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    Watch this brief but informative webinar and see if your website is fine-tuned to deliver abundant sales volume. Today, it is vital that your company communicate with a strong digital presence, informative content and convenient user experience.

    You'll learn how to:

    • Make a great first (digital) impression
    • Assess the quality of web content
    • Build trust through your site
    • Improve organic search results
    • Enhance browser experience
    • Convert more leads through the site
    • Measure for success!

    Increase customer loyalty and reduce customer churn with strategic onboarding.

    A great way to nurture customer loyalty and increase lifetime value of each account you land is to personalize the initial experience they have with your company. The goal is to make the customer completely comfortable from the start and help educate them to get the most benefit from your products and services.

    Psychologically, humans naturally prefer consistency of experience with minimal disruption. Prospects desire a good understanding of what they signed up for when they enlist your company. This dictates a seamless, strategic process for onboarding a prospect from contact to customer. The onboarding effort should be consistent across the company from marketing to customer service reps to the sales team.

    These efforts immediately show the prospect you are interested in doing business with them and value them as a person and not a “target”. Once the contact becomes a customer, there should be a predetermined schedule of multi-step events that offer the customer a positive experience while serving your company’s goal to nurture loyalty.

    When planning your onboarding process, start with customer centric-goals. Assemble data on past customer transactions and data collected to develop an understanding of their needs and desires. Systemize the communications to address questions and build a comfort level with the new customer. Offer ongoing outreach and training without being overbearing. Measure results with brief customer surveys. Stay focused on the goal of offering positive, personalized experiences for customers.

    Here are some compelling reasons to launch a strategic onboarding initiative.

    According to Hubspot:

    Remember, customer nurturing should begin the first time a prospect engages your brand. Building trust and rapport often starts with clear messaging on your website or outreach marketing. The prospect must trust your company, process and messaging to engage a person to initiate the onboarding process.

    Contact me to discuss sharpening your communications focus for better customer retention and loyalty.

    In one of the strangest years in history, most all trade shows have been cancelled. On the bright side, budgets that were allocated to trade shows can be repurposed to drive leads in other ways.

    Here are some ideas to invest your marketing money wisely.

    1. Create clearer and more engaging web messaging
    Your website is the core of your marketing program. Does it effectively tell the story of your company? Clearly separate how you are a better choice than the competition? Does it offer a sales journey that a prospect feels comfortable traveling? Does your messaging focus primarily on your company or does it address the prospect’s pain points? Is there useful, educational content on the site? Are their clear calls to action on each page for a prospect to take next steps?

    2. Invest in web changes to offer a better user experience
    With an average on-site time of 2 minutes, does your website enable the browser to find pertinent information within a couple of clicks? Or is it a confusing funhouse maze? Is the site overcomplicated with a confusing array of button choices? Is there video or 3D animation that depicts product benefits? Are there case studies and success stories that help the prospect relate to your offered solution?

    3. Refine your SEO and Pay Per Click account
    Most companies we work with have paid for SEO, but it is either poorly implemented or not done at all. Both SEO and Pay Per Click are dependent on search keyphrases. Pay Per Click reveals exactly how your site was searched and this intelligence can be leveraged to tighten up your SEO for better results. Many clients we work with are still operating the same Pay Per Click account without modifications since they started it years ago. We call this approach, “set it and forget it”. Invest the time to investigate which ad messaging offers the best engagement and leverage that marketing intelligence into better results. Ads should be reviewed and optimized on a monthly basis for stronger click through rates and conversions.

    4. Design Virtual Trade Shows
    Since live shows are dead for now, opt for an animated 3D trade show. In the B2B space, this could be a combination of products that can be “exploded” to show benefits part by part, 360 degree machine views, incorporation of video and an offer of an online meeting. A virtual trade show solidifies the impression that your company is state of the art. These beneficial virtual environments show off your products in an interesting way and encourage engagement through your site.

    5. Build and host a webinar
    A webinar can help bridge the personal gap that has been lost to trade show cancellations. The best webinars are brief and add value for the prospect through education. They should be fun and offer key takeaways. By positioning yourself as an industry expert, you’ll build credibility and gain the trust of potential customers. Webinars can float around the internet via social media channels, as on demand, or they can be scheduled for a specific day and time. Regardless of the format, they need to be promoted heavily through multiple tactics for best results. The benefit to your company is that email addresses can be collected for future marketing efforts.

