Part 2: Put Your Strategy into Action
As industrial distributors seek to expand their reach and effectiveness online, the subject of value marketing needs to be addressed. In this three part series, Curtis Alexander takes readers through the ins-and-outs of value marketing - why you should consider using it, how to develop your personalized strategy, and how to implement it, including mistakes to avoid. View part one here.
In part one of this series I showed you how to develop your own Value Marketing (VM) strategy. In part two, I want to show you an example of how to implement it.
Let's just say you sell new and refurbished hydraulic pumps (your product doesn’t matter). One of the biggest problems or complaints you heard from your customers is that their pumps break down and they wish they could have them repaired or replaced quickly.
1. Pinpoint problem - the problem is too broad - let’s refine it:
- Survey house list - contact your house list (you've been building your house list, right?) and ask them.
- Google Keywords - a free online research tool. In just a few minutes I found the term "how to repair a hydraulic pump" is searched for 3,600 times per month. We now have a defined problem and your prospects are online looking for solutions.
Sidenote: At first glance this may not seem like a problem you want to address because if you show customers how to repair pumps they won't buy from you, right? Wrong. VM like this has opened up new and diversified revenue streams for companies (joint ventures with hydraulic pump repair shops, intellectual property and seminars).
2. Create your problem solving document. Your ‘document’ can come in a lot of forms. One of the most effective is a white paper.
- Make it short (3 to 5 pages)
- Give it a great headline: “The 3 Most Common Causes of Hydraulic Pump Failure and How to Repair Them”
- Make it fun to read
3. Drive traffic via PPC - you’ve got your problem solving document created. Now we have to see if it resonates with our market. You want to do this quickly. If your website already receives a good amount of traffic or you have a responsive house list simply let them know about it and offer it on your website.
I’d also encourage you to test out PPC (Pay-Per-Click) programs like Google Adwords.
A couple of caveats: a program like Adwords gives you immediate access to thousands of visitors so you can test ideas quickly (literally within minutes). But make sure you know what you’re doing. If you do you’ll be rewarded with ample amount of targeted traffic. If you don’t you’ll waste tons of money.
4. Collect leads. One of your goals is to build trust and relationships with prospects. You can’t do that if you aren’t collecting leads. For our purposes in this example, shoot for first name and email address in exchange for your white paper.
When you get their information it gives you the ability to stay in contact (and you have their permission as well) and give them further value.
5. Autoresponder sequence. All quality email providers give you the ability to load an unlimited amount of follow up messages. For example, if someone has signed up to receive your white paper you write and load a follow up message to thank them. In 2 days you can send another message expanding on something in the white paper. In 7 days another message.
The greatest part about his underutilized tool is that it’s all automated. Once you’ve had the messages created you simply load them in and let technology do the heavy lifting for you.
6. Electronic Newsletter - Companies that regularly use electronic newsletters can see a 20% increase in leads that convert to sales (DemandGen Report), a 33% drop in marketing costs (Forrester Research), increased purchase price by 47% (Annuitas Group) and, according to CEO.com, 96% of CEO's consider enewsletters valuable for information consumption.
Four rules for enewsletters:
- be interesting
- be succinct (no more than 1,000 words)
- be engaging
- be regular (commit to a once-a-month schedule).
7. Repurpose white paper into smaller articles for outside publications. Think trade publications, trade association newsletters, blogs, etc.
8. Your Company Blog. By the last estimates I’ve seen there are just shy of 300 million blogs out there and 99% of them are a waste of bandwidth. To make sure you’re in the 1% and reap the benefits of a blog follow a few rules:
- Post to it regularly with helpful or interesting information
- Try to use a mixture of different formats (audio, text, video, pictures, etc).
- Search engine optimization can help but should not be your focus.
9. Interview. I’m a member of a site called HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Three times every day I’m notified of stories that reporters are working on that they need experts to comment on. It’s great publicity for you if you can find a story that’s a good fit.
The opposite is also true. In our example you could interview a hydraulic pump repair expert and use it as one of your third party articles.
10. Press release regarding white paper. A well done press release can get you a lot of traction:
- Use an engaging and interesting headline
- Don’t talk about your white paper - talk about the problem it solves
- Make it succinct
11. Google+ account. It’s clear that if you want to have your information appear higher in the search engines and in front of more prospects Google+ can help. It’s growing and is easy to tie all your content announcements together.
12. Rinse and repeat. I’m going to stop here. There are other things you can do. The point is to take action not hit every avenue and certainly not look for perfection.
Once you’ve gotten to this point you’ll likely have come across other problems that you can simply go back and repeat the process.
It’s not a quick process. But, if you’re persistent you can begin to see an uptick in business within 60 to 90 days.
To view the third part of this series, please click here.
Curtis M. Alexander is a Business Growth Strategist and helps industrial and manufacturing companies increase profits and improve market position. He is a published author and a recognized expert on leveraging the internet to grow your business. To learn more ways to grow your business request your free copy of Curtis’ popular Executive Briefing: "7 Tested Strategies to Increase Profits and Lower Marketing Costs for Industrial Websites" at www.curtismalexander.com