A Whizard in a Blizzard -  A 2-Day Crash Course in Improving Building Materials Marketing

 

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Image credit: Mark Mitchell, LinkedIn

 

Venturing out to Boulder, CO the day before a bomb cyclone to meet with a group of building materials suppliers and marketing gurus may not appear to be the most sound of decisions.  We are all experts in our field and run companies brilliantly, so what could we possibly learn from a LinkedIn pontificator with over 300 pairs of socks and a packed agenda of marketing techniques which we have all heard of and implemented to some degree already?  

 

A lot.

 

At CaraGreen, we feel we do a solid job marketing to our clients.  When we were invited to the Whizard Summit to present on our field of expertise, “How to Sell Green,” we were eager to attend to impart our wisdom.  We have our own podcast, newsletter and blog, so we have been marketing, right? We have content! We have this website. We have an active Instagram account, a Facebook page. We are crushing marketing. NOT.  SO. FAST.

 

When our CaraGreen posse of Rachael Blondy, Lauri Julian and Jessica McNaughton arrived at The Whizard Summit in Boulder - an event that every building materials supplier should attend - we were not sure what was in store.  Within hours, we had covered SEO, website layout, calls to action, green building, lead generation, content marketing, the supply chain and who your customers are, BIM (look it up, you need to know this), selling to architects and converting customers.  All things I am sure you are brilliant at.  Until you realize you could be SO MUCH BETTER.  

 

Attendees ranged from exterior material suppliers like Nichiha and Creative Mines to trim companies like Versatex and Trim-Tex, to Nanawall, Porcelanosa, Warmup, Fox Blocks and several others, covering the wide spectrum of industry players.

 

Unlike most “throw information at me and see what sticks” conferences, the organizers, Zeela Cheng and Mark Mitchell (ladies first), provided the attendees with a call to action sheet at the outset.

 

What are your TOP THREE things you are going to change after the conference?  What are your long term goals? What are those nice-to-haves that will make you some money down the road and what are the tick off items that you need to get done for incremental improvement?  You write these down as you go, so you are sure not to lose the ideas as you move through the agenda.

 

Here are my big three:

 

1. Make it easier to work with us.  Where are we making it difficult for our customers to work with us?  Oh…. right….. well….

We should put the oft-asked information online in an easily accessible place.  Our best salesperson is our website (duh!) and it needs to be a seamless, informational engagement that gets our clients the most requested information in the quickest way (without being wonky, ugly or awkward).  Zach and Beth at Venveo offered real-time website critiques to show you how you could engage your customers in the most effective way.

 

2. Make a Roadmap for CRM improvements.   We make improvements to Salesforce when we run into an issue, which is a huge pain in the a**, as everything comes to a screeching halt while we try to arm wrestle the system and make it do what we want in that moment.  It ends up increasing efficiency but we shouldn’t want till the elephant sounds off until we acknowledge it is there. Hunley Group recommended that we come up with a roadmap to outline the improvements that we would like to achieve over time.  This is so much more strategic than the tactical approach we use when we run into a roadblock, fix it and then wait for the next one to arise.

 

3. Write more Content.    I am starting with this recap of the Whizard Summit.  Companies should be posting value-added content that is not a thinly veiled product pitch but rather a value added information piece.  In this piece, I am encouraging you marketing geniuses to take a step back from your business and attend this event, or one like it to really get a broader look at where your marketing efforts are working for you and where they are not.  This is not a marketing consultant coming in and dissecting your business, rather it is a peer group comparing notes on how they are doing things and a rotating panel of experts who offer a fair, honest review of what you could do better.  

 

Here are 10 other takeaways that will improve your business today

1. Websites are your best salesperson - help them sell.

2. What does the first page of your website do?  Does it SAY what you do, what you sell?

3. Never take someone off your website to view a doc (like a PDF or external portal), keep them on your site!

4. Don’t make someone fill out the name of their first dog, mother’s maiden name and credit card info just to get your newsletter.  Make it easy. An email and name suffice!

5. How-To-Guides (downloadable) are money.

6. Ask the public - see what people are searching for.

7. Keywords first in article titles, company name is already indexed in search.

8. BIM - 3D design, it is not going anywhere, so learn it and get your products BIM models.

9. Backlinks in content are key.  Get other people linking to you, you link to them.

10. Link to other content within your articles, blogs, etc.

 

If you have considered attending the Whizard Summit, but wondered whether it was worth it, it is.

 

The bomb cyclone was a non-event, but the flurry of information was worth the trip.

 

Did you attend the Whizard Summit this year? Share your takeaways with us.

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