any product or service can be dressed up with special Holiday pricing or messaging. At 360 Direct, we’ve marketed everything from robots to cardboard during the holidays, so you can trust us on this one. Finding the right holiday-related topic can be as simple as asking your customers how their business changes from October through December. Do orders slow down or speed up? Do their operations experience problems with consistency, efficiency, or workplace safety due to higher stress and shorter deadlines? Does their fiscal year end with the calendar year, and thus they are in the middle of spending the rest of their budget or determining new contracts? Find a way that your business can help mitigate those problems and market it.

A pretty eblast wishing your email list a generic “Happy Holidays” is a lot less compelling than one that addresses a problem your target market is experiencing right now, because of the holidays.

Timing is Everything During the Holidays

At the very least, time your messages wisely. You can still discuss business that isn’t holiday related, but maybe don’t send your email the week of Thanksgiving or few days after the holiday when everyone is inundated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails. Avoid the days directly surrounding a major holiday, when many people use PTO to travel. Even the days after a holiday, when people are getting back to the office, but they have to catch up on a full inbox of everything they missed.

It’s not just about emails! If you are sending a direct mail piece, double check to make sure it won’t arrive to its destination when people are out of the office. You don’t want it to sit in their mailbox for a full week before they finally get around to going through days and days of mail.

Keep Holiday Marketing Short and Sweet

Remember, in B2B marketing, your target is likely short on time and patience during the holidays. Even if they happen to be in a particularly cheery mood, you shouldn’t bank on their willingness to dig through a dissertation for relevant information. Whatever substantive content you have to offer, get the point. Bring in a professional copywriter to fine-tune your messaging and make your content compelling, maybe even fun if it it’s applicable to your audience. Keeping your holiday marketing positive, informative, and solution-oriented keeps your audience motivated and engaged.

Now there’s nothing wrong with sending your prospective customers a Christmas card, or posting a holiday-themed graphic on Twitter, but your marketing does not need to be limited to unsubstantial content. For more tips on B2B marketing during the holidays, connect with one of our marketing experts via our Contact page.

photo credit: Theo Crazzolara Weihnachstkugeln via photopin (license)

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15Aug
Your Marketing AgencyWhy Hire a Marketing Agency?

Why Hire a Marketing Agency?

Deciding to use a marketing agency for the first time can feel like a huge leap of faith. In addition to the sizable investment, it can be difficult to relinquish autonomy, even though you will still maintain oversight. Marketing is particularly difficult to outsource, since it has a direct influence over sales and revenue. Ultimately, why should you outsource marketing?

They specialize in marketing.

Often, business leaders say they can’t go with an outside agency because no one knows about their product/company/industry as much as they do. And that is likely true, but that is exactly why you should consider an agency. You are an expert in your product or service, but are you an expert at web-building, SEO, social media, content creation, ad development, PR, and more?

An outside marketing agency brings years of accumulative experience, education, ongoing training, and research in marketing. They know what works and – equally important – what doesn’t. Even if you’ve done marketing internally for years, you can be limited to your company’s past experience. Whereas an agency has the benefit of seeing the trial and errors of many companies over time. They are more in tune with changing marketing trends and buyer behavior. An outside marketing agency brings in fresh ideas and sees your products with new eyes – much like a prospective client will.

There are many specific marketing skills that are easily identifiable, but one point of expertise that is often overlooked is the ability to convey a complicated or new product or service to an uninformed audience. Often a business owner or CEO is so entrenched in their field that educating people who do not yet realize they want your product isn’t high on the radar.

And when it comes to learning the ins and outs of your specific brand and industry, any agency worth their salt will spend the on-boarding process researching and analyzing your company, its competitors, and its client base. Just like your company can talk to many different clients and adapt your service for various applications, marketing agencies apply tried and true marketing principles to your company in applications that make the most sense for your specific goals.

They give the gift of time.

Good marketing isn’t something that can be “squeezed in” when you have time. That leads to sporadic results at best. Most marketing efforts are ongoing and take time to lead a prospective client through the buying process before they becomes a customer. An agency provides the continuity and persistence that leads to steadier revenue streams.