    If you could use help with any of these tactics, contact me to discuss how we can replace those lost trade show leads!

    Yes, you can.

    If your current perception of Facebook is a bunch of photos of food photos, you are behind the times. Today’s Facebook has evolved from a relatively youthful space to a space involving people with significant buying power. While plenty of “fluff” continues to be on Facebook, you can socially relate to your prospect where they spend abundant time. It’s critical from a messaging standpoint that you have a clear objective of goals for social media.

    These could include the following:

    • Demographic targeting (hobbies, age, gender, field of work, etc.)
    • Building page followers/likes
    • Geotargeting
    • Education
    • Entertainment
    • Engagement
    • Lead Generation
    • And more!

    Facebook is a viable and cost-effective channel for placing your industrial products and services in front of your audience with specificity, accuracy, and relevance. Even now, no other social media platform has Facebook’s reach. In 2018, Facebook’s daily active users (DAUs) averaged 1.52 billion, an increase of 9 percent over 2017. The largest group of Facebook users is also the largest group of purchase decision makers, most of whom make their purchases, both small and large, online.

    Key reasons to implement a Facebook marketing and advertising program include the following:

    • Access to detailed demographic data
    • Industry-leading analytics dashboard
    • Average $10 or less customer acquisition cost (CAC)
    • Ability to “boost” posts for greater reach
    • Trend and historical analyses for active and new users
    • Unique, noninvasive ad placement

    The very nature of Facebook’s registration allows users to provide significant personal data such as job title, workplace, age, gender, and location, all of which can all be leveraged for product placement. Specificity in targeting and low customer acquisition cost are what make Facebook a platform not to be overlooked by industrial marketers.

    Facebook ads are interactive, with Messenger capabilities enabling users to easily communicate with manufacturers and distributors to discuss pricing, availability, product specifications, and more. This method of direct selling and interaction is a much different approach than focusing on search ranking performance or search engine optimization (SEO). With Facebook, marketers can target a demographic that might not know that it is interested in a product, thus subtly creating demand for a brand or product.

    For for over a decade, X-Factor Web Marketing has narrated the stories of numerous industrial companies on Facebook to build brand awareness and ultimately convert users and their buying behaviors into measurable sales. Via Facebook Messenger, our customers commonly quote machinery and industrial goods exceeding $80k in value. Telling engaging stories about your brand using Facebook advertising will remain a lucrative selling channel for the foreseeable future. Contact us if you need help building your Facebook advertising campaign.

    The following Q&A article written by Jennifer Goodman was recently featured on Builder.com.

    Marketing expert provides tips for using social media to get your message out (and mistakes to avoid).

    Web-based marketing platforms like Facebook and Twitter are crucial to reaching out to potential home buyers. Here, BUILDER talks with Woody Stoudemire, president of Hickory, N.C.-based X-Factor Web Marketing, about ways builders can maximize their social media outreach.

    Why is social media important for home builders?
    Home building is a visual business, so social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are all good forums for showcasing homes inside and out. Use of social media also helps a home building firm come across as “progressive thinkers,” and it can offer a creative way to communicate a company’s culture and personality. Builders usually work within a 60-mile radius of their home base, which is perfect for reaching the local Facebook audience.

    How are builders using it to attract buyers?
    Great photography is essential to attracting buyers through social media sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz (a social media website dedicated entirely to builders, industry suppliers and homeowners). Builders are posting time-lapse construction videos on YouTube and corporate websites. Publishing testimonials on Facebook and LinkedIn also adds credibility to the company. In fact, a strong LinkedIn profile with testimonials and awards/accolades can make the difference when it comes to building leads and getting calls. Providing helpful tips for home buyers on a company blog, Facebook, and Twitter also help build consumer trust. Social media posts further enable homebuilders to reach potential buyers by spreading their message and reaching friends of friends.

    What are the most popular platforms right now?
    The most popular social media platforms include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Houzz, Google+ and YouTube; though not necessarily in this order.

    How can builders best get their message out on social media?

