As some of you know I am an avid photographer and motorcycle restorer. I have spent many hours behind the camera looking for the best shot in my view finder and I have spent an untold amount of time in my shop restoring antique motorcycles. About a month ago I was able to purchase a very rare 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport motorcycle in need of restoration. You may now be wondering what this has to do with Stromquist and Company and why should you, the reader go any further in reading this article. Well come on and read on through this article and I will unravel this knot of words in my brain and tie it all together.
Stromquist & Company launched its online ordering website over five years ago. Many of our customers have enjoyed the convenience of being able to order parts 24/7 and do confidential direct shipments to their customers.
We have added several new features that we are really excited about! You will notice [Read more…]
What is social network marketing? In the HVAC controls industry, why should we care? Answers to these and other questions are explored with Mitch Joel, one of the leading digital marketers on the planet, and author of Six Pixels of Separation (2009). Social network marketing, or digital marketing, includes webtools like facebook, twitter, and google. It is changing the way business is being done in new and exciting ways. When Google wanted to explain online marketing to the top brands in the world, they brought Mitch Joel in to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. Marketing Magazine dubbed him the “Rock Star of Digital Marketing,” noting he is “one of North America’s leading digital visionaries.” In 2006 he was named one of the most influential authorities on Blog Marketing in the world. Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image, an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications agency. I had the pleasure to interview Mitch about social networking in the HVAC industry. He knows his stuff and what he has to say might surprise you….
I was on vacation last week in Mexico. The beautiful blue ocean reminded me of one of the most useful business books I have ever read, Blue Ocean Strategy, written by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. The main premise of the book is that most businesses find themselves competing in “red oceans”, markets in which companies and their offerings are very similar and profitable growth is all but impossible. Companies compete by offering more and better and are often forced to charge less. Sound familiar? A big part of this problem is that there are more products and companies chasing fewer customers. Supply is greater than demand. The bad news is this is not going to change; the good news is that the book offers strategies and perspectives that allow us to think about our businesses and customers in different ways and allows us to create “blue oceans” in which we don’t compete but make the competition irrelevant.
We assume that we must look at what our competition is doing and do it better. It’s difficult to offer great quality at a low price and stay in business for long. Conventional wisdom has been to find your niche and provide high quality or low service and low prices. Blue Ocean Strategy offers an alternative way to look at your market. Using a concept in the book called “the strategy canvas,” we can redefine our offerings based on what is really relevant and of value to our customers and eliminate what is not. This allows companies the ability to create relevant value and be the low cost provider while maintaining margins and growing.
The book offers many examples of businesses that have created blue oceans in red ocean markets: cinemas, retail stores, airlines, energy, computers, broadcasting, construction, automotive, steel, and even the Cirque du Soleil.
Your sales force, due to no fault of its own, has become your most expensive and least effective method of promoting and growing your business. None of us has time to see a sales rep unless we have a specific need or problem. The good news is that you can be there at the precise moment your customer or potential customer has that need or problem. To do this you have to connect to the world of customers in a new way and you have to give your website an overhaul to keep these customers coming back.
Facebook, Twitter, and search engine optimization are just a few of the tools and concepts in the new discipline of Internet marketing. Embrace and master these principals and your business will grow. Social marketing and digital branding is the way companies are now connecting and differentiating themselves. The must read book in this area is Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel. Mitch will walk you through the most effective tactics in connecting your business digitally to your target markets.
Mitch can show you how to bring customers to your website .
Once they visit their return will be predicated on two factors. First: your content. Second: your aesthetics.
Content: As the brilliant thinker and business strategist Marshall Thurber teaches, think of your website as “the filter”. Consumers suffer from information overload. If your website can filter the massive amounts of information down to what is relevant and useful to your niche market then you create value and your customers will treat your website as a resource. As such, you will have access to help solve their problems and promote your products and solutions.
Aesthetics: The second element is your website must have the look and feel that entices users to spend time on your site. Aesthetics is critical; as owners and managers we are perhaps the least qualified to create a fresh web presence. Get outside opinions, hire someone to help you revamp your website. For more on how to do this check out a company like New Tricks, or listen to my interview with Judi Knight and Dene Shepherd on Stromquist Radio, “How to Use the Internet to Grow Your HVAC Business“
Embrace and include Internet marketing strategies, and update your website. You will create new customers, leads for your sales force, and your business will grow.
Eric Stromquist – Controltrends.com sits down with Dene Shepherd and Judi Knight from New Tricks to discuss proven internet marketing techniques, why and how you should use social media and digital marketing to grow your HVAC business, and how Dene and Judi helped Eric develop controltrends.com
Select the ‘+ AUDIO MP3’ button below to listen in on the interview.
About New Tricks: New Tricks, is a full-service design, marketing and web development company specializing in helping all sized businesses use the latest / greatest open source solutions to build a strong online presence and interactive community.