If you are like most business leaders, you likely have a laundry list of things you wish you could do but you don’t have the time. Perhaps you have even postponed a great opportunity because you know you do not have the time to do it right. That’s where a marketing agency comes in. They can complete that to-do list and much more. This frees up your valuable time to do more of what you do best. You’ll have more time to lead other aspects of your company rather than scrambling to throw together ad hoc efforts.

Marketing is much more than tactics! Having a team at your disposal with the sole goal of marketing ensures that all your efforts will be comprehensive, not based on the time restraints that come from running a company. Research, planning, execution, and measuring results all work hand in hand to elevate your brand. Because agencies are purely engaged in marketing efforts, you’ll be much better positioned to take advantage of new opportunities when they arise.

They are the best of both worlds.

Hiring a marketing agency is less expensive than hiring a new employee, and instead of one person’s experience and strengths, you get a whole team.

Even when you have your own dedicated marketing professional or department, it can be useful to bring in an agency for specific projects. Product launches, website redesign, and other new initiatives can overwhelm existing staff with an influx of additional work to be done. Utilizing an agency ensures no marketing responsibilities get forgotten in the midst of a major project. Good marketing agencies work in tandem with your existing staff, always ensuring your branding is consistent. It’s a great way to get an influx of new ideas and the additional staff you need when your staff has a full plate but a new hire is impractical.

Whether you are looking to bolster your existing marketing department or just looking to have someone (anyone!) dedicated to the content marketing strategy of the company, a marketing agency has the flexibility to fill short- or long- term needs and tackle projects of all sizes.

Is it time to take the leap?

Marketing agencies can help improve inbound marketing, web design, ROI on current marketing efforts and can lead to more consistent sales, customer retention, and brand recognition. If those are things you want, it may be time to take that leap. Time lost is opportunity lost.

Of course, not all agencies are created equally. Look for ones that are talk with you earnestly about your goals and business pains and then tailor a plan to your unique needs. A good agency has the flexibility to adapt to your circumstances and doesn’t hold your materials and accounts hostage when you want to make changes. But we’ll get into that next time, when we talk about when you should fire your marketing agency.

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29Jun
Why Marketing Design Matters ImageWhy Marketing Design Matters

Why Marketing Design Matters

It’s easy to neglect updating the marketing design in your materials. Many times, companies use the same design for their marketing materials and just plug in updated specs and product information.

Over time, it’s easy to fall into complacency and lose that critical eye towards pieces that have been working for you. After all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Many companies are satisfied as long as the information is correct. Unfortunately, that’s not enough! There are a lot of companies competing for your prospective customers’ attention, and with our shrinking attention spans, individuals are becoming accustomed to making snap judgments. Your product information could be saying you are leading your industry, but your marketing materials may be telling a different story.

Print Materials

Most B2B companies understand the continued need for print materials in their marketing mix, but even those marketing staples have evolved to incorporate updated marketing design. People now spend less time than ever digesting what’s in front of them – about seven seconds! Gone are the days when individuals sit and read large chunks of text they are handed or receive in the mail. It’s all about bullet points, sub headers, and an appealing design. So, bare this in mind whenever you need any Promotional Signs or any other marketing materials printed for your business

If you are taking your updated information and plugging it into the same brochure, sell sheet, or postcard template your company has been using for years, your materials likely aren’t as effective as they could be. People have complained about the amount of advertising they are exposed to since 1759, and the advertising clutter continues to grow annually. There are two ways to increase your odds of prospective clients paying attention.

  1. Get to the point. Companies have to assume their materials are only given a cursory glance before a reader decides to put it aside or to delve in and read more. Give your readers the information they are looking for as quickly as possible in a straightforward manner. Provide easy options for them to get more in-depth information, should the want it. Your layout should be easy to follow; colors and font should be crisp and clear.
  2. Get creative. How many postcards and flyers do decision makers receive in year? A month? A day? Make sure yours are standing out and not getting lost in the shuffle. This doesn’t mean gimmicky. Some well-placed images, a less common size, or a memorable and fitting cutout or insert could be all it takes.

