The Two-Way Marketing Street

From the early days of transactional marketing to today’s highly engaging relationship marketing, marketers have learned to adapt to the changing customer culture. Today’s marketers are entrenched in a two-way marketing street – one that is give and take, listen and respond, lead and reciprocate, and go forward and take a step back.

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Customers are directing traffic to and from your website, stopping to converse from the sidelines of third party sites or they are sitting in the driver’s seat, steering your discussion via the social media stratosphere.

How can companies benefit from the two-way street of marketing? Here are five superhighway ideas for your brand:

  • Rev It Up. Ignite your customer engine by understanding first what’s on your audience’s mind. What do they want? What are they thinking? Customer centricity is #1, replacing a sometimes contrasting sales mentality. Get the customer insights directly from the source. Conduct customer surveys, create polls, and engage in social listening via online services, such as NUVI, to understand what is most important to your audience. With survey tools, such as SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, and SurveyTool, you no longer need to guess what your customer really wants.
  • Remove Roadblocks. How does your brand reduce customer pain points? Show how your product saves time, creates value, and eliminates guesswork. Offer hands-on YouTube tutorials, create an online knowledge center, and offer how-to tips via social media. By sharing time and money saving ideas to your fans and followers, you’ll reap the benefits via enhanced customer loyalty and a more engaged audience. At Zircon, the company’s Interactive Support Center offers 24/7 troubleshooting, customers can call tech support to talk to a live tool technician, and the company’s social media channels offer timely DIY shortcuts and useful project hints for tool enthusiasts.
  • Create Curb Appeal. To develop the road to customer engagement success and an enthusiastic, on-going dialog, communicate your brand’s uniqueness in a clear, succinct, yet creative manner. Amp up your shares, likes, and followers through knowledgeable and resourceful content that resonates with your audience. Out of ideas? Research industry influencers, conduct in-office brainstorming sessions, and develop partnerships with like minded companies to nurture, create, and catapult ideas. DIY industry leaders, such as @HGTV, @industryedgeNHS and @kbtribechat have insightful content that may springboard your own blog, video, and content ideas.
  • Test Drive. Take a test drive to gain a new business perspective and meet customers where they are. Although you can find your customers at the retail point of sale, smart devices are also making traditional offline moments into online opportunities. Cultivate your brand by providing a QR code to click to your brand’s website or develop an interactive mobile app. Be proactive in posting timely responses to both positive and negative online reviews. Join in the social media conversation by searching industry #topics, participating in Twitter chats, and replying to @brand mentions. Test different dates, times and social media tweets and posts to ensure you’re reaching the optimal audience members when they are most apt to engage.
  • Tune Up. Review your customer diagnostics and compare the results to your company goals. If expectations are not met, what changes are required? If it does not appear that you’re engaging enough with customers or your content is not providing you with new fans or followers, perhaps a new approach is needed. Are you on the right track? Test a new “vehicle” –a promotion vehicle, that is. For example, a social media ad campaign or a cross promotion with a marketing partner can provide you with a new audience.

Make your two-way marketing street the optimal road to a new and refreshing conversation with your customers. In addition to these five steps, you may have your own avenues to success and we would love to hear from you. Please follow us @zircontools, like us on Facebook, or visit zircon.com.

Join us every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at 11 am PST for our #diytrends chat. Catch the next ones on 6/18 and 7/2. Let’s share, engage, and learn from each other.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Sharon image

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Your Recipe to Blog Success

The holiday season is upon us. And I don’t know about you, but even with Thanksgiving over, I’m still hungry. Hungry for cookies, treats, pies, and… great content. Yes, you read right – great content.

Yet, this hunger is year-round. And blogs are just what my appetite has in mind.

Blogs are everywhere, but not all are appealing. What makes a great blog… great? Well, as with all things, there are vital elements one needs to consider and, just like any culinary dish, having a great recipe to start from is key.

So where does one begin? How does one effectively create the main content course? Is there a ‘secret sauce’ to this marketing mix?

Blogging is one way to engage your audience, especially if you utilize some of these tasty ingredients (quick hints) from these successful bloggers.

