Focus Your Marketing

Mark L. Johnson / October 2015

If we could poll a group of business owners, company presidents and directors about marketing, what advice would they give? You may be surprised at what they say delivers the most bang for the buck.

Key Lead Generation Tactics
In a report from BrightTalk, entitled “B2B Lead Generation,” 626 business-to-business leaders ranked 15 different “lead generation” tactics. The following came out on top: Thirty-two percent say events, conferences and trade shows are very effective. Also very effective is the company’s website (30 percent). Search engine optimization got 27 percent of the “very effective” vote while email marketing was ranked high with 25 percent.
    
If you combine respondents who say that a tactic is either effective or very effective, then the overall top marketing tactics are these:
    
Company website—83 percent of respondents say that building out a website is an effective or very effective lead generation tactic.
    
Email marketing—80 percent of respondents say the same. Are you sending emails to a list of existing customers, potential customers and other centers of influence? Check out iContact or Mailchimp for platforms that work great on this score.
    
Events, conferences and trade shows—78 percent of respondents say it’s an effective or very effective tool. They key here is to meet people face to face.

Social Media: Not So Popular
It’s important to have a conversation about your company online, and many drywall company executives gravitate to social media for this purpose. According to BrightTalk, however, few marketing executives see the point to lots of tweets and “likes.” Only 12 percent say social media is very effective for lead generation. In fact, 30 percent say social media is ineffective for lead generation.
    
You can see why. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, allow you to post messages and share conversations with others easily and for free, but only on their terms. They control the message lengths, how the content is formatted, how many eyeballs see it and when and how their ads interrupt your stream of content.
    
It’s the opposite with your website. You control the message. You build site traffic. Really, your website should be the hub of your marketing activity. I know it can be costly to rebrand and build out an existing company website (or relaunch a website with 21st century technology standards). But BrightTalk shows the reality of the situation. Post, tweet and “like” all you want, but few business prospects will ever see your posts. Sure, social media can help cement relationships with existing partners and customers. I’m not saying to avoid it. But if you want to cultivate new contacts, you will need to post fresh content to your website, distribute an email newsletter and find occasions to meet prospects in person.
    
LinkedIn is the exception. Of BrightTalk’s survey respondents, 79 percent say LinkedIn is effective for lead generation. That contrasts with only 22 percent who say Facebook is effective; in fact, 48 percent say Facebook is ineffective for lead generation. To have meaningful results on LinkedIn, however, be sure to publish content regularly and participate in LinkedIn industry groups, such as the “AWCI-Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry” group.

What Should You Do?
Think bite-size. Do a little bit regularly. Here’s a simple recipe, which calls for 30 minutes a day.
    
First, read industry news and research for 10 minutes.
    
Second, write for 10 minutes. You’re an expert on framing, drywall hanging and interior finishing, so don’t be intimated by writing short posts of 400 or 500 words. Finish the draft the next day in a similar 10-minute window. Polish and post the article on the third day. Add a photo, something that shows your crews at work and that you can take with a smartphone.
    
Finally, take 10 minutes daily to call one or two prospects.
    
If you follow this schedule, you’ll post meaningful articles to your website. Email and LinkedIn can forward the articles to others and grow your contact base. You’ll use tactics other business executives say work best.

Mark L. Johnson is an industry marketing consultant and writer. He tweets at @markjohnsoncomm and connects at linkedin.com/in/markjohnsoncommunications.