Monthly Archives: April 2012

Age Old Tips for Successful Online Marketing

Tips For Online Industrial Marketing

“Put money back into your wallet!”

One of the joys of commuting daily to New York City is passing through the depths of Penn Station where organized chaos persists. Amongst anxious ant masses shuffling about – one sound rises above all: the begging calls of the aggressive yet generous newspaper-pushers. These feisty characters stop at nothing to force a free ragsheet into your hands. Typically, they yell out the names, “A.M. New York, get your A.M. New York here,” or, “Metro! Metro! Metro!” Eventually, you program yourself to ignore and dodge them with cunning precision.

Yet, this one morning – they got me. How? Six words, “Put money back into your wallet!” Why not? In a world that is amazingly successful at picking money from my wallet, they wanted to put some back in. I snapped up the paper.

So how did they get me to do it??? Did I mention the “free money”? Who doesn’t want free money? I do. This tactic illustrates a key marketing/sales rule: the value based proposition. You know, sell the sizzle, not the steak. I didn’t want that dirty paper, but I did want that green paper. Simply put, there was something in it for me.

This got me thinking about other traditional principles often neglected in industrial online marketing initiatives…

We Make Stuff

One of the most frustrating experiences for anyone is arriving at a beautiful (or not so attractive) home page only to realize that nowhere is it stated what the company does. I suppose it’s easy to succumb to the seductive graphics and layouts that talented designers cook up. But if someone gets to your page and doesn’t know what you do, what’s the sense of having a website? Did you know that people will stay on a home page, at best, 5-8 seconds? That’s not very long. If they can’t quickly figure out what you do, nor have a reason to click in deeper, the only button they’ll be hitting is the back button. Don’t make this critical mistake. Say what you do. Put in the banner in as few words as possible, and elaborate in your intro text. You do have to sell the steak too. The same rules apply for other online marketing channels such as email and ads. Always make it a point to clearly state what you do.

We Do it Faster, Better, Cheaper

In conversations, manufacturers have no trouble explaining what they do. In fact, they love to talk about it more than anything. Yet, there are thousands of job shops, stampers, injection molders, etc. in the world. You must grab attention by rising above the herd and focusing on what you do best. The textbook calls this differentiation – where you answer the question, “Why should I choose you?” Perhaps it’s tight tolerances? Unique capabilities? Deep industry/application experience? Exotic materials? Short runs? Gigantic ones? Whatever it is – flaunt it. Don’t be just another stamper – be the “high volume exotic alloy precision medical stamping specialist”.

Application Specialists are Standing by. Call Now!

So now that you’ve defined what you do, why you do it better, and told the audience what’s in it for them, now you need to make the connection of viewer/visitor to lead. What’s the secret here? Simple. If you want that RFQ, ask for it! Encourage visitors to call now. Or submit an RFQ. (Perhaps with a CAD drawing?) For off the shelf products, invite them to specify and buy now. Just like those annoying infomercials, where “operators are standing by, so call now,” you need to encourage your audience to connect with you. You’ve already done the hard part of getting them on the hook, now you need to pull them onto the boat. Marketing gurus call this step conversion, arguably the most important part of the process. These concise invitations for strangers to become leads or business include “buy now”, “submit RFQ”, “contact us”, “call an applications specialist”, etc. (Oh, and please make sure I don’t have to search for your phone number on your site!)

We’re Only Expecting the Basics

There are other rules that are critical for success. We certainly can’t cover all marketing know-how in one blog. These are critical ones, and from experience, often neglected. Put yourself on the other side of the screen when you are making content decisions for your digital media. Imagine you are a person that never heard of your company viewing that website, email or ad for the first time. You will want:

  • To know what the company does
  • Why they do it better than the competition
  • Why you should work with them
  • A method to communicate with them easily

Keep in mind that these rules apply a bit differently to the various channels. For instance, in social media, while you will want to follow these rules for elements such as the bio or about us, you don’t want to spend to too much time talking about yourself in your posts. (More about that topic in a future entry.) For most channels though such as your website, ads, emails, etc. – these apply as outlined here.

