Email Marketing 101: Utilizing Email Marketing to Grow Your Business.

Email Marketing

LET’S LOOK AT HOW YOU CAN USE EMAIL MARKETING TO INCREASE BRAND AWARENESS AND GROW YOUR BUSINESS.

With a growing number of marketing channels available, it can be a challenge to know all that is available and to determine which is best based on your target audience and desired outcomes. To decide if email marketing is right for your business, it is important to understand exactly what it is, why it's effective and how it can be used successfully.

What is email marketing?

To put it simply, email marketing is sharing content with your audience by sending it directly to their inbox. It’s a way to keep your audience engaged and up-to-date on your business, and drive sales. It provides a cost-effective, efficient method to communicate your brand in a unique and consistent manner because it allows you to share your voice and personality in a way that other marketing channels may not.

Does it work?

One of the benefits of email marketing is that your contacts have willingly given you their email addresses to receive your email marketing messages, which means they are interested in hearing what you have to say. They are counting on you to share good content. Your OPT IN and OPEN RATES will be higher when your contacts KNOW who you are, which is another reason you should not purchase email lists.

Email marketing is not only for B2C audiences. In fact, it is more effective for B2B. Click through rates (CTR) in B2B email marketing are 47% higher than in B2C emails. As a source of information, email marketing is the third best source, only behind industry-specific thought leaders and colleague recommendations. And, according to B2B marketers, email marketing is the most effective marketing channel for revenue generation. After all, the ROI on email marketing is $44 for every $1 spent. You can find more statistics on email marketing here.   

How can you use email marketing?

We’ve learned that email marketing does work, but how can it help you?

  1. Convert your website visitors into customers. Email marketing allows you to nurture relationships with those who have visited your site and subscribed to your email marketing. You can communicate your expertise and value to your subscribers, and when they are ready to make a purchase, they will come to you.

  2. Grow your audience. With or without a website, you can use email marketing to grow your audience and keep them updated on your business. When you attend or exhibit at trade shows or conferences, collect contact information and grow your list. A lead retrieval device is ideal for recording contacts and building your database. If you provide AIA Continuing Education Lunch and Learns, this is a great way to build your database with quality contacts you can begin to nurture. Your goal is to become a reliable and knowledgeable resource for them, right?

  3. Increase your brand awareness. If you deliver valuable, consistent content to your contacts, you will solidify your brand with your audience. They will know who you are, your expertise, and they will grow to trust you. Additionally, as they find value in your emails, they will begin sharing those emails with their friends, family and colleagues.

  4. Make sure to share targeted messaging. Make sure to segment your database and create email lists that allow you to share appropriate messaging with a specific target audience or geography. Do not use a one message fits all approach. Modify your messages to speak to each unique audience. Are you a building product manufacturer or distributor? Based on your products or service, create individual lists specific for Architects, Interior Designers, Fabricators, Contractors.

  5. Increase website traffic. As you share new content with your email subscribers, you should include a call-to-action and links that will drive traffic to your website. Your contacts are already interested in your business, which makes them the perfect, captive audience to drive traffic and boost sales. Hopefully, you’ve attended to your website sufficiently and you are keeping it fresh. When customers, prospective buyers and influencers visit your website, it should be informative, visual and easy to navigate. Don’t disappoint!

  6. Boost sales. Email marketing is also a fantastic way to promote new products and share about upcoming promotions. By using the right tone, words and images, you can influence the reader to act. Utilize email communications to showcase project work recently completed. This is a testimonial to who is using your products or services, the variety of applications supported, quality, breadth of offering, etc.

  7. Establish customer loyalty and advocacy. Sharing customer success stories, reviews or user-generated content within your marketing emails will show your audience that you care. Plus, as you listen to customer feedback and implement positive change in response, your audience will take notice, solidifying their trust and loyalty. As they become loyal, they will also become your advocates, which will multiply the impact of your marketing efforts.

Where should you start?

Developing your email marketing strategy will take work, but it will be time well spent. First, you will need to choose which email marketing software you want to use. Second, you will need to build your database. Another critical note to share: DO NOT PURCHASE EMAIL LISTS. As a matter of fact, most [if not all] email marketing service providers will ask you to sign agreement that states you did not purchase your lists of contacts.

Remember to segment your lists. You may even want to create list specific to sales territories [by sales representative], or by service location. For example, you don’t want to send a message to contacts nationwide, if the message is specific to a promotion or event that is unique to a specific region or operation. Constant Contact is an excellent tool to utilize for email distribution. Of course, there are many tools to use and some are free if you have a small database, and you just want to begin testing the waters.

