In my last blog I talked about some of the essential stats any marketing pro needs to consider before making decisions about a media buy. We discussed making sure a publication’s circulation is audited by an independent organization, evaluating list integrity, checking digital metrics like open rates and page views, and making sure you have access to the relevant results for your own campaigns. Today I want to talk about something equally important but less tangible: content.
We hear a lot about content these days; it’s become a bit of a buzzword. I’m sure you’ve heard “Content is King.” Companies large and small are told they need to have great content online for SEO purposes; employees are now “content creators.” Of course, in our business at AB Media and here at Wood Floor Business, content isn’t just an SEO necessity, it’s the core of what we do.
With more than 24 years of combined industry experience, our editors understand the type of content that has a direct impact on the daily lives of wood flooring professionals. Since the inception of the magazine, we have generated thousands of articles, and more than 7,700 of them can be found on our website. Not only is this high-quality, relevant content good for SEO purposes, it drives ongoing engagement and brand loyalty.
Why is this important to you? Your prospects engage with content that is meaningful to their daily lives. In an era of 24/7 connectivity, brands need to ensure their marketing initiatives are being seen where their audience is and when they are consuming content.
When looking at your options for advertising, there are simple questions to ask:
Content that provides a real value to readers creates a relationship and brand loyalty. This drives online traffic and social media engagement. But a website with very little content or connection to its visitors will receive limited pageviews, higher bounce rates, less engagement and few return visitors, limiting the exposure of any advertising on that site or publication. When evaluating your marketing spend, make sure audience engagement is at the top of your list. Without it, you might be advertising—in print or online—to an empty room.
Interested in learning more about marketing opportunities with Wood Floor Business? Let's Chat!
There are many marketing options out there, and it can be overwhelming to sift through the information and determine the best fit for your company. There are several key factors to consider that will help you compare apples to apples and identify the most appropriate and effective marketing vehicle for your company and the outcome you are looking to achieve.
2) For Print Circulation: Is It Audited?
It’s important that your media partner is able to guarantee that your message is reaching the intended audience. The best way to ensure you are connecting with the most qualified, engaged prospects in the industry is to look at a publisher’s audit statement. The auditing process is done through a third party and verifies each reader is a qualified industry professional who is a decision-maker in their company and has requested the publication. View WFB's recent Publisher's Statement and check out the graphic below to see the Wood Floor Business audience breakdown for our printed publication.
3) For a Digital Audience: Evaluate Integrity
In today’s world, your prospects are consuming information on many different platforms, from email to websites to social media. To ensure you’re connecting with your best prospects, you must evaluate the integrity of the audience you are paying to reach. Some important questions to ask:
4) Seek Proven Statistics
One of the wonderful things about digital advertising is that it is trackable. By asking the questions outlined above, you will have a good idea what to expect going into a campaign. If a media partner is unable to provide you with proven average statistics over a period of time, that should be a red flag. A reputable media partner will often partner with a third party to track the analytics of your campaign and should provide a stat report on a regular basis. Click here to view WFB’s digital stats.
Want to learn more about how Wood Floor Business can help with your marketing needs? Contact:
Understandably, there’s a fair amount of confusion in the industry right now about our recent rebranding from 29 years as Hardwood Floors to our new, independent brand, Wood Floor Business (you can read our news story about the change here). I wanted to clear up some of that confusion and answer questions I’ve been receiving from clients recently. Here are some key facts about Wood Floor Business going forward:
1) Our products and staff are the same.
All that has changed is the brand name. The magazine, E-News, website and social media are all the same products you know and trust. We have exclusive rights to all the content we have generated since the beginning, which can now be found at woodfloorbusiness.com. While I and three other key HF staff—Editor Kim Wahlgren, Associate Editor Andrew Averill and Publisher Shawn Gahagan—were offered jobs at NWFA, we declined, and continue in our positions here at AB Media Inc. along with our extensive support staff for production, circulation, marketing and much more.
2) We are invested in the wood flooring industry.
