What is the best channel to sell our products; is social media the right outlet?
We sell high quality equipment (i.e. butcher saws, slicers, grinders, fryers, rotisseries, vacuum packaging machines, large orange juicers, etc) to grocery stores, restaurants, butcher shops, meat processing plants, convenience stores, etc. Cold calling these products are extremely difficult. We need customers to become aware of our equipment and our new lines. In the past, we have tried trade shows and advertisements in magazines without a lot of success. We haven't tried social media, but I'm not sure that is the right channel. What are the best channels to market on and reach out target markets?
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Social Media is a very effective tool. Whether or not you feel it's the right way of reaching out to your niche market, it is a must in the digital world today. Trade shows are a great way to have people that are willing to go and explore. I find that the cons of these events are the fact that they are time consuming. With more than 1000 booths set up, it becomes difficult for your audience to find you. Regardless, continue with the trade shows by acquiring the right booth with an ideal location. Social Media such as Pinterest and Linkedin are very helpful. The quicker your audience is able to find you, the more exposure you get. Google Adwords is also a great tool for start up company's. I hope I've given you a good idea of how to approach your audience with these tools.
Social media is a great tool, but should not be the major tool. I believe that creating fresh and strategic content across channels (website, print, direct mail) that engages audiences is the best way to go.
Don't think of it as 'THE' right outlet but rather as 'ANOTHER' outlet to integrate with and further enhance your existing activities - After that, you will need to get more granular, for example given the B2B nature of your products you are far more likely to find your ideal customers on LinkedIn than on Facebook.
It's tempting to think social media will be the answer to every business's marketing problems. The runaway success of "Will it Blend" is an example of how nearly anything can go viral if the team behind the marketing really understand the web.
However, the success of some brands is misleading because, in my honest opinion, most companies don't need to focus on social media as much as they think they do. I can't imagine you'll find your ideal audience on Facebook (or even a LinkedIn group).
If you're having trouble getting your customers interested in your equipment and new lines, I think the best solution would be to build a good email list. The benefits of a great email list are they it will consist only of individuals who have given you permission to tell them more about your products. They have said they want to receive your updates, so they'll be more likely to convert into buyers (or repeat buyers) if you email them valuable information.
Once you get your email marketing going, you can then optimize your website to "capture" leads – to get new people to sign up for your email list.
I'm not sure what your budget is, but your best bet is to hire a consultant or digital marketing contractor. With just a few extra sales per month, the expense would more than pay for itself. Feel free to reach out if you have any follow-up questions.
I would look at contextual marketing. This refers to online and mobile marketing strategy that provides targeted advertising based upon user information. An example of this would be:
A customer performs an Internet search for vacuum packaging machines. Afterwards, they check a local news or information website, and the ads which show up alongside the pages are for vacuum packing machines (which are your ads, pointing to your website).
The customer was already thinking about vacuum packaging machines and ideally they click on the ad to check out your product. Check with a local marketing agency, the cost is relatively inexpensive for this tactic. And they can provide you more details. That was a really high level overview.
The agency should also offer retargeting with this, meaning if they click on the ad, they will start seeing the same ad on just about every website they go to. This increases the frequency that they see the item and also the likely hood that they will buy.
In addition, I would go to Amazon and look at the Amazon FBA program as an additional sales channel for your business. You ship it to them, they stock it and handle fulfillment, which gives you access to their customer base, more specifically, their Prime customers.
I don't think social media will get your product line across to a conversion. Your product may not sell well with the facebook demographic online - at least not ONLY for social media. I believe what you're looking for is an overall BRANDING campaign to get your company name out. Use multiple platforms and demographics to achieve this. THEN you can retarget those on your social media campaign. From your branding campaign, you can then optimize across social media sites to see which actual mediums work towards closing on a conversion/sale.
hit us up if you need more details on accomplishing that - Best of luck with everything you pursue in the future!
Yes, social media would be a good channel but it's not a strategy on it's own.
For social media to work, you need to have high quality relevant content to share with your audience.
Here is 4 (very) high level steps I would go through.
1) Develop buyer personas - the who, what, where, why, behaviors, topics, keywords ect of each of your typical/target customers. What are the problems they are solving with your products? What type of messaging do they respond too? Learn and document as much as you can about your buyer. The more you understand them, the better.
2) Persona focused website - Your website should be a hub of content tools to help your buyer personas. You want to be seen as an industry expert. You want to showcase products but you also need content that is relevant to each of your buyer personas within the 3 stages of the buyers journey. (1. Awareness stage 2. Consideration stage 3. Decision stage) This content includes blog posts, ebooks, product sheets, social messaging, video, info graphics and more.
3) Buyers Journey mapped to your Content - Your content should be written(blogs) to your specific buyer persona and should be categorized in the appropriate sales funnel stage. You will need to be creating content regularly on a quality CMS like Hubspot or Wordpress so the search engines find you.
4) Social media publishing & monitoring - You're now equipped with the right content to market on social media. Search for people that match your buyer personas and engage them personally and with your content.
As for which social media networks, I would search for groups on Linkedin that your buyer personas would join and would use Twitter to seek out leads and industry related accounts. There probably are also some online industry communities you should engage with.
There is much more details to go into the strategy you would probably require.
Hope this helps
I set up all my clients with a blog, Google+ Business page, Facebook Business Page, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest (or Instagram.
with the time, we are turned out to be a lazy creature. If i need to buy anything(shampoo to property), i definitely look out internet.
Now before going to opt for social media, you have figure out who are your target audience. Are they using social media or they are comfortable with this or not. I believe an market research for around 200-500 group can get you an idea.
Based on the above data, you should ideally decide the option of social media.
The only social media channel that we've found works with any real degree of success within a B2B environment is LinkedIn.
If you've already optimized specific web pages for search terms that your audience is using, and have then built a couple of dedicated landing pages, I think a LinkedIn campaign might be worth doing.
Don't know if I'm stating the obvious (forgive me if I am!) but such a campaign won't be free. A well-executed LinkedIn campaign will usually run more expensive that a comparable Google AdWords option. However LinkedIn offers much more granular targeting, so you should be able to get your message in front of more relevant eyeballs.
Given your product line I wouldn't recommend social media as a viable sales channel. Social media may be appropriate for company branding but not direct sales. The sales channels I would recommend is a direct sales force (including using the sales team of a distributer who services the industry) , search engine optimization (SEO) for organic search and search engine marketing (SEM) to market directly to specific search terms. This assumes you have a website that lists the available products you have.
It might be if you are selling from a decent website landing page. But direct sales through social media are tricky and less rewarding than arranging gatherings for selling. A good way for you to try social media is to arrange either large product demonstrations or perhaps trade show appearances and then hype them up using whatever influence you manage to build up.