Prepare in advance for targeted messaging. You can accomplish this by including an email opt-in form on your website, or by manually collecting contact information at events. Next, you will need to identify your goals and create a plan. What are you wanting to accomplish through your marketing efforts and how can you bring forth the desired results? Your plan should include the nature of content to be shared with the different target audiences and frequency. For more information on creating your own email marketing strategy click here.


Whether you are a building product manufacturer, distributor, or contractor, email marketing should be a tool in your arsenal. If you aren’t sure how to get started, or simply do not have time to develop or manage an effective email marketing strategy, schedule your free 30-minute consultation today. We can help you use email marketing to grow your business!

What is Employee Advocacy and How Can This Help Build My Brand?

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Here’s how an effective employee advocacy strategy can build loyalty in your organization and amplify your social media messaging.

What is Employee Advocacy? This may not be a term you’re familiar with, but it’s undoubtedly one that is impacting your business, and your bottom line.  A study from Weber Shandwick found that 50% of the U.S. workforce is voluntarily sharing about their employer via social media—that’s 60 million people talking about their place of employment. With that kind of exposure, ask yourself: What message are my employees sending out about my company?

Sales representatives using social media outsell 78% of their peers.

This is where an Employee Advocacy Plan comes into play. Studies indicate when you have specific employees talking about your brand on various social media platforms, brand awareness can increase by 14x. This is because your employees are already on social media, and the average employee has 10x more followers than a corporate network. Not only that, but 90% of their audience is new to your brand. If that isn’t enough to convince you that your employees may hold the key to your next big marketing push, consider this: Only 15% of people trust recommendations from a brand. But, if that same recommendation comes from a person they know, that number jumps up to 84% (WeRSM).

How is a social media policy different from employee advocacy?

If you have a social media policy in place, that’s great—but, it’s not the same as an Employee Advocacy plan. Your policy is simply telling your employees how they can act on social media channels. Or, in most situations, that they should NOT be participating in social media activity while at work. It’s the best way to stave off legal or security problems, but it doesn’t guarantee that your employees are posting anything positive about your brand.

This is the big difference between social media policies and advocacy plans: One gives boundaries for your employees, the other tells specific employees how they can advocate for your brand within those bounds. Of course, you don’t want every employee speaking on behalf of your company!

Who makes a good advocate?

Why not use every employee as an advocate? After all, the more employees you use, the more exposure your brand receives, right?

Wrong. This is NOT what we’re talking about.

Do you really want every employee in your organization sharing posts on behalf of your company, and adding their own ‘unedited’ comments? Absolutely not. There is a time and place for strategies that invite all employees to participate (I’ll touch on that later), but you should be selective about who is acting as your brand ambassador. Good advocates are employees who have a direct connection to your customers and prospective buyers—and, who have already received training on how to communicate your message. They are individuals you know will use good judgement in what they “like”, “share” and “comment on”. Potential candidates include management (specifically sales and marketing), field sales representatives, and perhaps customer service representatives.

5 Tips on Creating Your Employee Advocacy Plan:

  1. Make the benefits clear. No employee wants to spam their social network. Participation should be voluntary since this does rely on the employee using their personal social media channels. What do they get out of blurring the lines between work and personal life? Create a competition and offer an incentive to the advocate that generates the highest number of leads. Of course, you need to define the measurement up front and make sure to keep simple.

  2. Invest up front. If you’re considering attaching your advocate’s social media profile directly to the company (e.g., your head marketer has a secondary Twitter account that’s linked to the company), hire a photographer to take professional headshots. Consider holding a special training on how they should interact on behalf of your brand: Is your company’s voice fun and youthful? Serious and professional? Make sure they can be both themselves and consistent with the brand.

  3. Choose the right social platforms. The days of feeling obligated to have a presence on every social media channel are over. Based on your industry and target market, choose the social media channel(s) that are best suited to build your brand, and deepen your relationship with existing customers. Did you know that 80% of those who participate on LinkedIn do not engage on any other social media channels? LinkedIn is the top B2B lead generating social platform when it comes to reaching professionals and key decisionmakers. Here are some statistics for you. Another underestimated social channel is Pinterest. Building product manufacturers, architects, designers…there is so much more B2B activity on Pinterest than you would ever expect. Need a project or product showcase? Pinterest makes it easy!

  4. Communicate and monitor. Make sure you clearly communicate the difference between your social media policy and your employee advocacy plan. Designate someone on your marketing team to be responsible for monitoring your social media activity to ensure everyone is complying—at least until you are comfortable

  5. Focus on the benefits. Be cautious, but don’t overthink the potential negatives because the employees you choose to be advocates for your brand—already are, right? They are on the front line for you every day talking with customers and prospects. All you are doing is asking they “tune in” to what your marketing team is posting on social media to “like” and “share” with their connections and followers—many of whom are customers and influencers.

