Just Like High School – Popular vs. Smart JanSan Marketing

The most recent study by Content Marketing Institute shows Social Media as the most used tactic by B2B marketers ...

The most recent study by Content Marketing Institute shows Social Media as the most used tactic by B2B marketers …

The statistics on B2B marketing for 2013 are in, and they bring back memories of high school, where everyone flocks to the attraction of the “in group” versus tracking a course that is smart, effective, and will have impact for the future.

According to the study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers are using 12 different marketing tactics, which is an increase over the average used in the past two year (8 tactics). In 2013, social media (not including blogs) were reported to be the most popular contact marketing tactic, as 87% of marketers engaged with it.

but social media does not even register on the "most effective" tactics.  Still at number 1 ... in-person events followed by case studies.

but social media does not even register on the “most effective” tactics. Still at number 1 … in-person events followed by case studies.

Most Effective Marketing Tactic
However, reminiscent to high school, popular is not the most effective for long-term ROI.

When queried regarding the most effective marketing tool, social media didn’t even crack the 50% mark.

Which tactic was considered the most effective? In-person events with nearly 67% of those surveyed placing value in the old-fashioned face-to-face marketing tactics.

Second on the list for effectiveness was the use of case studies, which have become the new “word of mouth” and testimonial. E-newsletters also ranked in the top ten, with 58% remarking positive effectiveness.

JanSan Marketing Reality
These statistics reflect what we see every day in marketing in the janitorial supplies industry. Many in our industry are embracing social media … I don’t think a month goes by that I don’t see some type of article in a trade publication about the merits of social media marketing. However, when we look at the hard statistics, we see a completely different story.

Today, you are lucky if even 3% of your facebook “likes” see a post. Compare that to an average of between 9 – 15% open rate on an e-newsletter for an average B2B prospect list. Many experts will tell you that your tweets reach even fewer people.

Does that mean abandon social media? Not at all. It is a necessary component to today’s marketing mix.

But what we do say is be prudent in your marketing  … just like high school, the most popular kids don’t always show up at the reunions as the most successful ones.

> see our examples of case studies

Smile Marketing in the JanSan Industry

Smile marketing ... it's good for business! We’ve preached it for years … stand out from the big boxes by taking advantage of your competitive edge. One of the most significant competitive edges that independent distributors have over big boxes is their experienced, friendly staff who can provide expertise in any area of cleaning and maintenance.

Every website we build for JanSan distributors utilizes the opportunity to reach out to visitors in a personal and meaningful way. We view the “about us” page in particular as the vital first step to engaging website visitors and involving them with you and your business. People buy from people they know, like and trust.

Seeing smiling pictures of your staff is the equivalent in our high tech society of opening your door, reaching out your hand, and personally greeting your customers to make them feel at ease.

This last spring, we were pleased to see that American Express published an article that has come up with terminology to explain this approach. They call it “Smile Marketing.”

A person’s smile is “the symbol that was rated with the highest positive emotional content.” There are some physiological factors that explain why smiles create such positive feelings. When the smile muscles in the face contract, there is a feedback loop that goes directly to the brain, reinforcing the feeling of joy that even transcends the elation created when eating chocolate.

Consider the number of ways that your sales staff can implement Smile Marketing. Of course, nothing replaces the in-person smile and handshake. It is perhaps the most simple and effective action to make customers instantly feel comfortable or diffuse their anger.

Discuss with your customer service reps the importance of smiling when they are on the phone with customers. Studies show that your voice tone actually changes if you are smiling, making it more inviting to the callers.

Think about the power of a smile in the sales process. Sales reps who smile display an air of confidence about the product and caring about the customer. It is easy for the customer to feel connected, as when someone smiles, there is a pretty good chance that the other person is smiling back.

Smiles advance the process of engaging customers and connecting them to you and your business. After all, customers want to buy from a business where people seem happy, confident in their product, and ready to satisfy the customer. People do buy from people they know, like and trust.

Keep smiling! It’s good for business.

> Read the full article “The Science Behind Smile Marketing”

> Real vs. Fake smiles … can we tell the difference?

Content Marketing Takes Front Seat In 2014

content-is-kingYour mantra for 2014 should be “help, not hype” as you build meaningful content on your website and in your marketing activities.

We’ve said this for years .. there has been a  sea change in the sales process and marketing strategies due to technology.

Customers don’t want to be “sold” anymore.  They want to have significant information about how products solve their particular problems and meet their facility needs. After the information gathering, they “sell themselves” on a supplier and/or product.