Fill Your Heart and Mind

Heartwarming, informal stories can create lasting blogosphere fans. Anticipate what your audience wants to read about, much like you would tailor your dinner party to the guests you are hosting. Then, tie the message you want to convey via an easy-to-follow story as if the reader were right there with you. Zircon in the Real World readers are entertained while also receiving how-to tips through an informative, yet light-hearted blog series. Learning while also having fun? It can’t get any more engaging than that!

shutterstock_135988217What’s in a Name?

You’ve probably heard (and used) the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover,” but does that also hold true with blog titles? Titles should be captivating, relevant to the blog content, and compelling. Titles should give a quick glimpse into what the blog will be about in the two seconds it takes for a person to read it because let’s face it… we’re all short on time and nobody wants to invest time in something, only to feel misled and cheated because it was exactly not what he/she was looking for.

Preparation and Cooking Time

More modern culinary recipes note the time it will take to prepare the dish – even breaking it down to prep and cook time. And like we said before about time… it’s a luxury not all of us has. So while prep/research time for a blog can be unlimited, the actual cook/read time for a blog should follow a basic rule of thumb. If it’s not necessary to the reader, don’t include it. Less is definitely more!

Presentation – Tantalize with Key Product Attributes

A dish may taste good, but you also want it to look good! Never underestimate formatting. Make it easy to read and follow. Some prime examples are Amy Wax’s Color911 blog which focuses on color accenting, painting, and beautifying the home while seamlessly tying in the color911 mobile app. Zircon’s Pro Expert blog also shares in-depth ways to use Zircon’s stud finders in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step fashion.

Don’t Forget the Dressing – Photos of the Finished Product

Entice avid readers by including images, videos, and graphics that add interest, depth, and something to aspire to. Combining ‘before’ and ‘after’ photography and works-in-progress are some of the hallmarks of success for Riggins Construction’s blog. Likewise, Avente Tile’s blog effectively includes photos that produce a more impactful blog series while Home and Stone’s content informs and engages its audience with stylish imagery and functionality.

Variations

And as with any recipe, don’t be afraid to have fun with it and substitute ingredients to make a traditional blog your own. Giving your blog a slightly different taste of the same recipe will surely make your blog stand out from the crowd.

For hands on tips, please join our “Gifts” #diytrends Twitter Chat on Thurs, 12/18 at 11 am PST. Get insights on this gift giving season.

Please also check out these blogs from some of our #diytrends professionals:

@aecdaily@organized82@usspecproducts@kitchens4living@rangehoodsinc@pstldesigns,

@kitchen_sync@artofpowr@pegasuslighting@tradewindsimp@ronfeir@homeadvisor@improvecenter

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics.  Sharon image

What is a Blog (Part II)

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In Part I, we explored what a blog is versus other forms of writing.  Optimize your blog today by reading our “How to Blog” tips!

Keep it light.  Readers turn to blogs that are conversational in tone and have a humorous, airy, and entertaining tone. Successful blogs have a “voice” that resonates with readers.

Be thought provoking. It is important to hold the attention of the reader and provide tangible and useful information. Blogs should read well and offer information or a key takeway that the individual can use in his everyday work/job site environment.

Tone down the technical.  Although a blog, similar to other Zircon content, must be 100% accurate, the content should appeal to a broad audience and shouldn’t be an instruction manual, white paper, or technical paper. The objective of the blog is to engage the reader, not necessarily provide a complete how to use the product.

Make it short, but sweet.  Keep the copy simple and concise.  Content that gets to the point and isn’t bogged down in unnecessary jargon or details will obtain higher readership, better shares, and more likes if the information is not too stuffy, confusing or lengthy.  Keep it brief, but not too vague.

Bright Idea iconBring on the visuals.  As strong as words are, think of how the blog can be enhanced with images.  It is often easier for you to get to a key point with a pictogram than many words. One strong visual, in concert with writing, creates the emphasis.

Zircon bloggers tackle everyday business challenges via the Zircon Pro Expert, Zircon in the Real World, and Zircon’s Marketing ToolBox blog sites.  Check out these blogs to get an idea of what a blog is.  What topics would you like to blog or read about?  Comment on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and share your blog with us. We’d love to hear from you!