Everything Old is New Again

14. April 2016 09:42

Everything Old is New Again 

Not all that long ago most of the items that the average person used on a daily basis was made within a short distance from where they lived and worked. Certain parts of the world were renowned for the quality of specific products. Sheffield England for example, was long known in our industry for making the finest steel cutting tools. But in most cases people bought the items of daily life from the people who made them. Today, for better or worse, we boast a global economy where even the most mundane objects we pick up are made halfway around the world.

But while earlier technologies made it profitable to centralize manufacturing, today’s technologies and social realities are swinging the pendulum back toward decentralization. Consumers are looking for ways to buy locally grown food and locally made products. And manufacturing technologies are making this more possible every day. Computers now control milling machines, plasma cutters, lathes, and 3D printers. The software that drives these machines has become vastly more powerful while falling in price. The first 3D CAD/CAM software I used 15 years ago cost nearly $20,000.00 per seat. The 3D modeling program that runs my 3D printer cost $45.00. Today, for the price of a mid-sized sedan, a mini factory can be set up in 1000 square feet that can make most of the non-electronic items needed around the home using metals, plastics and wood.

More and more of our customers every day are looking for businesses and products that are locally produced. They may be driven by interest in their local economy, or by environmental concerns, or by the desire for custom products that can’t be bought in a department store. As businesses, it is in our own best interests to at least be aware of these changes going on around us. There are new customers and new opportunities emerging every day, and history shows us that evolving to embrace change is far more valuable than ignoring it.

There was a time when cottage industries made many of the products common people used day to day. Advances in transportation and manufacturing technologies have changed this to the world we know today, but social trends are combining with the latest technologies to swing the pendulum back to a more locally based economy. Are you keeping track so you will be prepared for the new opportunities? At this year’s IWF show, you have the opportunity to learn the latest trends in manufacturing for our industry and related fields. The “3D Printing and the Return of Cottage Industry” seminar is specifically designed to give you an overview of the changes effecting the marketplace right now and in the near future.

Submitted by: Ralph Bagnall, Owner: ConsultingWoodworker.com


5 Reasons Why You Should Use Email to Market Your Business

13. April 2016 06:35

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Email to Market Your Business

In today’s day and age, every company has a wide range of marketing tools practically at their fingertips. In the digital world alone, you can run a Google Adwords campaign, post a graphic ad online, promote your company on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest… the list goes on and on. And while there’s value to using these tools to promote your business, I think email is still the tool with the greatest potential to reach your audience, build relationships and increase sales. So, here’re the top five reasons I think every small business should be using email for their digital marketing efforts.

Everyone has email. Your audience potential is huge essentially because if someone is online they have an email account. According to the Radicati Group, in 2013, there were 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide – that’s three times the number of Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. And that number is growing. They also project that the number of email accounts will grow to nearly 5 billion by the end of 2017.

Your audience wants to hear from you. Great email marketing is permission based – that is, your audience tells you in advance that they want to receive emails from you.  They may be current customers, you may have met them at a trade show, they may have requested additional information through your website, registered to receive your e-newsletter, or any number of other opt-in methods. Whatever way they came to you, they asked you to be in contact and look forward to your email.  And every time you reach out to them, you ensure that you stay top of mind and continue to nurture the relationship.

Email can be highly personalized. You can send a specific message to a specific audience, or even a subset of an audience, and speak directly to that unique group or individual. Most email programs make it easy to pull the recipient’s name, company, past purchases, etc. into the subject line and body of your message. This level of personalization can be powerful – and effective. A 2013 Experian report reflects a 29% higher unique open rate and a 41% increase in click-through rates when personalization is used in promotional emails.

Emails engage and drive conversions. Email is an effective, affordable marketing tool that can positively impact your company’s bottom line, and the statistics bear that out. Venture Beat reports that email marketing returns $38 for every $1 spent – that’s a 3800 percent return. CampaignMonitor.com statistics reveal that email campaigns yield six times the number of click-throughs than you’ll get from a tweet. A 2014 McKinsey report indicates that email is 40 times more likely than Twitter or Facebook to result in new customer acquisition.

Metrics, metrics, metrics. Email marketing is relatively easy to measure – and do so consistently over time. You can track how many recipients opened, forwarded, clicked a link, shared the message to social media, and more. You can even tie sales directly back to a specific email campaign. You can use the feedback to improve your message, increase effectiveness of campaigns, and positively impact your bottom line – and have the numbers to prove it!

Join us on Thursday, August 25 from 9-10:30 a.m. for an educational session designed to help you use email to build your business. Register for the session at Email Marketing - Techniques for Staying Top of Mind with Your Customers.

 Submitted by: Susan Bagnall, Owner: ConsultingMarketer.com and Ralph Bagnall, Owner: ConsultingWoodworker.com