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JanSan Distributor Monthly Marketing Program Launched

Turn-Key Monthly JanSan Marketing ProgramJanSanOptimize.com launches our JanSan Distributor Monthly Marketing Program!

It is an easy, affordable, automatic way for janitorial supply distributors to stay in front of customers and prospects with both electronic and physical marketing materials.

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Why We Don’t Believe in Facebook for Janitorial Supply Marketing

Facebook's new algorithm drops page reach to under 3%

Facebook’s new algorithm drops page reach to under 3%

For years we have been counseling our JanSan clients to implement a solid, integrated marketing program that involves many different tactics to reach customers, attract prospects, nurture relationships, and grow their business.

Naturally, participation in Facebook has become a small piece of this program, but we have always felt strongly that most marketing efforts should be put into other marketing activities.

Why?  Because we don’t see the return on the investment in the JanSan industry from Facebook efforts.  We see Facebook participation as “image” for the business, but certainly not worth significant time, energy or resources.

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Do You Have A Phantom JanSan Website?

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

When visitors land on your website’s home page, they should feel like they are being welcomed through the front door of your business.  Once people have crossed the website-door threshold, you want them to wander through your site, much like … Continue reading

Is the 20th Time the Charm in Janitorial Supply Marketing?

Thomas Smith's "Successful Advertising"

Thomas Smith’s “Successful Advertising” first expressed the theory of frequency effectiveness in advertising.

I am often asked, “What is the optimum number of times someone needs to see my ad to make it stick?”

In short, there is no one, quick, easy, and accurate answer to that question.  Each market segment is different, each geographic area is different, and each of your customers is different.  A message that may impact one prospect as it directly relates to a situation they are currently dealing with may be quickly tossed aside by another one.

And, of course, the message and its delivery also come into play when trying to make a firm impression.  Today’s prospect wants to be educated, not sold.  Companies that engage in content-rich, educational marketing have a better chance of cutting through the clutter and staying top-of-mind.

So what does that mean for janitorial and maintenance supply marketing?  Provide education with your advertising.  For example, don’t just promote the product that is effective in killing bed bugs … discuss recent studies that show the actual increase in bed bug infestation in various types of venues, such as nursing homes, offices, and restaurants.

When I was studying advertising in college, the standard “three time exposure” was accepted as the optimum number of exposures before your message was “received.”  It was a theory created by Herbert Krugman  in the 1970s, and theorized that the first exposure to an ad elicited a  “What is it?” response.  The second exposure elicits a “What of it?” reaction with the third exposure creating the true reminder of the message and committing it to memory.

With the bombardment of messages today, through many different mediums, I find myself re-visitng a  proposition put forth by a British businessman, Thomas Smith.   In his guide, “Successful Advertising he claims it takes 20 exposures to a message:

1st Exposure - The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
2nd -  They don’t notice it.
3rd -  They are aware that it is there.
4th –  They have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
5th –  They actually read the ad.
6th - They thumb their nose at it.
7th - They start to get a little irritated with it.
8thThey start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
9th - They start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
10th - They ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
11th - They wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
12th - They start to think that it must be a good product.
13th - They start to feel the product has value.
14th - They start to remember wanting a product like this for a long time.
15th –  They start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
16th –  They accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
17th –  They make a note to buy the product.
18th - They curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this product.
19th - They count their money very carefully.
And the twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy the product.

Interestingly enough, Smith proposed this frequency effectiveness model in 1885 … long before the internet, smart phones, websites and blogs.

In the JanSan industry, I think there is a happy “sweet spot” in-between the widely-accepted Krugman model and the remarkably insightful Smith model for impressing your message.

The real key is to have consistency, professionalism, accuracy, and content in your marketing activities.

Keyword Reality in JanSan Marketing

Keywords in JanSan MarketingI’m sure you’ve heard it at least once a day … you have to use the “latest and greatest” SEO strategies to “get found” in searches so you can increase your sales.

If you are not implementing 152 different online strategies, you will soon be lost forever on the internet and no one will find you or know about the greatness of your company.  Your business will perish because you didn’t use the right keywords in the right way.

So, you either fret into the wee hours of the morning,  hire a SEO firm to handle it for you, or try to learn anything and everything about SEO implementation and try to do it yourself.

We recently had a client in a good-sized market who had those worries.  The company’s website had been built with google analytics, so we were able to take a good look at some meaningful statistics. We evaluated the traffic to the site, where it was coming from, the keywords that were used by visitors to find the site, and the user experience once the visitors landed on the page.

The audit results?  Of the keywords that were recorded for how visitors found the website, 99.8% were some form of the company name in their searches.  That’s right.  Visitors had some form of the company name they used to find the company’s website … not the keywords that had been heavily saturated on each web page.