Even with a robust print material campaign, most prospective clients will check you out online before calling to make an appointment or purchase. Which leads us to…

Websites

Even if you don’t know anything about the technical aspects of websites, you know an outdated website when you use one. It’s hard to navigate, it’s difficult to use on phones, and overall takes a long time to find specific information when you have a question. Companies that continue to have a website that is not “mobile friendly” are immediately creating an unnecessary barrier for prospective clients, since 42% of B2B decision makers use their mobile device for research.

In addition to the mobile friendly aspect, load times and content layout dramatically impact how long a prospective customer stays on your site. In fact, if your load time is more than three seconds, many people could leave your site before ever seeing the content. (Remember that 7 second attention span?) Of course, outdated information is sure to be noticed. As prospective customers gain information on their options, they are sure to check you out online. Make sure they like what they see! Current marketing design practices for websites include ensuring your site is responsive and contains relevant images and videos to further engage prospective clients.

Many companies find themselves stuck with a webmaster who built their site but doesn’t do great updates or are unwilling to keep up with best practices. The task of building a new site can seem daunting and even impossible. That said, it is well worth it to invest in a responsive website that will be easy to update and make changes to in the future. The internet will continue to evolve; if you are already behind, it will only get worse until you make that investment.

Regardless of what industry you are in, the design of your marketing materials matters. Your marketing design is as important as the machinery or materials you use for your products. You wouldn’t go years without considering an update or evaluating best practices, and the same should be said for your marketing efforts.

If you are concerned your marketing materials don’t align with today’s best practices, contact us for a free discovery appointment, where we will evaluate your current materials looking for opportunities – with no commitment from you.

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13Jun
How Businesses Can Find ContentHow Businesses Can Find Content

How Businesses Can Find Content

Savvy businesses understand the need for current, relevant content for their followers. Whether it’s blog posts, email blasts, or social media posts, businesses need content to present to their followers and keep them engaged and interested in the brand. Developing a content strategy, on the other hand, is often easier said than done. The first hurdle is determining what is newsworthy to your followers, and how to find the news within your organization.

You can’t write about everything, every time.

If each email you send looks like a rundown on all the products or services you offer, there’s some room to grow. Anyone can look at your website to get that information! If the information in your emails remains the same, what is the incentive to continue opening the emails and clicking on the content? The same can be said for social media channels. If the information being presented is more like catalog listings, there is little reason to continue to actively follow your organization. That’s not what you want!

These followers have already made the emotional connection and investment to like your page, sign up for your email, or click on your blog. They are asking for deeper engagement. Don’t give them a catalog listing, give them something to dig into! Narrow your focus and provide rich content on a specific product or news item.

How do you find your focus?

Your company likely has several offerings or areas of focus. How do you choose what to focus on? You want to choose what is most relevant to your company and the industry. A newsworthy item could be a new product or service you are introducing. Time sensitive information, like a new award or an upcoming trade show you are attending, is also an example of something you want to ensure your followers hear about.

Of course, you may not have breaking news on a weekly or monthly basis. That doesn’t mean you have nothing to talk about, though! This is a chance to highlight your company’s offerings with content that differentiates you from your competition. Don’t regurgitate information readily available on your website, brochure, or catalog. Add value to your content.

If you have great relationships with your clients, write a case-study that showcases an instance where you really solved a major business pain for them. This kind of piece can require some legwork and elbow grease, but can really move perspective clients. Work with your client and get their permission before embarking on this path. Ensure that you will not share any proprietary information, trade secrets, or other competitive knowledge. Instead, focus on what problem you solve for them. Is their process faster now? Their turnaround time shorter? Are you saving them money, making their products safer?

Are your products doing good in the community? Create a human interest piece by focusing on how your products benefit the community. If your products or services don’t lend themselves to any feel-good stories, what about the rest of your company? If you have any community programs or service projects, let the public know what you are doing!

Lastly, highlight an existing product or service. The key here is to offer more information than what people would be able to read in your brochure or catalog. Companies can use this opportunity to address any common misconceptions, FAQs, or to focus on largely unknown or underutilized features.

When selecting the product or service to highlight, there are a few things to keep in mind.

