5 Tips to Rehabilitate Your Building Product Social Media and Email Marketing

8684494364_48504dc7f2_oAligning and integrating your building product email and social media marketing efforts will extend the reach of your email by increasing opens, clicks and conversions. 

Social media and email marketing are much more effective when they work together as part of an integrated building product campaign.  The smart way to integrate them is from a business strategy. Since each of these channels is complex in their own right, it’s best to plan their integration from a high level.

Getting started includes going back to your business model and business plan and asking:

What’s your strategy for reaching customers?

What’s your strategy for keeping them?

What’s your strategy for getting them to spend more time with you?

Before you get lost in the weeds of email and social technology and individual campaigns, think long-term and high-level strategy and consider these five pieces of advice:

Create cross channel social media and email marketing campaigns that feed back into each other. Social is perfect for extending the reach of your email campaigns. Likewise, good email campaigns can deepen your relationship with social media contacts, thereby turning those followers into buyers. Think about occasionally pitching your newsletter through your company’s social media channels.

Leverage the power of each channel to map opportunities along your building product customer’s path to purchase. Find opportunities to send behavioral or triggered emails such as welcome emails to new customers by encouraging them to share your content, check out a demo video on your YouTube channel, retweet one of your Tweets, etc. Email gives you ample opportunity to cross promote your building product content.

Let email and social media marketing work together to meet your marketing objectives as well as your building product customer’s needs. Be sure to promote your newsletter signup prominently within your social channels and your social channels in emails. You’ll also want to track new email subscribes and give social the proper attribution when appropriate. Whether it’s a Facebook tab or a Twitter lead generation card, use your social media platforms to build your email list.

Make it easy for your email subscribers to share your content. In addition to including social sharing buttons in your emails, use tools like Click to Tweet to make tweeting key points very simple. This tool allows your readers to click a link within an email and a pre-composed Tweet pops up for them to share. The easier you make it to share, the more people will do it.

Ensure you have clear calls to action when sending emails. You’ll also want to make sure each call to action stands out. Consider mentioning it more than once and don’t just put it at the end of your email. Think about where to position it within the body of your email. And, as I mentioned before, if you’re trying to encourage people to share via social channels, make it as easy as possible for them.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33006820@N00/8684494364

6 Steps to Kick Start Your Building Product Content Marketing

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Smart building product marketers understand that rather than using outdated methods of outbound marketing, content marketing builds trust with and attracts buyers. 

Buyers have virtually shut off the traditional world of marketing and chosen messaging that makes them stop, think and behave differently. And with content marketing now a cornerstone of inbound marketing efforts in building product marketing, what do you need to get started? A carefully planned strategy and well-coordinated implementation.

In content efforts we manage for clients, we’ve discovered six steps that will kick your content plan into high gear.

Define your audience. If your plan is to talk to everyone, think again. That net is much too wide. Who is your target audience? Defining it is a key first step to take before one piece of content is created.

Build personas. This task is fairly simple. Identify the attributes needed for someone to be your buyer. The goal is to describe who you will attempt to write for or who might already be reading your content. This exercise will help personalize your writing, identify ways to connect with your buyer and create more practical content with their needs in mind.

Determine digital footprint. How will you distribute your building product content? Even before you create it, decide where it will be hosted and published. A website or microsite is one of the more common platforms because your content can be disseminated through a blog, webinars, photo gallery, videos, podcasts, Tweet Chats, etc. Let social media play the role of distributor, as it can extend the reach of your content and foster authentic conversations with your buyers.

Do your homework on keywords. Knowing what words users type when they are searching for building product information is of the utmost importance. Do the research and choose words with the highest number of monthly searches and the lowest competition.

Think like a building product publisher. Publishers use editorial calendars to monitor dates, track specifics of content ideas and keep content consistent and relevant. These tools also allow you to see connections within your content and identify ways to repurpose it.

Report, analyze and adjust. One of inbound marketing’s biggest benefits is the ability to track and measure the progress you are making to see what is and isn’t working. Then you can adapt to optimize results.

Photo credit: Flickr

Think Your Building Product Content Is Being Read? Think Again

Sept 3 think_your_contentWriting less and styling text so it’s easy to read are two ways to attract and hold the attention of your building product customers and prospects. 

Thanks to Jakob Nielson and his web usability studies, we’ve known for a long time that web users scan content rather than read it. We also know, thanks to real-time analytics, that there’s a pretty good chance you won’t finish this article. As a matter of fact, for every 161 people who landed on this page, 61 of you are already gone. In web traffic jargon, you “bounced” and spent no time engaging with this page.

But that’s okay. Losing 38 percent of you is the nature of the online beast. Good riddance, I say, because now we have a friendly, intimate crowd–just me and those of you who want to be here. I still have to accept the fact though, that you would rather scan web pages than read them in detail.

Therefore, there are some things I learned in English composition class I need to forget in order to keep my building product marketing readers tuned in.  I also like to incorporate some easy design techniques that make my content more reader-friendly.