Look at the number of social media connections on your company page. Now, look at the number of connections some of your key sales representatives have. People connect with people, not as much with company pages. The company page is more of a repository—a place to share information that should be shared exponentially by its employee advocates and external influencers.

Ultimately, your Employee Advocacy Plan needs to reflect your company. What works for one company won’t work for another. It’s up to you to know your employees, your product or service, and your customer base well enough to marry the three into a successful plan. If you’re unsure of where to start or how to create a plan that works for you, we’re here to help. Take action with our marketing team, and let’s get your Employee Advocacy Plan off the ground.

Sell Your Story, Not Just Your Products

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How TELLING YOUR STORY can increase sales

Storytelling has been around since the dawn of time. It has been used to pass on history to future generations, to entertain and to connect. Now, it is also a compelling and successful marketing strategy.

A great example of a company that is utilizing the power of storytelling is Under Armour. Earlier this year, the company released a commercial featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In the clip, Dwayne shares stories of athletes overcoming adversity and succeeding in their dreams. Johnson also briefly shares his story, and it is extremely compelling. The commercial opens with the questions, “So how do you make it? How do you overcome the odds?” It closes with, “How are you going to get here? Will finds a way.” The commercial leaves the viewer feeling empowered, inspired, and as if they can accomplish anything -- no matter what setbacks they may have experienced up to this point.

As human beings, we crave stories. We are always looking to find something, anything that we can relate to. By using storytelling in your marketing strategy, you are not only giving your audience what they want, but if done right, you are also connecting with them on a personal level. An article by Entrepreneur explains, “[Storytelling] gives meaning to a product that is otherwise impersonal...It builds relationships and inspires your audience/customers/stakeholders to make decisions beyond pure logical calculation.” Plus, stories are easier to remember than pure facts.

Additionally, according to Fast Company, “A compelling story with an emotional trigger alters our brain chemistry, making us more trusting, understanding of others, and open to ideas.” Stories can literally change minds, and that is powerful. After all, we are trying to change the minds of our target audience members, so that they choose our services rather than those of our competitors.

So why should you use your story to sell your service? Here are three reasons according to Forbes:

  1. Through storytelling, marketers can develop deeper connections with their audience. For example, Subaru uses stories to communicate love and establish their brand as one that sells vehicles for those who care for their loved ones. By doing so, they elevate their brand and solidify how their brand fits into the lives of consumers.
  2. Storytelling is a powerful method for learning. As marketers, stories allow us to communicate both knowledge and meaning in a way that resonates with our audience. As people, we learn best through stories because they are memorable and engage us on a mental and emotional level.
  3. Storytelling allows marketers to engage consumers in a fragmented media world. As consumers, we are inundated with advertisements and brands, which can be overwhelming. By using stories to connect with our audience, we are providing them with a new way to connect with our brand -- and we are setting ourselves apart from our competition.

Storytelling in marketing is not a new phenomenon by any means, but it is a strategy that every marketer should employ.

What is your story? What problems do you solve for your customers? How do you make your customer’s life easier? If you are struggling to tell your story in a compelling way, schedule your free 30-minute consultation today. We can help you tell your story.

How Does Video Marketing Drive Engagement and Increase Sales?

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5 STEPS to Help get you started with Video

Times are changing, and so is the way content is created and absorbed. The days of marketing being dominated by print, television and radio are history. Now, there are a multitude of avenues in which to promote your business. The options are endless, and if you do not keep up with the market, you can easily be left behind. Good news! It's not too late to take advantage of one of today’s most popular forms of marketing: Video.

Utilizing video marketing is a strategic move in today’s on-the-go culture, because video can be shared across social media channels and on your website. The content, when done right, is easily digestible and stands out among all the text and images that bombard our screens throughout the day.

If you are still unsure of the validity of video marketing, here are some statistics from Inc. that may change your mind:

  • Video traffic is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.

  • Including video in an email results in a 200-300% increase in click-through rate.

  • According to YouTube, mobile video consumption increases 100% each year.

  • 90% of users find watching a video about a product helpful in their decision-making process.

  • A survey conducted by ReelSEO found that 96% of B2B organizations use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns and 73% report positive results on their ROI.

  • According to Unruly, video ads increase purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.

These statistics show the power of video marketing and how it can greatly impact the growth of your business. While the process of creating and distributing content was once quite overwhelming and expensive, these issues no longer exist.