Is that to say that keywords are irrelevant in JanSan marketing?  No, not by any means. But what our experience tells us is there are other elements that are important to being successful in marketing to prospects that should not be overlooked in a fervor to use every possible keyword on your website pages.

Want to know more about successful JanSan marketing?  We’d love to share our case studies … give us a call today at 630-922-1125!

Creating Footprints in the Brain

pix-footprint-brainAre you creating “footprints” in the brains of your customers and prospects?

The more times you get your name in front of your customers and prospects, the deeper and more lasting your image is in their minds.  When they are ready, you will be the first one they call.

In this world of numerous digital marketing tools, what is the best method to create lasting impressions of your company? 

In a study conducted by Millward Brown, “Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail”, it was found that “greater emotional process is facilitated by the physical material than the virtual.”  In other words, hard copy … whether a postcard, ad, or sell sheet … will create more lasting impressions in the brains of your customers and prospects.

The study showed participants various advertisements in both printed format and on-screen.  While participants interacted with the material, brain scans assessed how they were processing the marketing messages.

The material shown on cards generated more brain activity suggesting that physical material is more “real” to the brain and is better connected to the memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.

In summary, this study concluded:

  1. Tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain.
  2. Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization” of the ads
  3. Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.

For years, JanSanOptimize.com has understood the value of printed materials in a marketing program.  See our website for our current customized postcard program that allows you to highlight three floor products in your inventory.

> Read the full Millward Brown study on “Understanding Direct Mail with Neuroscience”

> Distributors: Check out our “Summer Promo Postcard” offer

Janitorial Supply Website Deadly Sin #3: Limp-Wristed Cyber-Handshakes

People buy from people they know, like and trust…especially in the janitorial supply industry. In our world of connecting via mouse clicks and keyboard strJanitorial website handshakeokes, it is imperative that you maximize the electronic conduit to meet, impress, and connect with your prospects in a meaningful way.

Are you unknowingly committing the deadly sin of the “Limp-Wristed Cyber-Handshake” on your janitorial website? In our evaluation of several hundred janitorial supply websites, we found a majority of them were committing this deadly sin in one way or another.

You can begin to avoid this website deadly sin by posting on your website smiling photos of you and your staff, as well as your warehouse, loading dock, and fleet.  The more pictures portraying you and your company as real people, the better. Add a few blurbs about who they are, what they like about their jobs, and their favorite interests.

This technique not only sets you apart from the big boxes, but enables you to virtually open your front door to website visitors, invite them in, and pour them a hot cup of coffee at your breakroom table.

A word of caution …we’ve seen websites that heavily rely upon stock photography.  As great as stock photos can be in certain situations, relying solely on stock photos can give an impression of your business being a “cookie-cutter” or artificial … much like model homes posing as a real family home.  You cannot fully connect with people using pictures that are not authentic.

When you take photos for your website, try to avoid the “mug shot” look.  Position people at desks or counters, smiling at either the camera or with customers, and looking friendly.  Other photos can be of your delivery trucks, warehouse pictures, training session photos, or various shots of your showroom and the products on display.

At JanSanOptimize.com, we specialize in building affordable, effective janitorial supply websites … without committing any deadly website sin.  Whether you need a complete website “re-boot” or a re-fresh on a few pages, we have a package to meet your needs.

Janitorial Supply Websites: Where’s the Beef?

Where's The Beef

Check out this iconic 1984 commercial

In the iconic 1984 commercial for Wendy’s hamburgers , three elderly women were contemplating the size of the hamburger bun versus the size of the hamburger.  This short :30 commercial catapulted feisty Clara Peller into stardom with just three words … “Where’s the Beef?”

We’re not talking hamburgers, here.  We’re talking websites in the janitorial and maintenance supply industry.  However the concept is quite similar in delivering the “beef” to capture prospects and convert them into customers.  Just as Clara Peller continued to patronize Wendy’s in additional commercials, your website is the primary vehicle to initially grab attention, impress prospects, and set you apart from your competition.

What is the main reason people use the internet?  They are looking for “the beef” … information that will answer a question or solve a problem.  As explained in Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” model, people use search engines to research, visit websites, and make their preliminary purchase decisions.

Many believe that landing on page one of a search is the way to generate business.  Although having your website listing on the first page of a Google search is ideal, studies show people typically visit between 5-10 websites before making a decision. If you are listed several times on page one, it’s probable that visiting your site once will be adequate for searchers, and subsequent visits will result in quick clicks off the site.