Break up copy. 

To cover complex topics, I like to break up the subject matter into a series of posts. It’s a good way to keep your readers coming back and they’ll find it easier to digest your content if it’s in smaller, snackable pieces.

Write compelling subheads. 

Strong headlines get readers attention. Solid subheads keep readers engaged and help move them through the rest of your content. Compose subheads that are intriguing and informative.

Use bullets. 

Bullet lists provide an easy, scannable way to present multiple points in your content. I recommend using them as much as possible due to the fact it provides a break for the reader’s eye.

Format strategically. 

Emphasize important concepts in your web copy by bolding them. You want your reader to be able to scan and take away the most important points at a glance. Highlight only the main points so your reader can quickly pick them out.

Use odd numbered lists. 

Numbers are an effective way to capture attention and keep your reader interested. Large chunks of information broken up into odd-numbered facts, as research shows, helps the brain process information in manageable pieces.

While content is important, if it isn’t commanding attention, your building product prospects won’t stick around to hear what you have to say.  Incorporate these tips into your writing to attract and hold attention.

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn via flickr

Five Steps to Effective Building Product Email Marketing

Fine-tuning your building product email marketing campaigns will increase deliverability and return on investment. 

Aug 4 5_steps Effective emailIt’s the biggest driver of new leads and has the highest return on investment of any marketing medium. If email marketing isn’t one of your marketing team’s top priorities, it should be.

Statistics continue to show that email is the preferred mode of communication for the majority of consumers. How successful are your email marketing efforts compared to your other building product marketing activities? Being able to create, deploy and track email campaigns that work takes a lot of practice. I’ve assembled five steps to help you get the most out of your email marketing efforts.

Step 1: Have a robust online presence. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? You’d be surprised the number of building product organizations that still have a ho-hum web presence. Make the most out of your website because a great one can do the job of 100 salespeople. While you’re at it, add an email submission form on your home page to help build your list.

Step 2: Maintain a clean and current email list. Create a list based on people who’ve already expressed an interest in hearing about your building products. In order to keep your list clean of bounces and unsubscribes, you need to routinely remove the people on your prospect list who no longer read your emails. The quality of your list is more important than the quantity of prospects on it.

It’s also important to keep lists current. People’s addresses change, as do their interests. If you aren’t sending to your list at least quarterly, then you may be at risk of getting blacklisted or blocked. Once that happens it’s very hard to get your emails delivered. Sites like Barracuda, Spamhaus, Spamcop, Spamcannibal or Lashback can be searched using your domain and IP address to see if you may be blacklisted.

Step 3: Engage your audience with content. To really connect with your building product customers and prospects, provide them with insight that they can turn into action. How do you do this? By publishing research and engaging external experts to validate those ideas are great ways to engage with prospects.

If you’re needing help assembling a content strategy, you may want to check out What’s the One Key Ingredient Your Building Product Content Marketing Needs?

Step 4: Test your campaigns. Divide your lists and test campaign content using A/B or split-test functions to get a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Step 5: Track campaign performance. Use data such as open rates and click-through rates to track growth and success. It will provide insights into the type of content and subject lines that are resonating with your building product audience and can help improve your approach.

Photo credit: Donald Judge via flickr

Ten Top Best Email Practices for Building Product Marketing

12196229744_b32db1c881_zEmail marketing continues to be a vital component of the building product marketing mix, but in order to succeed, you need to follow best practices to optimize email deliverability. 

If you are like a majority of business marketers (68%), email marketing is core to your marketing efforts. According to Madison Logic, more than 122 billion emails are sent every hour.

By using the analytics built into most email marketing software, you can thoroughly test and analyze results. The most common metrics you should look at are open, click-through and unsubscribe rates.

The industry standards for B2B email:

  • Open rate: 11-15%
  • Click-through rate: 2.1-5%
  • Unsubscribe: .11-.2%

Given the fact that email marketing is such an important part of your building product marketing effort, follow these top ten best practices to help boost the overall results of your email campaigns.

  1. Use capital letters to lift engagement.
  2. Punctuation is unnecessary.
  3. Increase open rates using personalization: Users are 22% more likely to open when addressed by their first name. 
  4. Keep character count to 50 or less (according to MailChimp).
  5. Don’t use salesy words – be clear.
  6. Focus your messaging on the promise of the subject line.
  7. Pose a question to increase interest and the call-to-action of the viewer and to encourage click-through.
  8. Use color! Orange and red are optimal choices for the color of your call-to-action button.
  9. Test! Test! Test! Improve your campaign’s performance metrics by conducting A/B testing. Test with a sizable audience to ensure statistical significance.
  10. Optimize your site for mobile.

Designing for today’s devices is becoming more important as mobile adoption rates continue to increase at a rapid rate. Be sure to design your message using basic HTML that will adapt easily to a diverse range of email clients.

Also make sure your main messages are in the email text, not just in graphics. The first line of your email should be plain text with a link to a landing page that works well for web and mobile browsers.

