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An Introduction to The Buyer’s Journey for Security Companies, Part 1

Your potential customers for security services can be event driven for home security and guard companies, while the sales cycle for systems integrators can be very long. How to keep your company relevant and engaged during short and long sales processes can be quite a challenge.

To understand how to effectively market to your potential customers and clients requires recognizing and embracing the modern consumers method of arriving at a purchasing decision. This process is called “The Buyers Journey”.

In part 1 of this series of understanding the Buyers Journey, we’ll take a quick look at the three initial stages that most buyers step through before they become (or not become) your customer.

What is The Buyer’s Journey?

The buyer’s journey has changed, and unless your marketing strategy adapts to meet the potential customer where they are at this very moment in the journey using a strong and consistent inbound marketing strategy, they will remain only potential customers.

Understanding the buyer’s journey is a marketing imperative, and Ignite wants to give you the upper hand with this insider’s guide to the buyer’s journey.

Understanding The Stages Buyer’s Journey

Stage 1: Awareness

The point at which the buyer becomes aware that they have a problem that needs solving. The buyer engages content editorial and educational content such as blogs, eBooks, eGuides, and research reports to gain information.

Stage 2: Consideration

The buyer has a clearly defined idea of the problem, and is committed to researching the need and discovering all of the options in solving that problem. At this point, the buyer turns to comparison papers and expert guides to research and compare product offerings.

Stage 3: Decision

Once the buyer has defined their problem and a method to solve the problem, the buyer researches documentation, data, and endorsements to support their decision. During this phase the buyer engages vendor and product comparisons, case studies, and product literature to push them to the final decision.

Today consumers do most of their own research and that research is done online. This makes your content offerings critical in helping the buyer through the journey and ultimately to conversion. Consider these statistics about how consumers engage content to support the decision making process:

  • Consumers are 5x more dependent on content in the buying process than they were just five years ago. (Nielsen)
  • 70% to 90% of the buyer journey is complete before ever engaging a vendor. (Forrester)
  • Consumers engage 11.4 forms of content before making a final decision. (Forrester)

Your content is not just important in the buyer journey; it’s critical. For help in developing a custom marketing plan for the security buyers journey, contact Ignite  Security Marketing today: (877) 655-3779.

Caring Not Scaring: How Alarm Companies Should Write Sales Copy

You have choices to make when you open a security company. An important one is how you want to present your services to potential customers. Some think it’s appropriate to use scare tactics to talk people into upping their security efforts. They may even rationalize it with the perspective of, “it’s for their own good.”

In reality, if you use fear to get people to buy your services, you are doing your company and your customers a disservice. While they may pay you money, they will always be uncomfortable with your company.

In addition, they will see their security system as a defensive measure against the world, rather than what it really is; a caring step that provides a modern way of protecting their families from potential trouble.

Tip #1: Tell A Good Story

So when you write copy for advertisements, brochures, articles and blogs, focus on caring rather than scaring. Instead of telling a tale of a family’s home broken into and everything taken, talk about the burglar who was caught red-handed because the silent alarm brought the police while the thief was taking down the flat-screen television – and his statement that he was taking it away for repair didn’t hold water when the wife’s jewelry was found in his pocket.

Tip#2: Relate To Your Audience

You can also write about the extra secure feeling parents can have when their children are home alone after school – and that children are less uncomfortable when alone in the home if they know a security system is on and help is only a panic button away. For people who travel a lot, they know their homes are safe by a quick check on the Internet or a smart phone. When you sell people on caring enough for their families or homes to add an additional layer of safety, you become a source of support rather than someone carrying tales of modern-day bogey men.

Tip #3: Positive Selling

When thinking in terms of copy writing, also include your sales pitches in that category. Use training to ensure that your sales team doesn’t scare people into becoming your customers. You may get some business that way, but it may cost you in referrals later. If the message is upsetting, the messengers will not be looked on positively. Whether consciously or unconsciously a bearer of bad news is never popular and referrals are based on liking your people as much as they like your service.

As a matter of fact, you could even state truthfully that you hope they never need your services – and that you would be glad if those signs showing that they are protected against unlawful entry are enough to discourage any burglars that were considering their home as a target. You can say that if five or ten years from now your customers wonder why they bought a system because of their total lack of trouble, then you and your company have done your job well. After all, your first goal is to prove as a deterrent, and then as a final line of defense against a break-in.

Our team has experienced brand journalists who write sales copy for security dealers every day. Contact us for help with your next sales flyer or website landing page.

Why LinkedIN Matters For Integrators & Manufacturers

A mass affluent customer is exactly what it sounds like: a “massively” affluent consumer who patronizes your business. More specifically, this person has investable assets between $100,000 and $1 million – in other words, virtually unlimited money to spend. So, what is the key to getting the attention of this elusive consumer? Believe it or not, it is the same as any other prospect you are targeting online: social media.