 Here are 5 steps to help you get started with video marketing:

  1. Identify your target audience. You can create the best video ever made, but if it's not directed to the proper target audience it will not result in a successful outcome. When using video marketing you are doing this to increase brand awareness, direct traffic to your website and increase sales, which means you need to first identify your target audience.

  2. Create relevant videos. Now that you know your target audience, you can create relevant videos directed towards them. According to Hubspot, the four most common types of videos are explanations, product demos, how-to’s and testimonials. It’s important to ensure that you also take into consideration time of year, holidays and other important factors to ensure your videos are relevant. For example, if your company sells rain gutters, you can create a video to be released in the winter to show how to prevent ice dams. If you are in construction, you can create a time lapse video that shows the project being built from start to finish. You can use video to demonstrate the ease of installing your product. 

  3. Keep timing of video short. Based on the nature of your video content, and your target audiences—keep your video content short. While only 20% of readers will read through the end of an article, viewers will watch a compelling video if you don't drag it out too long. According to statistics, videos that are 2 minutes or less will result in higher engagement. However, if your video is educational in nature and requires more time to be effective, that next ideal level of engagement is between 6 and 12 minutes in length. Be concise and make sure to use good audio.

  4. Share the video in the right places. First, you’ll want to choose a host site for your videos. YouTube and Vimeo are great options, but there are many to choose from. Once you’ve made your choice, you should display the videos on your website and also share it across your various social media platforms. Sharing video content on sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook will give your audience easy access to content they will find relevant, and it also allows them to share your content easily with their networks—creating greater exposure for your brand.

  5. Drive traffic. While your video content itself can create brand awareness, it is most effective when the video is used to drive viewers to your website. However, before you begin driving traffic to your website make sure your content is engaging and your website supports a user friendly experience.  Include a clear call-to-action on your home page. Whether the call-to-action is specific to scheduling an appointment, downloading a white paper, requesting an estimate, or finding a local distributor—this will play a large role in increasing your sales.

If you are now convinced that video marketing is a good fit for your business, but need help creating and implementing a video marketing strategy, click here to schedule your free 30-minute consultation today. We can help you take advantage of the benefits of video marketing, create brand awareness and grow your sales!

How do you drive more traffic to your website? 3 Words: Search Engine Optimization

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EVERYONE WANTS FIRST PAGE RANKINGS ON SEARCH ENGINES, BUT THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.

We all want our websites to be top ranking in the major search engines, right? But how do we accomplish effective SEO? We hear a lot of “I want to be on the first page when someone searches for…”—but, this is not something that can be accomplished overnight.

Before you spend a handful of money for paid SEO to increase your rankings, let us help you gain a better understanding of what Search Engine Optimization is really all about.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the process of generating traffic to your website because of having quality content on your website—more specifically, content that is structured properly.

When your website content is properly formatted, search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo have enhanced ability to find your site with ease. There is a science to this, and you can achieve effective SEO without having to spend a lot of money for PAID SEO. Keep in mind, there are benefits to paying for SEO based on the type business you have—retail, consumer-driven, etc.—but it’s worth focusing on organic SEO first.
 

So, what is ORGANIC SEO? Simply put, organic SEO is the free, natural way to improve your rankings on the major search engines and drive traffic to your website!

Think of it this way: when someone lands on your website, are you offering a user-friendly experience? Does your home page inform the viewer (in a matter of seconds) about what you do and how they should specify your brand? Or, better yet—how they can buy from you?

Have you heard the viral quote “Content is King”? There’s a reason this quote is used so frequently—it’s the key to effective marketing. It’s the engine that ultimately drives your SEO rankings.

 

How do you know if your website content is SEO friendly? Here’s a fool-proof checklist for easy reference:

  • Do you have at least 500 words of relevant content on your web page with no spelling errors? Don’t forget to check for typos!
  • Do you have quality images that send great visual messages? Nothing blurry, grainy or otherwise poor quality.
  • Name your images and describe your images with captions using keywords and highly-searched keyword phrases.
  • Do a grammar check. While grammar has been thrown out the window to a strong degree in favor of a more conversational, emotional style writing, we still need content that flows properly. Search engines don’t like poor grammar and typos.
  • Is your content informative? Are you keeping your website updated? Does it motivate one to have an “ah-ha!” moment or learn something new?
  • Consider adding recommendations or review page to your website.
  • Provide well-written content with downloads and links to additional information.
  • Include keywords, search phrases, and meta description tags on each page

Digital marketing is the most efficient approach to building brand awareness, and your company website is the single most valuable tool you can use to create customer loyalty.

Is it great to have lots of traffic pushed to your website? Absolutely! But not if they don’t like what they see once they get there. Having viewers opt-out of your site as quickly as they find it may indicate that you need to improve the content you are sharing.