PHOTO CREDIT: Per Chris via Flickr

How to Avoid the Delete Button in Building Product Email Marketing

Avoid_the_deleteEmail marketing is a key component in building product marketing and showing it a little TLC will help avoid your recipients hitting the delete button. 

Email marketing is an integral element in B2B strategic marketing. It communicates and builds relationships with your prospects, gathers important data and helps boost your marketing ROI. But too often, many building product marketers miss the mark and fall short on the return.

By paying close attention to your building product audience and the message – and avoiding the common trap of sending self-promotional messages – you can build and execute email marketing campaigns that are more effective.

According to Constant Contact, the average open rate for the Manufacturing and Distribution industry is 19.40%. As a comparison, the open rate for Retail is 18.01% and Restaurant 19.02%. Do your numbers match up to this average? What about your bounce, click-through and opt-out rates? The averages for Manufacturing are 11.49%, 12.00% and 0.27%, respectively. 

Evaluating your current email marketing efforts is key in maintaining an effective program. Email subject lines, audience segmentation, automation, testing and analyzing results are activities that should be performed and monitored on a regular basis.

Subject Lines

In a recent report by MailChimp, email subject lines that convey a sense of urgency, such as those that contain “urgent” or “important,” have much higher open rates. It also finds that email recipients are more likely to open emails with subject lines that contain positive solicitations, such as “announcement” and “invitation.”

Audience Segmentation

Consider combining standard segmentation criteria with behavioral data to augment your segmentation strategies. Look at who opened emails, whether they downloaded your offer and how long they spend on your website.

Automation

Analyze your current marketing automation solution to see if it is providing the automation you need to save time on your email marketing efforts. It should be automating based on event and behavioral triggers. If it is not, you might consider reviewing other options in order to save more time to build relationships with your prospects.

Testing

An email marketing program that achieves optimal results requires testing as part of the process. Consider testing subject lines in addition to the standard A/B testing to ensure the right message is being sent to your prospects. Other elements such as images and copy can be tested to see which garners higher results.

Analyzing Results

You don’t have to have a deep understanding of Excel or spend hours crunching numbers in order to read an email marketing report. Your marketing automation solution should provide enough leverage to get the details in a form everyone can understand. Use this information to get a snapshot of your prospect’s interaction, which will help you improve future campaigns.

If you’d like to see how Manufacturing compares to other industries, click here for Constant Contact’s Comparison by Industry Chart.

To view the MailChimp report on subject line data, click here.

Photo credit:  Rachel Beer via Flickr

Building Products: The Ten Commandments of Email Marketing

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Email marketing can still be an incredibly effective tactic for driving sales, even in the wake of social media’s rise in popularity.

Email consumption and delivery is not what it used to be. The world of email marketing is evolving which means marketers must adapt and meet the demands of today’s buyers.

Here are my 10 Commandments of email marketing:

1. Be brief, be brilliant, be gone

Let’s face it. Buyers are on information overload these days, particularly in their work lives. And they aren’t sitting at their desk waiting your next email. How can you avoid the delete button? Be relevant. Speak to their pain points. You won’t provide pain relief by hammering them with your key product features. Understand your buyer in order to connect with him.

2. It’s not all about you

Leave the praise and chest beating for your website. Your email newsletter content should follow the 80/20 rule: 80% should be about the industry, white papers, reports and studies and 20% can be about you.

3. Words are worth a thousand pictures

What I mean is that B2B is still dominated by written content, but keep a balance between it and nicely designed HTML graphics for your email. Tell your story through copywriting and don’t use too many pictures. Email targets readers, not viewers, so speak to them from  a human, to a human.

4. Inform with expertise

Building products professionals are info-junkies. Help them feed their craving for content and do their jobs better by positioning yourself as an integral source of information on the industry.

5. Be human

Email needs to come from a person. Use personal addresses for your communications and if you’re trying to connect with an executive audience, the email needs to come from your CEO or someone who could be considered a peer.

6. Don’t get caught with tunnel vision

Too many times it seems email marketing is done without awareness of the outside world and its goings-on. If you can weave current events, rumors, fads, etc. into your content, you will seem less like a machine and more like someone a buyer wants to do business with.

7. Be truthful

Talk to your buyers in language they understand and that doesn’t sound like every other organization in your industry. Not every company can be a leader in their industry and buyers get tired of hearing this over and over. You can be more powerful speaking in a personal way when portraying your company and its product offerings by being real.

8. Don’t bury the good stuff

If you have a white paper, make it known immediately.  Don’t make your readers search for what you are offering. Put it in your subject line and add an obvious link to it.

9. Get to the point

Don’t put your hook at the bottom of your email. Lead with the crux of your message so you grab their attention first and not lose them. Your buyers will immediately know whether they’re interested in reading more and will appreciate you not wasting their time.

10. Be useful

Your audience is too busy to burden them with emails that don’t help them solve their business problems. Most organizations make their communications all about them, instead of their buyers. Focus on your buyer and provide value to them.

photo credit: WireLizard via photopin cc