    1. Manage your reputation: If your company receives a negative review, it can’t be erased from the Internet. The only recourse is to encourage positive reviews and answer any negative comments politely.
    2. If you are going to start any social media platforms, be sure to manage them at least weekly so they do not become stagnant and outdated.
    3. Cross promote social media using your website, trade ads, email signatures and blogs.
    4. Be authentic. Make sure your unique brand is communicated across all social media platforms.
    5. Focus on visuals to appeal to women. Social media research finds that Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are most popular among the female demographic.

    What are some social media mistakes you’ve seen over the years?
    Common social media mistakes include misspellings on posts, which tend to convey “sloppiness” and ultimately, do not reflect positively on a builder; launching five or more social media platforms and then allowing them to languish; using photos that are bad quality, poorly lit or poorly Photoshopped; and not encouraging testimonials or positive reviews among happy clients.

    Social Media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Google + and YouTube are just a sampling of platforms for promotion of industrial products and services. Social media is an affordable way to market, meets prospects where they spend time, demonstrates company culture and is measurable.

    Social media marketing for manufacturers requires diverse content that engages the market with inspirational creativity. And when you can accomplish that, you’ll see success with social efforts.

    Let’s review a few ways that manufacturers can make an impact with social media marketing.

    Offer Product Training With Video   

    The B2B Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America revealed that 72% of B2B marketers used YouTube to distribute content.  Manufacturers need to find ways to connect with their audience on a deeper level. Finding engaging ways to tell your brand’s story drives marketing success. Video posts provide the perfect avenue for sharing insightful information about what you offer.

    How-to Videos give you the opportunity to teach your audience. What do your customers want to learn? Essentially, you’re looking for the Venn Diagram overlap of things your audience wants to learn and things your brand can teach them.

    Introduce a New Product using a behind-the-scenes type of video. Show off top companies using the product, incorporate interviews with your internal team and/or customers, and reveal exactly how this product will impact the industry.

    Show Product Features of new and established products. Product feature videos merge the first two ideas into a helpful, informative video about what you offer.

    Promote & Build Brand Awareness  

    Build up your brand as a likable, relatable resource to your customers through a variety of social media avenues to achieve these goals. Building an engaged audience lowers the cost of advertising. Your aim should be to build consumer-oriented relationships with ideal customers.

    Post In-Action Product Photos of customers using your product. You’re looking for professional, yet candid, shots of the product in-action. Image posts are very effective on Facebook. This also establishes social-proof that others benefit from your product. (Pro Tip: Share a testimonial as the image caption for an even greater effect.)

    Share Exclusive Interviews of internal team members. Some basic get-to-know-you interviews are a great way to connect with your audience in a deeper way. Ask stakeholders to answer some basic questions about them and/or what they do. (Pro Tip: Use video to conduct the interview for a deeper connection.)

    Conduct & Share Research about how your customers use your product. This works really well if you cater to several industries. Research how companies within different industries find success with your product. (Pro Tip: Create an infographic that visually represents the data and research you collected.)

    Virtually Meet Your Audience  

    Use LinkedIn to establish personal connections with people that could positively impact your manufacturing company. Manufacturers can use personal accounts to reach out to prospects, clients and connect with contractors. Stakeholders can also develop influence using LinkedIn Groups and Publishing platforms. Gathering testimonials on LinkedIn adds credibility to you as a professional personally. In your bio, briefly describe how your product and service solves specific problems.

    LinkedIn business pages should house relevant information about your company. Use it to share important information about any new developments or product releases. Done well, social media marketing is a viable medium for manufacturers.

    Conclusion

    Savvy marketers will find creative ways to coordinate strategic endeavors when doing social media marketing for manufacturers. Done well, social media marketing is a viable medium for manufacturing companies.

    In the Old West, there was only one way to differentiate between your cattle and the next rancher’s; you branded your cattle with a mark uniquely your own. No matter how far afield your cattle went, they couldn’t be rustled because that brand meant they belonged to you and everybody knew it.

    It’s not the Old West, but the idea remains the same; create a unique personal mark, put it on everything you do and no matter where you go or who you talk to, they’ll know who you are and what you stand for. When the plains are crowded with cattle, your brand will stand out.

    Brand Yourself Like A Purple Cow

    In Seth Godin’s book, “The Purple Cow,” he does a great job of explaining the concept of standing out from the boring sameness we encounter every day. With over 14 million people unemployed in the US, it’s going to take more than a standard resume and a clean suit to get you hired. Like a pasture full of brown, dull cows, you need to be the only purple cow in the field. You need to be the one remarkable candidate. How to achieve remarkable status? Build a personal brand.