Therefore, it is crucial that your website is impressive and delivers the beef in the first visit.

The initial split-second impression conveyed through your website is tied to the graphic layout and “eye-appeal.”  Is your home page attractive and inviting?  Does it immediately convey you have valuable information and expertise?  Will visitors automatically understand you are in the janitorial and maintenance supply industry? Are you professional-looking?

Past the initial looks, the real selling point of your business is the “beef” on your website.  And it needs to be prime beef, not choice or select.  And lots of it.

Do you have a full listing of all your manufacturers, descriptions, links to their websites, and links to MSDS sheets? Are you connecting on a personal level with your content?  Are there pictures of your employees with an invitation to contact the significant officers directly? People buy from people they know, like, and trust.  It starts with the introduction made via your website.

Is there a resource page that is updated regularly with timely industry information? What about a blog with regular postings of success stories of how you met customers’ needs or new products in your line?  E-Newsletters do “double-duty” these days as they connect with customers and can be re-purposed for website content.

We have evaluated hundreds of janitorial  distributor websites, and find that many are lacking the “beef.”  For that matter, there are many manufacturer websites that are also lacking content.

Many websites in the janitorial industry remind us of the Wendy’s commercial with the “big buns” … lots of fluff and maybe a small pickle.  Without the beef, these businesses are missing the online opportunity to differentiate themselves from the big-box, order-only competitors.

We offer several difference marketing services that bring the beef to your website and drive traffic to your e-commerce pages. Whether you need a complete website “re-boot” or a “re-fresh” on a few pages, we have a package to meet your needs.

How Much is a Facebook “Like” Worth in Janitorial Supply Marketing?

Like-worth-pennies

Studies show the average Facebook “like” is worth 21 cents in sales.

Facebook.  It is a marketing tool that many believe is a cost-effective way to increase sales.

But is it?  In the janitorial and maintenance supply industry, how much is a facebook “like” really worth?

Let’s take a look at a study conducted by Ecwid, an e-shopping cart provider, that looked closely at data from 40,000+ Facebook stores that run its software.  The 12-month cumulative sales from the storefronts that use its software was then compared against each store’s “likes.”  On average, each Facebook “like” equated to just 21 cents in annual sales.

Perhaps the more “likes,” the higher the ROI.  Not so, according to this same study.  The 25 percent of Ecwid-powered storefronts with the most “likes” only earned 13 cents per “like” per year.

In considering the effectiveness of Facebook in the janitorial supply industry, let’s consider the end-user in this industry.  Most are busy during the day away from their computer and engaged in the details of facility maintenance. If your customer is in the housekeeping department, there is precious little time to dedicate to perusing social media posts and responding to them when there are rooms to turn, floors to burnish, and new products to review.

Your time is valuable, as well.  Who is responsible for maintaining your facebook account and increasing your “likes?”  Although not a huge time-factor, it does take effort to create informative and engaging posts, take photos and upload them, and encourage people to “like” you.

If it is someone in your company who is handling this effort, how much time is taken away from other income producing activities?  If you have outsourced this activity, how much money are you investing for the return on the investment?  Would those dollars be better spent in other marketing efforts?

We’ve tracked a distributor who began a Facebook account about six months ago … they have accumulated a total of 24 “likes.”  Let’s pretend that all 24 “likes” are customers … not family, friends, or reciprocating “likes” (we’ll “like” you if you “like” us).

If we apply the ROI according to the Ecwid study, this distributor’s Facebook marketing activity generated a $5.04 in sales for the year.  Obviously, we don’t know exactly the actual sales increase the 24 “likes” produced, but the message seems clear.  There needs to be careful evaluation of any marketing program, including Facebook.

At JanSanOptimize.com we consider the full marketing picture in the janitorial supply industry, your place in the marketplace, and the best marketing options for your particular situation so you get the biggest bang for your marketing buck. Check out the marketing services we provide for the janitorial supply industry.

> Read the full article on the Ecwid Facebook study

E-Newsletters and Their Place in Janitorial Supply Marketing

Download your FREE E-Guide to E-Newsletters at www.JanSanOptimize.com

Never before has the JanSan industry had so many marketing options available to small, independent distributors and boutique manufacturers with so many ways to reach customers in an affordable and effective way.

Perhaps the most effective and affordable of  these new electronic tools is e-Newsletters.  However, not many manufacturers or distributors participate in a regular e-newsletter program.

In a recent survey, we found that just 20% of independent distributors were using some form of e-Newsletter to communicate to their customers and prospects.  It is not surprising to find that over 70% claimed they would use an e-Newsletter in their marketing if there was an easy way to do so.

