As published in Merchant Magazine and Building Products Digest April 2022 issues, dealers can provide more value to their downstream customers with the following marketing tips.
Five steps to provide value to your entire selling chain
Having an informative website is a must for all businesses, but many sites are brochureware where prospects and customers come to your site to find information. Why not bring the information they can use directly to them? They would never know what all you have to offer unless they were searching for it. They have most likely been to your store or website, but how often? And what were they looking for?
In today’s businesses, little is just transactional. More and more, businesses need to add more value in service, training, marketing support, and industry expertise on your products throughout the selling chain. Product users need the information you have on your website such as product specifications, SDS, how to install instructions, what’s it made of, where can they purchase it, who can I contact to ask application questions, etc. Make it easy for users to contact you, but also offer up this information and send it directly to your industry partners who appreciate being kept up to date. Proactive marketing communication will help with all these needs.
We know many building products have a long customer path to purchase. And there are many direct and indirect customers that need to know your products, such as:
- Architects who specify your product
- Code officials who make sure your product meets and is installed to code
- Manufacturers who buy your product as a component
- Distributors who sell to dealers
- Dealers who sell your product to contractors
- DIYers who install your product
- Homeowners who use your product
Your direct customer could be in the middle, the manufacturer who buys your product as a component or anywhere down the selling chain. However, everyone who touches your product needs to be aware of the applicable information to their role. Take these steps below to begin to offer more value to the audiences in your selling chain.
1. Make sure you have an information-rich website. Put your product information that is in the public domain, on your website in downloadable pdfs and content they can easily read for each of your direct and indirect customers.
2. Make sure you have contact information where they can immediately call, text, or email you versus only a form where they have to wait for you to contact them.
3. This step is the most important to engage with your audiences on a higher value level. Add a slide-out newsletter sign-up form on your website to obtain a visitor’s email and interest area/company type. If you make the form too long, they will bypass it. This also gives you first party permission to email them.
4. Then, email the people interested in keeping up with news from your company. Your content should not be a 10-minute read. Shorter, to the point is better, i.e., “Meet us a booth #123 and register to win…,” or “New, free CEU course…,” “Common treated wood sizes and the preservative in them,” etc. Add links back to information on your website, other association site, or downloadable pdf.
You can subscribe to an eNewsletter platform that offers templates and audience segmentation. When you create your email campaign, these platforms send personally addressed emails to your select audience(s), and report on email opens and link clicks.
Your audiences will change, meaning new subscribers, unsubscribers and email bounces as contacts change job roles. Keep diligent updating your contact lists. Your lists don’t have to be huge to be effective. It is important you are offering information that is relative to your audience. It is a way to make personal contact providing something of value. Make sure your employees are included as an audience to keep them informed. They should be first to know what information is going out to your customers and associates. I usually wait 24-48 hours to notify our direct customers and then another 24 hours to email our other audiences. This gives your employees time to read the information before they receive calls from their customers and other audiences.
5. Share your information and news on LinkedIn and your social media sites. This helps keep your brand top-of-mind and provides information that customers will value.
Does your competition do this? Be proactive and share information you are often asked for. Take the lead role, raise the benchmark in the value you offer your customers while educating the entire selling chain, and become the expert for your industry’s products.
By Edie Kello, Director of Marketing, Viance