But not just any social media channel. If you are serious about capturing the mass affluent market, then the primary social media platform you want to focus your efforts on is LinkedIn. That’s right; LinkedIn is good for much more than skimming the résumés of strangers! We don’t mean to minimize it; it is a very good recruiting tool to attract new talent you may want to hire.

Pro Tip: LinkedIn is also an effective marketing tool, particularly when it comes to targeting the coveted $100,000+ market. 

Financial:

LinkedIn has actually said so itself. In its latest whitepaper, titled “Influencing the Mass Affluent,” the #1 social network for professionals focuses on how the financial sector can better reach mass affluent consumers. “Almost half (of the mass affluent) engage with financial institutions on social media (44%),” it says, “while one-third engage with content shared by financial institutions on social media (34%).” It makes sense for banks and lenders to live on LinkedIn – at least when they’re doing marketing.

Executive services

According to LinkedIn, the mass affluent use a range of social networks and tools. But, “for professional purposes, they most likely turn to LinkedIn,” the whitepaper says. With that in mind, high level service providers should target new customers on LinkedIn without hesitation. Why wouldn’t someone look for an attorney, insurance carrier or accountant on LinkedIn? It should be the first resource they look to.

Professional services

Even small business service providers can target the mass affluent audience. After all, don’t people of means need construction crews, landscapers and security system dealers? These are essential services. So if you want to reach the mass affluent audience, LinkedIn is a great place to do it. Start by requesting connections with all your local titans of industry. Just tell them you’re aiming to make some connections with local business leaders; there’s no need to tell them too much about yourself, because your LinkedIn page will speak for itself. Some of them are bound to accept your invite, and perhaps look to you when they need a service provider they can trust.

Don’t sell yourself short on LinkedIn; if your company has a LinkedIn page, use it to the fullest by aiming for mass affluent customers. And if you don’t yet have a LinkedIn presence for your security company, Ignite RMR can help you establish one. Contact us today.

About Us

Ignite Security Marketing is an inbound marketing agency that specializes in marketing and sales force automation for the security industry. Since 2008, we have been the marketing partner of choice for SDM 100 corporations and SMB’s around the nation.

What is Your Automated Phone System Really Telling Your Customers?

“Hello, you have reached We Don’t Care Much About You Security Systems. If you know your party’s extension, please dial it at this time. If you don’t know anyone at our company, then sit quietly while we run through a tedious list of departments you don’t want and one or two that you think might be right but you’re not sure. Or press the star key and the entire list will begin again from the beginning.”

Click. 

Are you a company that has decided that the personal touch on the phone is a waste of time and personnel? Did you get drawn into one of those sales pitches about how effective a phone system like this is in managing your incoming calls?

Did you design the recording and responses for the system for the convenience of your customers and potential customers, or for your own convenience? Do you give directions based on the issues customers may be calling for or the names of your departments? How many times does a customer have to push a button and listen before getting to the right person?

“By the way, while you’re on hold you will get to listen to a long list of reasons why you should buy one of our security systems. You may be surprised to find out that we pride ourselves on our customer service. I was sure surprised when they had me record this long and involved process that any current or potential customers have to go through just to get to a real person.”

Is your hold message friendly but not too much like a sales pitch? Do you play sound from a radio station so that people have to listen to ads for other companies, possibly even for your competition? Does your music selection match the tastes of your target market? How long does the average customer end up on hold at your busiest times? Do they have the option of just leaving a message and having one of your people call back when it’s their turn to be helped?

“You may be tempted to dial 0 in the futile hope that you will reach an operator. Wrong. If you dial 0 I will just tell you I don’t recognize that response and start with the tedious list again, and again. There is actually no button that will get you to a real person. Eventually you will get tired and hang up, or I will get irritated with your attempts to circumvent me and hang up for you…and I really don’t appreciate that sort of language…”

If you have a phone system in place like this, do you have an escape clause that allows someone to access a real person if they prefer? Exactly how much time and automated conversation does it take to get to a real person? Have you considered offering the escape clause at the start of the recording rather than the end, so you don’t irritate customers who hate this sort of phone system?

“While you’re waiting, this might be a good time to go online and find out if there are any other security companies in your area that are more responsive…”

Is your so-called money-saving phone system costing you customers? If you set it up properly, it can be an asset, but a casual or unthinking design can cost much more than it saves. It’s probably worthwhile to talk to various customer groups about what they like or don’t like about this type of system, and pay attention to their frustrations when you design yours.

“Thank you so much for calling We Like to Pretend We Care About our Customers But We Really Don’t Security. Please call back any time. My recorded voice is available 24-7 for your convenience and ours.”

Click. 

Ignite Security Marketing  is dedicated to providing inbound marketing exclusively for the security industry. We can help monitor inbound calls for your alarm company so you can refine your processes, increase sales, and improve customer service. Ask us how today: (877) 655-3779.