DO

  • Select an area of your company that you excel in.
  • Choose a line that you want to expand in, and have the capacity to do so.
  • Focus on a product or service with a good ROI for your company.

DON’T

  • Pick a product or service you are discontinuing or trying to get out of. (Unless you are highlighting a sale!)
  • Write about a product or service that you don’t have the capacity to expand in.
  • Highlight something with a poor ROI for your company. If your content drives new business, you want it to be business you want.

Strategize when to release your content.

Once you have content, decide when to release it. Some content is evergreen, but if your product has a cyclical lifestyle, it’s important to think about the timing of your release.

Releasing your content during a high volume time, when your product or service is used the most, will hit followers at a time when they are actively thinking about your product more and experiencing a business pain. You’ll be more likely to grab their attention, but less likely to make an immediate sale, since they will already have providers in place for that cycle. On the other hand, if you have a feel for when your target audience is reassessing their processes and considering new providers, that’s a great time to have deeper engagement with them via a well-thought piece of content.

Quality content is not a continuous sales pitch, regurgitating information from your website, brochure, and catalogs, and you don’t necessarily need to offer sales to get your target audience’s attention. Your content strategy should use what your organization is already doing to generate relevant, engaging content that will keep your followers interested in your company.  360 Direct is a Milwaukee and Chicago Marketing Company.  We can help you execute these strategies!

 

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31May
email marketingEmail Marketing’s Place in a B2B Industry

Email Marketing’s Place in a B2B Industry

Email marketing has been a popular choice for years now, known as an inexpensive option to directly reach consumers. Emails consistently have the highest ROI of all marketing channels. But are they still working? And are they more fit for B2C companies?

The answers are, “Yes, they are still working, and they are just as fit for B2B companies!” In fact, B2B companies have a higher Open Rate and CTR than B2C companies when it comes to email. Let’s take a look at a few reasons your B2B company should employ a robust email marketing campaign.

For one, emails can help establish your business as a forward-thinking thought leader in your industry. Presenting new, helpful information to decision makers will keep you at the top of their mind when they encounter a business pain that needs a solution you already provide.

Second of all, emails have a higher rate of engagement than social media. This could be because people who sign up for your email list are already more engaged in your company than those that click “like” on social media, or it could be because people are in the mindset for reading more and deeper connections when they sit down with their email than when they casually scroll through social media channels. Regardless, emails has proved in multiple studies to be more effective than social media. Not to mention, many of your client and contacts may not be connected to you on social media!

Lastly, emails are a great way to stay in contact with clients and interested parties with long buying cycles. You are well aware that B2B sales are relationship based. Nurture and grow that relationship by providing interesting and relevant information for them in between sales calls.

So now that we’ve covered why B2B companies should send emails, what should be in them?

Email Marketing in a B2B IndustryEmail marketing is a great tool for both B2C and B2B businesses, but those emails are very different in terms of content.

A B2C email typically has a call to make a purchase, but B2B emails are best when they present new information. B2B emails should focus on being educational and informative, encouraging recipients to “Learn More” rather than “Buy More!”

This is a great opportunity for B2B companies to reach decision makers and educate them about problems they may not know about and introduce them to the solutions you provide. Rather than list your products, show them an in-depth case study so they can see how your company can affect change and solve their business pain. It’s also the perfect place to announce new products or services you offer, trade shows you will be attending, and other developments that are relevant to your clients and show that your company is constantly growing and developing.

Even when content is rich, detailed, and informative, don’t bog down the email by making it too lengthy. Post your case study, whitepaper, or product announcement on your website. The email should contain enough information for your recipient to determine if it’s information they want to learn more about, and then provide a link for them to do just that – on the company website, of course.

As with all email marketing campaigns, only send an email when you have something interesting to tell you recipients! For many B2B companies, an email a month is frequent enough. As always, monitoring your results can guide the decision making process for adjusting any marketing campaign to achieve best results.

We would also recommend you make sure that you use an Email Encryption service. It is important to send out quality information in your emails, but you want to be sure that your are only sending out the information you are aware of and not leaking private company information with emails that aren’t encrypted. Make sure you find a service that offers your the right protection and email encryption service for your business before you choose one.

