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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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!

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!

Google’s ZMOT in JanSan Website Marketing: What It Is & Why You Should Care

The Jan/San sales cycle, as we knew it just a few years ago, has been changed forever. The main reason: the internet.

In a few mouse clicks, there is a wealth of information available to the janitorial supplies purchaser, such as product information, company reviews, and item pricing, to name a few.  Prospects can quickly evaluate any number of providers and products to solve their problems in minutes … sometimes seconds.

Purchasers’ proactive search for information has been identified by Google’s marketing gurus as the “Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT.

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