How To Go Viral on Social Media: A Primer For Security Companies

It’s the dream of every corporate social media expert and all social media consultants – having your image, story, video, idea go viral. 

Like the flu, viral messages spread without any effort. You just have to be unexpected, funny, witty, unusual, (UFWU) enough to capture the attention of people who have lots of friends and share UFWU things with each other.

Here’s the tough part – you never know what will catch on. This particular graphic list came from a creative bunch that needed something to replace the little animal picture they had up for Groundhog Day. 

They chose coffee after hearing about some sort of marathon that involved running a lot, drinking a dozen cups of coffee, then running a lot more – which fits the UFWU approach, although it seems like a really bad idea otherwise.

It Happens By Being Yourself

They actually copied the concept – although not the info – from other people who have done the same sort of thing. The other people’s ideas did not go viral. They put the list together quickly as a group on a Friday afternoon and one of them posted it on Facebook and Twitter. Then they had a good laugh about it and went home. Now pay attention to the following quote, it tells you better than anything else how viral really works, “We weren’t trying to make anything cute or funny. We just needed something to replace the groundhog.”

If you want to understand the difference between the accidental nature of real viral messages and the many, many attempts to create something that will go viral, watch a couple of the late-night talk shows when someone who has a reputation for being funny is a guest. Pay attention as the host lobs the guest a couple of pre-planned softballs, allowing him or her to lob some designed-to-look-off-the-cuff stories or remarks back. It may be funny, but it’s planned funny, which takes some of the zing out of it.

Pro Tip: Years ago, funny people would say funny or smart or cute things in an office environment and everyone would laugh and go back to work. Now, with social media, you have at least a slim chance to get some recognition for the joke or idea and you and your company at the same time.

Being Real

Now, go back to the old days of late night television and pick up a “Best of Carson” program. The style and humor are much less sophisticated, but there are moments on that show that would have gone viral if that had existed back then. As a matter of fact, almost anyone who worked in television back then had a reel or tape of grainy but funny outtakes collected from colleagues across the country. For an example, visit YouTube and do a search for Paul Lynde doing the Weather in Toledo Ohio. That was making the rounds long before the Internet existed.

While you’re on YouTube, look for a video about a frustrated talking dog. That video went viral and it led to a clip of that dog appearing in a commercial – no, not the dog, a YouTube clip of the dog – or at least it was made to look like a YouTube clip and it looked like the dog. (With ads, you can never be sure whether something is real or they’re just trying to look cooler than they actually are.)

By the way, did you notice how many Super bowl commercials this year involved dogs? Guess what kind of videos tend to get the most attention on YouTube? No, not those! It’s clips involving dogs, or babies, or baby dogs, or dogs and babies together, many of which are cute enough to hurt your teeth. People who write commercials are clearly spending way too much time checking out social media outlets to see what people watch or tend to like or share.

So how is this a problem?

They’re missing one of the most important ingredients of viral – the unexpected. One dog commercial is fun and memorable. Twelve or so and you’ve lost the impact.

What can you do to create something that goes viral? The easy answer: you can’t. But of course a social media blog has to provide some well-meant advice, so here goes.

When something makes you laugh – post it. When something unexpected happens and you happen to get a photo of it – post it. If you have a good story – post it.

Years ago, funny people would say funny or smart or cute things in an office environment and everyone would laugh and go back to work. Now, with social media, you have at least a slim chance to get some recognition for the joke or idea and you and your company at the same time. What’s the worst that will happen? Nothing – literally. No one comments or shares your post. What’s the best possible outcome? A mass influencer shares your post unexpectedly and it brings recognition, possibly new business and dare we say it…and little bit of fun to your security business.

ABOUT Us

Ignite Security Marketing is an inbound marketing agency that specializes in marketing and salesforce automation for the security industry. Since 2008, we have been the marketing partner of choice for SDM 100 corporations and SMB’s around the nation.

Why Call Tracking Matters To Your Security Business

For security companies, the marketing tools available today are much more diverse and complex than they were years ago. Most businesses will leverage a variety of different marketing methods in order to generate leads and conversions. But how do you know which of these marketing platforms are most effective? Which options give you the most return on your investment?

Many companies utilizing web marketing strategies are already using the numerous analytics tools available in order to track the performance of their website. While these analytics can give you a great deal of detailed, actionable data, they can’t paint the entire picture of how successful your marketing efforts are. In fact, since they don’t evaluate phone leads from your website, these analytics tools can’t even provide you with the total number of leads being generated by your website.

If you aren’t using call tracking, you’re missing out on a wealth of data that can significantly improve your marketing efforts. By using call tracking metrics, you can compile important data about the phone leads you receive from the various marketing platforms utilized as part of your campaign. This will help you optimize your marketing channels so that you get the best possible return on your marketing dollars.

