Marketing Tips for Distributors
Maximizing your marketing plan can make a world of difference to your business.
When it comes to creating demand for products and services, we have far more marketing tools today than we ever did. Online marketing, for example, has become a major player, but despite new advances in technology, our focus on the basic principles of marketing remains the same. BlackHawk represents many suppliers and understands that if we don’t continuously get our message across to you, you might not notice us. The following is a little insight into the reasons we do what we do with our marketing.
Getting on top of Internet Marketing
BlackHawk sells hundreds of thousands of products on the Internet, which makes it even more important to market them online. According to Cisco, the average person spends more time online than all other media combined, and more than 67% of customers’ purchasing research and decisions are done online. Before they commit to a distributor, consumers will go on the Internet to research product inventories, pricing and services. This is something they like to do on their own time. We make it a priority to build up our company’s digital presence so potential clients can find us when they go looking. This includes taking the time to immerse ourselves in SEO, email marketing, PPC and other online marketing subjects.
Maintaining Strong Analytics
It may be difficult to pinpoint and report the exact ROI of marketing efforts, however, we use the data collected through overall sales performance to get a picture of whether marketing strategies are delivering. We measure the outcomes to understand how many customers are growing vs. declining. To do this, we set specific campaign goals that can be measured, for example: more visits to the website or increased number of purchases. We set time parameters to check in and measure performance. If something isn’t working, we consider what changes can be made or what to get rid of altogether. We might use A/B testing, periodically launching 2 versions of the same marketing effort, but with slight variations to see what clients respond to.
Staying Top of Mind
We make sure customers are seeing our products frequently. If we don’t, they might not remember who we are or what we sell. It’s important to send continuous messaging that we’re ready to jump in and meet our client’s needs. That means getting in front of our customers more frequently than competitors so customers think of us first when they shop. Repetition works. Sometimes, we won’t see a boost in sales after sending out the first round of emails. It’s been said that a customer has to see an offer 7 times to buy. That doesn’t mean we’ll send 7 newsletters about a new cutting tool in our inventory. We might announce the new product by email, then mention it in the next 2 newsletters and highlight it on our website, flyers and ads.
Establishing relationships with our clients takes work, but it’s worth it. We work to stay in continuous communication with our customers by following up after a purchase or being the first to tell them about a product launch. We reach out to them through emails, blogs and newsletters. Maintaining that communication with our buyers is one of our most important responsibilities.
Playing up our Value-added Services
We might not be the biggest distributor, but there are things about BlackHawk that go beyond standard offerings. Our motto is: We are BIG ENOUGH TO SERVE, and SMALL ENOUGH TO CARE. Like many of you, we are competing against the largest retailers and 2-day free shipping, which means we need to continuously focus on what we offer that sets us apart from competitors. We don’t underestimate the power of communicating our role as an expert resource that is available to our customers. There is high value in our well-trained, knowledgeable employees who are accessible for answering product questions.
We truly believe in the importance of the local relationships with the customers we service. Our employees have fun every day exceeding the expectations of our customers, suppliers, and shareholders. We give customers access to thousands of manufacturers supplying a wide range of standard and custom products. Our streamlined distribution program allows customers to dramatically reduce total costs. BlackHawk also fabricates packages to customer specifications with machine tools and accessories. We have a dedicated support team — from the shop floor to management — ensuring orders are delivered as promised. Making sure our buyers are aware of all of these value-added services is our most important marketing tool.