Oh, if you are wondering how those nice fellas in the train station were claiming to put money back into my pocket? Macy’s coupons. Really. Which is ironic, since I don’t typically shop there. But I do still have that newspaper in my bag…

Phil Paranicas

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Social Media is a Fad

Social Media is a Fad

Sorry folks. As it turns out, social media is just another fad. It’s true. I checked it out on the Internet. Wallowing in my misery, I started thinking about and researching other silly passing trends in the history of humankind – you know – cars, television, computers, etc. Here’s what I found…

“The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”

This was the advice of the President of Michigan Savings Bank to Horace Rackham, lawyer for Henry Ford, in 1903. He wasn’t alone in his beliefs. At that time, people were using trolleys, horses, bicycles and their own feet for transportation. As such, the concept of car ownership was meaningless, especially since people either lived very close together or rather far apart.

Today, it is estimated that over 600 million cars are on the road! This means that billions were produced since Ford revolutionized the industry long ago. So why did people it eventually give in, allowing cars to become so popular? Simply put – large scale manufacturing made autos affordable, and they couldn’t resist the convenience. People bought them and moved farther apart, and were able to connect with people that were greater distances away. Cars changed humanity as it was. Can you imagine life today with one?

Ironically, Ford’s lawyer Rackham ignored his own advice and invested $5,000 in Ford stock early on – selling it later for $12.5 million.

“Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”

These wise words were uttered in 1946 by Darryl Zanuck, a movie producer for 20th Century Fox. Keep in mind, when TV sets started to become widely available in the 1940’s, they only spat out sputtering black and white images – nothing compared to the captivating 3D technology or crisp vibrant flat screens we have today. Older generations certainly resisted, muttering, “Why would you gaze at that rather than talk and interact with loved ones? Or read a book?” Movie production companies, as illustrated by Zanuck’s quote, clearly had the most to lose and fought the trend.

Regardless, folks couldn’t resist the allure of television. The luxury of enjoying quality entertainment at home with friends, neighbors and loved ones took society by storm. Soon, the country would be addicted to Lucille Ball, the Honeymooners and many others. Today, roughly 1.5 billion TV’s are in service worldwide according to Nationmaster.com! Try to imagine life without one.

People never got tired of staring at that box (though it is flatter and more rectangular now.) As such, 20th Century Fox went on to produce thousands of shows, movies, documentaries, specials and more thus generating billions if not more in total revenue. My apologies to Zanuck.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

What’s scarier than this quote is the source – IBM’s former chairman Thomas Watson. He shared this wisdom in 1943. Granted, computers were unthinkably gigantic in the early years, and not particularly productive. As they got smaller and more powerful, governments and businesses invested since they understood the value – but people still generally resisted since they didn’t understand what they could do or how to use them. Slowly, computers became more affordable, feature rich and easier to use. Now, even my mom has one, and a Gmail account too. Maybe she’s even reading this. Hi Mom! According to Gartner research, over a billion computers existed were used worldwide in 2008, forecasted to double to 2 billion within 7 years.

As for IBM, no need for explanation. We all know that they were the pioneers of business and personal computers, selling millions of computers since they started making them. Quite a few more that the 5 Watson predicted the world would need.

The Social Phenomena

So, let’s look at some numbers for social media, the next big “fad”:

  • Facebook has over 800 million users
  • LinkedIn, over 150 million
  • Twitter boasts over 400 million monthly active users
  • Unimaginable, but Google+ signed over 600,000 new users PER DAY last December!

These quantities certainly indicate that social isn’t going anywhere but up.

Further, the industrial purchasing community is socially active – researching brands, products, capabilities and more on social sites. According to a recent survey by Thomas Industrial Network, seven out of 10 small and midsize suppliers (68 percent) are already engaging with prospects through these channels, gaining a competitive advantage over those who have yet to start.

It’s human nature to resist change. But those that embrace social as a tool to improve communication, increase targeted exposure, promote brand awareness and generate leads will be in a better position to compete in a global marketplace. For those that choose to ignore its enormous reach, power and potential – not to worry – social media will go away. Just like cars, televisions and computers did…


Image: phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Phil Paranicas


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