Resellers need to start taking responsibility to market their products and services on their own, without constantly relying on their manufacturer (vendor) partners to handle the marketing for them.
Speaker, author and business strategist for high-tech sales David Stelzl says that in order to grow their businesses, resellers should start using the Internet to market themselves as advisors and not just product resellers.
He explains that it can be problematic when resellers only rely on manufacturers to drive marketing as a manufacturer’s goal with marketing differs from that of resellers.
“Manufacturers might host dinners and events for partners to attend, but often these events are just used to launch new products and hardly ever teach the reseller partners how to actually market the product offering.”
Manufacturers have the money to spend on intricate campaigns, new marketing techniques and traditional marketing methods, however, some of these (which a resellers might have access to) are not always relevant to the business style of resellers and their customers’ needs.
Stelzl says that resellers should move to online marketing techniques – which are often free – and ditch the traditional marketing methods.
Tips for resellers entering the online marketing world:
1. Create short videos clips:
Short video clips are a great way to share knowledge with customers and promote the business and its products. Promoting the staff and the business as trusted advisors is a solid marketing technique; it fosters a sense of reliability and it ensures the customer that the company knows what it is doing.
However, the idea is not to spill all your trade secrets, it is rather to show and inform your customers which types of IT problems your company can solve.
For example: If you sell routers, why not do a short video clip in which you talk about increasing and improving home networks. Highlight three products and give some advice on installing the products. Also make sure that people know how to reach your company after viewing the clip.
Resellers can easily make these clips using a simple camcorder and a mic. The clips can then be uploaded to YouTube with descriptions and contact details.
Remember you need to commit to these activities. You can’t upload one video clip a year; that may damage the company’s reputation.
2. Use Social Networks:
Marketing has changed and these days it’s all about being online. If your company has no online presence then you are going to run into trouble soon.
Research by Gartner shows that a lack of online presence or a lack of commitment to social networks can damage the reputation of companies and brands.
Facebook – First, do research on how to run a business or fan page and decide on some ideas for content and visuals before opening your Facebook page.
You need to have a Timeline banner that represents your business (preferably something in high resolution or professionally designed). You need to have classy content on your page as well.
Don’t add stupid images, video clips or too many pictures of funny cats. Keep it classy by deciding on posts in advance. Share industry related news, infograhics, nice product images and news from your own company.
You can share new product arrivals, specials and promotions as well. You can also connect with your partners on Facebook by liking their pages and posts.
But be aware, unhappy customers will complain on Facebook and there is nothing you can do about it. Get a customer experience strategy in place and decide how you will deal with negative comments. The best advice is to address the issue professionally, urgently and calmly. Offer help where you can and fix the mistakes that you have made.
Twitter – Learn how to use Twitter first and get a grip on hashtags and retweeting. Tweet stuff that is valuable and relevant to your customers. Again, keep it classy and don’t make a fool out of yourself.
LinkedIn – You can create a business profile on LinkedIn stating what you specialise in, where you are based and how many employees your company has. LinkedIn is a good place to find partners or businesses with the same interests as yours. You can also show job vacancies and recruit employees on LinkedIn.
Pinterest – Only use this if your brands or products suit the vibe. Read up on using the social sharing site first, and then make your move. Pinterest works well if you are able to share unique, beautiful high resolution images and videos often.
3. Get a blog:
Having a blog is a great way to act as an advisor to your customers. In a blog you can post about the benefits of specific products while explaining how they can be used and how they add value to the businesses and lives of your customers.
Post often; about once a week should be good and make the blog your company’s own unique way to informally communicate with existing and potential clients. Don’t post a product image with a list of hundred specifications, that will scare people of, and besides they can find that information anywhere on the web.
Offer them unique insights and information that cannot be found elsewhere.
Promote your products and services in “opinion piece” style and incorporate industry views and statistics to make your blog seem more valid and legitimate. Promote your blog and your video clips on your social networking channels. Investigate plugins that will optimise your blog site.
Category: Tips & Tools