Making the most of social media

Making the Most of Social Media

According to Intel, in 2015 there will be as many as 22 million live electronic digital signs in use. Based on studies from ABI Research, the world-wide market for electrical digital signage will reach nearly $4.5 billion in 2016, from $1.3 billion in 2010.

Understanding how to effectively use social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, can help your sign company develop an effective marketing and sales strategy, not only for digital signage work, but traditional signage as well.

The Importance Of An Effective Search Engine Optimization (Seo) Strategy

“SEO is an opportunity to reach out to both potential customers and people interested in your topics of conversation through on-page efforts to rank highly important terms and also through link building, helping to build a community of interested users around your site,” says Michael Schoenfeld, chief operating officer at Brimar Industries, Inc., parent company of SafetySign.com located in Garfield, N.J.

Why Is Seo Important?

James Pond, partner of James and Matthew + Company, in Leominster, Mass., says 80 to 90 percent of all clicks occur from the first two search result pages, with first page experiencing 93 percent of all clicks. Search results on page three and beyond are rarely seen and clicked on.

How Is An Effective Search Engine Optimization Strategy Created?

“If you want to read the customer’s mind, just install Google Webmaster Tools on your website,” explains Pond.

Google Analytics offers many website analysis tools. By identifying spots of high and low visitor activity, metrics measure which destinations visitors reached, how long each individual was on a particular page, page and screen statistics per user, and can help you determine how interesting and informative content is.

One way to measure content effectiveness is by measuring bounce-rate. According to Schoenfeld, measuring a website’s bounce-rate and pages per visit statistics helps his company determine what products customers value and how to create more interesting Web pages through content.

What Is a Good Bounce Rate?

Blast Analytics & Marketing refers to bounce-rate as the percentage of website visitors who visit your website and exit without visiting second or additional pages.

While there is no hard-and-fast bounce-rate, 40-percent is the Internet’s baseline bounce rate. The following statistics are the average bounce rates for select:

How To Improve Your Website’s Bounce Rate

The website Search Engine Watch says pop-ups should be avoided because they are bothersome, refraining from automatically playing video and audio on the website enables visitors to focus on the content, keeping content in bite-size sections keeps attention and making content as direct and obvious as possible can help lower bounce rates.

Brimar Industries illustrates direct content. An effective content campaign that relates to the community can increase customer engagement may reduce the bounce rates. “SafetySign.com’s blog has become a source of information about current safety topics and campaigns,” Schoenfeld explains, “such as the Safe Routes to School program and National Bullying Prevention Month.”

By demonstrating the value his company’s signs provide to the community’s efforts, through the blog, the community naturally shared it amongst themselves. SafetySigns.com benefitted by increased user engagement on its website, which may help it reduce its bounce rate.

Effectively Using Pinterest

Semiocast reports that Pinterest has 70 million users who are ripe for companies to reach out to make a possible sale. One way to make a connection with new or established customer is to “Engage the community.” Businesses can accomplish this by providing targeted content, providing answers to customer questions or interacting with other users.

Sign companies can use Pinterest to increase exposure to products by addressing customers’ needs.

“Things we’ve pinned related to the safety concerns of our followers instead of products; simple, topical pins that create customer engagement; and products pinned by users before we joined the platform, with existing re-pins and ‘likes,’” Schoenfeld says. “We found that customers were already pinning our products before we even signed up—pinning gift ideas, funny signs, and safety signs for issues that concerned them.”

Identifying potential repeat customers through the “Pins from” list, Pinterest helped Safety Signs identify relevant similar and new products through their pins. This helped expose new and future followers to customized and new products in the course of Pinterest’s new pins. This resulted in a 180 percent increase in exposure over the next three months.

Using Social Media to Expand Sales

Jim Keenan, author of “The Rise of Social Salespeople,” says sales staff using social media outsold their non-social media 78.6 percent of the time. More than two-in-five respondents reported closing two to five deals, while 54 percent obtained at least one deal through social media. While Facebook, Twitter, blogging and Google+ are effective, the most effective is LinkedIn, according to the study and sign company owners.

Sign company owners looking to find a new client recommend LinkedIn. With 161 million members according to Park Bench Digital, sales staff can use LinkedIn to watch the Newsfeed to see Connection’s new positions and business ventures for potential new clients.

How To Use Linkedin To Find New Clients

The first step, according to Rodney Earley, president of Rodney’s Custom Cut Sign Company, Holly Springs, N.C., is to paying attention to in-network LinkedIn Connection updates.

Whenever an employee or when an entrepreneur starts a new business, it provides the perfect opportunity to see if a need for signage exists.

Earley recommends first congratulating the individual on their new position. This helps develop rapport with an existing connection and gets them to open up about their new position or business. Once communication has been established, sign company sales staff can see if there is a need for signage. Along with LinkedIn, the latest trend is making things accessible nearly anywhere with mobile technology.

Making Marketing Mobile

Forbes and PR firm Walker Sands report that 28 percent of all Internet traffic is mobile based.

“A mobile site for a sign company is an onsite selling tool,” Pond says. “New websites should be built to be responsive if possible. What that means is that the sites automatically adjust based on the browser that is being used.”

Rachel Fuentes, owner of Signs By Tomorrow, in San Antonio, says it’s effective for her sales staff because, “you don’t have to start the sales pitch.” Along with four to five Internet referrals, she explains that customers are able to come in and show her staff what they are looking for on their iPad devices. It starts the conversation with her staff.

Using a Website Effectively

According to a 2010 study by Newsweek, videos on business websites help increase the number of visitors and the length of their visit, as well as showing potential customers specialized and different types of services. This gives customers the confidence for sign companies to charge a fair price for greater profitability.

Earley suggests putting videos of a shop’s capabilities online. Sign companies can leverage their websites to educate their customers on their manufacturing processes.

“A lot of sign companies don’t have the baking capabilities in a spray both,” explains Earely. Educating potential customers on a shop’s capabilities, especially when it comes to specialized capabilities, through online videos has the potential to increase profits. All facets of production, painting, baking, CNC, sanding, finishing and installation processes can be video-taped and shown to website viewers.

Demonstrating clean production facilities and allaying quality concerns UL listed products used in sign production can give viewers the assurance of quality production. Earley explained how his capabilities of painting, baking and 3-D capabilities for products enabled him to make a $13,000 sale. If these capabilities are online, there is even greater for potential.