What Marketing Channels Are Ideally Suited For Call Tracking?

You can use call tracking to compile important data on the phone leads you receive from just about every aspect of your marketing campaign:

  • Pay per click (PPC) campaigns
  • Print marketing
  • Web marketing
  • Television marketing
  • Billboard marketing
  • Direct mail marketing
  • Email marketing

Ideally, you’ll want to use a different call tracking number for each different marketing platform so that you can more accurately track the performance of each.

What Can Call Tracking Metrics Tell Me?

Call tracking metrics provide you with much more information than just how many calls come from each of the marketing platforms in your campaign. These metrics give you the type of detailed data that can help you streamline your marketing efforts and maximize your ROI.

For example, if your business places a heavy emphasis on email marketing to generate leads, call tracking metrics can help you determine which landing pages generate the most calls and which ones need to be improved. If you’re not leveraging this type of data, you will never truly know how to refine your marketing efforts to maximize your success.

What Call Tracking Metrics Should I Pay Attention To?

The following call tracking metrics will help you get the most out of your marketing efforts:

Number of calls

At its most basic level, call tracking records the number of calls you receive, eliminating the need for you to manually track this data yourself. You can receive detailed reports regarding call patterns, allowing you to gather a more accurate understanding of your ROI.

Call duration

Not all calls are equally valuable. Some calls are likely to yield better leads than others. In general, the longer the call, the more likely it is to turn into a quality lead. After all, why would a prospect waste a lot of time talking to your team if they weren’t interested in your product or service? Call tracking metrics provide you with the length of each call, allowing you to determine which campaigns, keywords, PPC landing pages, and ads generate longer, more meaningful conversations (and most likely the best potential leads).

Conversions

Most importantly, call tracking metrics can help you track conversions for each marketing platform in your campaign. Not all calls convert to customers right away. Sometimes, it may take weeks or even months between the initial call and when that prospect becomes a customer. Call tracking allows you to trace new customers back to their original call, giving you a more accurate assessment of which platforms in your campaign achieve the most conversions. This data can also give you a better understanding of your sales cycle.

Cost per lead

How much are you spending to generate each lead? If you’re spending $1,000 a week on your PPC campaign and you generate 100 leads, then you are spending $10 per lead. If your direct mail campaign has a $500 weekly budget and it generates 100 leads, then you are spending $5 per lead. This is important information to have when deciding how to allocate your marketing resources.

Using Call Tracking Metrics to Identify Performance Issues

Wouldn’t it be great to know which members of your sales team are most effective at converting leads into customers? Call tracking metrics can tell you what percentage of leads each member of your team actually converts into sales. This data is extremely valuable and can help you:

  • Determine which team members to send the most calls to
  • Determine the training needs of your sales team
  • Evaluate the performance of team members with regard to raises, promotions, and dismissals

About Us

Ignite Security Marketing offers phone lead tracking with every Digital Marketing Package. Since roughly 60% of new leads will pick up the phone and call rather than fill out a web form, we think that call tacking is critical to maximize the success of any digital marketing campaign. Email us today to schedule a free demo or call (877) 655-3779.

Why Press Releases Are Important for Security Companies

Press releases have always been one of the most powerful but highly undervalued tools in the marketing tool kit. However, a recent change in Google’s algorithm has just given them even more value, and the results can be profound.

Now, Google includes news releases among the authorized sources used to gather its “In the News” search results. Previously, only links to stories on approved sites such as newspapers and television stations appeared in this section. This will allow companies’ own statements to appear ahead of searches.

The goal, according to Google, is to get people the right answer as quickly as possible, whether the information comes from a large recognized publisher or smaller niche publisher.

This means that even a small business can earn top ranking in searches focusing on specific topics with well-optimized press releases, receiving the same powerful exposure that drives traffic.

While the press releases has always been a very powerful tool when optimized and released online, the new algorithm gives them renewed prominence, and a direct pathway to consumers.  Press Releases are not just for the big guys any more. They are for any business with a story and authoritative information to share.

Why Should Security Companies Consider Regular Press Release Distribution?

One of the most effective business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing tools for large companies has always been the press release, but its power has largely been dismissed by medium and small companies that believe their press releases would be overshadowed by those of major corporations.  Now, the value is universal and should not be dismissed.

  • Being included “In the News” lends credibility to your company
  • Press releases establish you as a leader in the industry
  • Customers respond positively to companies whose links and information is found offsite
  • A well-optimized release boosts your SEO
  • Helps establish your brand
  • Regular press releases help consumers see you as a reputable and authoritative source
  • Places you ahead of companies unaware of Goggle’s change

About Us

Strategy is everything in marketing. For help in developing a digital marketing plan that will place you ahead of the pack, contact Ignite Security Marketing today: (877) 655-3779.