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ElectricalTrends is a communications vehicle offered to the electrical distribution industry by Allen Ray Associates and Channel Marketing Group. The purpose of ElectricalTrends is to share Allen Ray Associates' and Channel Marketing Group's insights on industry trends, observations on industry activities and issues and offer ideas that may benefit industry participants in their endeavor to improve their businesses in the areas of growth and profitability.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Adding Technology to Electrical Marketing

As an industry we’ve been reticent to deploy technology to driving sales revenue. While many use technology to streamline operations, not much has been done to support revenue generation. We’re seeing some signs that things are changing:
  • Invoice marketing: Billtrust has the capability of adding messages to invoices, as do some of the ERP systems.
  • Trade Service launched its Supplier Exchange system last month and reports are that 1700 distributor locations are signed up and that quotations are being managed through this network.
  • Trade Service also created a relationship with EC&M / EW to utilize some of their content. This opens the opportunity for other distributors, and possibly manufacturers, to license content for their websites.
  • EC&M has had success with manufacturer webinars and podcasts.
  • EC&M conducted a webinar for I-Gard on arc flash. The event was so
    successful that reportedly I-Gard had an overload of whitepaper downloads from their site. Almost 900 unique connections (and each connection could represent multiple people) viewed the presentation. They’ve also done a number of others. Go to http://ecmweb.com/webinar to see who has run sessions. One session had over 1800 registrants and they have had over 70% of registrants view the presentation. And GE Consumer and Industrial is offering one on March 8 (click here to register)
  • EC&M also developed a podcast sponsored by Caterpillar. Over the duration of the program, there were over 11,000 visits, over 19,000 pageviews and the average viewing was over three minutes! Caterpillar received a brief ad and the sponsorship visibility. (click here to download)
  • Fluke used a quiz on www.ecmweb.com to generate product interest. They had over 2200 people respond who answered 5 questions in pursuit of a prize. This represented 2200 leads!!
All of these communication vehicles were heavily promoted by EC&M through
their e-newsletters.
Interested in taking your website to the next level? Consider these ideas:
  • Have excess / obsolete materials? Consider eBay or listing them on your website and use Google Checkout. It only costs 2% + .20¢ / transaction. You might be able to turn scrape into cash.
  • Consider developing your own online community (similar to Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn). Look into www.ning.com
  • If you conduct an incentive trip or have a major event, post pictures on www.flickr.com or www.picasa.com and link to it from your website. Customers love to see themselves, and if it is a trip, it may motivate others to participate in the future.
  • A number of distributors have asked about integrating forums? www.yuku.com offers customizable forums that can be attached to your website.
  • Have you considered keyword advertising via Google Adwords for your local area?
  • Don’t know if anyone goes to your site? Use www.analytics.google.com as a free tracking tool. We just had a client install Google Analytics on their site. They perceived no one visited their site. Over the past 30 days they can document that 1689 visitors of which 1095 are in the state that they are located in and 624 were within the same city. Shows that there is opportunity to market content on the site.

And there are more, inexpensive ideas that can be used. You just need a little ingenuity and technical skills. It helps to solicit customer input regarding their needs and potential usages. Consider asking them via an e-survey.

Do you think e-marketing and e-business will become extensions of your existing business in the near future?

And if you are on www.linkedin.com, there is an Electrical Wholesalers Group that you can join.

Channel Marketing Group | Allen Ray Associates