While there are some differences in B2C and B2B campaigns, there are similarities as well.

Segmenting your audience to get the most pertinent information to your recipients realizes the best results, particularly for larger companies with several focuses. Otherwise, companies run the risk of recipients getting into the mindset that emails from you are not always relevant or helpful.

As always, only use email addresses that people have willingly given and opted-in to receive correspondence and give a clear opt-out option in emails. If your company is getting ready to add email marketing to your marketing mix, ensure recipients are told in their first email what your emails will be used for and how frequently they can expect communication.

Companies that take the time to develop great emails will reap the rewards in better client relationships and a great ROI. If you aren’t currently investing in email marketing, it’s never to late too begin and see how your business benefits.

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16Mar
360 View of ManufacturingThe 360 View of Why Manufacturing Matters

The 360 View of Why Manufacturing Matters

Wisconsin is highly impacted by the manufacturing industry, with many residents employed by manufacturing companies. There are many different types of manufacturing companies some of which use industrial computers. If you have a manufacturing company then you may like to visit www.cksglobal.net. Even Wisconsin has a diverse range of manufacturing companies. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Wisconsin stands out as one of few states where manufacturing has remained the biggest employer” (1). Events such as Manufacturing Matters, which took place in February, is just one example of how manufacturing is regularly highlighted as a significant part of Wisconsin’s economy. 360 Direct also recognizes how important manufacturing is to this area, and strives to serve the manufacturing industry on a daily basis.

This is why manufacturing matters to 360 Direct:

At 360 Direct, we know that the manufacturing industry needs assistance with regards to marketing. As a company in the Greater Milwaukee area, we understand how imperative Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector is to our economy. We also recognize that the Wisconsin manufacturing sector has allowed marketing to sit stagnate with outdated tactics and not engaging the new rules of marketing due to long established regional business relationships and practices that until now, have always seemed to be enough to keep manufacturers growing. Our goal is to help manufacturers become more marketable with current business, prospective business, and the new crop of skilled workers coming out of trade schools and instructional programs, utilizing digital and traditional tools to get there.

When it comes to the manufacturing industry, 360 Direct stands apart from other marketing agencies in regards to how we can help them. Having worked with numerous manufacturing companies before, we have a first hand knowledge and understanding of the industry. 360 Direct also offers education and understanding on strategy and tactical development, to keep our customers in the know. Providing insider knowledge to manufacturers helps them understand why we encourage the use of a specific tactic, which can be just as important as implementing the tactic itself. Additionally, our years of experience in the local manufacturing sector have allowed us to develop tried and tested methods that enhance the reputation and reach of manufacturing companies in Wisconsin. We offer a service that is specifically tooled to help manufacturers profit. Our work is valuable to them because its flexibility generates a custom solution with custom results.

For those not yet ready to work with an agency, 360 Direct does have some quick advice for manufacturing companies considering updating their marketing. First of all, develop strategy before activating tactics. Knowing the what, who, when, where, and why before the how will make activating tactics easier, less stressful, and provide insights into the target audience they may not have known existed. Developing strategy will also help avoid those panic modes of producing a tactic that has poor messaging and may not have been leveraged in the most appropriate of ways. Also, develop a digital presence. This involves becoming active on social media, which has targeted application amongst a wide swath of age groups, and has become increasingly essential for expanding business in growing leads, creating partnerships, and generating one’s own talent pipeline. A digital presence involves having a fully responsive and mobile friendly website that acts as a central hub for any marketing efforts. Not having a website in this day and age incredibly harms a brands reputation, even and especially in “old school” industries like manufacturing. Start with these basic steps and you will be on the right path to improving your marketing.

If you are interested in additional information about growing your manufacturing business, expanding the talent pipeline, and filling the skills gap, contact 360 Direct at 262-289-9210 or fill out our contact form on the contact tab above.

 

Sources:

  1. http://archive.jsonline.com/business/as-us-creates-low-wage-jobs-wisconsin-clings-to-manufacturing-b99348747z1-277269841.html

 

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