We aren’t a huge media company that happens to do a wood flooring magazine. AB Media Inc. is a small, family-owned company that has only three brands, all of which are considered an essential part of their industries. AB Media’s owner created Hardwood Floors magazine 29 years ago with the founding fathers of the NWFA, and we have worked to help build and improve the entire wood flooring industry ever since. Our dedicated staff have more than 35 years of wood flooring industry experience and understand the unique challenges and opportunities of this business. As a now-independent voice, we will continue to provide the industry with unbiased, valuable content, while connecting advertisers with the most engaged, qualified prospects.
3) We are looking forward—for our customers and our industry as a whole.
No one in the media business is successful in today’s extremely challenging market by being complacent. One of the reasons for our continued success is that we are constantly updating our products to meet our customers’ needs across all channels, from print to digital to social media. As our marketing partners know, we are always open to discussing new ways to achieve specific marketing goals—whether that be targeting a very specific list with a custom promotion or thinking outside the box with a special cover treatment. We also will continue to tackle issues important to the industry; in our February/March issue, our theme is “The Next Generation,” discussing what the current labor shortage means for our industry. And our April/May issue will, as always, contain our exclusive State of the Industry statistics. What topics do you think we should be tackling? We’d love to hear from you.
4) We exclusively own our email lists and related data.
We have invested many years developing quality email lists for our E-News and Custom E-Mail products, which are a part of a larger data platform we have—and will continue to offer—to our customers. Currently, our E-News and Custom E-Mail lists each have more than 17,000 email records and are constantly maintained to ensure active, engaged readers. Our open rates for each product far exceed industry norms: 45% for E-News and 34% for Custom E-Mails.
5) Our circulation is audited.
Wood Floor Business circulation is audited by AAM, the Alliance for Audited Media. AAM’s tagline explains their purpose well: Transact with Trust. The auditing process ensures that when we say our print circulation targets 23,500 wood flooring professionals who are decision-makers in their company, you don’t have to take our word for it. The audit process is both expensive and labor-intensive, but we feel it’s important to deliver that value to our customers.
6) We are still proponents of the NWFA.
We have contributed more than $5 million to the NWFA since the magazine began, and despite the fact that we are no longer contractually bound to NWFA, we are still proponents of the many good things the NWFA does for our industry.
I hope the above helps to eliminate some of the confusion you may have had regarding our recent name change. As always, feel free to reach out to me directly should you have any questions.
(800) 722-8764 ext. 107
When you deliver the perfect message directly to the perfect qualified audience, great things can happen. That’s why we’re seeing more and more customers opt for our Custom E-Mail solution.
Gone are the days of simply “blasting” anyone and everyone. Today our customers can target the exact prospects they want to reach and craft a message that inspires those prospects to take action.
We’ve worked with hundreds of customers over the years to send successful Custom E-Mails. Here are a few tips that lead to the best results:
1. Determine Your Purpose
Everyone has a different reason for sending a Custom E-Mail. For example, if you’re looking to drive direct sales, your messaging and call-to-action will be different than if you’re simply announcing a new brand initiative.
If you sell a product with a long sales cycle, it may not be feasible to expect prospects to make a purchase based off one email. However, enticing them to learn more about your product with a video or whitepaper can be a good way to move prospects further along your sales funnel.
Think about the objective of your email and make sure your content supports that objective. If the goal is click-throughs, a clear, concise call-to-action is important.
Also consider taking advantage of our targeting capabilities. With a custom list, you know the exact prospects you’ll be reaching and can tailor your message to have the most impact.
2. Choose Your Subject Line
Your subject line has the biggest impact on the success of your email. The best email in the world won’t do any good if no one opens it.
We’ve seen that the best subject lines offer value to the recipient, rather than just a sales message. In fact, the most successful subject lines rarely include brand or product names.
These are just a few examples. Contact me to discuss specific ideas and suggestions for your campaign.
3. Use Engaging Media
Videos and other interactive media are driving click-throughs better than anything else. This is a clear trend we’ve seen develop in the last year or so.
