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4 Effective Strategies to Help Pivot Your Integration Business in 2021

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In 1884 in a small town in Hassroun, Lebanon an eleven-year-old boy, Thannous Michael Saadi, made the brave and pivotal life decision to leave his beloved country with his uncle to work in a soap factory in Egypt. This would be a challenging experience for anyone, let alone a child. Armed with a vision of better life, Thannous faced the challenges head-on.

At the age of 17, Thannous got word that a group of Lebanese people were leaving Egypt and heading to the United States. He decided to follow suit and set off to explore the world. Over the course of the next few years, he traveled across the country, ultimately visiting 45 of the then 48 states.

Upon finishing his exploration of the US at the age of 19, he once again boarded a ship and cruised to the Bahamas. Once settled, he briefly returned to Lebanon to marry his childhood sweetheart and return with her to the Bahamas. Together on the island, they created a family, complete with 14 children. One of their sons, Useph Baker, was my father.

My Grandfather Anthony Baker was an incredibly brave man and an exceptional businessman. His businesses included numerous commercial real estate properties and a popular hotel. His original store, founded in 1894, is still in operation to this day.

His ability to pivot and adapt, not only to a new country, culture, and lifestyle, but also regularly exploring new business opportunities was integral to his success.

As we now embark on a new year ahead, what changes will you make in your life and business to create future prosperity? How can we grow? How can we depart from the comfort of the status quo? What are the changes we can make to pivot?

The entrepreneur in me is regularly considering what changes I should make to my business to remain relevant, create future opportunities and generate further success with new and existing customers.

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Here I will offer some smart and practical ways to pivot in the year ahead:

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#1: Clean Up Your Image

Companies with good ideas and poor branding go nowhere. Your brand clean up can start with your logo, tagline, and business cards. It should be clear and resonate across ALL marketing related to your business. This is especially important on your website.

Consider the fact that the average click off rate for first-time visitors to a website is 7 seconds! If someone visits your website for 7 seconds, will they know why they should work with you instead of your competitor? The website should be visually pleasing, responsive, and very direct about who you are, what you do and why a prospective customer should work with you.

Don’t forget about your brochure. If you do not have a brochure, there is never a better time to create one. I created my first brochure in Microsoft Publisher, and I am not a graphic designer!

#2: Communicate with Your Existing Customers (More)

Many consumers have been considering enhancements to their homes during this current lockdown. This certainly includes technology improvements. Are you sending out newsletters (brochures) to your customers showcasing the exciting new technologies in our industry? Again, this does not require expertise in graphic design tools. Many email blast platforms are free or very reasonably priced and they offer great tools to quickly generate professional email marketing campaigns.

If you don’t want to blast emails out to your customers, pick up the phone and call them! Check-in and share the news about exciting new products. Categories like wellness, homeschooling, and home office enhancements are hot right now. The world is shifting to a more virtual approach and it is important to explore how your products can help enhance that experience.

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#3: Develop New Revenue Referral Streams

I am constantly thinking about new revenue streams and ways to build my brand. For example, I benefit from the articles I publish by spreading awareness of my brand. You can also benefit in this regard by contacting your local newspaper or town newsletter to ask if you can contribute an article about technology. Increase awareness and visibility of your brand by exploring new methods to get your name out to a target audience.

Producing articles on subjects you are passionate about is certainly one way to gain visibility, but there are countless other ways to accomplish this such as email blasts and/or physical mailers.

Joining architect, interior designer, builder associations is also a great idea. Earlier last year I invested the time and money to become a CEDIA Certified Outreach Instructor. With my new training and certification, I am authorized to deliver technology training and education to the previously mentioned groups. Maybe this is something to consider for your market as well?

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#4: Review the Products You are Offering to Your Customers

As with AirBnb, maybe you will discover that you need to widen your focus to include other target customers with a synergy that matches your expertise and some of your current product offerings. Much has been explored in the past about residential integrators expanding into light commercial. The trend in the last year is for manufacturers to modify their product offering to include solutions for home offices, retrofit applications, small starter systems for home automation and smart home technology.

My wife and I became empty-nesters last year and moved into a new home, with zero technology wired into the home. We did retrofit some technology but also had rooms that required wireless solutions. Many friends and relatives of mine are downsizing and moving into condos, MDU’s, or apartments. With these moves, the need for technology is still there. Do you have solutions created to target this audience? Maybe now is the time for you to consider offering some solutions.

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You may also review your product offering this year and decide it is time to make some changes to ensure better efficiency in the deployment process, maybe due to reduced staff. Consider adding additional product categories to address the rising interest in health and wellness or other popular categories our world has shifted to during this pandemic.