If you still aren’t quite sure where to begin, let’s talk.

There’s more to SEO than what we’re covering here, but it’s important to get the basics down first. Let’s look at your website together and discover how we can optimize your viewer's experience—and work to drive more traffic to your website while we’re at it.

When you’re ready to drive demand and make a bigger impact in the industry, send an email to info@division08marketing.com. Or, give us a call at 678-916-3872. 

How often do you hear yourself saying, "We don't need to invest in marketing right now: We've got plenty of business"?

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Here’s what successful building product marketers do in good times and bad…

Let’s face it—it’s easy to look at the work rolling in during a solid year and feel like you can kick your feet up for a while. Why invest in marketing when you have all the business you can handle, right?

That’s where many businesses get into trouble.

Here’s a real life story for you—

A friend shared his personal experience working for a large corporation that did this very thing.

They had several huge projects keeping their team of employees very busy. Unfortunately, they weren’t filling their pipeline with what was coming next. Once those huge projects were over, the company had offices filled with people, but not enough work to keep them busy. This was not a good move for the business or the team.

Eventually, the reductions started and our friend began looking for a new job. He went to a smaller company that prided itself on working lean and efficiently—never needing to cut staff.

But, guess what happened—this company fell into the Exact. Same. Trap.

They were having a busy year and everyone was focused on working “in the business”—while forgetting to work “on the business” (… marketing to generate new opportunities).

Sure enough, they to had cut team members and reduce others to part-time. It took almost six months to get back up to speed and fill the pipeline again.

You don’t want this fate.

And, we don’t want you to make these mistakes either—you’re better than that.

Believe it or not, it’s possible to implement a successful marketing plan that works in your best interest during good and not so good times. If you’re a building product supplier and you’ve made it this far reading—we’d say it’s a fair statement you need a little guidance on marketing during all business phases. Agreed?

What is marketing really about?

Do you find yourself asking questions like, “My business is great, why should I invest in marketing?” Or, “My business is slow. How can I afford to invest in marketing?”

Hmmm…

If this sounds familiar, you might be suffering from a form of marketing myopia. That’s right—we just diagnosed you with a condition that means you look at marketing as nothing more than “advertising” to drive sales for the short term.

Marketing is so much more than this… It’s not just about investing in a few ads, having a website, and some slick brochures.

Effective marketing is about building a relationship with your customers. A deeper relationship leading to customer loyalty and brand preference.

Take a look at the leading companies in your industry. And ask yourself:

  • Are they marketing some years but resting on their laurels during others?

  • Do they disappear from trade publications and events when the economy is going well?

Absolutely not. They look for new opportunities to expand their business. New marketing techniques.

The leaders keep leading. They continue to market their strengths. New products. New services. They develop channels to allow customers and prospective buyers to engage with them. They market every day to ensure solid business growth for the future.

“If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind…” This is how you need to look at your own marketing efforts.

Take a lesson from market leaders. They market full speed ahead, in good times and bad. Learn from them.

Marketing isn’t intended to be a “silver bullet” to instantly boost sales.

In order to develop trust with potential customers, you have to establish credibility and build brand awareness for who you are as a company—as well as brand awareness for your products. How can you make your customers’ lives better with your brand and products? Marketing throughout the year, every year, no matter current economic situations, will encourage solid business growth and healthier profit margins in the long run.

As we’re heading into a new year, let’s start brainstorming together. How can you take your marketing efforts to the next level in 2018?

Here’s are a few ideas for you to take action and get started:

1. Digital Marketing helps level the playing field. It allows you to reach a large audience efficiently and cost-effectively. Are you informing, educating, and engaging your audience? 

2. Are you monitoring your website analytics? Is the content on your website optimized so that search engines will find you? Let's create an SEO strategy that drives more traffic to your website.

3. Develop a Social Media strategy to maximize your exposure and create a relationship with your customers, prospective buyers, and influencers.

4. How well does your marketing database serve you? Don't wait for the calls, the website visits, or customers and prospects to reach out to you first. Connect with them via email marketing—this should be part of your digital strategy. Let's develop targeted messages that develop meaningful relationships with your buyers and influencers.

Does any of this sound like a good idea to you? Let's stop here for now, though there are more ideas we can share.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, or are clueless about where to find the skills and time to even begin these projects, we’re here to help.

Our team is packed with over 37 years’ industry experience. We’re experts at driving demand, building brands, and generating more leads and sales in the industry (it helps that we have tremendous building product knowledge and understanding of the construction process).

Get your free 30 minute consultation with our marketing team today and let's get to work.