    If McDonald’s can do it, if Rihanna can do it, if Ford can do it, so can you. You know what they offer, you know what they stand for, and you know they are remarkable. You are remarkable to.

    Begin with your personal story. Everyone has one, everyone’s is special. But, while most people don’t consider their lives that interesting, now is the time to invest in a little R&D into your own brand. What values were you taught that you can bring to the job market? Did your mom stress the importance of always being on time? Did your dad teach you to be a team player? Both important assets you bring to a new employer.

    Now take that a step further and write down all the other skills you used in school and in previous jobs. Highlight the ones that are the most relevant for today’s job market. Use this as a basis to create a truly remarkable resume.

    Build a Better Resume

    • Make the Objective job-specific. If the job is to wash windows, make your objective to work for a company where you can highlight your fantastic skills at window washing.  Now is not the time to be vague.
    • Proofread before showing to anyone. There’s a reason one of the first advancements in computer technology was the spell check button.
    • A lean resume is a healthy resume. Trim the fat, employers don’t want to know about your years spent working at the corner taco stand (unless you’re trying to get another taco stand job.) Post only past jobs relevant to the job you are currently seeking.
    • Keep the hobbies at home. (Unless your hobby pertains to the position you are seeking.)
    • Don’t oversell yourself. Be who you are. If you assisted in a project as the go-fer, don’t imply you were the tech in charge. You may have to prove your claim.
    • Bring on the back-up. Always use the strongest references you can. If you’re friends with someone well-known in their field or you’re next to last employer loved you, don’t be afraid to name drop.

    Launch Your Brand into Cyber Space

    Social Media Marketing is the greatest phenomenon since the personal computer itself. You can literally reach thousands of people with one post or by “liking” one “friend.” It’s the one greatest opportunity to meet others in your field, create visibility for your brand, and increase your online searchability.

    Site Seeing

    You can start putting yourself out there with these popular sites:

    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • YouTube
    • Blogging-BlogSpot, WordPress, TypePad, Blogger

    Just take care to make sure all social networking reflects your personal brand. These sites are blurring the lines between business and personal; don’t get the two confused. Future employers know about these sites as well.

    Tell your story, know your audience, differentiate your brand, market wisely-be remarkable– and your personal brand will become your personal success.

    So you’ve created a YouTube channel, yet you have no views on your videos? There are several easy things you can do right now to increase your channel traffic. First things first, add a YouTube icon on your website to link viewers from your website to your YouTube channel and influence more traffic. YouTube remains the leading source for video file-sharing and can be a powerful business-to-business networking tool. An added benefit of hosting videos on YouTube is that every channel is free and offers unlimited bandwidth, which saves you money by not using extra memory and bandwidth on your paid hosting site.

    If you want your YouTube channel and videos to stand apart from your competitors’, start using Annotations – a unique way to add text, links to other videos, playlists and channels right into your video. This is a good way to engage your audience and create a call-to-action, feedback requests and clickable links. Adding annotations to your videos also gives viewers something to do once the video is finished. You can direct viewers to another video, your channel, or just ask them to subscribe to your channel.

    Having a custom YouTube channel is another way to make a great first impression. How better to show off your logo and products than with a custom background and themes and colors that better match your brand? To see examples of custom YouTube channels designed by X-Factor Web Marketing, visit www.youtube.com/southernglove and www.youtube.com/muratamachinery.

    When creating your YouTube channel, use specific keywords on your video’s title and description to maximize the opportunity for them to be easily found in search-engine searches. Keywords can and should include anything within your niche.

    Just like Google, YouTube has analytics that can give you valuable information about your visitors. By simply checking your insight data once a week, you can determine how your videos are performing, how people are finding your content, and who is watching. Explore ways to increase your channel-discovery and viewership by adjusting your keywords, video titles and descriptions every month.

    Add your URL to your profile and videos. By doing so, you allow viewers to learn more about your company by giving them a quick link back to the website.

    Review your comments. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your comments, delete any spam and always follow up on questions being asked or positive reviews.

    Just a few hours a week can make a huge difference in your online marketing efforts and keep visitors coming back.

    By Mary Lou Yelton

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