Highlights from the 2016 iMarket Solutions Marketing Conference

01-03-17 by Nadia Romeo

iMarket Solutions held its first annual marketing conference December 8-9, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV. We were joined by clients from more than 20 companies across the country eager to learn more about key marketing and customer service topics to help grow their businesses and dominate their local markets in 2017.

By sharing the latest tips, strategies and trends across all online marketing channels and allowing our clients to head home with a complete marketing plan and budget to kick off the new year, we are also helping them build stronger brand recognition and maintain relationships with existing customers as well. Click here to see what our clients had to say about their conference experience!

The conference showcased a variety of industry experts including…

  • Gary Elekes, who walked our clients through a full day workshop on developing their company brand, working on internal communications, and completing a blueprint for a marketing and media plan for 2017.
  • Brigham Dickinson from Power Selling Pros, who shared the impact and tools CSRs need to deliver a truly amazing experience for every customer they come in contact with.
  • Michael Robinson from EGIA, who walked us through all the ways to stay relevant and engaged with customers without being replaced by a smartphone app.
  • McKenna Blenz from Google, who showed clients how SEO & SEM work in tandem to maximize their web presence and understand the evolution of digital strategy.
  • Steven Severn from iMarket Solutions, who explained how Facebook has become a key marketing initiative and how companies can increase their reach and lead generation through this social media platform.
  • And Nadia Romeo from iMarket Solutions, who showed us compelling data about the importance of doing email marketing (and doing it right) to capture more new customers, generate new business and stay front of mind with your existing customer base.

Couldn’t attend the conference this year? No problem! We’ve got you covered. Take a peek below at some of the highlights from each conference session.


Developing a Company Brand & Marketing Plan

Presenter: Gary Elekes, Co-Owner of iMarket Solutions

Overview: Developing a marketing plan is the key component of meeting your financial forecast. To execute marketing in an effective and measurable avenue, your business must abide by three different branding facets.

  • External Media and Advertising
  • Internal Company Related Communication
    • Internal Communications/Leadership
      • Vision / Values Direction
      • Employee Commitment
      • Employee Training (Front Line to your customers)
      • Employee Buy-In
  • Operational Marketing
    • The Supportive Business Processes that Aid Lead Generation
      • Maintenance Agreements
      • Existing Customer Relations
      • Demand Service Process

Each approach above is vital, but they all point to two types of marketing; passive or active. From developing a solid media plan to investing in tuck-in’s and developing new markets, these strategies must adapt to a digital format (SEO, Local Search, PPC, Social Media, Review Generation, Email Marketing) to really create operational excellence.


Pattern of Excellent Proposal: The #1 Myth about Improving Your Service Business

Presenter: Brigham Dickinson, President & Founder of Power Selling Pros

Overview: When a customer service representative (CSR) books just one more call a day, your revenue can increase by $125K/year. Companies can double their revenue in 2-5 years, just by changing the way they handle phone calls. As a business owner, you must equip your CSRs with the tools they need to deliver more than just your average experience.

What companies come to mind when you think of amazing customer service? Zappos? Southwest Airlines? Chick-fil-A? Amazon? Now think about what sets them apart. The key is not to have the lowest price, it’s to have the best customer service and create a truly WOW experience for every customer.

When your team is engaged, they in turn will help engage your customers. So how do you engage your team?

  • Appreciation
  • Cautiously create value
  • Autonomous work
  • “Yes”
  • Care
  • Listen
  • Be confident
  • Be positive

Customers won’t just remember good service, they’ll remember the customer service and overall experience your team provided for them.


Securing the Customer Relationship In the “Age of the App”

Presenter: Michael Robinson, General Manager – Marketplace & Consulting at EGIA

Overview: If you’re not “relationship marketing” to your existing customers and growing your customer base through great online reviews and word of mouth, you risk being replace by a smartphone app. You must step up your customer relationship game! It’s important to learn how to evaluate your current customer relationships, and rethink your business process and marketing and sales strategy to improve overall customer relationships.