E-Newsletters can level the playing ground for the small distributor and manufacturer by providing the means to stay in front of customers and prospects.  People buy from people they know, like, and trust.  Implementing an e-newsletter program brings you and your company in front of people on a regular basis and provides the means to let them get to know you better, trust your expertise, and eventually buy from you.

The key to success, however, is consistency, content and appearance.  In our years of providing marketing services to the janitorial supply industry, we’ve seen how our customers struggle to maintain an ongoing marketing program.

When successful, professional, e-Newsletter program keeps you top-of-mind in an impressive manner it puts you on the same ground as competitors with marketing budgets that far surpass yours.

Let us share some of our secrets to consistent implementation of an e-Newsletter program:

  1. Plan your editorial schedule.  Do not wait until the last minute to figure out what topics you will discuss.  Take the time in advance to plan your topics, articles, and products that you will highlight each month.
  2. Tie topic to products you carry.  If you have online ordering, hyperlink the product mention in the newsletter  to your order entry program.
  3. Take the time to write the content ahead of time.  If you wait until the day before you are to send your monthly message, you will find yourself consumed by other business matters and you will quickly get off-schedule.
  4. Don’t be afraid to take content and information from your manufacturers.  They can be the best source of information!
  5.  The graphic impact is particularly important in the visual world we live in.  Make sure your graphics are appealing and sized correctly.  Test and re-test your message so you are confident there are no strange spaces, line breaks, or bad images.

These are just a few pointers … you can download more tips and guidance for free with our “e-Guide to JanSan e-Newsletters” at http://www.JanSanOptimize.com. 

Check out our 6-month e-Newsletter Starter Program!

JanSan Websites: 99% Small Biz Owners Trust Search Engines to Find Suppliers Online

How important is your JanSan website?  According to a study commissioned by Google,  99% of small business owners report they find search engines to be the most effective tool for finding suppliers.

With that though in mind, we took a random survey of janitorial supply distributor websites.  We found that a surprising 25% of JanSan distributors had no website presence. 

Websites have now become a significant sales tool for B2B companies.  If 99% of small business owners say search engines are the most effective tool for finding suppliers and you don’t have a website (and an adequate Google ranking), you are missing a significant sales opportunity.

Your Jan San website provides the opportunity to quickly convey your company’s janitorial and maintenance expertise, your philosophy on customer service, and connect with prospects on several levels.

As an example, do you have photos of your key officers and staff?  Is there an image of your storefront?  People buy from people they know, like and trust.

The overall look, feel, and most importantly, the content of your website communicates who you are and begins to connect and cultivate a relationship with prospects.

On that note, we found in our random survey, that another 20% of JanSan distributor websites had either a very dated look or the site was basically an “order only” portal with little to no content about the organization, the expertise, or an attractive overview of the offerings.

JanSanOptmiize.com offers a complementary audit of your online presence, including a top-line evaluation of your search engine optimization.

Call us for more information, or email ginny@petru.biz

5 Reasons to Praise Promotional Postcards in Janitorial Supply Marketing

In this age of mouse clicks and finger touches, it is easy to categorize the good old-fashioned postcard as a marketing device of the past.Postcard example

But is it?  Let’s look at these reasons to praise the promotional postcard.

  1.  100% Deliverable!  E-Mail campaigns are extremely effective to the prospects they reach and they are a phenomenal way to nurture leads.  However, the reality is that each e-mail message is subject to filters, bounces, and delete keys.  Marketers are happy with an average open rate of between  7 – 15% to fresh lists.  Compare this to a USPS deliver rate of 100%.
  2. Hard to delete without looking.  E-mail communications can be filtered into junk drawers and never viewed by the recipient.  Even when the communications are seen by the recipient, it is easy to hit a delete key.  Holding a physical piece of paper in your hand forces you to look at it before you toss it into the trash container.
  3. Quick communication of your message. The layout of a postcard quickly communicates your message in a graphic and memorable way.  A picture says a thousand words, and a postcard communicates the visual impact faster and more effectively than an email message.
  4. No CAN-SPAM-type regulations.  You can purchase mailing lists or create your own list from various business resources and mail with no concerns of legal ramifications
  5. Effectively motivates Generation X.   Sure, we’ve all heard how younger professionals depend on twitter and facebook for information, but according to a U.S. Postal Service survey, “Gen X, Gen Y and the Mail”,  74 percent of Generation X and 68 percent of Generation Y read and respond to physical mail just like their older counterparts.

JanSanOptimize.com will optimize your JanSan postcard campaign, producing and implementing it quickly and economically.