When I was an integrator, central vacuum was included in nearly every project. I have not heard much about central vacuums over the past decade, but recently saw it mentioned in an industry publication as a key element to improve IAQ (Indoor Air Quality). I also noticed that security and surveillance is expected to be the second-fastest growth category for 2021 – exceeded by networking for the obvious reason that many people now working virtually from home. What new products or categories will you embrace in the year ahead? How can you create opportunities to sell more to each of your customers and increase your “wallet share” with them?

I do not have plans in the year ahead to change my name or the country I live in. However, like my Grandfather would, I do have numerous plans in action for the year ahead to ensure continued success. I would love to hear what your plans are to soar in 2021, please contact me anytime to share your thoughts on this subject.

Best wishes to you for great health, happiness, and BIG success in the year ahead!

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EMAIL MARKETING

Best Email Marketing Practices to Generate Leads

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Have you implemented email marketing in your digital strategy? If you answered no, now is the time to do so.

There are many new and innovative ways to market to your target audience, however, email marketing remains one of the most reliable and effective ways to generate leads. With the right strategy in place, you will be able to convert prospects into paying customers who truly value your brand. 

In this guide, our expert digital team at Bold x Collective discusses everything you need to know about email marketing, as well as some of the best practices that will help your business generate leads!

To preface, you always need to ensure that you do not buy into email lists. Doing so will result in prospects moving your content into the trash or ending up in their spam folders.

This also eliminates prospects’ free will of being able to opt in to emails. This starts the brand-to-customer relationship on a bad note and will result in a higher rate of opt-outs for emails. And not to mention… it is illegal!

Once you have a curated list of prospects that were gained organically through website traffic and membership sign up’s, you can move on to the next step of optimizing your email list by lead scoring. This tactic will filter which prospects are opening your emails, and which ones are worth putting more effort into.

By putting together this new refined list of prospects, your brand will be able to obtain higher conversion rates and a greater return on investment as your efforts are being focused on where it matters most. 

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Now that you’ve organized an optimized list of prospects, it’s time to create the actual email. There are many tactics you can use when drafting an email, but these are some of my favorites that will really allow your email to stand out in your prospect’s inbox. 

  • Name the offer in the subject line, in a fun, intriguing way that will make your viewer interested!
  • Keep the main message and call to action above the fold.
  • Include a personalized touch by adding your name and having a sign-off; viewers love it.
  • Have a clean and concise email – no one likes too much content at one time!
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First off, having your offer, promotion or main announcement in the subject line is more likely to grab the attention of the reader as it gets straight to the point and gives them an immediate reason to look for more details. For example, when the subject line states “25% off the ENTIRE site”.

This line introduces an incentive that will be received if you choose to purchase with them, ultimately decreasing their opportunity cost. This will create the feeling of “FOMO”. Fear of missing out and entice readers to browse your website and shop. 

Along with this strategy, it is also beneficial to keep the main message of the email and call to action so that readers can see it at first glance. This means the information they first receive upon viewing the email and upon opening it without having to scroll down.

Not everyone opens every email they get and will often only view the text that shows above the fold. If that text is intriguing enough, they will seek to learn more. So now you have your readers’ attention, the contents of the email above the fold are what is going to keep their attention and be the driving source of whether they become paying customers.

This study was done on users’ scrolling and attention spans tell them that nearly 57% of users’ page-viewing time is above the fold (information that is visible without scrolling).

Therefore, they can use this information to their advantage by making sure the most important details are included above this fold. 

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Now that you’ve figured out where to put the most relevant information, let’s get into elements to include in your email content that makes it effective. My personal recommendation would be to include personalized touches such as a personalized greeting and signature sign-off.

A greeting with the contact’s name helps to grab their attention right away as they are being addressed personally. In addition to a personalized greeting, having a signature sign-off that shows the reader that there is a real person on the other end, adds to the level of authenticity that it comes across.

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The more of a connection the customer creates with the brand, the more purchasing power they will have. How do they create a connection? With authenticity! 

My last tip, a very simple one, but crucial… is to keep your email clean and concise. No one wants to spend longer than they must, to read an email.

It’s important to keep things looking visually appealing, straight to the point, and summarized in an intriguing and digestible way.

By doing this, you are allowing prospects to gather just what they need to move forward with the buying process. So don’t overthink it, quality is always better than quantity!

To start your journey with email marketing, here are some of their favorite email marketing apps at Bold x Collective:

  1. Privy
  2. Mailchimp
  3. Klaviyo
  4. Active campaign

And while you’re at it, check out Bold x Collective’s blog on how you can get email marketing started for your business! Need some extra guidance and assistance with your email marketing channels? Contact their team to receive a complimentary consultation!


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