Let’s face it – HVAC, plumbing, and electrical contracting is not a sexy industry. Customers don’t care about these services until they need them, which make these event-driven businesses, not labor-driven businesses. But there are 7 key steps to contracting marketing success:

  • Create your brand and marketing message.
  • Infuse that brand and message into your entire business.
  • Constantly reach out to your existing customers. Keep them close!
  • Define your best prospects for new customers and target area.
  • Use target marketing for your best prospects.
  • If there is room in the budget, consider top-of-mind advertising.
  • Make an annual marketing plan. Use the 80/20 rule. Follow the plan. Track your advertising spend, lead source, and cost-per-lead

SEO & SEM: Better Together

Presenter: McKenna Blenz, Agency Account Strategist at Google

Overview: Google has been an ever-growing player in search marketing, and their user-base has been adapting to more current technologies. One of those most significant changes that have been applied to consumers is their ability to absorb information from their smart phone. After all, research begins with a search engine. Becoming well-ranked on Google in organic is a crucial factor towards competing against other results in SERPs, but the key to success is applying both Paid and Organic positions.

Here are a few statistics that we felt were important:

    • 95% of users won’t go beyond the first page
    • 71% of visitors look at the top 3 Adwords advertisements
    • When combining SEO and Paid Search, Google has seen an 89% increase in incremental traffic
    • 84% of decisions start on mobile and end somewhere else

In addition to search, users are looking for easier access points to absorb information. After a user is directed through search to your website, there are numerous factors that customers will use to influence conversion.

  • 1 in 3 smartphone users purchase from another provider because information was provided in the moment they needed it.
  • 90% of smartphone users aren’t absolutely sure of the specific brand they want to buy when they being researching.
  • 74% of users say they are more likely to return to a responsive website (compared to 48% of customers who visit a non-responsive website and feel “annoyed” and “frustrated”).

How to Attract Customers with Facebook

Presenter: Steven Severn, Social Media/Review Generation Specialist at iMarket Solutions

Social media continues to be one of the best mediums for the HVAC/Plumbing industry to engage with their current customer base, but is our industry using social to convert new customers? In most cases, the answer is no, so we want to inspire contractors to consider different creative avenues to convince and convert two different audience segments considering “hard leads” vs “soft leads.”

Hard Lead: Expanding brand advocacy and consideration-based incentives to drive potential customers to conversion .

  • Social Advertising driven content (usually in the form of “Offers”)
    • Easily Absorbable
    • High Benefit to new customers
    • Low cost / barrier to entry
    • Well-influenced brand advocacy / reputation management
    • Timely / Exclusive

Soft Lead: Developing creative social avenues that facilitate empowered actions towards accomplishing a goal.

  • Ability to inspire a new audience to connect your brand to a bigger cause
    • Example: $1 donation to a local children’s hospital = 1 Page Like
    • Example: Have a tune-up in the month of December to have a chance at winning dinner at a local restaurant
    • Example: Tag a friend or family member who always changes the thermostat to be entered to win a new Nest Thermostat.

By building out your social media and giving a stronger incentive to tie your brand to a bigger cause will not only build trust with your current customers, but will also use that reputation to influence a new base of consumers.


How to Create Email Campaigns That Don’t Suck

Presenter: Nadia Romeo, CEO of iMarket Solutions

Overview: Building out new customers is much more difficult than working with and upselling benefits to your existing consumer base. By investing in email marketing, businesses now have another medium to communicate with existing customers and interested prospects. Aside from the fact that marketers rank email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention, here are 9 reasons why email marketing works:

  1. Effective way to keep customers informed.
  2. Easy to reach customers across various devices.
  3. Email promotions can be that “little extra” everyone needs.
  4. Inexpensive way to build a brand.
  5. Increase website traffic.
  6. Look professional.
  7. Targeted messaging with list segmentation.
  8. Know what works and what doesn’t.
  9. Environmentally friendly.

Once invested in Email marketing, two factors that will determine the success of your email marketing program dwells down to optimizing your content and your subject line.

  • Optimize Your Content
    • Content should be minimal yet clear and informative.
    • Content should be relevant.
    • Writen in the second person.
    • One primary call-to-action.
    • Talk about benefits and not features.
    • Show your human side.
    • Create content that converts.
  • Optimize Your Subject Line.
    • Keep it short and simple.
    • Explain the purpose of email.
    • Don’t be misleading.
    • Personalize the subject line.
    • Time it right.
    • Start with action-oriented verbs.
    • Make them feel special.
    • Pose a compelling question.

Evaluating your email marketing campaigns can be challenging, but here are some benchmarks to track your success.

  • Open Rate: 16% – 20%
  • Click Rate: 1.5% – 2%
  • Conversion Rate: 2%
  • Complaint Rate: 3% per month

We hope you found some valuable takeaways and we look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s conference September 28-29, 2017 in San Diego, CA!

Nadia Romeo (60 Posts)

Nadia is President of iMarket Solutions, and responsible for daily operations, strategy and business development.


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