Emails with a prominently displayed video will encourage the opener to click-through to view it. Other media options driving engagement include whitepapers, infographics, photo galleries or customizable “build your own product” interfaces.
Not everyone’s goal is to drive clicks. But if yours is, enticing the recipient with content-rich media is a good way to do so.
4. Consider the Length
It can be tempting to put your entire sales message into the body of the e-mail. And with the right layout and supporting imagery, this has worked for some customers. But typically, keeping things concise is best — especially with professionals who are on-the-go. Remember, roughly half of your e-mail openers will be on a mobile device. Keep the message clear and concise.
5. Think About Your Landing Page
You’ve piqued the curiosity of your prospect with a great subject line. Your call-to-action inspired them to click-through. Now what?
Does your prospect land on a page that’s mobile friendly and supports the messaging in the email? Are you doing anything to try to capture the prospect’s name and email address?
Not every Custom E-Mail needs to drive web traffic. But if that is the purpose of your send, consider what happens when the prospect gets to your site and what you want them to do. Does the email link directly to the corresponding product page or will the reader need to navigate from your homepage? Is there an easy form to complete for more information?
These are just a few tips to help you make the most of your Custom E-Mail. Of course, every business has different objectives and circumstances. If you’ve purchased a Custom E-Mail, or are considering it, talk to me about how to make the most of the opportunity.
If you’re reading this blog, you’ve likely been to a few (or for some of you, a few hundred) trade shows. You know the routine. You spend weeks, most likely months, preparing for the show. It finally arrives, it’s exciting, you meet tons of people, gather leads and then in a matter of days it’s over. When you get back to the office, how do you make sure you capitalize on your interactions with the prospects you just met?
Companies spend a lot of time and money preparing for and attending shows. However, the greatest returns only happen when you take action afterward.
1. Categorize Your Leads
Not everyone you met at the show requires the same action and urgency. Some prospects might be ready to buy and require a phone call ASAP, while others are better candidates for email campaigns or follow-ups further down the line. But just because someone isn’t a “hot” lead doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Categorize your leads into hot, medium and cool groups (or whatever lingo you want to use) and then determine which follow-up methods are right for which group.
2. Respond Promptly
The sooner you can respond to your prospects post-show, the better. According to a 2012 study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, less than 50% of exhibitors send an email to their leads within a week of the show. With every day that passes, the likelihood of your lead forgetting your interaction, losing interest or getting too busy back in the office increases. Make it a priority to follow up as quickly as possible.
3. Be Personal
When possible, a personal response whether by phone, email or both is proven to be more effective than mass communications. Not every single lead will require a personal follow-up, but for your most important ones, it is worth the time. In the same study referenced above, its conclusion states:
Customizing follow-up email communications, tailored to attendees, who they are and what they articulated interest in, makes sense. It demonstrates to the attendee that an exhibitor was listening. It motivates an attendee to pay attention. In today’s marketing environment where consumers demand personal attention, targeted communications are a must.
And that was three years ago! The same truths are more apparent today.
4. Have a Call-to-Action
When you follow up with your leads, particularly via email, give them a clear call to action. Of course, the end goal is to purchase your product, but for high-dollar items, that may take some time. In the meantime, maybe your goal is to get them to visit your website, sign up for your newsletter, or have them follow you on social media. All of these actions build your connection with the prospect and give you another way to reach them. Whatever your company’s goal may be, give the prospect a clear and easy way to take the action you desire. Bombarding them with too many options can backfire.
5. Include Content!
Adding value to your follow-up communication by providing useful content can be a great way to nurture leads. You had a great conversation about a particular product? Send the prospects a link or maybe a video with more information. Someone expressed a particular problem on the job site? Send them solutions you can provide or a tutorial on that subject. Of course, to do this, you need to have a method of remembering the discussions you had with specific show attendees. Jotting a few notes on the back of a business card can help, or, if you have a lead-gen service, add a note when you scan their badge.
What methods have worked best for you when following up on trade show leads? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.